So I’m sitting in the Aspire lounge in AMS airport, it’s 1AM by my body clock, and I can’t brain enough to do real work. So let’s talk about airport lounges.
What is the deal with them? Like most inexperienced travelers, I used to wonder this as well. What are these magical, pseudo-exclusive realms behind tinted glass sliding doors? And why would I want to visit one? Am I missing out, or is it just some overblown fancy-pants luxury?
Let’s get one thing straight: yes, airport lounges are luxuries, and no, you do not need them. That said, here’s what you get from a lounge:
- It’s quiet, and the seats are more comfortable than the public airport areas. You won’t hear periodic security announcements. Usually there are multiple areas with your choice of desks, seats, recliners, etc.
- (Sometimes) extra-quiet rooms with comfy recliners and dim lights, for napping.
- “Free” food. OK, it’s not really free, because you paid for lounge access, either directly or indirectly. But lounges generally have decent food out for the taking – snacks, salads, soups, sandwiches, cookies, sometimes fancier fare.
- “Free” booze. It still amazes me every time I walk by the bottles of wine and liquor, and fridges full of beer, out for the taking. Sometimes it’s good stuff, too.
- “Free” decent coffee. Usually there will be one of those automatic espresso machines that grinds the coffee fresh and attempts to do a robot imitation of your preferred coffee style.
- Showers! I haven’t made use of this perk yet, but I probably will one day, after a long flight.
- Some lounges even have beds.
- Nicer, quieter bathrooms.
- Free, good quality wi-fi. Usually.
- Plenty of power outlets.
- Magazines and newspapers.
- Often, lounges are located on the second level of terminals and have epic views of the airfield and environs.
So basically, lounges are a nicer place to spend your long layover. And you should have a long layover, because it’s better to be bored then rushed.
How do I have so much experience with lounges? Well, I travel a lot, and I have this Platinum Amex card. It costs me $450 a year, which is a lot. But it basically functions as a giant travel perk bundle, and one of the perks is that if I fly the right airlines (meaning Delta, mostly) it gets me into a lounge pretty much anywhere I go.
So there you go. Now you know what the deal is with airport lounges, and why you might want to make use of one on a long trip. Or not.