The airport lounge is not the same as it once was. Long just a place for travelers to plop their body – and bags – as they waited for a flight, the airport lounge has transformed into a place that’s much more like a 5-star restaurant or hotel than just a pre-boarding hang out spot.
The best airport lounges in the world offer comforts that go way beyond the ordinary lounge.
The top airport lounges in the world feature perks that you’d expect – like ultra-cozy chairs (some even have plush, restaurant-style booths with tables), plasma TV’s, and open bars. But, today’s discerning traveler demands more in a lounge (much more than the aforementioned benefits that they’re already receiving on their first or business class flights).
The contemporary, high-budget traveler wants an airport lounge with hotel-like amenities – such as spas, private rooms for napping, celebrity chef-catered meals, and even more. They’re looking for the best airport lounges in the world with offerings beyond being just a place to linger – they want a full-fledged, happy-layover, upscale experience and they’re getting it!
The Evolution of the Airport Lounge
The airport lounge’s evolution is one that could be called a natural phenomenon. Travelers paying the most money for a flight – or those who have high-profile corporations picking up the tab for their airplane seat – have come to expect a higher and higher level of personalized service when they travel – whether they’re on a plane or in their accommodations post flight.
Airport lounges have become an extension of the luxury lifestyle that many leisure and business travelers enjoy – which means they take upper-end passengers away to a calm, elegant place fare from the chaos and the masses.
It serves an airline’s best interest to furnish their best-paying customers with services that keep them coming back – amidst industry-wide competition to grab these travelers business with slashed prices and ever-changing frequent flyer rewards.
Today’s airlines know that offering certain customers the benefit of massage therapists, cigar lounges, and even private concierges who arrange tickets and restaurant reservations, makes all the difference in creating a loyal customer – despite any fare sales or comped tickets that other airlines may be giving out.
The best airport lounges in the world continually raise the comfort bar for passengers paying top dollar for a ticket because they don’t want to risk losing business to air carriers who offer private planes in combination with private lounge space.
The Top Airport Lounges in the World
So, which are the top airport lounges in the world?
The following airport lounges allow first-class and corporate travelers to enjoy incredible benefits like gourmet cuisine, premier business services, private duty-free shopping, upgraded bathrooms with spa showers, and more:
American Airlines Flagship Lounge (New York) – The American Airlines Flagship Lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport is located in the Concourse B Admirals Club Lounge (Terminal 8). The 7,000-square-foot space features a cyber café and business center, which allows travelers to submit jobs for printing from anywhere in the lounge.
At the American Airlines Flagship Lounge, you’ll find outstanding meal options, a great selection of liquor and wine, showers, and many flat-panel TV’s with DirecTV.
Air France l’Espace Premier Lounge (Paris) – The Air France l’Espace Premier Lounge sits in the Charles de Gaulle Airport (Terminal 2E). You’ll be escorted to this high-end airport lounge after you’ve been welcomed into the checkout area for first-class Air France travelers.
The Air Space Premier Lounge features the same luxurious décor that’s in Air France’s l’Espace Premier in-flight cabins (oversized armchairs and plush red carpeting), as well as amenities like a relaxation area with chaise lounges, Clarins massages, showers, wine, champagne, and spacious work areas. A private Mercedes sedan takes passengers to their plane!
British Airways Concorde Room (London) – British Airways’ Concorde Room at Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5) opened in March of 2008. This first-class passenger lounge features floor-to-ceiling glass walls that overlook the airport, a restaurant with intimate booths, a bar, and 3 private cabanas with en-suite bathrooms and beds (reserved in advance).
Guests of British Airways Concorde Room take advantage of a range of services at the adjacent Elemis spa, and they reap the benefit of a dedicated concierge (who will book theater tickets, call a taxi, and even change a flight reservation).
Quantas First-Class Lounge (Sydney) – First-class passengers flying on Quantas out of Sydney Airport’s International Terminal enjoy a 180-degree view of Botany Bay and Sydney while lounging in Italian chairs surrounded by lots of marble.
A day spa in the Quantas first-class lounge features use of relaxation and treatment rooms (complimentary), and guests of this high-end airport lounge have access to 11 computer stations with Internet access (and 2 private work suites)! The lounge provides PlayStation portables, and it offers a Neil Perry restaurant with 48 seats and open kitchen.
South African Airways Cycad First-Class Lounge (Johannesburg) – At the Johannesburg International Terminal (Upper Mezzanine Level, International Departures Terminal), you’ll find the South African Airways Cycad First-Class Lounge. This amazing lounge features a chef and team of waiters who are always on duty to provide an eclectic menu of plates – all in a subtly-safari-themed setting.
The South African Airways Cycad First-Class Lounge offers passengers full bar service, top South African wines, French champagne, shower rooms, 5 sleeping rooms with CD players, and a state-of-the-art business center with international telephone and computer.