There are numerous ways available for getting airport lounge access, even if you are not travelling business class or holding elite status. In this detailed guide we show you the various options worldwide at your disposal.
Lounges can be a welcome haven for the traveller at a busy airport. They can provide an array of facilities depending on their quality. You can find comfortable seating, drinks and light snacks, newspapers and magazines, showers, computer terminals and WiFi internet. At the top-end you could get full service à-la-carte dining, private day rooms and spa facilites.
Airport lounge access comes as standard for those travelling in the premium classes or those holding mid-tier or top-tier frequent flyer status. First class airline lounges have the very best facilities, whilst business class lounges from major airlines are usually well-appointed. At the lower end of the scale, third party contract lounges tend to be more basic and their quality can be variable. However we are seeing a trend of growth in the premium independent lounge sector.
Some of the world’s best airport lounges include Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal at Frankfurt, the Qantas International First Lounges at Sydney and Melbourne, Thai Airways Royal First Lounge & Spa in Bangkok and the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai.
Some airport lounges can have a large floor area with many different sections. On entering a new lounge you should walk around and orientate yourself to the various facilities available.
Note, there can be occasions when staying in the lounge is actually inferior to the standard airport areas. For example, the lounge could be (1) dark or windowless, (2) have a poor range of (unhealthy) snacks, (3) have a bad coffee machine or (4) be very busy.
Lastly, don’t forget arrivals lounges at your destination – find out if your airline/alliance offers arrival lounge access where you can freshen up and take a shower – this is particularly good after a long flight.
Airport lounge access included
Flying premium – by flying first or business class you should get complimentary one-time access to the airline’s lounge or that of an alliance partner. Arrive early to make full use of the lounge facilities.
Elite status – There are 3 main airline alliance groups – Oneworld, Skyteam and Star Alliance. Elite passengers travelling in any class on their airline alliance should be able to get lounge access. At some larger airports there may be multiple alliance lounges available to visit. Get to know which lounges suit your needs – for example one could have better food on offer whilst another could have a nicer ambience or faster Internet.
Paid for Lounge Access
There are various ways of buying your way into an airport lounge even if you are not flying business or first class. Options includes purchasing one-time single access, joining an airline club or becoming a member of a lounge program such as Priority Pass.