The Essential Guide to Seoul's Incheon International Airport

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Incheon International Airport

272 Gonghang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Phone +82 1577-2600

Set 30 miles west of central Seoul, Incheon Airport is one of the two airports serving South Korea’s capital. Until Incheon Airport opened in 2001, Gimpo International Airport was the country’s main air hub, though it’s now mainly used for domestic flights. Thus the chances are high that if you’re flying into Seoul from abroad, you’ll land at Incheon Airport—the world’s 16th busiest.

Not only is Incheon Airport streamlined, ultra-clean, and easily navigable, its cultural programs, extensive shopping options, and luxurious amenities consistently propel it to the top three of the Skytrax World Airport Awards year after year. 

While simply making your way through Incheon Airport is a straightforward experience, check out our guide on the airport’s most noteworthy features to ensure you get the most bang for your won in Seoul from start to finish.

Incheon Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information

Know Before You Go

Incheon Airport has two separate terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, which can be accessed by taxi, the AREX Airport Railroad Express (900 won, or around 80 cents), or a free shuttle bus. You must clear immigration and customs before making your way to the alternate terminal and then clear them again before departure on the other side. Additionally, the ride between terminals can take between 15 to 20 minutes, so plan accordingly. 

Terminal 2 houses Korean Air and its Skyteam partners, such as KLM, Delta, and Garuda Indonesia. Based out of Terminal 1 are Star Alliance and One World partner airlines and an array of budget carriers such as Jetstar, Air Asia, and Scoot. Both international and domestic flights depart from both terminals.

Parking at Incheon International Airport

South Korea’s public transportation system is so safe, efficient, and affordable, most visitors don’t drive. But should you find yourself behind the wheel and in need of airport parking, rest assured there is plenty of it. Short-term parking options exist in both terminals and are accessible to the terminals via walkways. Long-term parking in Terminal 1 is also a short walk to the terminal, while long-term parking in Terminal 2 requires a 15-minute shuttle bus ride to the terminal. Additionally, valet parking is available in both terminals.

Parking fees vary depending on the length of time. Discounts are given to the disabled, those driving low-emission vehicles, and families with three or more children under age 18. And as technologically savvy as Korea is, even the parking lot has an app that you can use to pay the parking fee and schedule a text message to remind you where you parked your car.

Driving Directions to Incheon International Airport

Incheon Airport is set on a humanmade island off of Incheon Metropolitan City, about 30 miles west of downtown Seoul. Take the Incheon International Airport Expressway (toll road) to either the Incheon Bridge or Young-Jong Bridge, requiring an additional toll fee (prices vary depending on vehicle size).

Public Transportation and Taxis to Incheon Airport

Public transportation is the most common way to travel between Incheon Airport and central Seoul, with prices and travel times to suit every budget and itinerary. 

  • Airport Railroad Express (AREX): Departing at frequent intervals between 5:15 a.m. and 11:50 p.m. daily, the AREX Express Train and All-Stop Train are perhaps the most convenient way to move between Seoul and Incheon Airport. The express train takes 43 or 51 minutes (from terminals 1 and 2 respectively) to reach Seoul Station, while the All-Stop Train stops at all the subway stations between Incheon Airport and Seoul Station (six of which passengers can transfer to other Seoul Metro subway lines). The cost of the Express Train is 9,000 won (around $8) one way, and the All-Stop Train is either 4,150 won (Terminal 1) or 4,750 won (Terminal 2). Directions from the arrivals areas to the Airport Railroad are clearly marked.
  • Limousine Buses: Buses run almost constantly from just outside the arrivals halls to various hotels and major destinations in Seoul. Standard buses are cheaper but make more stops. Deluxe buses have more comfortable seating and are generally non-stop. Buses do operate 24 hours; however, the departure frequency is reduced between midnight and 5 a.m. One-way tickets range from 5,000 to 9,000 won.
  • Taxis: The ride from Seoul to Incheon Airport takes approximately one hour and generally clocks in at a reasonable 45,000 won (about $40).

Where to Eat and Drink at Incheon Airport

There is no shortage of food and beverage choices at either terminal in Incheon Airport. It’s worth noting that most restaurants open between 5 and 7 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.; however, there are a few outlets in each terminal (mainly coffee shops and fast-food eateries) that are open 24 hours.

  • In the public area of Terminal 1, before you go through security, there’s a food court on level 4F offering a variety of Korean restaurants set in replica traditional hanok houses, some with entryways through ornately carved wooden gates.
  • Both terminals have many fast-food eateries such as Lotteria (Korea’s version of McDonald’s), Dunkin’ Donuts, and Quiznos Subs. Additionally, Terminal 1 includes Burger King, Taco Bell, and KFC.
  • Italian, Western, Vietnamese, Turkish, and Japanese foods are also represented, with various outlets sprinkled both airside and before passing through customs.
  • While most alcohol is served in restaurants, there are also a few bars available to those craving a pre-flight tipple. Foodie’s Pub serves wine, beer, and cocktails and can be found airside in Terminal 2. Heineken Bar in Terminal 1 serves just what you’d expect.
  • Coffee shops abound in all airport areas. Of course, you’ll find the ubiquitous Starbucks, but also big names in the Korean coffee market such as Holly’s, Paris Baguette, and Angel-in-us.

Where to Shop at Incheon Airport

Shopping is a big business in Seoul, so of course, Incheon Airport has an impressive collection of places to spend (duty-free) money. 

  • In addition to brands such as Chanel, Coach, and Gucci, shoppers in both Terminals 1 and 2 will find well-known Korean names like Shinsegae, The Shilla, and Lotte.
  • Throughout the airport are souvenir stores, convenience stores, beauty shops, and bookstores for last-minute purchases.

How to Spend Your Incheon Airport Layover

Passengers who are eligible to enter Korea or who have a connecting flight out of the country within 24 hours of landing can take advantage of the airport's free transit tour service. Tours range from one to five hours and include destinations such as the World Cup Stadium, the trendy Hongdae district, and the 4th-century Jeondeungsa Temple. If you have at least a six-hour layover and feel like being adventurous, take a bus or the AREX to central Seoul and explore on your own—the iconic Gyeongbokgung Palace and Namdaemun Market are only a few subway stops or a quick taxi ride away from Seoul Station.

If your layover is of the shorter variety or you can’t be bothered to venture out, rest assured there’s plenty to do within the airport itself. You’ll find a CGV movie theater, multiple spas, and a Korean culture museum to pass the time, not to mention various shower rooms, relaxation areas, and public lounges.

Incheon Airport Lounges

Incheon Airport boasts an impressive 18 airport lounges scattered throughout the two terminals, but keep in mind that most close at 10 p.m.

  • Terminal 1: As Incheon Airport is Asiana Airlines’ hub, the carrier (Star Alliance) has four elegant lounges in Terminal 1 (three business lounges and one first-class lounge). Other airline lounges include Jeju Air and China Eastern and Korean Air (both SkyTeam) and the privately-owned Matina Lounges and Sky Hub Lounges (one is 24 hours). Priority Pass is accepted at the Asiana, Matina, and Sky Hub lounges. (Keep in mind that some flights depart from the Terminal 1 Concourse, where there is only one Sky Hub lounge.)
  • Terminal 2: Terminal 2 is the Korean Air (Skyteam) hub, and therefore has two lounges dedicated to that airline's passengers. There are also four additional privately-owned lounges, three of which accept Priority Pass.

Wi-Fi and Charging Stations at Incheon Airport

Complimentary and unlimited Wi-Fi is available in all areas, and many additional networks are offered in some restaurants, coffee shops, and lounges. In the departure terminals, there are dedicated charging stations at each gate that offer USB ports, plus multiple 110-volt North American-style and local 220-volt outlets.

Incheon Airport Tips and Facts

Here are some interesting facts and figures to help make the most of your time at Incheon Airport.

  • Various performances that include music, dance, and traditional dress take place near various gates in both terminals throughout the day to give visitors a taste of Korean culture.
  • Multiple booths are set up in the arrivals hall, where you can purchase Korean SIM cards or mobile Wi-Fi units to use during your trip.
  • While there are a few coffee shops, convenience stores, eateries, and lounges that are open 24 hours, most are only open between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Incheon Airport is super user-friendly, and you’ll find multiple ATMs, currency exchange booths, tourist information stations, and even a post office, pharmacies, and a dry cleaner.
  • Water fountains are safe to drink from and can be found near most bathrooms throughout the public areas and in Terminals 1 and 2.
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The Essential Guide to Seoul's Incheon International Airport