Over the years, I have worked with a number of colleagues who turn up at the airport at the very last minute, where as I prefer to arrive in plenty of time, even for short-haul flights, take a stroll around the shops, then relax in a lounge prior to boarding. Best lounge experience would have to be the Virgin Club House at Heathrow, with the least memorable being the worlds plainest lounge at an airport somewhere in China in the early 90’s.
Airline first class and business class lounges are normally the best in the airport and are reserved for those with first class or business class tickets or those who hold a upper tier frequent membership. However, there are a variety of options available that allow travellers who do not hold first, business or upper tier frequent flyer membership access to lounges, a place to relax with food and refreshments on offer.
Airline lounges more often than not, tend to trump airport lounges on facilities, food and drink, however they still offer a pleasant area to spend your time prior to boarding ……
Pay per entry lounges: There are a number of companies which provide pay per entry lounges at most airports. You pay a fee for entry and depending on the l0unge, have a number of facilities available such as hot food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, business centre, showers and wi-fi. As an example, the Club Aspire l0unge at LHR T3 starts at £22.49 per adult. Lounge Pass also offers pay per entry lounge visits, with over 600 lounges in 350 airports worldwide, including 45 in the UK. If you are travelling at a busy time, then its recommended to book your visit in advance.
Free Lounge Passes: When your application for the American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card is accepted, you are given two complimentary lounge visits per year at over 700 airport lounges globally. This can be a nice bonus and subsidise the membership fee. Please visit American Express® for more more info on this card and its benefits.
Airport Lounge Programs: Companies such as Priority Pass offer membership programs that allow lounge access to over 1300 airport lounges across the world. Various tiers of membership are available starting at £69 with an additional lounge entry fee of £20 per visit to £339 for free lounge entry for the cardholder and £20 per visit for guests. PointsGuru readers can receive 10% when joining Priority Pass by clicking here Priority Pass
If you can justify The Platinum Card® from American Express the you can enjoy Priority Pass membership that allows the cardholder and a guess complementary access to Priority Pass network lounges. The supplementary cardholder also has complementary access together with their guest. In addition, The Platinum Card® holders will gain access in to the American Express lounges. Visit the card issuer for full T&C.
Other Options: If you earnings or investments meet the eligibility criteria and you open a Natwest Premier Black account, then you will you will receive DragonPass Premier membership, that will give you unlimited access to over a 1000 loungers worldwide and guests can accompany the cardholder for £20 per visit.
Lounge access is a nice addition to any trip and you do not need to travel first or business class. Depending on your circumstances, this can be a free addition to your current credit or bank account.