8 Great Airport Lounges Around the World Slideshow
April 27, 2011
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse: Heathrow Airport, London
The undisputed king of airport lounges must be 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 try your hand at some vintage arcade games? They serve a full menu of dishes from breakfast to dessert and a full spa menu at Cowshed, which offers you a place to unwind and shower after a long day of flying.
How to get in: You 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.
British Airways’ Concorde Room: Kennedy International Airport, New York
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, private dining booths with a full waitstaff, and the chance to rest your weary head, you will not mind some pesky weather delay as you order another round. On the menu, you’ll find fresh smoothies, a sautéed mushroom and tomato baguette, and prawn salad all before you make it to their 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: You must have a first-class British Airways ticket, hold a British Airways Executive Club Gold card, or be a one world alliance Gold member.
Lufthansa First Class Lounge: Frankfurt International Airport, Germany
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 while you wait. 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: You must have a first-class ticket on a Lufthansa flight.
American Airlines Flagship Lounge: Kennedy International Airport, New York
You know that when people start booking longer layovers just to relax in your airline’s lounge, you’ve done something right. Whether you’re at the American Airlines Flagship Lounge for the “Fresh Start” Continental breakfast or are munching on their “Late Night Bites,” there is 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 you to make yourself 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.
Cathay Pacific’s The Pier: Hong Kong International Airport
Spacious and tranquil, Cathay Pacific’s new-ish The Pier lounge for business and first-class flyers, 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: Must have a business or first-class ticket on a OneWorld airline.
Qantas First-Class Lounge: Sydney International Airport
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 you forget all about the fact that your flight was delayed another hour as you enjoy your massage in a room whose walls are lined with lush green plants. Likewise, the sleek design of the restaurant area will make you want to stay awhile — order a grilled fish with celeriac remoulade, crumbled goat’s cheese salad, and their “Manna from Heaven” dessert with raspberry and passion fruit with a cocktail or glass of wine to wash it down. Take a load off in the quiet library with lacquered red walls and white leather couches as you flip through a magazine or play a game of chess.
How to get in: You 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 Maple Leaf Lounge: Toronto Pearson International
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 while their 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: You need a first or business class Air Canada ticket or you can buy a lounge day pass when booking your economy class ticket.
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge: Singapore Changi Airport
The SilverKris Lounge from Singapore Airlines looks like your favorite 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 while 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 your next flight.
How to get in: You need to have a first or business class Singapore Airlines ticket or hold a KrisFlyer Elite Gold membership.