Not just for VIP’s – Using an Airport Lounge

Everything you need to know about using an Airport Lounge

Airport lounges are my best-kept secret; I love them. These calm and secluded areas make travelling less tortuous…and they’re not just for jet-setters or elite frequent flyers and they do make you feel rather special when you rock up.

Follow the Arrow.....

Follow the Arrow…..

Think about what it costs you when you’re at the airport.  By the time you’ve bought a sandwich, a coffee, a book or glossy magazine and then maybe something alcoholic to calm your nerves, it could well end up costing as much, if not more than it does to enjoy the relaxing environment of an airport lounge.  I always get my money’s worth in just magazines, let alone the free food and drink!

Free Premium Drinks

Free Premium Drinks

I’ve used more than a few myself, and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who loves the idea of a little indulgence and peace and quiet before your flight. I always get to the airport early as I hate being late, and that way I also get longer to make the most of the facilities in the lounge.

Nibbles

Nibbles

What you’ll find inside an Airport Lounge – An oasis in the mayhem

Here are 12 good reasons to use a lounge:

1.  lounges offer very comfortable chairs, sofas and low tables, perfect for getting cosy and lounging around;

Seating area

Seating area

2.  there’s a dining area with lots of food and drink (including alcoholic beverages);

Food....

Food….

The Salad Bar

The Salad Bar

3.  there’s a coffee lounge area with biscuits and nibbles and an assortment of teas;

The Coffee Bar

The Coffee Bar

4.  there’s free newspapers and magazines, and some magazines I’ve never seen outside an airport, they’re that exclusive;

Free Magazines!

Free Magazines!

5.  there are computer workstations so you can work in comfort;

6.  there’s free Wifi;

Computer Work Area

Computer Work Area

7.  there’s a TV and sometimes you’ll find a cinema;

8.  there’s usually a kid’s play area;

9.  you may find a spa and/or nail salon;

The Elemis Spa

The Elemis Spa

10.  there’s usually a shower where you can freshen up before a flight;

11.  most importantly, a quiet area to wait for your flight.

12.  in addition to those perks, being in the lounge can get you better service if your flight is delayed or cancelled. The desk staff in the lounge tend to be very experienced in customer service and can help you re-book your flight without having the nightmare of queuing with a crowd of outraged fellow passengers. They can also help you with changing your seat, arranging an upgrade, and any other customer service needs.

Crisps and wine...

Crisps and wine…

The only downside to accessing a lounge is that it can be pricey (though not always), lounges aren’t always available at smaller airports (as I recently found out when flying back from Stavanger airport), and the rules for getting into them vary.

How You Can Get Into a Lounge and How Much It Costs

There are a range of ways to get access to a lounge, but generally, you have four options:

Option 1 – Buy a first-class or business-class ticket

This is the most obvious way to get into an airport lounge. Most airlines offer passengers in the premium cabins access to their lounges.  There are usually separate lounges for first-class and business-class passengers at all major airports and they are the most luxurious of the lounges.  They are also exclusive, for instance, BA’s Concorde Room is only for its First Class passengers only, nobody else is allowed!

The Concorde Room

The Concorde Room

Option 2 – Become an Elite Flyer

If you have elite status with the airline (silver or gold status) you’ll get automatic access to the premium lounges.

Wine & Champagne Bar

Wine & Champagne Bar

Option 3 – Buy your way in

You can join an airline lounge membership such as the Priority Pass program which gives you access to over 700 lounges around the world.  This is an independent program and is not affiliated to any one airline.  These lounges are not as luxurious as the premium lounges but they are still good.  Each of these also lets you take in a guest for an additional £15 fee. There are three grades of annual fees:

–  Standard: £62 annual fee and £15 per lounge visit

–  Standard Plus: £143 annual fee and 10 free lounge visits per year

–  Prestige: £233 annual fee and unlimited lounge visits

I have the Prestige Pass as I travel at least once a month, so this is money well spent for me.  Don’t forget, you can access the lounge not only on the outgoing journey but also the incoming journey too. So if I fly on 12 journeys a year, this is 24 lounge stops, (£15 x 24 = £360) so my Prestige Pass more than pays for itself.

Comfy seating and bar area

Comfy seating and bar area

Option 4 – Get a credit card that offers lounge access

There are credit cards that give you access to airline lounges but they do come with hefty annual fees.  American Express Platinum, for example, offers access to mainly US Club Lounges, for you and your immediate family or up to two guests, but the annual fee for the card is $450.

Premium Drinks

More Drinks

So, next time you’re waiting around in a busy, stressful departure lounge looking for a free seat amongst screaming kids, take a look around you and somewhere you’ll see that elusive doorway beckoning….the entrance to the exclusive lounge….and sanctuary….

Sanctuary!

Sanctuary!

Author: Debbie

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