Paid-For Airport Lounges: Are They Worth It?
Whenever I’m travelling through an airport, I’ve only really spent the majority of my time in the departures area seeing as I personally never saw the need to pay some money to enjoy the facilities of an airport lounge.
Over the past few years there have been occasions where I decided to shell out the £30 entry-fee to see what all the fuss is about. The result? I’m still in two minds. Of course we can’t travel much at the moment due to the pandemic, but there is always a debate in my household and friendship circle about paid-for airport lounges.
Below I’ve complied a little thought comparison between visiting an airport lounge or just roaming around the departures area to see if I can actually come to a definitive conclusion.
A lot of airports now offer complimentary Wi-Fi to everyone, something which only used to be available to customers who accessed an airport lounge. Although dubbed as a “faster speed”, I’m not sure I could justify spending money to access an area purely for internet access if it’s now available literally everywhere, even on the buses! As long as I can eventually load a webpage, I’m relatively happy.
Food and Drink
Of course this is one of the biggest benefits of visiting an airport lounge. The ability for food and drink to be included with the price of admission. Sometimes the inclusions may be unlimited drinks and snacks from the bar, others might be just one entrée from the menu, how rude! With the premium prices that airside restaurants charge, I probably would enjoy the lounge for this offering; but if I’m travelling alone I wouldn’t. Why I hear you ask, because when I travel solo my total F&B bill is usually around £12, including tip…I try to avoid alcohol before flying!
Peace and Quiet
Airports are those sorts of places that can seem quite relaxed and civilised, or the equivalent of a crowded day at a theme-park. I admit that I did pre-book to visit an airport lounge during the school-holiday time in 2019, but that was a mistake. It was over-crowded and felt seriously claustrophobic, add a few screaming kids too and I almost lost the will to live. Thank goodness they weren’t seated close to me on the flight. They were in Business and I was in Economy!
Bizarrely enough, the actual departures lounge was quite a civilised and peaceful environment. Airports really can be peaceful, you just need to look around for those quiet spots… there are quite a few if you happen to be travelling at the moment during these very strange times. Of course it really does depend at what time of year you are travelling and more specifically; what time of day. Again I’m probably 60/40 on this one. With the latter of paying the money for the lounge.
Value for Money
Whether it’s a special occasion or just your travel routine, I admit a visit to an airport lounge is nice. But I still can’t really justify the cost for visiting alone, some now charge £50 for the privilege. In my mind, that could be the cost of upgrading to a nicer room as a hotel, a delicious meal or an excursion. If I happened to be entitled to complimentary lounge access based on my frequent flyer status or class of travel; I may only use it 50% of the time. I’m still to come across an airport lounge that I’d happily visit over and over again. How about you?