Best Airport Lounges in the World

Dom Herrera, 07.02.19
Alternative Destinations

Whether you love or loathe hanging around at the airport before you fly, booking yourself into an airport lounge can make a real difference to your pre-fight experience.

You might be someone seeking some luxury, or maybe you want somewhere simple and quiet, but at a good price. Whatever your needs, we’ve compiled a list of the best airport lounges from around the world that are a must-visit when you fly from its airport.

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Alternative Airlines' favourite airport lounges

Delta’s Sky Club — New York JFK

Credit: @amanda grace

We don’t know what’s more impressive at Delta’s Sky Club lounge at Terminal 4 of JFK International Airport — the impeccable service or the magnificent view of the runway.

A visit to Delta’s Sky Club comes complete with all inclusive drinks, a varied food menu, free Wi-Fi and even a rooftop terrace, which has outdoor seating in the summer.

With the addition of a breakfast bar in the morning and a buffet during the afternoon and evenings — Delta’s Sky Club is great to visit at any time of the day.

How can I get access to Delta Sky Club

Passengers who are a member of the SkyMiles frequent flyer program and have Diamond Medallion status are given free access to all of Delta's Sky Clubs (over 45 in total). Alternatively, you can purchase a years’ membership which gives unlimited access to any of the Delta Sky Club lounges. You must either have a same-day Delta Airlines ticket, or a ticket on one of Delta’s partner airlines to gain access to the lounge.

Delta’s partners include Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Eastern, Gol, KLM, Korean Air, Jet Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, MEA, Saudia, TAROM, Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, China Airlines, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Vietnam Airlines, XiamenAir, Hawaiian Airlines, Westjet.

Emirates Business Class Lounge — Dubai

Credit: @EMIRATES CREW FORERVER

After a $11 million USD upgrade in 2016, Emirates’ Business Class lounge at Concourse B of Dubai International Airport exudes opulence and might just be the most luxurious and over-the-top lounge on this list.

The lounge is stretched across the terminal, with a restaurant, spa, duty free shops and — most famously — a Moët & Chandon champagne bar.

Emirates Business Class has all the amenities you’d expect plus an extra area for direct boarding on all Emirates’ flights.

How can I get access to Emirates Business Class Lounge

To access Emirates Business Class Lounge at Dubai International, you must be an Emirates Skywards member. Depending on your level of membership and the class you’re flying in, you might be entitled to complimentary access. You also must be flying on either an Emirates flight or a Qantas codeshare flight.

Strata Lounge — Auckland Airport

Credit: @Josephine Smith

The Strata Lounge in the International Terminal at Auckland Airport might not be the most luxurious entry on this list, but a strong case can be made for it having the best bang for your buck.

For only $36 USD, you can enjoy unlimited drinks from the self-serve bar, speedy Wi-Fi, comfortable seating and a selection of great food — with everything from cheese and crackers to rigatoni with rabbit.

Strata Lounge is known for being one of the quieter, less-busy airport lounges, so it’s the perfect place to relax pre-flight!

How do I get access to Strata Lounge?

Strata Lounge is open to anyone that is flying internationally from Auckland Airport. You can turn up and pay at the door, or you can save money by pre-booking online.

Airlines that fly to Auckland airport include: Air China, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Vanuatu, AirAsia X, Aircalin, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Korean Air, LATAM Chile, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Samoan Airways, Sichuan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Australia.

Singapore Airlines The Private Room — Singapore Changi Airport

Credit: @Airbornejourney

Being located inside the First Class SilerKris Lounge, the Private Room at Terminal 3 of Singapore Changi Airport is well-hidden and not easily accessible. Not only do you have to be departing or connecting to a Singapore Airlines flight, you also must have a First Class ticket.

However, if you’re lucky enough get yourself a golden ticket into the Private Room, you’ll ravish in the exclusivity of the lounge. The lounge boasts a restaurant with two menus — one with local cuisine and one with Western inspired dishes. Additionally, it has private showers, private booths for sleeping or relaxing in and an extensive champagne menu.

How do I gain access to the Private Room?

As mentioned before, to gain access to the Private Room, you must have a First Class Singapore Airlines ticket. The Private Room has a strict policy of one person per ticket, so unless your whole party is flying First Class, you’ll have to enjoy the Private Room all by yourself.

Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge — Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Credit: @Hyungwook Kim

Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge is located at Concourse D at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and in our opinion is infinitely better than the other Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport.

The lounge is huge and refined with multiple rooms, semi-private suites, a spa and an á la carte menu that you order food from on iPads.

Plus, don’t forget to get your complimentary massage from the lounge’s masseuse!

How can I gain access to Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge?

The Royal First Class lounge can be accessed by passengers with a Thai Airways Royal First Class ticket or by any First Class passenger on a flight operated by Star Alliance. This includes the following airlines: Adria Airlines, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, Eva Air, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, SAS, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airlines, Swiss, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines.

Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge — London Heathrow

Credit: @Alyssa

Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge at London Heathrow airport is an award-winning airport lounge and with its friendly staff, superb bar and authentic Malaysian cuisine, it’s for good reason.

The lounge is located airside at Heathrow’s terminal 4. The lounge has private rooms, free Wi-Fi, a children’s area and is right next to the boarding gates for Malaysia Airlines.

How can I gain access to Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge?

If you’re flying Business Class on Malaysia Airlines or any other airline part of the Oneworld airline alliance, you can access the lounge. Additionally, if you have Oneworld Sapphire elite status and you’re flying on a Oneworld flight, you’ll also be given access. There’s also a First Class section of the lounge which is available to use if you’re flying First Class on Malaysia Airlines or any other airline part of the Oneworld airline alliance, or if you have Oneworld top-tier Emerald status.

Oneworld airline alliance members include: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines and — from 2020 — Royal Air Maroc.

Plaza Premium Lounge, Rio de Janeiro Galeao Airport

Credit: @Claudia Brum Mothe

Although it can get busy at peak times — the Plaza Premium Lounge is a relatively new airport lounge located in Terminal 2 at Rio de Janeiro Galeao Airport and is perfect for pre-flight relaxation.

The Plaza Premium Lounge is modern and sleek, with complimentary Wi-Fi, great food, showers and private rooms for an additional fee.

If you can, try and get a seat by the window for a great view of the planes landing and taking off on the runway.

How can I gain access to Plaza Premium Lounge?

The Plaza Premium Lounge is available for any passenger that is flying internationally from the airport. You can pre-book to stay in the lounge online.

Airlines that fly from Rio de Janeiro Galeao Airport include: Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, Avianca, Avianca Brazil, Avianca Peru, Azul Brazilian Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta, Edelweiss Air, Emirates, Gol, Iberia, KLM, LATAM, LATAM Brasil, LATAM Chile, LATAM Paraguay, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Paranair, Royal Air Maroc, Sky Airline, TAAG Angola Airlines, TAP Portugal, United Airlines.

Bidvest Premier Lounge, Cape Town International Airport

Credit: @Jacob Molin

Cape Town International Airport’s departure terminal can get pretty busy, so a visit to Bidvest Premier Lounge at the airport’s international terminal is highly recommended.

The lounge is basic compared to other entries on this list. But with an all-you-can-eat buffet, unlimited drinks and complimentary Wi-Fi, it's great value and perfect for catching up with emails before a business trip or relaxing before a holiday.

How can I gain access to Bidvest Premier Lounge

Bidvest Premier Lounge is open to anyone flying internationally. All you need to do is pre-book online through Bidvest Premier Lounge’s website.

Airlines that fly internationally out of Cape Town International Airport include: Air Botswana, Airlink, Air Mauritius, Air Namibia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, CemAir, Condor, Edelweiss Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, FlySafair, Kenya Airways, KLM, Kulula, Lufthansa, Mango, Qatar Airways, Rwandair, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, South African Express, TAAG Angola Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Westair Aviation.

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