The Incheon Standard

In The Social Fabric on March 2, 2011 at 8:39 am

As someone who has grown up spending an inordinate amount of time in airports, it’s no surprise to learn that I’ve become a tad critical in my later years.  I try to keep an open mind and put my patient face on every time I encounter a new port, but every now and again that patience is tried.  One airport where  I have never had that experience is, thankfully and mercifully, Incheon Airport.  It is an airport I actually enjoy being in, and have no qualms about spending large amounts of time in wait.  There is a reason it has been voted the best airport in the world consecutively since 2005 by the Airports Council International.  Because it is.

On my way to Osaka this morning to complete the much resented visa run, and I’m flying Jeju Air.   In my confirmation email, my agent highlighted in red that I must be at Incheon 2 hours before departure.  Now as I said, I’ve been on planes once or twice, and everyone knows that is just to scare the newbies.  However after conversations with my boyfriend (who happens to be Korean), he wholeheartedly supported my agent’s instructions.  After not trusting his judgment recently on matters Korean….and being wrong…..I decided I would go with the numbers and turn up the required 2 hours early.  And yes that meant a 5am wake up call.  He had better be right.

But as if to ease the anxiety of all the uncertain things in life, Incheon Airport just exists to make my life easier.  Within 10 minutes of arriving by Airport Limousine Bus (incidentally the most efficient and affordable city airport transport system I’ve used), I was checked in.  No queue.  Friendly faces.  I’m pretty sure other passengers on the bus were still collecting their luggage.  10 more minutes later I had exchanged my currency, and yes, passed through security.  My feet were always moving.  I didn’t pause once.  5 more minutes later and I had passed through immigration.  Again, no queue.  A grand total of 25 minutes at the airport and am at a Starbucks  enjoying coffee and a ham and cheese bagel and taking advantage of the airport wide free wifi.

This airport has all the feelings of calm and efficiency.  It’s as if they’ve been doing this for a hundred years and could do it with their eyes closed.  For someone who travels frequently, I can’t tell you how appreciated the sense of ease and convenience is.  Actually, I can.  It’s great.  Whether it be arrivals or departures, I have yet  had cause to be irritated.  Of course, I realize the repercussions of jinxing myself with such a statement.  However, my affections and loyalty for this hub are already sealed and to me they can do no wrong. 

  1. This is how an airport should be! Although I have not been passing through Incheon, Asian airports such as Changi and KL have made an impression on me. Instead I experienced the opposite recently with transiting through Newark Liberty Airport! Horrible!

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