When Flying, How Do I Get Lounge Access?
Ok. So maybe you don't know what an airport lounge is or that they existed. Allow me to give you a quick rundown on these "sort of secret" oases.
An airport lounge in an enclosed area within an airport that is not open to the general public and generally requires paying a fee or having some type of status to get in. More on that later. Inside these spaces you can usually find food & beverage, comfortable seating, high speed wifi, cable television, a business center equipped with fax and phone and sometimes, much much more (like showers. Yes. Showers) all inclusive in the price of admission.
"SOME LOUNGES EVEN HAVE SHOWERS."
Lounges are scattered throughout airports all over the world. There are probably around 2000+ and counting and you will always find one at any major airport. There are several apps that can help you locate lounges, one of the most popular being LoungeBuddy.
Hours of operation vary. Sometimes, if you have a really early (say, 5AM) flight, you may not have access to any lounges as they may not open until later. There are some 24 hour lounges around the world but most of them will have a closing period.
Why visit an airport lounge? Why not? Think about anything from long layovers, expensive airport food, crowded waiting areas, long travel days and think about having a space that can provide an abundance of comforts you won't find anywhere else in a busy airport. I mean some of the have SHOWERS for crying out loud. Can you imagine having a shower during your long layover between US and Asia? I can.
Now that you have been caught up on what a lounge is, you are probably anxious to know how to get in. Well, there are three ways.
Fastest, most cut and dry way to get into one of these is to pay for a day pass. Not all lounges sell day passes but many of the do and you can find out which using the app we mentioned earlier (Loungebuddy). This will cost you between $25-$60 depending on the lounge. It is up to you to decide whether or not it makes sense for you to enter for the price. Generally, if you aren't spending at least 1.5 hours in there, skip it.
FLY BUSINESS OR FIRST
Generally speaking, airline lounges are much better than independent airport lounges. They are owned and run by the airlines and offered as an incentive or perk for being a loyal customer. Access is typically restricted to flyers who hold a business or first class ticket for that day. A hefty price to pay but don't forget what else that ticket gets you, often times, a layflat bed in the sky! Just enter the lounge which will be in the same terminal as your departing gate and present your ID and boarding pass.
We have already posted a comprehensive article regarding Priority Pass and the many ways to gain access. Check it out HERE.
Have any questions or concerns? Please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you. Happy travels!