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Oneworld Opening Its First Lounge

The first oneworld branded lounge will be located at Seoul–Incheon International Airport.

A Qatar Airways Boeing 737-300ER in a oneworld alliance livery (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

The oneworld alliance is opening its first branded lounge at Seoul–Incheon International Airport. Although the alliance’s lounge plans were first announced in 2019, they have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plans are finally coming to fruition, with the lounge expected to open in the new year.

Oneworld’s New Seoul Lounge

As first reported by Executive Traveller, the first oneworld lounge in the world has a planned opening date of January 2024. It will be located in Seoul–Incheon International Airport’s Terminal 1, which is served by seven of the alliance’s thirteen member airlines: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines.

The lounge will occupy the space that formerly housed Jeju Air’s lounge, which was permanently closed in 2020 due to the pandemic. Located near Gate 28 of the terminal, the space is located on the fourth floor. Jeju Air’s lounge was approximately 6,000 square feet (550 square metres) with a capacity of 140 travelers, but it is possible that the new oneworld lounge will occupy a smaller or larger footprint.

The initial oneworld lounge was scheduled to open in late 2019, but that was delayed to 2020. The pandemic subsequently delayed those plans even further. At the time, Moscow Domodedovo Airport was going to host the first oneworld lounge but those plans have unsurprisingly been abandoned due to geopolitical conditions. Other potential locations for lounges at the time were reported to be Berlin Brandenburg Airport, Seoul–Incheon International Airport and São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport.

While the Los Angeles Business Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal is often referred to as a oneworld lounge, it is actually joint venture between British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas, with no involvement from the alliance.

The Business Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal. The lounge is a joint venture between British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas, with no involvement from the oneworld alliance. (Photo: oneworld)

Alliance Lounge Networks

Rival alliances Star Alliance and SkyTeam each have well-established lounge networks around the world. While oneworld offers similar perks for its elite travelers as its competitors, it has lagged behind in building its own lounges.

Star Alliance currently has its own lounges in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Los Angels, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Rome. Meanwhile, SkyTeam has lounges in Dubai, Istanbul, Santiago, São Paulo, Sydney and Vancouver.

Alliance-branded lounges are typically built at airports where multiple member airlines provide service, but no single member has a large enough presence to establish its own lounge. For example – Vancouver International Airport has a SkyTeam lounge and is served by multiple member airlines, including Aeromexico, Air France, China Airlines and Korean Air – with most of the airlines only a single daily flight. Similarly, the oneworld members at Seoul–Incheon each only fly to one destination from the airport.

Andrew Chen

Author

  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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