Spin-Yourself Body Scanners, Closed Hotel, Robots, and More

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge at Seoul Incheon airport, waiting for my British Airways flight to London (and then on to Vienna). While I’ll be sharing the usual reviews once I’m done with the trip, I thought I’d share some of the things that caught my attention on this trip so far…

Spin-Yourself Body Scanners

With my routing being Tokyo – Fukuoka – Seoul – London – Vienna (I’ll explain the reasons in the actual trip report), I had a chance to fly out of Fukuoka’s international terminal for the first time.

The one thing that caught my attention there was the type of scanners used at the security check. I’ve, of course, seen the standard metal detectors and the full body scanners in which you stand and the scanner “spins” around you in the past. But these were different.

Instead of standing in the scanner and the scanner “spinning” around you, you had to stand in the designated spot, raise your hands, and spin yourself. Has anybody seen one of these scanners elsewhere?

I guess it’s a low-cost version of the full body scanners?!

Spin-Yourself Body Scanners

Closed Temporarily for Internal Repair

Spinning inside a scanner was the first, but not the only “first” of this trip. After arriving in Seoul, I meet up with my friend to grab a dinner with him. Before that, we went to my hotel so that I could check in and drop off my bags, though.

As we got closer and closer to the building that was meant to be my hotel, something didn’t feel right. None of the rooms had their lights on. All of the windows were dark. And, indeed, as we got to the door, there was a sign saying “closed temporarily for internal repair.”

Hotel SKY Closed

There were other hotels on the street and they had cheap rooms available, and so I just booked a room at the hotel next door through Hotels.com within minutes. Glad we’re living in an age when that’s possible!

As for my originally booked hotel, I’ll have to contact Hotels.com and ask for a refund since it was a pre-paid non-refundable room. In the meantime, I might answer the survey they sent me about my stay at Hotel SKY Incheon Airport since the answer to the first question is very easy…

Happy with Check-in?

Passenger Aiding Robots & Laptop Color Cards

While many people seem to love Incheon airport, personally – even though I think it’s nice and shiny – I find it a little confusing and hard to navigate. I guess I’m not the only one, as this morning, I saw a group of passengers following a robot that was taking them to their gate.

Searching for it online, it turns out that it was “AIRSTAR,” a passenger aiding robot that the airport introduced earlier this year. Interesting!

Airstar Guiding Robot

Another thing that I found nice about Incheon was that it seems to have a nice and simple solution to give passengers a peace of mind when going through security with their laptops.

Every time I do so, while knowing I’ll be fine, there’s a small part of me thinking someone will take my laptop by mistake. To solve that, the security staff places a color coded card on each laptop and gives a card of the same color to its owner. That way, after going through the scanner, you need to hand in your card to be able to pick up your laptop – preventing any unintended swaps.

Five-Star Paper Cups

The last “story” is from the Asiana Business Class Lounge where, as mentioned in the beginning, I’m sitting right now. More specifically, it’s about the cups in the lounge.

While I find the lounge itself quite nice and comfortable, I couldn’t believe when I went to the buffet area and saw that there were no glass cups. Instead, there were small paper cups that the airline probably uses in its economy class.

Not that it’s a big deal, but I think Asiana – a “five-star” airline – could do better. If they want to save money on staff washing cups, they could, at least, provide paper cups that are bigger…

Anyways, now it’s almost time to head to the gate and board the flight to London!

Asiana Lounge Cups


Three tips before you get on the road...

For your convenience: Price comparison sites

When searching for flights and accommodation, use comparison sites that will summarize prices from a variety of sources including the airline sites and online travel agencies for you. I recommend HotelsCombined for comparing hotel prices and Momondo for comparing flight prices.

For your comfort: Unlimited airport lounge access

If you generally fly in economy class and don’t have an airline status, I recommend considering a Priority Pass Prestige membership which will give you unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges at more than 500 airports all over the world.

For your peace of mind: Travel insurance

Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage - whether through your credit card or through insurance policy purchased separately. This will help save your trip when you get sick or things stolen on the road, in other words, when things go wrong. In case you didn't get your travel insurance yet, I recommend getting a free quote from World Nomads.

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