I travelled with Asiana Airlines on my recent trip to Australia. This always involves changing planes at Incheon in Korea. Sometimes this just means a few hours in the airport, but sometimes it means staying overnight in Incheon Airport Town. Asiana tickets always include the hotel and dinner and breakfast in this case, but curiously, they never advertise it or even tell you about it. Anyone who has flown with them before knows this, but I wonder how many first timers book themselves a hotel unnecessarily? Simon did, and he is an experienced, well-informed traveller.
Incheon Airport is an exemplar of how an airport should be, but almost never is. It is spacious, well designed and with many extremely useful facilities for the long-haul traveller such as showers, massage, free internet and a museum and gallery. On my way over, the museum was displaying modern but traditional style textiles, pewter and lacquer ware. Two weeks later, when I returned, the exhibition had changed to beautiful celadon glazed classical ceramics.
On the way back, instead of just changing planes and spending a few hours in the airport, I actually stopped overnight. This should have given me a relaxing evening, with time enough to go into Seoul, an hour and a half away. Unfortunately, industrial action at Sydney International Airport meant that my flight was delayed by 6 hours and I got to my hotel in Incheon Airport Town at 00.15 local time. To add to my not very fun time, I had just spent 10 hours on a plane suffering with a migraine. I am so glad I was clued up that Asiana would take care of my accommodation and shuttle arrangements. I didn't have to worry about my heavy suitcase, as I had checked it all the way through to London from Sydney, and I just had my hand luggage with a change of clothes and the camera. I didn't bother packing any toiletries for the overnight stay, as they are a nuisance to get through security these days, and I knew the hotel would supply the basics anyway.
The hotel was quiet and extremely comfortable and in the morning I got up at 07.00 feeling quite spritely. After having breakfast of fresh pineapple, French toast, seaweed soup and some rather peculiar coffee, I enquired at reception if there was a nice park or a beach within walking distance. There was both apparently, so as I was not due to be picked up by the airport shuttlebus until 11.30, off I trotted, camera in hand.
Note from Simon: No-one told Susan, but the beach she walked to was one of THE Incheon beaches - Incheon Green.