Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Korea
Reload this Page >

What Makes Incheon Better than JFK?

What Makes Incheon Better than JFK?

Old Mar 15, 17, 9:20 am
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 15
What Makes Incheon Better than JFK?

Hey Korea Flyers--

Everyone says airports like ICN are so much better than American ones like JFK.

But I've never noticed anything wrong with JFK...it's an airport! What makes Incheon so good? What's wrong with JFK??

I'm heading to Manila through ICN from my home NY and back and will get to spend 3.5 and 6 hours at Incheon. Using KE.

So far I hear I can take a shower and see a garden.

What makes ICN better? I don't want to miss it when I'm there!
flyingrat is offline  
Old Mar 15, 17, 1:34 pm
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Programs: UA 1K, AA, DL, LH, VX, HA
Posts: 5,646
I think it's more a dig at American airports. A couple of differences:

1) Anyone transiting the US must go through immigration, even to get on another international flight. That's not the case at places like ICN (or most anywhere). Big advantage, and it allows you to spend more time airside in shops, which often are much better/nicer than US airport shops (although typically stuff you can buy in the US for less).

2) JFK is awful as an airport, even among American airports.
drewguy is offline  
Old Mar 15, 17, 3:10 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 15
Yeah the immigration policy is certainly a legit problem.

But, what exactly makes it awful as an airport?
flyingrat is offline  
Old Mar 15, 17, 8:56 pm
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DCA/IAD
Programs: IHG, SPG, Hyatt, AS, AC, BA, AA, VS
Posts: 3,202
my main issues with JFK are the way it's so spread out and if you are transferring between terminals it's a total PITA. You walk a mile, then go up and down a bunch of escalators. Hope that the Airtrain is actually working. If not you might have to take the train away from the airport and change to one going back to the airport. The layout just isn't very efficient. Some of the terminals are not very nice places to spend any time. Low ceilings, cramped gate areas. Surly security staff.

I will encounter ICN for the first time next week so I am looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the hype.
glennaa11 is offline  
Old Mar 16, 17, 3:04 am
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Programs: KE Skypass Morning Calm Member, OZ Club, JL Mileage Bank
Posts: 1,697
Incheon is an excellent airport for me because of its efficiency. Now, I know people will complain and complain about the long lines in the morning, but that's something that honestly will be difficult to reverse. It's just an effect of EVERYONE showing up at the same time. I have friends that work at the airport and, even as they say, there's really nothing that can be done. Everyone is going in, all security lines are open....

But, that will soon disappear when the new terminal opens in October and it is for KE, DL, AF, KL. That will alleviate a huge amount of crowds with KE moving.

Generally, I can move around quite freely. Even if security is crowded, it's very comfortable inside the terminals.

But for me it's that the airport is incredibly simple and offers QUALITY. Quality duty free. Qualty designed stores. Quality brands. Not some dumpy duty free brands. If you want designer, they certainly have it and in a very nice setting.

Incheon is also designed quite nicely with the windows/aesthetics. Looks just as new as say, ATL's international terminal but it opened YEARS ago.

Also, the services offered at ICN put ANY American airport to shame. Free showers (lounge size, toletries included) on the 4th floor along with resting areas. The cultural museum also shouldn't be missed as you can do traditional activities FREE like writing your name in Korean, dressing up in hanbok, etc.

There's also a decent enough selection of restaurants. Also, if you have time to go landside, there's even a movie theater, ice/roller skating rink and a sauna to enjoy.
mikesaidyes is offline  
Old Mar 16, 17, 7:57 pm
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: LGA - JFK
Programs: UA, AA, DL, B6, CX, KE, Latitude, VIFP, Crown & Anchor, etc.
Posts: 2,575
JFK is our home airport - not even close compared to ICN, both as a transit and for layover, and as destination/origination airport. Maybe it's a cultural thing - level of professionalism among the staff, employees, contractors & airport operations (security, etc.) Does anyone really think highly of and can speak of TSA here ? (of course, it's not just NY but across the board, systematic ... let's not even go near how CBP has been lately

Clean facilities, clean bathrooms, free showers & towels, quiet area upstairs (4/F with loungers, sofas & chairs) at ICN - plus ultra fast, free WiFi internet (last time, clocked it at 75Mbps+ wirelessly) and, variety of shops & eateries. Free guided tours from the airport for those in transit with time. Multi-lingual 24/7 help desk, excellent ground transportation network & help if needed. Transit hotel/airside with easy access. Free luggage smart carte for travelers ($7 fee per carte at JFK) ... I'm sure I overlooked other items. ICN as a whole, has that synergy - just don't get that at JFK ... while T2-4, T5 and T1 all have some elements that I find to be nice vs. 10 or 15 years ago. By the time you reached JFK by whatever means, just be happy that you got there without major delays or a headache; and, if coming into JFK - not getting all sorts of "sweet" offers and deals as you head for the exits or leave the luggage hall area.

Last edited by Letitride3c; Mar 16, 17 at 11:20 pm Reason: typo
Letitride3c is offline  
Old Mar 16, 17, 9:52 pm
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Programs: KE Skypass Morning Calm Member, OZ Club, JL Mileage Bank
Posts: 1,697
I remember the first time I went back to the US after moving to Korea. The service culture and professionalism of ICN and Korean Air...then you step off the plane and the first thing you see are the wheelchair escorts slumped over waiting impatiently and the curt staff organizing immigration lines. Night and day....
mikesaidyes is offline  
Old Mar 17, 17, 8:22 am
formerly known as Tad's Broiled Steaks
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: @BuildingMyBento
Programs: Metro-North Rubbish, Keisei Skinflint, KCR Headphones, Kopaja Platinum
Posts: 5,186
How does mandatory migration control - not the fault of an airport - make an airport bad? The design of the airport is the bigger issue.

Anyway, whereas I'm no fan of JFK - nor any of its terminals - I think ICN is also overrated. There's no space to gather your belongings after passing through security, the miasma from smoking rooms too easily wanders into the immediate area, and signage at the train station isn't too clear. Food options are also ho-hum.
BuildingMyBento is offline  
Old Mar 31, 17, 7:35 pm
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan
Programs: DL DM 1MM
Posts: 5,543
I hate connecting through JFK; long walks and bus rides. Who needs that?
skchin is offline  
Old Apr 6, 17, 8:48 am
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota,USA
Programs: UA, NW
Posts: 3,695
I've never connected through JFK, but I did fly in and out of it a few months after flying out of ICN.

I would say that ICN looks spotlessly clean and modern, with excellent customer service, while JFK looks rundown and drab, with surly or indifferent customer service (even though I lived on the East Coast in a previous life and know that New Yorkers are not really rude, just upfront about whatever emotion they happen to be feeling at the time, which can be good or bad, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.)

However, my least favorite airport so far is LAX. Unfortunately, it's often the best choice price-wise, since competition among the half-dozen Asian airlines that serve the immigrant populations makes for low airfares to Asian destinations.
ksandness is offline  
Old Apr 7, 17, 2:14 am
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: HEL
Programs: lots of shiny metal cards
Posts: 8,471
My opinion is that ICN in any aspect of what makes an airport is head and shoulder above JFK. Public transit to the airport, security, immigration, transit, cleanliness, whatever.

And what airport pairs have direct trains running between them as ICN and GMP do? (Think of a JFK-Manhattan-EWR or JFK-LGA-Manhattan line)
WilcoRoger is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread