San Juan airport has been going many renovations over the past few years. On one hand, I will say that the new holding company has revitalized the airport, but at the same time, they closed Terminal D (where American used to have its hub operations). When Terminal D closed, AA closed their Admiral’s Club there. That meant that the only lounge in the airport would be an Avianca Sala VIP in concourse C. It would sound strange that Avianca would offer a lounge here (since it only has a 5 weekly flight to Bogota) but when you analyze the use, it makes sense. The lounge is accessible to a variety of people. Priority Pass, Dinner Club International, Star Alliance Gold Members, Air Europa premium passengers and Iberia premium passengers have access, among a few others. This means that on any given day, a lot of passengers can use the lounge.
When I arrived at SJU, there was no one in the check-in line for business/elite passengers, so in a matter of seconds I had my boarding pass. Since it was 3pm, the morning rush was long past, and there was a small line at security. I zipped through thanks to my TSA Pre-Check, and entered SJU’s new duty free grand store. Since I assume it is modeled after most European airports, it is similar to ones in Europe. So right after security, there is a major duty free shop. After turning left and passing through to concourse C, you see a sign that points to an elevator that takes you to the lounge. Disclaimer: I was unable to take many pictures of the lounge as I only stayed there for 10 minutes as I was late to the airport.
Upon going up the elevator, there is a small hallway that leads you to the entrance. The entrance is dimly lit, and gives it an air of cool and modern. Once inside, I presented my Priority Pass card and my boarding pass and was inside.
The lounge was mostly empty. There is a lounging area soon after entering to the right. This lounging area has a large TV usually set to a news network. There was a couple there who did not want to be photographed so that is why the picture looks skewed.
Further down, there is the dining area. It consists of a self-service bar area with some non-alcoholic drinks in a fridge and some lower end alcoholic beverages. On either side of the dining area there is a small table. The one to the left has a coffee machine, cookies and cereal. The one on the right has cold cuts, some cheese and a few other finger foods.
Towards the end of the lounge, there is a business center with a printer and three working stations. Across from it there is a small lounging area , which I can imagine is the designated “phone call making area” as it is farthest away from the lounge itself. Next to the phone call area, at the very end of the lounge, is a kid’s room. It has a small TV that shows cartoons and small chairs and tables.
I didn’t get a chance to grab a drink as boarding was going to be called soon after I had arrived. The lounge is very small. Even, I have seen times where it is very difficult to find a seat. There are also very few power outlets. The food spread is worse than a typical US airline lounge. Also this lounge occasionally feels hot and stuffy, especially if it gets crowded. I will say, though, that it’s better to be in the lounge than in the terminal. This is so because there is basically nothing to do in the terminal. Options there include to wait, or pay an incredible amount of money for a drink (beers (33cl) go for ~$10). Overall, I wouldn’t get to the airport early to go to the lounge. Nontheless I would rather stay there than in the terminal.