If You’re Unsure About The Value Of Airport Lounges, Read On
Airports are a nightmare at the best of times, but this year’s chaos is unprecedented. If you’ve fought your way through the security line, ventured the length and breadth of the departures lounges, and tried to work next to a screaming baby, you may have glanced longingly at one of the airport lounges dotted around the airport.
Once seen as a symbol of luxury and inaccessible to the masses, lounges are springing up everywhere. Some airports have well over ten lounges, with many accessible to anyone willing to pay.
But are they worth the hype? We say, without a doubt, yes. At least in most cases. Here’s why you should consider getting lounge access on your next trip, especially this year.
1. They’re a much-needed dose of peace
The biggest benefit of any lounge, even a busy one, is the peace they offer. Departure lounges are chaotic. The worst of every human comes out in an airport, and fusing that with a long travel day, hunger, money, and impatience is never a good environment to be in before your flight.
Even if a lounge is a little busier, most make the effort to offer comfortable seating, further away from other passengers than the uncomfortable pews clustered around the departure gates. The people in the lounge are there for the same reason, peace, so there’s almost no chance of someone blaring their music, shouting down their phone, and even the parents with the crying kid are far more apathetic to the setting.
Relaxing before a flight is a luxury you should experience at least once.
2. There’s free food
Do we have to say much more? Many of the lounges are buffet style, so you can dig in as much as you’d like. Think about it, the more you eat, the further that entry fee goes.
But don’t be the person who drinks too much free booze. They don’t get let back in.
3. It might actually save you money
Depending on your travel day habits, paying for a lounge might actually end up cheaper than spending a few hours in the terminal.
If you’re on a long connection, you might be tempted to grab lunch, maybe a snack and a drink later, and of course, the obligatory airport alcoholic beverage, which can quickly rack up a bill. Airport food was inflated long before everything else was. Many lounges offer free food and even alcohol, which could end up a steal for you. If you have to pay $25 for a lounge stay, you’ve seriously upgraded for at least the same cost.
4. Working is far easier
If you’re traveling for work, a lounge should be a no-brainer. Even if you’ve prepared yourself with a fully charged laptop, departure lounge wifi can be brutal, your concentration levels have to be amazing, and you’re going to be working from your lap.
Lounges usually have work space, so you can get the feeling of a desk setup and almost always offer free wifi that functions separately from the outside connection. Taking a business call is possible in some, and even if you’re still stuck with your knees for a desk, at least you’re probably sitting on a nice comfy sofa.
5. If you’re a regular traveler you’re missing out
If you travel more than four or five times a year, you’re probably losing money. If it’s international travel, you’re definitely losing money. A combination of food and snack costs over the course of a year comfortably adds up to the cost of a subscription to a lounge app.
Priority Pass, one of the most comprehensive apps, has memberships starting at $99 and gives the user access to a multitude of lounges usually unavailable to most or at a higher price point. If you’re hopping on a flight every week, the full membership is still worth it in experience alone.
Airlines with membership programs also offer some amazing options, so if you’re loyal to a certain carrier, check out what they have available.
6. It could literally be free
Many credit cards, especially airline cards, include access to their lounges when flying with the same carrier. If you’re not taking advantage of this brilliant opportunity, you’re missing out. If you don’t have a card that grants you access to lounges, take a look at a few that offer the benefit. These will typically have fees, but if you’re already paying for another card with similar costs, it might be worth the switch.
Capital One, Chase, and Amex all have their own lounges dotted around the world for their top customers. The Amex Platinum Card, for example, offers free access for every cardholder at their Centurion lounges, which are often some of the best. It also grants free access to Priority Pass, so if there’s no Centurion, you’re still covered.
When is it not useful?
It’s all fine and well pushing you to pay for a lounge, but it’s just as important to know when it’s not worth it.
If you just really need some peace, go for it. But if you’re on a short domestic flight, you’re not flying often, and you’re unlikely to be eating very much during your time in the airport, just suck it up and give it a miss.
It’s great to have a comfortable place to hang out, but is it really worth $25 before your two hour flight home? Just hang on and get into bed.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com