0 min left

Are These the Top-Rated Airline Lounges in the World?


From recording studios to private chauffer services, airline lounges around the world are stepping up their game and offering amenities and services that rival a five-star vacation experience.

A visiting to an airline’s lounge can provide one of the most important experiences for frequent flyer looking to make their journey easier. Airlines, recognizing the demand for greater amenities and a higher level of service, are constantly striving to improve lounge experiences.

Jack Penning, executive director for Sixel Consulting, logged over 230,000 miles through domestic and international travel in 2013. In an interview with FlyerTalk, he outlined his criteria for the best lounge experiences.

“The best lounges for me offer comfortable and available seating, facilities with showers to refresh, time-appropriate food and a relatively quiet environment,” he said.

Penning said seating is really the number one issue today, as more and more airlines are making it easier for customers to earn qualifying miles for club memberships through promotions and credit card purchases.

“The number of people getting in [the lounges] is making it a much less exclusive experience than it used to be,” Penning explained.

The Star Alliance Lounge in Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) is one of Pistole’s favorites, as are Alaska Airlines’ Board Room lounges, where a “pancake printer” prepares made-to-order pancakes.

So which airline lounges are the best in the world? FlyerTalk looked at a variety of ratings and surveys and found 10 lounges that repeatedly showed up on the “Best Of” lists. Each of these lounges offer deluxe amenities, ranging from pool tables to private chauffer service, and a few even offer visitors unique treats like a recording studio and dance floor.

Air France La Premiere Lounge in Paris’ airport is recognized for its personal service, including checking flyers’ bags on their behalf, complimentary spa treatments and chauffeuring services that shuttle passengers to their aircraft and introducing them to flight staff.

Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) American Airlines’ Admirals Club in Terminal 4 was voted The Best Domestic Club in America by GateGuru, which noted the lounge is “large, comfortable and quiet,” with a separate area for children to play in and plenty of “good food and an attentive staff.”

British Airways’ Concorde Room in London Heathrow Airport’s (LHR) Terminal 5 is dedicated to first-class passengers only, which is a feature that helps reduce overcrowding. According to Skift.com’s annual review, however, the best aspect of the lounge is its fine dining options. Food and wine, cabana-style rooms, in-suite facilities, spa access and a concierge service are among the amenities that make this lounge stand out.

Cathay Pacific Airlines has six lounges at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), the most recent of which opened in 2013. Skift.com refers to the lounges as “to die for,” because of their unique design scheme, open and spacious lounges, and impeccable service. One of Cathay’s lounges, The Pier, is particularly famous for its noodles bar.

Emirates’ lounge at Dubai International Airport (DXB) features a business-class and a first-class lounge, both which are located in the airport’s newest terminal. The First Class Lounge ranked number three on the Skift.com list, recognized for its “wealth of luxurious offerings,” including a la carte dining, spa treatments, water features and seating themes.

Perhaps one the largest lounge is Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt Airport (FRA), which appeared on several top 10 lists. With a terminal all to itself, valet parking, two private sleeping rooms, shower facilities and a cigar bar. It also has a full business center for those who want to keep busy while on the go. When you’re ready to head the plane, a chauffeured limo will take you.

Qantas First Lounge, at Sydney Airport (SYD) “pampers its passengers” with a complimentary treatment in the day spa, shower suites, a library, fine Australian cuisine and a panoramic view of the airport.

Qatar Airways’ Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport (DOH) is another great spot for frequent flyers to unwind. Business Insider calls this lounge, which serves first and business-class only, “downright cushy.” The 100,000-square-foot terminal is completely separate from the rest of the hotel and was built at a cost of $100 million, making it feel more like a hotel than an airport waiting area.

Virgin America’s The Loft at LAX was the airline’s first lounge in the U.S. and it features a funky taste with modern décor and mood lighting. The Lofty Libations bar offers beverages of all varieties.

Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow and JFK airports tie in the top ten of the besties.

Virgin Atlantic’s JFK Clubhouse was rated Best Lounge to Cure a Hangover by Business Insider. At its LHR counterpart, travelers can get their musician on in the recording studio and digital editing room, complete with music mixing capabilities.

[Photo: Cathay Pacific via Skift]

Comments are Closed.
SunLover October 20, 2014

Surprised not to see the Thai Airlines Royal First Class Lounge at BKK mentioned.

weero October 20, 2014

The " Star Alliance Lounge in Charles de Gaulle" ??? Given it has been a few years since I visited the worst megaairport in Europe ... but the StarAlliance lounge has the charm of the gate-peg Lufthansa offers its business customer at the gates in FRA... This was not a serious entry, right? And the Admirals Club? If anything list AA's Flagship lounges ... not the Admirals Club. My vote still goes to Avianca's club in Ushuaia - when we visited it offered splendid views and nothing but hard spirits. No soft drinks or water but ton's of single malt whiskey ... the bad thing is that it is hard to remember ..,,

Jamie0918 October 20, 2014

Missed a lot of outstanding lounges,such as SQ and TK.Unfair...

noah October 20, 2014

In response, no. Not according to most FT readers. Has somebody rated them the top lounges? Sure, but that doesn't mean they're right. Do a FT poll and I'm sure results would be different (says the guy who would certainly vote for the Istanbul lounge and never for an Alaska boardroom, pancake machine or no).

SFO-DEN-ISN October 20, 2014

The UC at DEN has cheese!