Whether you’re seeking serenity from the airport buzz or have a particularly long scheduled lay-over, an airline lounge can provide the appropriate respite. Behind that attractive façade and the perennially friendly attendant lies a world that offers luxurious couches, Wi-Fi access and desktop computers. Beverages flow freely and there’s usually a dining service also. To pass the time you could catch up on the latest news or grab one of the magazines for the hottest celebrity gossip. An airline lounge makes the travel experience more comfortable.
But how do passengers gain access to this privileged space? Here are our suggestions that will have a relaxing in comfort as you await your flight’s departure.
Join the Club
A sure-fire way to secure on-going unlimited access to an airline’s lounge every time you fly is to join the club. Membership is usually for a fixed period and generally involves either a cash payment or the surrendering of frequent flyer points. There are many other benefits for club members apart from lounge access including for example dedicated check-in counters, increased baggage allowance and priority waitlists.
Airline Frequent Flyer schemes have different tiers depending on how much you travel. The more you fly - the higher up the ranks you’ll climb until such time as you’ll reach the lofty heights of automatic club membership and access to the airline lounges. oneworld Frequent Flyers must have a sapphire or emerald status – for Qantas this equates to Gold, Platinum or Platinum One. Star Alliance Gold status frequent flyers are granted automatic access to the lounges.
Book a Premium Ticket
First or Business Class passengers will generally be granted automatic access to not only the lounge at your departure point but every affiliated lounge throughout your journey. This makes for a particularly comfortable journey – even when there are substantial layovers along the way.
Pay at the Door
Many airline lounges give travellers the option of paying a one-off entrance fee. This can be a great solution for holiday-makers who aren't regular flyers but appreciate the facilities and services of the lounge on their one big holiday of the year. If you’re planning to use the lounge, it’s best to check with the airline in advance that temporary access is possible at your departure or lay-over airport.
Fly with an Existing Member
Depending on the airline, travellers who are entitled to access to the airport lounge may also be allowed to take a guest who’s travelling with them into the inner sanctum of luxury. So when selecting your next travel buddy – use their flying status as one the principle conditions and you’ll enjoy the comfort of the lounges all the way.
Buddy up to a Fellow Traveller
If you don’t mind hanging around the entrance to the lounge without looking dodgy, you can try approaching a fellow traveller who looks like they have access to the lounge and ask them if they’d mind taking you behind the façade. If you opt for this approach, it’s usually a good idea to dress for the occasion and don’t devour the entire smoked salmon platter once you’ve been admitted - you don’t want to abuse the hospitality of your new found mate. Just be aware that some airlines may have the restriction that the member and their guest must be flying on the same flight.