100 BEST AIRPORT LOUNGES
This extensive list has got you covered for your next layover
Earlier this year, we asked Business Traveller’s online Forum users to recommend their favourite airport lounges to fellow travellers. This elicited many well-informed responses – almost as enthusiastic as the suggestions for the worst airport lounges (which can be read online at the address below). Alongside your suggestions, we have added the best lounges we at BT have visited, and included “pay-toenter” lounges as well as airline ones. This list isn’t definitive, but it’s a start. Feel free to let us and other readers know which ones we have missed via the Forum. When it comes to recommendations, we’d rather have a list of 200 than 100. businesstraveller.com/forum
UK & EUROPE LONDON HEATHROW BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE ROOM, T5
Refreshed in November 2017, the Concorde Room is for BA’s first class passengers and Gold Guest List members. There’s an à la carte restaurant for dining and a bar service.
Reviewed by BT last year (November 2017), this well-equipped lounge has plenty of secluded spots to work and relax, and has the advantage of direct boarding of the plane from the lounge.
ETIHAD AIRWAYS, T4
This lounge has free spa treatments (albeit in 15-minute appointments), good food and a buzzy atmosphere. It’s for first and business class passengers combined.
LUFTHANSA SENATOR, T2
Lufthansa has more than one lounge at Heathrow, one in the main Terminal 2 and one in Terminal 2B. The Senator lounge is for first class passengers and Star Alliance Gold Card holders.
MALAYSIA AIRLINES GOLDEN LOUNGE, T4
Both first and business class share a divided space. Service is personalised and attentive, and the food offering varied and of excellent quality.
NO1 HEATHROW, T3
Reviewed by BT in March 2017, this pay-for-entry lounge has “lots of amenities, contemporary décor and good food”, and costs from £36 (US$49) for three hours if booked online. Showers cost an extra £10 (US$13.5); “sleep pods” from £60 (US$81) for three hours.
PLAZA PREMIUM, T4
Plaza Premium has a strong presence at Heathrow, and many of its six lounges are impressive. For example, the T4 arrivals-side lounge has 25 luxurious showers (US$18 for 30 minutes’ use – prices are charged in US dollars), with lounge use starting at US$37 for one hour.
Opened in November 2017, this has Neil Perry’s Aussie-style dishes, a cocktail bar, six shower suites, workstations and more besides. For first and business class passengers combined.
QATAR AIRWAYS PREMIUM, T4
BT Forum user Amanda says this is the best at Heathrow: “Has to be the Qatar lounge at LHR – service, food, facilities are all top notch.” It’s open to Oneworld first and business passengers too.
UNITED AIRLINES CLUB, T2B
One of the three Star Alliance airline lounges in Terminal 2B, the United lounge has good views, a lovely atmosphere and a long bar with good service and a wide selection of drinks.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE, T3
There have been recent changes including losing the spa bath, but this is still one of the top lounges in the world, and a great advertisement for the differentiation the Virgin brand has brought to flying.
LONDON GATWICK BRITISH AIRWAYS CLUB AND FIRST, GATWICK SOUTH
With good views, a choice of wines and food and a mezzanine level in the Club lounge, these two newish lounges have been warmly welcomed by BA passengers.
51ST & GREEN, DUBLIN
This is the pre-clearance business lounge for flights to the US. You can pay for access €35 (US$42) per person online or €39 (US$46.5) at reception, though it is complimentary to business class ticket holders.
AIR FRANCE LA PREMIERE, PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE
Opinions differ about Air France, but there is a consensus about this classy lounge with its Clarins spa, top wines and serene, peaceful atmosphere.
AIR FRANCE BUSINESS HALL L, PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE
One of several refurbished or reinvented Air France lounges opened in January 2018, this also has a Clarins spa as part of the first phase; part two will follow in July 2018.
ASPIRE APHRODITE, LARNACA, CYPRUS
Open to all travellers from £27.99 (US$38) per head. “Good food and drink, plenty of space, comfortable seating, nice views, good internet and lovely staff,” says BT Forum user ASK1945.
ASPIRE, ZURICH TERMINAL E
Aspire has two lounges at Zurich. This one is that rare phenomenon – a lounge with an outdoor terrace, plus views of the apron, runway and the main terminal. It’s a pay-to-enter lounge and costs SFr35 (US$35) per visit.
THE LOFT, BRUSSELS AIRLINES, BRUSSELS
“Largish with great tarmac views and super comfy armchairs by the windows with power. Decent food, drink and wifi and a nice feel generally,” says BT Forum user Alex_F.
ARIKLASSI (BUSINESS), TALLINN
Passengers gain access for €30 (US$36); some business travellers get in for free. “Good selection of food, quiet, outdoor terrace overlooking the aprons,” says BT Forum user rferguson.
CALPE LOUNGE, GIBRALTAR
A Priority Pass lounge run by Lounge Club; you can get access from US$29. The views of the Rock are magnificent, and “You could sit outside on the sofas!” says BT Forum user Bath_VIP.
CIBELES VIP, MADRID
For non-Schengen passengers, this lounge is open to anyone for €30.60 (US$36.5). “Nice large space with great apron views and reasonable food selection,” says BT Forum user travelsforfun.
EVENTYR, COPENHAGEN KASTRUP
Usually Dkr250 (US$40) to get into, this lounge also permits BA, Emirates, Delta and Norwegian flyers with the right status. It has showers and “superb views”, says BT Forum user Bath_VIP.
FINNAIR PREMIUM, HELSINKI
Great “for the Finnish design, food and sauna”, says BT Forum user travelsforfun. Exclusively for Finnair Plus Platinum and Gold members, or Oneworld Emerald cardholders.
FINNAIR SCHENGEN BUSINESS, HELSINKI
The Schengen lounge has good buffet food, and is “bright with plenty of seating”, says BT Forum user Blanicka. You can buy entry for €48 (US$57).
A new option (opened December 2017) in Terminal A, this small lounge serves local Greek dishes such as spinach pie, plus Greek wines, but lacks hot food options.
KLM CROWN, AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL
This lounge for intercontinental business passengers is undergoing an upgrade, but is still open; completion is planned for 2019. LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS, FRANKFURT
This entire first class terminal is “simply amazing and remains my most memorable lounge experience,” says BT Forum user MartynSinclair. Lufthansa and Swiss frequent flyers are welcome.
VIP LOUNGE FRANKFURT
A luxurious VIP area with limousine service, restaurant, private rooms/suites and cigar lounge. Premium services – at premium prices, starting from around €330 (US$394) per person.
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS, MUNICH
Cigar lounge, gourmet restaurant, showers and baths, and limousine service to the aircraft. Very modern, with views over the aircraft. Open to Lufthansa and Swiss frequent flyers. AEGEAN AIRLINES NON SCHENGEN, ATHENS
MARCO POLO CLUB, VENICE
Entry is €40 (US$48). “Several very nice spaces including small outdoor selection,” says BT Forum user travelsforfun. Priority Pass members, Diners Club and a few others get in for free.
SWISS FIRST, ZURICH TERMINAL A
This lounge reopened in March 2018 with great food, bedrooms and an outside terrace in the summer. It’s widely considered to be one of the best lounges in the world.
SWISS FIRST, ZURICH TERMINAL E
Not as new as the Terminal A lounge but just as luxurious featuring bedrooms, champagne bar and two restaurants, plus an outside terrace.
TURKISH AIRLINES, ISTANBUL
It may be crowded, but this lounge is “mindblowing for a long stay, loads of things to eat and spaces to sit [and] fab drinks selection too,” as BT Forum user norbert2008 puts it.
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA BIDVEST PREMIER, CAPE TOWN
“A good selection of ripe fruit, cooked breakfasts, good espresso, interested staff and a quieter upstairs section affording a lovely view,” says BT Forum user barnacles.
BRITISH AIRWAYS GALLERIES/FIRST, JOHANNESBURG OR TAMBO
BA’s First and Club lounges in Johannesburg have a “great selection of fresh food… free massages, good wine selection, good coffee, lovely staff,” says BT Forum user miningguy.
BRITISH AIRWAYS, DUBAI
A new addition to the BA network, this one is split into two distinct spaces, one being a small Concorde Bar which is accessed by a key card from the main business class lounge.
EMIRATES FIRST CLASS, DUBAI
The two Emirates lounges had a US$11 million refurbishment completed in 2016. Paid-for access used to be for Emirates passengers, but you can now (since 2017) buy your way into first class for US$200, while the business class lounge costs around half that price.
ETIHAD AIRWAYS FIRST, ABU DHABI
BT reviewed it in October 2016 and found the service, food and drink first-rate. You can take a quick workout or spruce up at the barbers or spa before the flight. You can pay to get in (from US$200 for first class, US$100 for business).
OMAN AIR BUSINESS, MUSCAT
Day beds, showers, complimentary massage and more besides. “Full dining option – food is good. Nice bar area. Helpful business centre,” says BT Forum user cwoodward.
QATAR AIRWAYS AL MOURJAN, DOHA
One of five Qatar lounges in the main terminal, all sumptuous, this one has “sheer space and variety”, says BT Forum user Inquisitive.
QATAR AIRWAYS AL SAFWA, DOHA
Not content with having just one impressive first class lounge, Qatar has two. The Al Safwa, however, is exclusively for first class ticket holders flying with Qatar Airways.
SAUDIA ALFURSAN GOLDEN, JEDDAH
For first and business passengers in the busiest airport in Saudi Arabia. The international lounge is open to anyone for SAR189 (US$50).
SAUDIA ALFURSAN GOLDEN, RIYADH
Both first and business under one roof, with first class more secluded. There’s a good buffet, showers and Apple computers to use.
SLOW, CAPE TOWN
For domestic flights, including BA flights operated by Comair. A fabulous lounge with a huge selection of food and drink over two levels, two bars including a cocktail bar and the famous “Loo with a view”.
ASIA ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS FIRST CLASS, TOKYO HANEDA
For first class ANA or Star Alliance guests. “Amazing! At 6.50am they were running around offering people champagne and Hibiki Japanese whisky,” says BT forum user K1ngston.
AMERICAN EXPRESS THE CENTURION, HONG KONG
For Amex Platinum Card and Centurion members. The Centurion area features a menu by chef Lau Yiu Fai of the Michelin-starred Yan Toh Heen at the Intercontinental Hong Kong.
BLUE RIBBON, BANGKOK AIRWAYS, KOH SAMUI, THAILAND
A small but delightful lounge on this Thai island. “The most charming and relaxing place. Mostly open-sided thatched cabanas. Well appointed and run,” says BT Forum user cwoodward.
CATHAY PACIFIC THE DECK, HONG KONG
Opened in March 2018, this replaces the Cabin lounge. It’s for Cathay’s first and business class passengers, Marco Polo Club Silver members, plus Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members.
CATHAY PACIFIC THE PIER FIRST, HONG KONG
Cathay Pacific has a number of lounges at Hong Kong: The Wing, The Cabin, The Bridge and The Pier. The Pier was refurbished in 2015, and the BT review in 2016 called it “superb”.
CATHAY PACIFIC THE WING FIRST, HONG KONG
Twenty-three shower rooms, workstations, plus a noodle bar. “While the Pier is cosier, this one has private cabanas with baths… This alone wins it for me,” says BT Forum user ThomasCox.
CATHAY PACIFIC FIRST/BUSINESS, MANILA
Opened in 2015, this well-designed lounge is the “small sister to The Pier at Hong Kong. Good bar and food. Very comfortable, even for a few hours,” says BT Forum user cwoodward.
CATHAY PACIFIC, BANGKOK SUVARNABHUMI
Opened in 2015, reviewed by BT in June 2017, for first and business passengers. “Very comfortable,” says BT Forum user MartynSinclair.
CATHAY PACIFIC, SINGAPORE CHANGI T4
Opened in 2017, this is one of the distinctive Studioilse-designed lounges which are becoming Cathay trademarks. Facilities include a noodle station, but no showers or tended bar.
CATHAY PACIFIC, TOKYO HANEDA
Cathay uses Studioilse to create its distinctive lounge designs, and this early revamp formed the template. The made-to-order noodles, hip looks and attractive wood surfaces are all there.
CATHAY PACIFIC, SHANGHAI PUDONG
The Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon lounge is for first or business travellers plus one guest; or for Oneworld business class passengers.
CHINA AIRLINES, TAIPEI TAOYUAN
An impressive, surprisingly large and stylish business lounge with extensive food options, showers, workstations and more. The buffet has a mix of Chinese and Western dishes.
Reviewed by BT in November 2016, this is “a well-equipped lounge to recharge and work”. Access is free for business and first class passengers of the many partner airlines.
HONG KONG AIRLINES CLUB AUTUS, HONG KONG
Opened in 2017 at a cost of more than US$4 million, there are showers, a huge buffet and great views of the bridge to Macau. It’s free for first and business class passengers, or you can pay HK$350 (US$44.5) for entry.
JAL FIRST, TOKYO NARITA
The first class lounge for Oneworld Emerald members (the Sakura lounge is for business class). It’s small, with a buffet section of Japanese and Western food, plus showers.
MALAYSIA AIRLINES GOLDEN, KUALA LUMPUR
Opened in March 2018, this smart lounge in the international terminal is a showcase for Malaysian food, with traditional Malay, IndianMalay and Sino-Malay dishes, plus Western food.
Part of the Priority Pass group. “Big space, nicely divided into areas and rarely seems busy… spacious and immaculately clean,” is the verdict of BT Forum user Travelling4Fun.
OMAN AIR, BANGKOK
“Fresh dates, wonderful appetiser-sized dishes of hummus, hot dishes for main courses, and ‘authentic’ Arabic coffee,” says BT Forum user barnacles. For first and business class.
PLAZA PREMIUM EAST HALL, HONG KONG
This lounge takes paying guests, and also business class for airlines without their own
lounges at the airport. BT reviewed it in March 2017. There’s a twin lounge in the West Hall.
SATS PREMIER T1, SINGAPORE CHANGI T1
Open to Priority Pass holders, this lounge has a buffet, showers and secluded booths where you can work in relative comfort. It’s a busy lounge though, and used by many regional airlines.
SKYTEAM, HONG KONG
Often busy, but a highlight here is the “on demand” noodle bar, which provides three types of Chinese noodles that are cooked on order.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES SILVERKRIS, SINGAPORE CHANGI T2
There are two Silverkris lounges in Terminal 2B at Changi Airport – left for first class, right for business. “[Business] beats some first class lounges,” said Lady London on the BT Forum.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES SILVERKRIS FIRST CLASS, SINGAPORE CHANGI T2
BT reviewed this first class lounge in March 2018, and found it had good service and everything you need. “Discreet luxury”, as BT Forum user Inquisitive put it.
THAI AIRWAYS ROYAL FIRST, BANGKOK
The feel is calm and friendly, and you can have a complimentary one-hour full body massage. Just make sure you don’t miss the plane.
VIETNAM AIRLINES LOTUS, HO CHI MINH CITY
A Skyteam lounge with good facilities, decent wifi speed (for Vietnam) and even a “pet lounge”, because Vietnam Airlines allows domestic passengers to carry their dogs on board.
THE AMERICAS AIR CANADA SIGNATURE SUITE, TORONTO
Very chic, with a full-service restaurant that includes a private dining room for small groups or families. Exemplary food and beautiful use of maple wood, but no showers.
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLAGSHIP, MIAMI
For first and business class, Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire flyers. “Very spacious with good food and drink,” says the BT Forum user who (presumably immodestly) calls himself “christ”.
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLAGSHIP, NEW YORK JFK T8
According to BT Forum user ThomasCox, “Never felt crowded. Comfy lounge chairs by the huge floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s also a separate First Dining Room for genuine first class tickets.”
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLAGSHIP, CHICAGO
“A cosy, comfortable space, especially charming and helpful staff and a decent food display,” says BT Forum user travelsforfun.
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLAGSHIP, LOS ANGELES
The First Dining Room is a standout with its impressive à la carte menu. There are currently four Flagship lounges from AA – the others are Dallas/Fort Worth, Heathrow and Philadelphia.
AMERICAN EXPRESS THE CENTURION, HOUSTON GEORGE BUSH
Reviewed in December 2017 by BT, “a pleasant surprise from start to finish, a simply excellent lounge – and an impressive benefit for Platinum card holders (and Centurion ones).”
AMERICAN EXPRESS THE CENTURION, MIAMI
This lounge is currently undergoing expansion, and will get new amenities including a wine bar plus private phone rooms. But even while parts of it are under wraps, it’s still very good.
BRITISH AIRWAYS, BOSTON LOGAN
BA is currently investing £88 million (US$119 million) into its US lounges. The Concorde Dining restaurant is one of the visible highlights of this investment, and it opened in 2017.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE ROOM, NEW YORK JFK T7
For first class BA passengers. It’s “comfortable, exclusive, spacious with friendly staff and excellent wine,” says BT Forum user ThomasCox.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CLUB/FIRST, CHICAGO
Access to First lounge is for Emerald members or those travelling in first class. “While small, has lovely staff,” says BT Forum user ThomasCox.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CLUB/FIRST, HOUSTON
Also open to Emerald members and first class passengers. “Staff escort you to ensure you’re first to board,” says BT Forum user ThomasCox.
BRITISH AIRWAYS GALLERIES, WASHINGTON
When reviewed by BT, we noted “you can only go into the Concorde Dining [room] if you are flying First. Gold or Emerald Card won’t help.”
DELTA SKY CLUB, SEATTLE TACOMA SOUTH
This 2016 lounge has “decent food and a view of Mount Rainier,” says BT Forum user travelsforfun. Non-Delta entry costs US$59 per person.
DELTA SKY CLUB, NEW YORK JFK T4
Primarily aimed at Delta Sky Club members, anyone can get in for US$50. This lounge boasts an outdoor patio in warm weather, and there are appealing shower facilities too.
ONEWORLD BUSINESS, LOS ANGELES
Customers can choose from eclectic and international menus created by renowned Australian fusion chef Neil Perry. There’s also a cocktail bar and 16 shower suites.
ONEWORLD, SAO PAULO
Reviewed by BT in August 2015, when “the staff kept the buffet replenished and the place tidy. There were at least three attendants just looking after the six showers.”
QANTAS BUSINESS, LOS ANGELES
This Marc Newson-designed space is “a modern lounge with great à la carte food choices, and – as ever – great wine,” says BT’s Julian Gregory.
STAR ALLIANCE, LOS ANGELES
One of the best lounges in the US, with an “Open terrace, ramp views, good food, wine – what’s not to like?” as BT Forum user trident3 opined.
STAR ALLIANCE, RIO DE JANEIRO
Brazilian design is showcased at this attractive lounge, run by the Plaza Premium Group. It’s open to Star Alliance Gold status passengers as well as business and first class ticket holders.
UNITED POLARIS, CHICAGO
This is United’s flagship while more Polaris lounges are under construction. There are showers, daybeds, good food and cocktails.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE, NEW YORK JFK T4
BT Forum user Defcon5 likes the “craft beer and tapas”. It also has a spa, good workstations with printers and British food on the menu.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE, LOS ANGELES
Reviewed by BT in 2015, this US$3.4 million Clubhouse “has also got the basics right – and enough food so that you can get on the flight and sleep all the way home if you wish.”
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND AIR NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL, AUCKLAND
Opened in 2015, the ANZ flagship lounge is for ANZ business class passengers and travellers with a lot of Airpoints. “Comfortable – very good food and even better wine… close to all gates, good IT,” says BT Forum user cwoodward.
ETIHAD AIRWAYS FIRST AND BUSINESS, MELBOURNE
You can now (since January 2018) buy walk-in access to this lounge for US$75; or for an additional US$40, you can get the VIP room and live out your Bond villain fantasies sitting on the chic furniture (Blofeld white cat not supplied).
QANTAS FIRST, SYDNEY
“Hands down the most comfortable, most spacious lounge with a great view, the best/ friendliest service and the tastiest food,” says BT Forum user ThomasCox.
QANTAS FIRST, BRISBANE
Qantas started out in Queensland nearly 100 years ago, so their Brisbane lounge is special with lots of natural light and smart design.
QANTAS FIRST, MELBOURNE
“Many people mention the QF First Lounge in Sydney. I rather like its smaller cousin in Melbourne, which is quieter but offers the same service,” says BT Forum user TominScotland.
QANTAS INTERNATIONAL TRANSIT, PERTH
With the introduction of Qantas’s non-stop flights from London, this lounge focuses on “wellness” with wholesome food, yoga classes, “bright light therapy” and other jet lagcountering ideas for those on long-haul flights.
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA, BRISBANE
Like the Virgin Australia lounges in the bigger cities, there’s a dedicated espresso and wine bar in the centre of this lounge. The wifi is fast.
VIRGIN AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY
The signature espresso and wine bar lies in the centre of the room, but there are also meeting rooms, and a huge range of reading material.
American Airlines Flagship lounge, New York JFK
Lufthansa first class lounge, Frankfurt
RIGHT: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan lounge, Doha BELOW: Slow lounge, Cape Town
Cathay Pacific The Pier first class lounge, Hong Kong
BELOW: China Airlines lounge, Taipei
Air Canada Signature Suite, Toronto
ABOVE: British Airways Galleries lounge, Washington Dulles
ABOVE: Etihad Airways first and business lounge, Melbourne RIGHT: Virgin Australia lounge, Brisbane