Airline lounges have evolved into delightful havens of escape from the humdrum of the concourse. Not only do they “visually and tangibly enforce an airline’s brand image,” they also vie with one another to go that extra mile and give their customers a unique experience. Let us take a look at some of the top airline lounges across the world.
British Airways’ Concorde Room, Heathrow, Terminal 5A
This elegant lounge is furnished in luxurious velvet, chandeliers and floor to ceiling windows making it well-lighted and spacious looking.
- 24 hours dining with wonderful food in various European styles,
- Private dining booths with waiter service,
- A sit-down meal before night flights,
- A Champagne bar that serves complimentary champagne and fine wines, freshly ground coffee and afternoon tea,
- Top class business suite with free Wi-Fi,
- Boardroom facilities with 7 internet and printer linked computers,
- A 40 inch LCD screen for presentations,
- The conference room has original seats from the Concorde fleet,
- The first class lounge has three private cabana sleeping rooms with en suite bathrooms,
- Offers complimentary 15-minute treatments and skin therapies for rejuvenation,
- Massage techniques especially for travellers,
- They also have 20 showers for freshening up,
- A Terrace with a fabulous view of the airport,
- Concierge Facilities to help with travel plans, booking tickets or calling a cab.
USP: Private cabanas with day beds and bathrooms.
Lufthansa’s First Class Lounge, Near Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1
This 12000 sq. ft. lounge is one of the world’s two terminals dedicated to VIPs. Lufthansa has not just first class lounge but an entire terminal for its first class passengers. With its own check-in desks and security check-points, it is like a five star hotel in itself. It has complimentary valet parking and a personal assistant to help with check-in and security. The spacious lounge has comfortable leather armchairs to relax in.
- International choice of cuisine is available. One can choose from the wide-ranging buffet or order a la carte meals. There is a well-stocked bar with 80 different whiskeys to choose from.
- A separate cigar lounge with a view of the airport apron and a snacks bar.
- Private work stations with telephone, PC, laptop connections and high speed wireless connectivity.
- Wii sport and Wii Fit games.
- Rest area with leather day beds, alarm clocks and wardrobes.
- Bathrooms with monsoon showers.
- Two spa treatment rooms offering a wide range of treatments and massages where guests can unwind and refresh themselves. It has six spa-quality bath facilities with Jacuzzis in two of them.
USP: A Mercedes or a Porsche to drive you from the terminal right to the plane’s first class stairway.
Cathay Pacific’s – The Wing, Hong Kong International, South Concourse, Near Gate 2
This chic business class lounge is designed by the firm of UK architect Norman Foster. Spread over two floors the 3994 square metres lounge has a first class lounge and business class area. The design of the lounge shows Cathay Pacific’s understanding of the requirements of the business traveller. The lounge is well-lighted, elegant, modern and comfortable.
Food and Drink – The first class lounge located upstairs is a paradise of gourmet food, offered round the clock by The Haven – a sit down restaurant serving hot and cold food, and breakfast buffet. The business class area has a noodle, food and drinks bar. The long bar has a wide variety of drinks, cocktails and champagnes. The atmosphere of the coffee bar is perfect for relaxing with a cup of specialty coffee and fresh pastries.
Shower Suites – It has 24 shower suites. Five Cabanas – hotel like bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and monsoon showers. There is also a relaxation area with a lounge chair.
Elemis Day Spa – It provides a range of beauty and relaxation services particularly designed for frequent travellers. The soothing atmosphere is the perfect setting to rejuvenate with the skin and body treatments or reflexology services. It is open from 8:30 am till around midnight.
Atrium – A dedicated area where champagne, soft drinks and canapés are served round the clock.
Work – It has 26 workstations with phones and laptop connections, free Wi-Fi, business desktops, international phones, video, fax and photocopier facilities.
Quiet Room – Large restful leather armchairs and a ‘quiet zone’ in the library having a wide selection of newspapers and magazines.
Entertainment – Lounge entertainment system with headsets with over 100 music albums, 12 TV channels, 3 day weather forecast and flight information.
USP: Private cabanas, the marble shower suites, rainfall showers, spacious bathtub and a great view of planes landing.
Qantas’ First Lounge, Sydney International Terminal
Dazzling interiors designed by Marc Newson, this stylish lounge has leather recliners, Italian sofas and Carrara marble. It is well lighted and there is a rooftop observatory deck from which one can get a breath-taking view of the city.
Food and Beverage – The food and wine are gourmet class with an open-kitchen restaurant where you can watch the food being prepared. There is a well-stocked bar with a wide range of beverages to choose from including fresh barista coffee.
Payot Spa – The day spa has a complimentary spa treatment, which includes specially rejuvenating intensive-hydrating facial and massages, foot and leg wraps lasting from 30 to 50 minutes. The spa has its own private rooms with showers. Close to the spa are marble shower rooms with travel friendly toiletries.
Work – Business travellers can choose from 11 PC desks with internet access to catch up on their work. There are also two private work suites with their own iMac, printer-copier, landline phone and a flat screen TV, free and fast wireless and conference facilities. There are also a few iMacs and a printer-copier near the library (quiet zone).
Others – Entertainment area with Sony play stations and movies. Latest newspapers and magazines and many TVs in dedicated viewing areas.
USP: 180 degree views of Sydney and an air-freshening tropical garden with 8400 plants set in a 30 m wall.
Etihad’s Diamond First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi
Etihad’s Diamond First Class lounge has numerous zones including a dining area, a Six Senses Spa, individual entertainment pods, relaxation day beds, meeting room, library and lounge area.
Food and Drink – A-la-carte restaurant with the finest international cuisine to choose from. You can even dine at the heart of the kitchen if you wish.
Six Senses Spa – A 15 minutes free spa treatment; you can choose from one of the eight complimentary treatments at the Six Senses Spa. A range of treatments like facial renewal, foot detox and scalp massages are available.
Champagne Bar and Cigar Lounge – The offerings include a wide range of champagnes and unique boutique wines to choose from; a wide range of cigars, strong or mild, American or Cuban, to suit your taste; cognac lounge with a wide variety of drinks all in the comfort of plush leather armchairs.
Snooze Room – It has tranquil secluded snooze rooms with ergonomic daybeds, lavender scented pillows and socks, elegant silk drapes and scented candles.
Showers – Take refreshing showers while your clothes are being ironed and shoes polished.
Work – There is a state of the art meeting room which is spacious and well equipped. There are latest tele-conferencing facilities so you can even set up virtual meetings. There is a meeting room concierge, audio-visual equipment, video conferencing, conference call facilities, projectors and screens, dedicated telephone number, fax number and email address, broadband internet and a technician. The business centre is Mac equipped with broadband internet, free Wi-Fi access and printing facilities.
Entertainment Pods – Bang and Olufsen flat screens with individual headsets for viewing entertainment in individual pods. There is also a library, well stocked with the best magazines, books and newspapers.
USP: Family room with qualified nannies to look after children in a proper nursery complete with books and toys and a children’s menu.
From being simply a nook, away from the airport where one can relax and have a drink, lounges have come a long way. They have reinvented themselves in this new age of laptops and wireless connectivity. The business traveller can not only relax and sip a complimentary drink; he can also send emails, hold conferences and use the time productively. Today’s first class lounges are exclusive worlds in themselves, where the privileged customer can sigh with pleasure, shower away the jet lag, get a much needed nap in peace and comfort. In short be insulated from the pains of travel in a haven of luxury.