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One of the only lounges available to us as Etihad business passengers flying out of Incheon, was the KAL Lounge Prestige Class. The lounge is open to any business or first class passengers travelling on a Skyteam airline, but they also welcome Etihad Airways passengers.
The posted hours of the lounge are from 6:30am to 11:55pm.
The KAL Lounge is located in the main departure terminal, near gate 11. The entrance to the lounge can be accessed from the third floor, and a set of escalators or elevator takes you up to the lounge on the fourth floor.
From the reception, there were two separate sides of the lounge, but one side was closed at the time, as it was getting quite late. I believe both sides offer the same amenities.
My first impression was that the lounge was quite huge. Only one side was open, but it was already larger than many other lounges I’ve been to. The high ceilings also make it feel very open, with plenty of windows looking out onto the tarmac. What surprised me, however, was the arrangement of the lounge seating. All the chairs were facing in one direction, in a very dense layout. It felt like the seating arrangement you would expect in an auditorium or theater. I thought this was extremely weird. The rows of chairs were so compacted together as well. Were they trying to imitate the feeling of sitting in economy class? 😉
Further into the lounge were more private seating options (relative to the theater layout) separated by dividers. Maybe it was just because it was dark outside, but the whole lounge looked quite stale and uninviting.
The buffet spread wasn’t very attractive. There were some hot food options, salads, and some dried snacks and pastries, but everything just felt like it had been left out a bit too long. I didn’t end up eating, and instead just had an orange juice.
We were going to have a long flight to Abu Dhabi, so I wanted to freshen up with a shower beforehand. To use the shower rooms, you need to exchange your boarding pass for a shower suite key card at the reception.
The shower room wasn’t any better than the lounge outside. The decor was old and the atmosphere felt very sterile, which reminded me of a hospital.
The amenities were provided in a plastic wrapped package.
Here comes the worst part: the shower had NO HOT WATER. It wasn’t just my shower room either; I asked my friends afterwards and none of them had hot water either. That is totally unacceptable…
At this point, we were pretty unimpressed with the lounge, so after our quick cold showers, we opted to head to the gate a bit earlier.
I was pretty disappointed with this lounge. I expected a bit more from a Korean Air Lounge based in Incheon. The good points of the lounge are the size, openness, and presumably large amounts of natural light from the many tall windows. However, while the seating was plentiful, it was placed in very awkward ways that made it feel very cramped and removed any sense of privacy there was. The furniture and decor felt dated and uninspiring. Maybe it was the end of the day, but the buffet did not look appetizing at all. Lastly, how can there be no hot water in the showers? We probably just went on a bad day; I can’t imagine that would be the norm usually…
I definitely won’t be heading back to this lounge unless I truly have no other option.
Have you visited the KAL Prestige Class Lounge before? What was your experience? Be sure to let us know in the comments. If you want more reviews like this one, subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates and flight/hotel reviews.
Alvin is an aviation geek, enthusiast photographer, and software developer with a goal of exploring the world. He uses mileage programs to redeem premium flight travel, and shares his experiences here on OneMoreWeekToGo.