The ultimate gateway to Korea, Incheon International Airport,
is being recognized again for its commitment to performance excellence and
quality services. From traditional ceremonies to an indoor skating rink, Incheon
International Airport has it all.
In March this year, Incheon
International Airport was selected as the Best Airport Worldwide in the annual
Airport Service Quality Awards for the year 2010. The airport has been crowned
the world’s best among some 1,700 airports, in the award program conducted by
the Airport Council International (ACI), for six years in a row, setting a new
record in the award's history. The airport was first crowned in 2005, only just
a few years after its March 2001 opening.
Incheon International Airport
is reputed for its prompt immigration processes backed by its IT-based passenger
advance notice system, as well as its cleanliness and ease of transfer. Not only
does it serve as one of the leading logistics and transportation hubs in Asia,
equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, but it also offers diverse programs
tailored to the needs of foreign visitors interested in knowing more about the
country’s traditional culture.
Incheon International Airport offers a wide
array of cultural and leisure activities: (left) traditional Korean music
performance; (right) Indoor ice-skating rink (Photos courtesy of the
Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation [left] and Incheon International
Airport Corporation [right]).
Moreover, the airport provides a wide array of leisure
activities, including a 24-hour sauna and an observatory, as well as an
ice-skating rink and an indoor garden. Some of the facilities are accessible to
non-ticket holders, making the airport an attractive half-day destination even
to residents in the vicinity, such as citizens of Seoul or Incheon.
Experiencing traditional Korean culture at the last minute before
On the third floor of the passenger terminal,
alongside a plethora of high-end brand shops, two Traditional Korean Cultural
Experience Zones and two Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Centers are
located in each wing. The spaces, run by the Korean Cultural Heritage
Foundation, aim at promoting Korea’s traditional culture to a global audience of
Foreign travelers experience different
kinds of traditional Korean cultural activities (Photos courtesy of the
Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation).
Each year, approximately 60,000 visitors experience an authentic
Korean heritage through a variety of activities, from trying on traditional
garments to learning how to play traditional instruments and making one’s own
traditional crafts, such as traditional fans or kites. All foreign passengers
are invited to participate free of charge from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the
Another popular event that one should not miss is a reenactment of
the royal march of the king and queen consort of the Joseon Dynasty accompanied
by several dozen gentlemen in traditional outfits. The promenade of the royal
family takes place twice a day at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
(left) The Traditional Craft Gallery, Korea
House; (right) Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Center activities
(Photos courtesy of the Korean Cultural Heritage
Situated on the fourth floor of the passenger terminal in the
transfer lounge, the Traditional Craft Gallery, also known as Korea House,
displays traditional Korean crafts and ornaments 24 hours a day. In the
exhibition hall, even transferring passengers can get a brief overview of Korean
crafts and clothing.
Built inside the new concourse in the transfer
lounge (4F) is the Korean Culture Museum. The museum showcases some of Korea’s
national treasures and traditional art pieces in close collaboration with the
National Museum of Korea. If you missed a visit to the National Museum of Korea
during your stay in Seoul, be sure to swing by. The museum is open from 7 a.m.
to 10 p.m.
A variety of leisure facilities
checked your email? Go to the Internet Lounge available at a number of spots
around the passenger terminal and concourse. Access to the Internet is
complimentary. Wireless internet is also available for laptop holders.
Spa on Air, selected as one of the nine hidden venues at Incheon airport
by CNN (click here to read the full article) offers body massages and
a 24-hour sauna. A perfect location to rest and freshen up in between connecting
flights, Spa on Air can be found on the basement floor of the passenger
If you have more free time left over even after a relaxing
sauna, a visit to Airstar Terrace on the fourth floor of the passenger terminal
can be nice. The airport observatory deck, which opens from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.,
offers a panoramic view towards the airstrip outside and dazzling vistas of the
endless take-offs and landings, especially at night time.
Incheon Airport opened its indoor
ice-skating rink on August 20 this year (Photo courtesy of Incheon
International Airport Corporation).
Ice Forest, which opened to the public on August 20, brings
multiple choices for active travelers who seek more than just relaxation on
comfy cushions. This first indoor ice-skating rink to ever open inside an
airport, it is a great fun stop. The synthetic ice that covers the surface of
the rink allows skating in all four seasons and allegedly reduces the risk of
injuries compared to natural ice. At the stage nearby, visitors can enjoy a wide
range of performances, from jazz to b-boy, while skating. For 4,000 won
(adults), anyone can rent a pair of skates, safety equipment, and time on the
rink. Operating hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Airport keeps pushing its boundaries, creating new paradigms on what an airport
should be. A multiplex movie theater is set to open by the end of this year,
providing a more varied choice for passengers. For more information, please
visit the official website at: www.airport.kr/eng (Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese).
By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer