Airlines

Downtown Seoul VIP Flight Check In for Anyone

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After our morning jaunt to Bukchon Hanok Village it was time to check out of the Park Hyatt Seoul and get ourselves to the airport. We’d had good success taking the inexpensive KAL Deluxe Limousine (bus) which dropped off across the street from the hotel, so we planned to take it back.

I looked up bus times on the KAL website and prepared to lug our bags across the intersection. The website also indicated tickets could be bought at the hotel front desk, so as we were checking out, we used it as an excuse to get rid of our remaining won. The staff had thoughtfully taken our bags down the elevator in advance, but we panicked when we saw them stowing them into the back of the hotel van. We kept saying “bus” and they can’t motioning us into the van. Visions of a $200+ ride out to the airport were dancing in my head.

Our driver very patiently put up with our questions and then dropped us off at the COEX Mall City Terminal where we could not only catch a bus directly to the airport, but also check in for our flight and leave our bags.

COEX City Terminal Seoul Korean Airlines Check In

There was an empty immigration office right next to the bus waiting area, so we were able to fast track that process as well!

COEX City Terminal Seoul Immigration

COEX City Terminal Seoul Bus Waiting Room

When we arrived at the airport bus passengers could use the same line as the crew. The only delay was finding where to go, but once in the line, we were through security within 10 minutes.

The KCAT bus line is completely different from KAL, though the same price of KRW 16,000 (roughly $16) and departs from the Convention Center in Gangnam near Samseong Station (Subway Line 2). A similar service is offered at the Seoul Station allowing train passengers to check in at the KORAIL Airport Railroad Seoul Station & Terminal (KARST).

What I liked best about the whole thing was not just the speed, convenience, and affordability, it was everyone can have a VIP airport experience regardless of what class they’re flying. There was no queue in any of the check in lines so everyone was getting friendly personal service, and the same applied for immigration. An automatic “Fast Track.” 🙂 I highly recommend this option for anyone staying in Seoul.

More posts from the trip:

Checking In and Air France Lounge at IAD
Korean Airlines First Class IAD-ICN
Hyatt Regency Incheon: Great Service, Hard Beds
Accidentally Seeing Seoul Like a Native
Tight Quarters at the Park Hyatt Seoul
Worth a Hike — Bukchon Hanok Village

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9 Comments

  1. Brent

    May 20, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Just as an FYI, the Park Hyatt Seoul will give you a complimentary limo ride (or van) to the KAL bus station.

  2. Ang

    May 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    At the COEX Mall City Terminal, did they have buses going to GIMPO too or just ICN? Thanks!

    • Keri Anderson

      May 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Yes! They had buses running to both!

      • Ang

        May 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        Thanks Keri =) This is very helpful since I plan to stay at the Park Hyatt Seoul and also the Hyatt Regency Incehon so you’re giving me a good idea on what to expect!

  3. Lisa T.

    May 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    I used this too when I was in staying at the Park Hyatt Seoul back in April. It was a wonderful service and it was great to be able to use the crew line at security and get through in a jiffy. A pilot from a U.S. legacy airline told me that I couldn’t use the crew line, but the officer at security waved me through. So don’t listen to the airline crews (some of them don’t know that people can use the crew line).

  4. Craig

    May 20, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    We recently flew Asiana F JFK-ICN and stayed at the Park Hyatt, using a Diamond Suite upgrade. The bedroom looked like yours but there was also a nice living room and the entire suite was very bright. We also took the the same bus. After we checked in at the airport, however, and started walking away from the Asiana F counter, an agent came running after us and said to follow her. She not only took us to the crew security line, but took us to the front where she had us cut in front of a bunch of pilots! I never felt more like a VIP! They gave us some pretty weird looks wondering why we were being led through like that!

    It is very difficult to walk across the street with luggage from the Park Hyatt. However, they will drive you to the COEX bus stop and terminal, and if there is no hotel car available, they will pay for the $5 taxi ride. I believe the hotel paid the taxi from COEX to the hotel when we first arrived there.

    We were pretty tired when we first arrived but went walking in the neighborhood behind the hotel and found an authentic Korean restaurant. We couldn’t communicate at all and figured we would eventually find someone eating something that looked OK and then point to that.

    However, a nice lady out with her fellow workers for dinner spoke English and helped us. We had a very nice and inexpensive meal of noodle soup and Korean pancakes and a bunch of other things. Much better than eating at the hotel!

  5. hua

    May 20, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    You can do this in Hong Kong at the Airport Express train terminal, too. No special VIP treatment, but you check in as if at the airport, check bags, and then get on the train. Easy peasy… But one additional possible point of failure in the baggage acceptance and delivery process.

    PHX has a few off-site baggage acceptance locations, too — including one at a light rail station: http://skyharbor.com/earlybagcheck/

    Hopefully we will see more of this in the US in the years to come!

  6. Travel with Kevin and Ruth

    May 21, 2014 at 3:55 am

    We just booked our flights to Seoul, so this is good info for us. We don’t go until the beginning of October, but I’ll bookmark this is case we need it.

    We paid $471 return from Calgary to Seoul taxes included!

  7. AREX

    February 16, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Hi, Here is transportation in Korea tips for you! If you are planning to do ‘early check-in service’ at Seoul Station, you can get a discount for express train which is going to the ICN directly, so you can move to the airport more convenient(Original price is 8,000won but you can get a express ticket 6,900won). After all check-in service done, next to the immigration room, you will see the express train booth and you can ask them about express train ticket discount. The opposite case(From ICN to Seoul station) is also same. In ICN case, please find ‘Travel Center’ located in B1 near train platform. There are many special deals for transportation so check this out when your next Korea visiting! Thanks!

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