Airports are noisy, stressful and busy. And if you want something to eat or drink, it will be expensive! But not when you have access to the airport lounge, which is quiet and comfortable, and you get free meals at the same time. But how do you get into the coveted VIP lounge at the airport? We’ll show you which memberships or credit cards you need.
What is an airport lounge?
You will find various airport lounges in all major airports worldwide. These are often located in a somewhat remote, quieter part of the airport and the easiest way to find them is to follow the signs. It is best to find out about the airport lounges and access rules at the respective airport before you travel.
In an airport lounge, you can expect comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi and usually free food. There is often a bar with drinks, a coffee machine and a small buffet with cold and hot dishes. Larger lounges often also offer additional facilities such as showers, spa treatments, sleeping facilities, entertainment (games, magazines, TV, etc.). This makes airport lounges the perfect place if, for example, you have a longer layover and want to rest a bit from the stressful journey. But how do you get in? First of all, it is important to know the different lounge types.
What airport lounges are there?
Unfortunately, there is no general answer to how to access an airport lounge. Because there are different types of airport lounges, which in turn have their own access restrictions. In principle, a distinction must be made between airline lounges and independent airport lounges. Here’s an overview of the types of airport lounges and how to access them:
Airline lounges (also called contract lounges) are run by the airlines themselves and can be found in several airports where the airline is present. Especially of course in the home airports and hubs, but of course also worldwide if the airline flies to the airports regularly. In Germany, for example, you can find Lufthansa’s business and first-class lounges in almost all airports. Well-known airline lounges include:
- Lufthansa Business Lounge
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge
- Lufthansa first class lounge
- Air France Lounge
- British Airways Business Lounge
- British Airways First Lounge
- Emirates First Class Lounge
- Emirates Business Class Lounge
- Thai Airways Royal First Lounge
- Turkish Airlines Lounge
- Delta Sky Club
- American Airlines Admirals Club
- Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
- Qatar Airways Lounge
These lounges can normally only be used by passengers from the respective airline (or partner airlines) and the respective booking class (e.g. business or first class).
Who has access to the airline’s airport lounge?
Each lounge has its own entry requirements, so it’s best to find out before you travel which lounges are available at your airport and what their entry requirements are. If you fly business or first class, your airline probably has its own lounge that you can use. You just need to make sure that the lounge corresponds to your booking class. With a Business Class ticket, you can access the Business Lounge, but not the First Class or Senator Lounge.
If you participate in a frequent traveler program (e.g. Miles & More, Flying Blue etc.) you sometimes have the opportunity to use the points or miles you have accumulated or your frequent flyer status to get (discount ) access to the lounge. It is best to get information directly from the program provider or at the counter in the lounge. Or you can use the miles/points you have collected directly for an upgrade to Business Class and thus automatically gain access to the Business Lounge.
Tip for everyone flying with Lufthansa Premium Economy: It is usually possible to buy access to the Business Lounge for 25 euros. You can get information about this directly from Lufthansa.
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Independent airport lounges
Airline airport lounges are not the only ones. There are other independent lounges in most airports. The good thing is: You can also use these lounges if you only fly Economy Class! How it works? Here you either have to pay an entrance fee to use them or be a member of a program/club that gives access.
How do I access the independent airport lounges?
In principle, everyone can enter the independent airport lounges, but you have to pay for it. Prices start at around 25 euros per person, but vary considerably depending on the lounge. Payment is made directly at the entrance to the lounge. However, it is advisable to book online in advance if this is offered. It’s usually cheaper here than at the airport itself If you consider that you can spend a lot of money on drinks and food if you stay at the airport for several hours, then it may be worth investing in a lounge that offers free food .
There are also different Airport lounge programs, which you can join to get free access to several lounges. These are also included in some forms of credit, e.g. The most well-known are e.g.
- Priority card: The digital Priority Pass gives you access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. A standard membership is available at an annual price of 89 euros, with which you only pay 28 euros for your lounge access. For an annual fee of 259 euros, you get ten lounge visits per year absolutely free.
- American Express Platinum Credit Card: With an Amex Platinum credit card you have several benefits. Among other things, you also get a free Priority Pass (see above) and thus worldwide lounge access. The price for Amex Platinum is 55 euros per month. It’s especially valuable for people who travel a lot because, in addition to Priority Pass, it also includes travel insurance, rental car and hotel discounts.
- Sparda MasterCard Platinum: With the Platinum Mastercard from Spardabank, you also get Priority Pass and can use it in numerous lounges worldwide. Here, too, you have additional insurance included in the package, which is useful when you travel. The price of the credit card varies depending on which bank you apply for it.
- Dragon Pass: Dragonpass is particularly popular in Asian and English-speaking countries. A membership here also gives access to over 1300 airport lounges worldwide and other benefits and perks in the travel sector. Dragonpass costs about 100 US dollars per year.
Can I bring a companion into the airport lounge?
In many airport lounges, as an authorized person (e.g. with Priority Pass) you can take another person with you for free. Small children usually also get free entry. So if you’re flying with someone who has a Priority Pass, you can benefit too! Likewise, someone holding a business or first class ticket may be able to take you into the lounge for free or at a reduced rate. It is best to clarify this before the flight.
Image credit: GettyImages/andresr
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