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If you traveled before, then you know how stressful it can be, especially when you are taking long flights and have to sit through grueling layovers. But that’s when using the best airline lounge comes into play. There’s no better way to relax in between flights than to kick back at an airport lounge.
If you’re anything like me, then you love to step away from the norm and indulge in a luxury experience from time to time. In this article, I’ll detail some of the airlines that I think have the best lounges. Check out my recommendations below.
Bottom Line Up Front
I’ve tried a few different lounges during my travels, and let’s just say, they’re not all created equal. Qatar Airway’s Al Safwa First Class Lounge is in a league of its own.
My Top Picks at a Glance
- Qatar Airways takes the cake in my opinion. They seriously outdo themselves when it comes to providing passengers with an excellent lounge experience.
- Emirates isn’t too far behind Qatar. They don’t seem to do as much for their lounge guests, which is why they’ve got the second spot.
- Delta is one of my favorite airlines. They are an “old faithful” means of transportation, so I feel comfortable flying with them and using their lounges.
- American Airlines is another reputable airline that’s domestic to the USA. I can always take advantage of American lounges when I’m traveling to a variety of destinations.
When it comes to picking an airline lounge, there are certain attributes to look for. Below are a few things that I think are most important:
If you decide to pay extra for lounge access, or you’re getting it as a perk to a travel club membership, make sure that it comes with tons of amenities. After all, if you’re paying for the service, then you should get the most out of it. Honestly, almost every lounge offers the same things.
You’ll get Wi-Fi access, food, personalized service, etc. But your goal is to get the most bang for your buck. Never be afraid to take your time and compare prices and amenities between each airline. However, you also want to be smart. Don’t choose an airline based on the lounge perks, if that particular airline doesn’t fly into the cities that you travel to frequently.
Use Your Perks Wisely
It’s imperative that you use your lounge perks wisely. For instance, some airlines allow you to bring two complimentary guests into the lounge with you.
Sometimes there are stipulations for doing so. Well, if you’re traveling with friends to a domestic location with a short layover, you may not want to give up those complimentary spots for that type of travel experience.
On the other hand, if your family is going to Bali, then you may want to use the guest perk for your long-haul flight.
Take Advantage of Free Lounge Access
You don’t want to have to pay every time you use an airline lounge or be apart of a travel membership to enjoy the amenities. If you are a frequent traveler, one of the smartest things you can do is take advantage of credit cards.
Even if you don’t travel as much as other people, the travel perks that come with the credit card will be there whenever you need them. This is a great way to “take advantage” of what’s available. Not only will you earn travel points and get cashback, but you can indulge in other freebies as well. It’s a win-win.
Don’t Get Too Relaxed in Lounges
This tip may seem a little weird, but it’s helpful—especially when you’re on a tight time schedule. You may feel like you have to take advantage of an airline lounge every time you travel, but that’s not true. You always want to give yourself enough time to get to your gate and board your flight.
Trust me, I’ve been in situations where I got carried away with enjoying the lounge amenities and let time slip away from me. So always keep track of the time! You may even have to skip going into the lounge if your flight is boarding within an hour or less.
I selected the airlines on this list based on two factors: luxury and practicality. When I’m traveling to international destinations with long flights and layovers, I like the ultimate lounge experience. In my opinion, Qatar and Emirates offer that.
On the other hand, when I fly domestically, I may not need the extended amenities that the luxury lounges provide. If I only have a 2-hour layover, then having the ability to use a Delta lounge works just fine. I can go in there, grab a bite to eat, use the Wi-Fi, etc.
Essentially, I like to choose lounges based on the experience that I require for the type of traveling that I’m doing.
Top Recommendations of Best Airline Lounges
Below is a list of airlines that I think have some of the best airline lounges around the world:
American Airlines has lounges in airports across the globe. In fact, they even have a few of their lounges in cities where they don’t fly. Their lounges offer amenities such as chef-inspired meals, shower suites, a premium wine table, and personalized service.
In most cases, these amenities are offered for first class and business class customers. American Airlines offers four types of lounges: The Flagship Lounge, Flagship First Dining, Admiral’s Club, and the Arrivals Lounge for travelers arriving in London Heathrow.
If you’re part of the Admiral’s Club, you can enjoy perks such as personalized travel assistance, snacks, and access to a business center. Admiral Club members also have access to free digital magazines and newspapers to keep them occupied between flights.
- Complimentary food
- Specialty cocktails
- A relaxing environment
- Services provided through a reputable airline
- Lounge access only for first-class customers
- Lounge access only for Admirals Club and One World priority members
One thing’s for sure, Qatar Airways knows how to take care of its guests. The Al Safwa First Class Lounge offers incredible services to its first-class passengers. However, their lounge perks are also available to Privilege Club Platinum members who are traveling business class. The lounges are beautifully crafted with Islamic art.
Not only that, but the atmosphere immediately puts you in a calm headspace because of its impeccable beauty. When it comes to cuisine, Qatar lounges offer a variety of international and Arabic meals. You’ll have access to everything from appetizers to full entrées, along with premium beverages.
Qatar takes hospitality to the next level. This lounge features treatment rooms where guests can receive muscle treatments or sit in a relaxing jacuzzi before their flight. Travelers can even get a mani/pedi.
Qatar Airways also has an Al Mourjan Lounge for business class travelers. It’s a stunning lounge that comes with a resort-like ambiance, buffet dining, and hospitality. The great thing about this lounge is that it’s available for purchase for business class light and economy class passengers.
- The first-class lounge allows two guest passes
- Has a jacuzzi
- Offers spa-like amenities
- Business-class lounge available for purchase for any passenger
- No access to the Al Safwa lounge unless you are a first-class passenger
Plus, there is an area for customers to sit and relax with a drink and indulge in a cigar bar. Guests are offered a variety of international food dishes.
As a lounge attendee, you’ll also have access to a wine cellar, as well as merchandise through a duty-free boutique. But even if you don’t have a first-class ticket, Emirates offers a business class lounge. It provides complimentary Wi-Fi, a shower room, and a buffet area.
Guests can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere as they wait to board their flight. Emirates has lounges all over the world in over 30 airports!
- Lounge access available to different categories of passengers
- Shower spas
- Cigar bars
- Paid access lounges
- Partner lounges available
- Expensive fees for paid access lounges
Delta is another airline that takes good care of its passengers. They offer flight assistance, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi. Sky club members have access to the Delta Sky Club bar, a variety of menu selections, and satellite TV. If you need to freshen up before your flight, they offer showers as well.
\When you’re handling business while traveling, you can use the lounge amenities to print and scan documents. If you need to unwind, the lounge offers a selection of wine and cocktails, as well as fresh Starbucks coffee.
- Two Complimentary one-time guest passes are available for some Delta credit cardholders
- Shower amenities
- Some Delta credit card members have to pay a $39 fee for their guests to gain lounge access
Your head must be swirling with questions at this point. Well, here are some of the frequently asked questions about airline lounges:
Answer: Absolutely! Again, traveling is not easy. Anytime you can get a bit of relaxation, go for it. Not only that, but lounges usually offer a more personal experience, and you’ll have the chance to speak to guest relations.
For instance, if you’re running into issues with a ticket or your bags, you can find better help within the lounge through travel assistance.
Let’s not forget the food. If you’re on a short flight, you may only get peanuts or pretzels, and that’s not enough. Not to mention, the food on long-haul flights isn’t filling enough either. So yes, lounges are worth it!
Answer: No, you don’t. In fact, most airlines have a variety of ways that travelers can use their lounges. In addition to first-class tickets, some airlines offer lounge access to credit card holders and individuals with travel club memberships.
Basically, anytime have a membership, or you pay a little extra for your travels, you can use an airline lounge. It just depends on the airline that you’re flying with.
Answer: Well, some airlines allow that. They understand that not every passenger has a first-class ticket or is a cardholder. However, they take that opportunity to earn a little more cash from their customers by offering lounge access à la carte. The price you pay depends on the airline that you’re flying with.
For instance, Emirates lets passengers pay for lounge access. However, the prices are pretty steep. You won’t pay less than $100 for it.
Answer: In that case, your best bet is to get a credit card. That way, you can use your travel perks to gain lounge access. You can get a credit card through a specific airline, but sometimes, lounges are a travel perk through non-airline credit cards as well.
Answer: Well, if you don’t travel a lot, then it may not be worth it to pay for a membership. My suggestion is to use an airline like American that allows you to gain lounge access with the purchase of a first-class ticket.
You can also utilize discounts through sites like Groupon. They offer good deals for Priority Pass which includes airport lounges.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with using any of the lounges that I listed above, or any airport lounge for that matter. Honestly, when you can step away from the crowds and take a breather, it makes traveling so much easier.
As I said, I absolutely adore Qatar Airways and love the experience that they offer. But you may not have access to a Qatar lounge, depending on where you’re traveling to. In that case, you can always try one of the other airline lounges on this list.