The big international airport for Seoul, located about an hour from downtown by bus, Incheon is pretty comfortable place to pass through.
Arrivals get through immigration in a reasonable manner and the Koreans really get those bags out there pretty fast. Step through customs, change some money (or not), buy a bus “limousine” ticket for your destination in Seoul, and off you go. I’ve been amazed how fast this process goes. The bus tickets to the city are sold from booths outside near the curb. 15000 won, cash or credit, gets you to City Air Terminal at the edge of Gangnam in less than an hour. And coming back to Incheon, you can check in right there in Seoul and dump your bags before even getting on the bus to Incheon. Super.
The airport itself is modern and nice. Lots of seating near the gates and suitable for stretching out across the seats for a snooze. Like Seoul itself, there is no shortage of coffee shops/bakeries. Fast food of the west is limited to Burger King, KFC and dueling sandwich franchises, Subway and Quiznos.
But for the digital travelers, that’s all well and fine, but what about internet? One of the coffee shop has computers you can get on for free, and most importantly, the airport has free WiFi.
Ever wonder how some airports seemingly function with one electrical outlet per terminal? Not in Incheon. Not only are there numerous places to sit on the floor and plug in, but the airport was thinking of travelers (rather than vacuum cleaners) when they set these power terminals up about every 30 meters among the boarding gate seating areas. You can’t miss them with the lighted power icon on top.
Each has 6 outlets – two North American-style 110V, flat-prong outlets, and four local style 220V two-pole plugins. Plus two USBs. As you can imagine travelers are like moths to the yardlight, but the abundance of these things alleviates the potential traffic jam.
Expect the occasional show or demonstration at a cultural center in the international terminal. Smokers can find a nicotine aquarium as well (though even smokers seem to be a bit put off by all the smoke.) Natural lighting dominates making the place feel a bit relaxed, and call me crazy, but Incheon just seems quieter to me once you get to some of the gate areas between flights. Announcements aren’t deafening and there’s not a lot of the rehashed security rules about your gels or liquids.
If you are stuck for a few hours between flights, there are definitely worse places on earth.