There are a few essential features of great airline lounges that I wish to share with you. These are purely my opinion but I daresay many of you will agree with me.
A lounge should provide a distraction from the airport experience providing that oasis of calm before travelling. Some lounges get it and some just have no idea. Here are the features I find most important in no particular order.
Eye Catching Entry
Ever seen those lounge entryways that resemble a door to an office? Me too! It is essentially very boring, totally lacking any wow factor at all.
You know you’re going to have a good time when the entrance to the lounge is a little bit special. It definitely beats some random door in a corridor anyway.
Champagne and Posters
Anyone who has read one of my flight reviews knows a good Champagne can make me swoon with delight. I really love the stuff, partly because I don’t drink it very often. Therefore, decent bubbles are important in a lounge.
Airlines with some heritage should show it off and no-one does that better than British Airways. Each toilet room in their London Heathrow lounges features a different vintage travel poster. Very good!
Airport Views Are Essential Features
Yes, you are in the lounge to get away from the hustle and bustle of the airport. That being said, how often do most people fly? Not so much. People need to be able to see the aircraft.
Eating some food, noodling around on an iPad or chatting to a friend – it is all enhanced by being able to see the airport action. I know it’s not just me who thinks this.
Especially free ones! These are largely confined to first class lounges which is fine. Nothing really beats a nice back massage or a foot massage before flight.
The people at Qantas do the spa treatment room best, with a living wall inside. Now if only the treatments could last an hour rather than 20 minutes, I’d be in heaven!
Sitting in a bland room with white walls and nondescript art does not make for a lovely experience. I’m also not really a fan of the lounges with no ceiling as the space is not intimate enough for my liking.
My personal favourite design – since I first stepped foot in The Pier in Hong Kong – is Cathay Pacific’s. It’s designed to be like an apartment and the cosy chic feel is divine.
Menus And A Mention
When lounges offer sit down dining, a small menu comes across as a little mean. There should be a decent selection available without being silly about it.
The picture beside the menu is a corridor I encountered in Cathay Pacific’s The Pier in Hong Kong. It took my breath away, so it gets a mention on its own. I like a lounge that surprises!
Delicious Food Presented With Flair
Another thing regular readers know about me is that I will eat everything in sight. All in the name of research for the blog, you understand!
Buffet options are often presented really well for business class passengers, but the first class dining rooms are where it is at. Right down to the plates, knives and forks it’s another world. Good food is always appreciated.
Surprisingly, I have no pictures to show you of this, but fast and free Wi-Fi is a must. We are well into the 21st Century now and any place with slow or paid Internet access scores a big fat fail.
Not always a big focus but everyone visits one so attention should be paid to the features here too. It’s an absolute must that they be clean and seem new.
Some lounges require you to go outside the lounge to a communal facility operated by the airport. That’s a pretty dire set of circumstances all round usually.
Well Appointed Dining Rooms
It would be nice if all lounges had dining rooms, but that will never happen. These are mainly in first class lounges and only where there are long haul flights for the most part. Therefore, they are not common.
Restaurant style service is always appreciated when you’re hungry before a flight. While the features vary, I have not come across a terrible one yet.
I really love the Aēsop products from Australia that Cathay Pacific have in their lounges. They are just nice and all lounges should have something a little bit special available.
Qantas use Aspar products which are also good. Either way big bottles of lovely smelling deliciousness to wash your hands in is a total necessity as far as I am concerned.
How About A Shower?
After a 13 plus hour flight, what is the best thing after getting off the plane? Having a shower. Those of us hailing from Australia know that a shower half way through the journey to Europe is a godsend.
Quite frankly a shower is a total necessity for long haul travel. You feel like you can fly another 20 hours after you’ve had a refreshing shower. Really!
I have covered everything that I expect in a world class airline lounge. I’m someone who can happily sit in an airline lounge all day and it is something I have done. When you find a good one, a visit there is a nice break on its own.
So, what do you think of the list? Anything I have missed? What is your personal favourite? Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave your comments or questions below.
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Featured image by Andre Wadman via Wikimedia Commons.