A great perk of traveling for business often is using airport lounges. These can be great places to unwind, do a bit of work, and have some fun before your flight. Away from the madding crowds of the main terminals, airport lounges often give you somewhere quiet to sit, as well as complimentary food and drinks. Lounges vary greatly around the world – from the small and simple to the opulent, facility-packed flagship venues. Here, we take a look at how you can make the most of your airport lounge visit – wherever you’re traveling. Follow our top tips and make sure you take full advantage of everything your airport lounge has to offer.
1. Check whether you’re eligible to enter
A common myth is that a business lounge is only for those traveling in business class. However, there are several other ways you can get in. First, if you’re a member of an airline or alliance loyalty scheme and you’ve reached a certain status, you may be eligible for free entry. For example, British Airways allows its Gold and Silver members entry to most of its business lounges or partner lounges, regardless of which class they’re traveling. Gold members will also be granted access into its First Class lounges, where they exist.
If you don’t have loyalty scheme status, you might also be eligible to enter a lounge via your credit card or other club memberships. For example, American Express Platinum card holders are eligible to enter more than 1,200 lounges around the world – again, regardless of what class they’re traveling. Finally, you can also pay a fee to enter some lounges. One option is to pay at the door – but this option isn’t available at all lounges. Another option is to pay for a subscription, such as Priority Pass.
2. Research airport lounges in advance
Many airports have multiple lounges, so it’s worth checking out in advance which ones you can enter. If you’re lucky enough to have a choice, research which ones are the best rated and which have the best facilities to help make your journey less taxing. Also, do your homework on their guest policies; most lounges will let you take in one guest, but there may be exceptions where this differs; for example, if you are traveling with children.
3. Arrive early
Make the most of your lounge visit by arriving early. Of course, it’s worth checking first whether there are any restrictions on how early you can drop your bags at the bag drop counter. Generally, if you don’t have any bags to drop, you can check in online and go through security as early as you want. Allowing ample time for the lounge will allow you to enjoy all it has to offer – a sit-down meal, a relaxing drink, time to charge your phone and catch up on emails, or perhaps just time to unwind and read a magazine.
4. Explore the facilities
If you are lucky enough to have access to some of the best lounges – like some of the major lounges at London’s Heathrow T5, New York’s JFK, Bangkok or Dubai, to name a few – make sure you explore the whole lounge before finding somewhere to sit. Some lounges offer complimentary spa treatments, roof terraces, magnificent views of runways, sleep pods, pool tables, libraries, showers… even gourmet restaurants. Have a look around and ask the staff if you’re curious.
5. Charge your devices
There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing the battery life of your devices dwindling away while you’re traveling. So, while you’re in the lounge, use the power points to get your phone, laptop or tablet up to a full charge before your flight – and to get organized on your travels. Unless you’re traveling in business class, many aircraft won’t have charge points built into the seats, so charging up before you go will be essential.
6. Ask about extras
If you can’t find the drink you’d like at the self-serve counter, or if you have special dietary requirements, it’s always worth asking the staff if they can accommodate you. For example, a lounge that only displays house red or white wine may give you a glass of prosecco or champagne if you ask, or they may have further vegetarian food options if you feel there aren’t enough meat-free options on the buffet.
7. Download your favorite shows
When you’re rushing to get ready for a trip, it’s easy to forget luxuries like having your favorite shows downloaded onto your device. However, airport lounges almost always have free Wi-Fi. If you have enough time, get a few programs downloaded to your mobile device while you’re enjoying your lounge meal.
8. Take a magazine and/or free samples
Many airport lounges offer free magazines for guests to read. If you see a stack of magazines or newspapers, you’re more than likely welcome to take a few with you to read on your travels. This can be particularly handy if you’re about to board a flight with no onboard entertainment or Wi-Fi. There may also be samples such as moisturizing creams, face sprays or lip balms from partners that you are likely welcome to take.
9. See if you can take food or drink for your journey
Some lounges don’t allow you to take food and beverages from the lounge. However, some won’t mind if you take a couple of sealed items like bags of crisps, a yogurt or bottled soft drinks for your onward journey. You should at least be allowed to take a bottle of water for your journey, which can certainly be handy when standing in airport queues.
10. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Lounges can be busy places. If you’re in a business class lounge at one of the large airports, it may be worth speaking to the staff if you’re finding it too crowded. It will depend on a number of factors – and it doesn’t always work – but if you are traveling solo or perhaps in a couple, there’s a chance that the attendant may discretely escort you to the quieter First Class lounge so that you can enjoy some space.
There you have it! Lounges can make a great addition to your airport experience – just make sure you do your homework and follow our list of tips to make the most out of your visit.
How Gett can help
Before you board your next flight, it’s worth adding your flight number to the Gett app. We know that flight delays happen, so our flight tracking feature was designed to keep your driver in the loop so it won’t disrupt your airport transfer booking.
For seamless transfers to and from the airport, register for the Gett app today.