Friday, August 29, 2008

First Impressions: Incheon International Airport

Incheon International Airport, South Korea

-- Another sparkling Asian airport that is to JFK and LAX what the MacBook Air is to the Kaypro II.

-- The internet lounges are free.

-- The seven-year-old airport is built on an artificial island off the northwest coast of South Korea. The things you can accomplish when development is not crippled by environmental lawsuits.

-- The luggage trollies are free.

-- Building an airport on an island necessarily requires the building of a bridge. So the South Koreans built one, with a second one under construction.

-- There's an airside hotel if you want to shower or sleep in between flights. There are two more hotels (a Best Western and a Hyatt) four minutes away by courtesy shuttle.

-- There is plenty of space. I hung around the airport for about six hours, and it never felt cramped or even particularly busy.

-- Fresh paint, clean floors, no dirt, lots of clocks. There's a reason -- or many reasons -- why Incheon is one of only three airports to receive five stars from the Skytraxx air travel rating firm. (The other two are Singapore Changi and Hong Kong International.)

-- Hotness is obviously a hiring criterion for Korean flight attendants. Walking down the concourse is like strolling through an airport-themed afterparty at the Miss Busan pageant.

-- When it comes to public works, the United States used to be the "can do" nation. Now we're the "can't do" nation, and our Asian frenemies are laughing at us when they're not wrinkling their noses at our disgusting "gateway" airports (SFO excepted).

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Blogger Adeel said...

I was at Incheon last month. The very first thing I noticed about South Korea is how astonishingly and impossibly clean the floor of the airport was. The second thing I noticed was how much English there was. Even the streets are generally free of litter, which is remarkable since public trash cans are very rare.

1:13 AM  

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