Eight Airport Lounges Worth Waiting In

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Whether it's a layover between flights or a delay due to weather, the airport is only a friendly place for about an hour or two. After that, it is easy to slip into an anxious state. To avoid the doldrums of the airport, plan longer layovers and plop down in a lush airport lounge outfitted with TVs, an open bar and snacks.

Whether it's a layover between flights or a delay due to weather, the airport is only a friendly place for about an hour or two. After that, it is easy to slip into an anxious state. To avoid the doldrums of the airport, plan longer layovers and plop down in a lush airport lounge outfitted with TVs, an open bar and snacks.

Some airports do it better than others – snacks are defined by some as stale crackers and string cheese while others know that a light nosh should consist of items like freshly baked croissants, charcuterie plates, and warm waffles with maple syrup.

Similarly, some airlines feel that free Wi-Fi and a desk constitutes a business center, whereas others realize that real deals are made in business suites that feature a 40-inch LCD screen for presentations and a terrace with a viewing area just outside.

Airline lounges can even be hit or miss when it comes to entertainment. Yes, watching planes take off and land can be a beautiful, but lounges with multiple TVs, personal audio entertainment systems, and private rooms with day beds are better equipped to entertain all travelers.

Perhaps the most telling part of a lounge done well is whether or not there is a spa. Are neck and shoulder massages available? Are showers around to clean up before the next leg of a trip?

This may sound like an airport fantasy, but all of these amenities (and more) actually exist in one of these eight airports.

8 Awesome Airport Lounges
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Eight Airport Lounges Worth Waiting In (PHOTOS)

The undisputed king of airport lounges is the Virgin Atlantic Lounge at London’s Heathrow airport. It is enormous and caters to every type of traveler. Hate to miss afternoon tea? Head to the quiet viewing area for classic English tea time with mini sandwiches, teacakes, and scones. Feeling competitive after fighting for your right to use that arm rest? Why not play a game of pool or some vintage arcade games?

The lounge serves a full menu of dishes from breakfast to dessert plus a full spa menu at Cowshed, which offers  a place to unwind and shower after a long day of flying.

How to get in: Guests have to have an upper class seat on a flight, be a Virgin Flying Club Gold member, or purchase lounge access as an add-on to a Virgin Vacation.  

Few restaurants and hotels (even outside an airport) manage to muster the kind of deluxe amenities of British Airways’ Concorde Room at JFK. Between the complimentary Champagne and private dining booths with a full waitstaff, a pesky weather delay becomes less bothersome.

On the menu, find items like fresh smoothies, a sautéed mushroom and tomato baguette, and prawn salad plus dessert and cheese selections. Their Elemis Travel Spa offers complimentary treatments from the “Stress-Away Shoulder to Scalp” to their custom flying facial alongside a shower suite to freshen up.

How to get in: Guests must have a first-class British Airways ticket, hold a British Airways Executive Club Gold card, or be a World Alliance Gold member.

Lufthansa has long been known for maintaining lush services in the air and on the ground. Not that it was necessary, but in 2009, they revamped their first-class lounge at Frankfurt airport. The posh digs now include a cigar lounge, bathrooms complete with soaking tubs, a full kitchen with an extensive wine list, a full spa, well-stocked business center, and a sleek new bar. Order an antipasti plate, Thai soup, or panna cotta to keep hunger at bay.

Reserved only for first-class passengers, the lounge is a 12,000 square-foot haven that's perfect for pleasure and business travelers.

How to get in: Guests must have a first-class ticket on a Lufthansa flight.   

Spacious and tranquil, Cathay Pacific’s new-ish The Pier lounge for business and first-class fliers is decked out to create an un-crowded atmosphere in which unwinding and refueling is inevitable. Their noodle bar, afternoon tea service, full bar, ice cream bar, freshly baked pastries, plush fabrics, and the inkling of privacy are all part of the experience. With calming wood accents, white marble, and clean lines throughout, it is easy to forget about hating layovers here.

How to get in: Guests must have a business or first-class ticket on a OneWorld airline. 

Loved for its design as much as for its amenities, the Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney has a vivid, mid-century modern feel. The quirky décor will make guests forget all about the fact that their flight was delayed another hour as they enjoy a massage in a room whose walls are lined with lush green plants.

Likewise, the sleek design of the restaurant area will inspire lingering — order a grilled fish with celeriac remoulade, crumbled goat’s cheese salad, and their “Manna from Heaven” dessert with raspberry and passion fruit. Take a load off in the quiet library with lacquered red walls and white leather couches and flip through a magazine or play a game of chess.

How to get in:  Guests must have a Qantas or Jetstar first-class ticket, be a Qantas premium member, or have a OneWorld sapphire or emerald level membership.

Air Canada has Maple Leaf lounges in airports across Canada, but their bright and airy lounge in Toronto, with sectioned off quiet zones and beautiful views, is particularly popular with travelers. Their restaurant features local beers, a full coffee bar, fresh fruit, and other light snacks.  And, the range of magazines, books, and media options keep bored travelers entertained. More self-service-oriented than the other lounges mentioned so far, the Maple Leaf lounge has got luxury business travel down.

How to get in: Guests need a first or business class Air Canada ticket or you can buy a lounge day pass when booking your economy class ticket.

The SilverKris Lounge from Singapore Airlines looks like a fine dining establishment took over an airport lounge. There are two separate areas for business class and first class, though they both have sumptuous facilities.

The first-class shower room looks like it was plucked from a Mandarin Oriental hotel and their lounging and dining areas are outfitted with leather accents and a well-stocked bar. The snacks are plentiful as well, with noodles and spring rolls making an appearance next to a selection of sandwiches and homemade cookies. Take a nap in their “slumberettes” before boarding another flight.

How to get in: Guests need to have a first or business class Singapore Airlines ticket or hold a KrisFlyer Elite Gold membership.  

When people start booking longer layovers just to relax in an airline’s lounge, someone did  something right. Whether it's at the American Airlines Flagship Lounge for the “Fresh Start” Continental breakfast or munching on its “Late Night Bites,” there's always a selection of food and drink for worn out travelers, from warm mushroom soup to a solid range of beers.

Hop in a shower, enjoy the complimentary wireless Internet, test out the personal music stations, or catch the game on TV. American Airlines’ lounge at JFK wants guests to make themselves at home — even if its design really kept the business traveler in mind.

How to get in: Domestic and international travelers in first class can access the lounge as can OneWorld Emerald members.


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