Travel planning takes a whole lot of effort. Whether you need to board a departing flight or you are arriving back, your time at the airport certainly adds to the overall travel experience. Visiting an airport lounge is among the major components of your air travel. This detailed blog helps you come out of this dilemma and discover – Are Airport Lounges Worth It?
Nevertheless, many travelers remain perplexed about whether they should really visit a lounge or not. One question that constantly bothers them is whether it is really worth spending time in a lounge.
No doubt, airport lounges are meant to provide you with a touch of luxury and a pampering experience during your journey. With comfortable seating zones, scrumptious menus, and lavish facilities, these exclusive spaces definitely enhance the quality of your air travel. But what if you don’t have good luck visiting a lounge as you have to face certain constraints?
Types of Airport Lounges
Let’s first explore the various types of airport lounges that are meant to cater to the needs and preferences of different passengers. Take a look below:
These lounges are made available by airlines and are generally reserved for passengers flying on their flights. For e.g., Delta Air Lines operates Delta Sky Clubs at JFK Airport, United Airlines operates United Clubs, American Airlines operates Admirals Club at Heathrow Airport, Lufthansa Airlines operates Lufthansa Business Lounge at Newark Airport, and Senator Lounge at JFK Airport, and so on.
These lounges are designed to reflect the airline’s brand and identity. First-class passengers can even use amenities such as showers, spas, and private suites.
These lounges are not related to any specific airline. They allow access to different passengers and can be accessed through paid entry or membership programs. Built with modish interiors, independent lounges aim to offer a premium experience while making travelers enjoy delectable food and seek comfort in luxury services.
Priority Pass Lounges
Priority pass lounges are part of a membership program that allows access to a network of lounges across the globe. Priority pass members can enjoy lounge benefits irrespective of the airline they travel with.
These lounges are well-furnished and provide a great level of comfort and amenities. The perfect example of a priority pass lounge is the Club Aspire Lounge Heathrow.
Advantages of Using Airport Lounges
Let’s now analyze what airport lounges can serve you.
Airport lounges offer a range of benefits that can remarkably enhance your overall travel experience. Privacy is among the most significant advantages of using a lounge. Isn’t it? Unlike the busy and jam-packed airport terminals, lounges offer a serene environment where you can simply relax.
You can take a rest on cozy sofas and recliners and enjoy some quiet time with your dear ones. Some lounges even feature sleep pods or sleep areas so that you can take a rest for a few hours.
Food and Beverages
Another major benefit of airport lounges is that you can relish good food and beverages. Lounges often provide a large selection of mouthwatering cuisine, including hot meals, snacks, and desserts. Lounges strive to serve you the best whether you love local specialties or prefer cuisines from around the world.
A majority of lounges also provide complimentary specialty cocktails, premium wines, and refreshing mocktails, among other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Disadvantages of Using Airport Lounges
Undoubtedly, airport lounges have many benefits, but it’s necessary to think about any disadvantages that you might feel while using a lounge.
The cost of using a lounge can range from reasonable to high. Well, it definitely depends on the type of lounge and duration of your stay. If you don’t travel frequently or don’t spend much time at airports, you might feel that the cost is not worth it. So, the cost involved with using an airport lounge is a major factor of consideration.
You might get to see hodgepodge at some lounges, especially the ones that are operated by particular airlines. This probably happens during a greater number of flights operated at a time.
So firstly, you may not get a proper seat in such a scenario. Secondly, you may not be able to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that you are looking for.
It is true that lounges try their best to prevent such fully packed scenarios when guests are not able to get a seat. Still, your experience can be extremely disappointing, especially when you need some pre-flight relaxation to get over the stress of your travel planning.
There are various airports where you will find a limited number of lounges, which is again a major drawback. This generally happens at regional airports that operate at a smaller level. If you are a frequent traveler who needs to go out for vacations or business visits, you may not enjoy the desired lounge experience every time.
Cost of Access
The cost of access depends on several factors including the type of lounge, duration of your stay, and any membership programs that you are enrolled in. Generally, travelers flying in first class or those holding an elite status are allowed to access lounges. Nonetheless, some airlines may also permit access to their lounges through one-day passes or other mediums.
As far as independent or stand-alone lounges are concerned, they allow access by charging a fee on a per adult per day basis. They may also offer membership plans which makes these lounges a desired choice for frequent travelers.
Then there are Priority Pass lounges that are accessible through membership plans. If you are a Priority Pass member, you can access the lounge that is part of its network. You can buy any of the three plans as provided on its website and book your visit to a lounge beforehand. If you have purchased the first plan, you need to pay a charge per visit. The second plan gives you the first ten visits free and it becomes chargeable from the eleventh visit onwards. The last plan provides all the visits free of cost.
Similarly, there are Plaza Premium lounges that offer memberships. These members also need to book space at a lounge but it comes at a lesser price than what is charged from usual walk-in customers.
Best Credit Card for Airport Lounges
Here is a list of some of the best credit cards using which you can gain access to various lounges across the world:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Centurion Card® by American Express
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Alternatives to Airport Lounges
There are a few alternatives you can consider if the cost of accessing an airport lounge is expensive.
- You can take memberships offered by several credit cards or third-party companies as they offer lounge access as one of the potential benefits to their users. This could prove to be affordable.
- There are pay-per-use lounges at some airports. They allow entry by charging a nominal price. Although such lounges may not be as lavish as other lounges and they might offer lesser amenities, you can enjoy a comfortable stay for some hours and relax yourself.
- You may choose to reserve a room at an airport hotel that also provides access to a lounge. Interestingly, there are a lot of airport hotels that provide rooms for day bookings. They even have packages enabling easy access to airport lounges. Thus, you get to enjoy the benefit of both a hotel and a lounge.
Additional Points to Remember
- More or less, it depends on your personal preferences, frequency of travel, and budget.
- If you keep traveling frequently, you have long layovers before connecting flights, and you relish privacy and comfort, you can certainly opt for airport lounges to elevate your travel experience.
- If you don’t travel frequently, the cost of lounge access may not justify the amount of associated benefits. Thus, you may choose to invest your money in other components of your overall travel.
By now you must have a clear understanding of – Are airport lounges worth the money.
Well, that was a deep look at the world of airport lounges wherein we explored the benefits they provide. No doubt, from lavish interiors and serene settings to personalized services and complimentary food & drinks, lounges come with a lot of advantages.
However, everything comes with a cost, and it’s important to consider the frequency of your travels, the duration of your layovers, and the amenities available at different lounges before deciding whether they are worth spending money on.
By closely analyzing the advantages, disadvantages, and cost of airport lounge access, you can make a wise decision that goes well with your preferences and budget. Whether you choose to get engaged in the luxury of airport lounges or explore other affordable options, the ultimate goal must be to make your travel experience as enjoyable and comfortable as possible.
So, the next time you plan a vacation or you need to travel for a business purpose, you may consider whether visiting a lounge will prove to be beneficial for you or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please take a look at some of the important queries, raised by travelers, curated for your ready reference.
Be it benefits or drawbacks, both are associated with accessing airport lounges. However, keeping in mind your travel preferences, frequency of travel, and financial considerations, you may think the same. The ultimate aim must be to enhance your travel experience whether you access an airport lounge or look for an alternative.
You can spend time before the departure of your flight, take a rest amid a peaceful atmosphere, relish delectable food and refreshing beverages, and use business facilities. All such pre-flight experiences may bring you respite from the stress of travel that you might have been carrying since the planning stage.
Lounges may get overcrowded during high travel demands, thereby creating a hassle for you to find a suitable space. You may have to wait for a long time. Besides, some airports don’t have many lounges. They have a limited number of lounges due to which you may not be able to use a desired lounge.
Many of the lounges provide complimentary food, snacks, and drinks. However, premium food, premium alcoholic beverages, and certain other related facilities might come with additional costs.
Although airport lounges boast plush chairs and recliners where you can take a rest, some of them may also offer sleep pods. You can even look for lounges such as Minute Suites that offer you to reserve a private room for a few hours, whether for sleeping purposes or completing your official tasks.