I think many travelers give the airport lounges of U.S. legacy carriers a bad rap. Afterall, most of the United, Continental, US Airways, Delta, and American lounges I have been in provide an oasis from the busy terminals, (generally) cleaner restrooms, internet access, and elementary food and drink that helps to pacify hunger between flights. Some, like the US Airways Envoy Lounge in Philadelphia or United International First lounges even provide a very comfortable and more personal experience with enough food to make a meal out of.
But when it comes to lounges, we in America do live a sheltered life. An hour in the Asiana Business Class/Star Gold lounge at Seoul Incheon during my recent trip through Seoul made me realize that in this case, the grass may greener on the other side. After living in Germany for seven months and using the Star Gold lounges around Europe on a regular basis, I must concede that when it comes to lounges, U.S. carriers really have some catching up to do.
The topic on hand, though, is the Asiana Lounge and I was blown away by what a great lounge it was. First, it was huge--there were a lot of people in it, but the seating was ample and everyone had room to spread out. Second, the food selection was amazing. An extensive buffet of hot and cold western items easily was enough for a full meal. Third, it was classy--the library motif and grand piano added a touch of elegance that is missing from very functional but drab lounges in many U.S. and European airports. Last, the easy chairs, showers, and computers made this the type of lounge you could easily spend a whole day in getting work done.
I have done this before in United's Red Carpet Clubs--lounges can induce high productivity and the Asiana lounge in Seoul is exactly the type of place I would want to escape to if I ever needed to get away from distractions at the office or at home.
Enjoy the photo tour: