Home Airport Spotting Guide Seoul Incheon Plane Spotting Guide

Seoul Incheon Plane Spotting Guide

by Matt Falcus

Seoul Incheon is the main international gateway to South Korea.

It is a busy hub for the country’s two main airlines – Korean Air and Asiana Airlines – as well as many international carriers from across Asia, Europe and North America.


Seoul Incheon was opened in March 2001 after it became apparent that the city’s other airport, Gimpo, was bursting at the seams and unable to expand.

Incheon is a modern airport and has in recent years opened its new Terminal 2 and a fourth parallel runway.

Passenger traffic is busy, with over 70 million passengers per year.


Airport Layout

Seoul Incheon has found runways in the 15/33 or 16/32 direction.

Terminal 1 and 2, as well as the Midfield Concourse, are situated between the runways.

Elsewhere, the airport has six cargo terminals on the northern side of the airport, which proves to be a very busy operation.


What You’ll See at Seoul Incheon Airport

Photo (c) Rattaphol Kerdkaen

As well as Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, Incheon is a hub for other South Korean carriers including:

  • Air Incheon
  • Air Premia
  • Air Seoul
  • Jeju Air
  • Jin Air
  • T’Way Air

It is also a cargo hub for FedEx

Photo (c) byeangel

At the time of writing, other interesting airlines you will see at Seoul Incheon include:

  • Aero Mongolia
  • Air Macau
  • Batik Air
  • Cebu Pacific
  • Greater Bay Airlines
  • HK Express
  • Lao Airlines
  • MIAT Mongolian Airlines
  • Myanmar International
  • Sky Angkor Airlines
  • Zipair Tokyo

As well as most of China’s airlines.


Rules on Plane Spotting

Photo (c) HL7235

Security in South Korea is very tight and aircraft spotters are not officially tolerated. Therefore, be aware that you are likely to be moved on or told to stop spotting by security personnel.

Using binoculars, poles and cameras can add suspicion, so be very discrete.

Nevertheless, if you are departing from Incheon you can easily walk past most gates logging aircraft parked there.

The airport’s website helpfully gives arrival information for all aircraft, including cargo flights.


Seoul Incheon Plane Spotting Locations

  1. Outside Domestic Terminal
    Just outside the domestic part of Terminal 1 there is a smoking area which offers some views over the domestic gates and aircraft approaching runways 33L/R. You can also see aircraft departing in the opposite direction. It is possible to take photographs discretely from here.
  2. Panorama Restaurant
    Up on the 4th floor of the international part of Terminal 1 is the Panorama Restaurant which has views out over the gates around the terminal, and across to the satellite concourse. You must buy food and drink if you wish to stay here, and it can be quite expensive.
  3. Haneul Garden Park
    A park directly under the approach to the northern runways is a short drive/taxi ride or a 30 minute walk from Terminal 1 (a shuttle bus also passes). It has benches and is popular with locals. You can easily take photographs of aircraft when landing from the south, but much of the airport is out of sight.


Seoul Incheon Spotting Hotels

Grand Hyatt Incheon Slab

Grand Hyatt Incheon Hotel
208 Yeongjonghaeannam-ro, 321 Beon-gil, Unseo-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon 400-719 | +82 32 745 1234 | incheon.grand.hyatt.com
Located close to the end of runway 33, rooms facing the airport have views of this. Aircraft are quite far, so need a good pair of binoculars to read off. The hotel is fairly expensive. There is a free shuttle bus to the terminal.

Best Western Premier Hotel Incheon Airport
48-27 Gonghang-ro 424beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon | +82 32 743 1000 | www.airportshotel.co.kr/en Located in a similar position to the Hyatt, it is a little more reasonable but offers views of runway 33L and some views of the terminals from some rooms on floors 9 and 10. In-room TVs have a channel listing arrivals and departures, including cargo and GA movements.


Have you been plane spotting at Seoul Incheon? Do you have any tips or experiences? Leave a comment below!


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1 comment

daeguowl December 28, 2023 - 4:19 am

There is an official observation deck on a small hill overlooking Runway 34, although I’ve never been so I can’t testify to what the view is like. There is a also a small tower at the Haneul Park, which will give you a bit of elevation. Finally, if you follow the bicycle path from Haneul Park towards the Cargo Terminal subway station, you can stand virtually at the end of Runway 33 and have the planes passing very low over your head although you can’t see them actually touch down because of the wall. You can also get a good view of planes touching down at Gimpo from the bike path that runs along the canal to the north of the airport.


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