Saturday, May 10, 2008

Incheon: World’s Best Airport – Huh!

My flight from Ulaanbaatar arrived at Incheon – which claims to be the World’s Best Airport – at 3.30 am. It looked a lot different to the many times I had been through in the day.


My next flight to Hong Kong wasn’t until 8.30 am so I headed to the Transit Hotel on the departures level to get some sleep for four hours. According to the hotel’s brochure, the rate was US$60 per six-hour block – a bit expensive as I would only be using it for four hours, but I needed the sleep. There were 11 people queuing at the reception desk, and only one receptionist handling all the bookings. She was having some problems with a woman and her son at the head of the queue as the woman was insisting that her son stay in the same room as her. I could hear the receptionist saying “It’s against the rules madam, your son has to have a separate room.” I have no idea what the problem was (her son looked to be about 12 or 13) and they took about 20 minutes to sort the issue out (it was resolved by her taking two rooms) and by the time I got to the head of the queue, nearly an hour had elapsed. I asked for a room and the receptionist said: “That will be $120 thank you sir”. I said I only wanted one six-hour block, but she said I could only book a minimum of 12 hours after 6.00 pm. There was only time left for three hours sleep, so I decided it wasn’t worth paying $120 – I would take a nap in a chair somewhere.

I think it’s pretty weak when an airport transit hotel advertises rooms for six hours and then says the minimum you can book is 12 hours. I would have expected better at the so-called World’s Best Airport.

On my way to the departure gate at about 7.30 am, I took another shot of the airport from the same place as the 3.30 am picture above.


What a difference four hours makes.

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