July 31, 2016

How to Skip Airport Check In & Security Lines with City Airport Terminal

With its great service, endless array of dining and entertainment facilities and optimal efficiency, Incheon Airport is one of the best in the world. It's also one of the most traveled which can make the entire airport experience incredibly frustrating during peak travel periods like Chuseok and Chinese New Year.

But did you know that rather than wasting your precious time in line at the check-in counter or twiddling your thumbs as you wait for your passport to be stamped in immigration, you can actually fly through the process before you even arrive at the airport?

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Well ya can, and I did on a recent trip to New York, thanks to the City Airport Terminal (CAT) at Seoul Station.

As usual, I opted to take the AREX Express from Seoul Station to the airport, as it's not far from my neighborhood.

But because of summer vacation traffic, I missed my train. With an extra half hour to kill, I decided to try out CAT's free check in service. 

It literally took less than 15 minutes to check in, go through immigration and board the train. This meant that I even had time to exchange my won for dollars right there at the currency exchange counter.

And let me just tell you about the pleasure I experienced from not having to wait in that security line at Incheon. I walked right on through the crew entrance and was through security and immigration in a snap. 

Seriously. If you usually go to the airport via Seoul Station, there's no reason not to take advantage of this service. (There's also a similar one offered at COEX.) Here's how to do it. 

First off, note that you must be flying Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air or China Southern Airlines to check in at the City Airport Terminal. Also, you have to check in at CAT at least three hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.

Step 1: Purchase a ticket for the Airport Railroad Express Train (AREX) (Tickets are ₩8,000, adults; ₩6,900, children). You can do so either at the counter or an electronic kiosk on the B2 floor of Airport Railroad Seoul Station. Check the time table here


Step 2: Walk a few steps over to your designated check in counter and present your flight information, passport and AREX train ticket. You'll be checked in just as you would at the airport, and will be presented with your boarding pass. Drop off any checked luggage... they'll deliver it all the way to Incheon so you don't have to! 


Step 3: Wait 10 minutes for your luggage to be cleared. (Make sure you don't have any lighters or batteries in your bag!)

Step 4: If you're not called, proceed to the immigration office next to the check in counters and have your passport stamped. You can instead go through the regular security and immigration lines at the airport, if you chose to do so, but it's preferable to do it here.



Step 5: Take the elevator down to the platform on B7 and board the train. (Check your seat assignment on your ticket receipt.) Enjoy the 43 minute ride!

Step 6: Upon arriving at Incheon Airport, go to the Departure Hall on the third floor. You can use the designated entrance to be fast tracked through security and immigration. 


Boom! You're in! Now, relax and enjoy a cultural performance, do some shopping or fill your belly before take-off. Happy travels!


More Information

Seoul Station City Airport Terminal Service Hours:

Check-in (Boarding and Baggage Consignment): 5:20am - 7pm
Departure Procedure of Immigration : 7am - 7pm

Seoul Station City Airport Terminal Map:


Incheon International Airport Designated Security Line Entrance Map:



Words and images by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized. 

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