I’ll admit that I am not a big customer of the airport lounge. I try to get from point A to point B in the least amount of time, so big layovers are not common. Flying Southwest a lot means that I am often in the smaller or alternate airports with fewer fancy amenities anyway. I typically only fly business or first class on international flights I have secured using points/miles. Which is how I flew to Thailand last month. I was able to secure some great flight times, so I only visited three airport lounges.
The Oneworld business lounge in the international terminal at LAX was my first airport lounge during this trip. My mid morning visit to this lounge was a great place to start. It was practically empty when I arrived, so I had a great opportunity to scope it out. The lounge is a giant rectangle around a multilevel atrium with a giant piece of yarn art inside of it. While the interior windows merely look out onto this space, it provides the lounge with a lot of light. I ate a light breakfast of fruit and bacon. There was a wide variety of hot and cold items as well as beverages. The children’s area was a section of round booths around a fire place. It was located right next to the bar. I’m not sure if this was genius move, or annoying for those without kids.
I got comfortable at a really long table so that I could work on some blog posts. The wifi password was clearly marked on placards at the table. The table also had plugs in the middle of the table spaced several feet apart. Each plug in had space for 4 to 6 devices. It was awesome. I liked the variety of seating in the lounge. They had bar seating, booths, tables, conversation areas, sofas, you name it. My only complaint was that the bathrooms were tucked away behind the children’s area. When traveling solo, it sure is a pain to have to pick up everything in order to visit the restroom. The glass of wine I got at the bar on the way back to my seat made it all worth it. I had a friend get his laptop stolen while he was in the restroom in an airport lounge, so I never leave my belongings alone.
On the way home I visited the Japan Airlines Sakura business lounge in Bangkok. Upon entry, the overwhelming smell of fish might cause some people to turn around and walk out the door. But I had a couple of hours, so I would not be deterred from finding a comfy seat and a place to plug in my devices. Even then, it took about 20 minutes for my nose to get used to the smell. Since it was only 5am, I had a few mini muffins and some tea. Everything else was of the fish or noodle variety. I grabbed a ginger ale in a can from the refrigerator and some chips for the road/sky before I left. The lounge was comfortable enough while I waited for my early morning flight.
The last lounge visit for this trip was the remote American Airlines Admirals Club in terminal 4. The remote terminal 4 means that you have to take a bus to get to the main terminal. Outside of the lounge there is only a small cafe kiosk to buy water and food. So when I found the sparkly clean lounge, I was so thankful. It is small, but new and clean. I appreciated the private bathrooms a lot. The staff even tried to find me some medicine from their first aid kit so that I would not have to bus all the way to the main terminal. That being said, the lounge is small and could be crowded during busy times. All of the major food and cocktails are for purchase. So if you can get by on cheese and crackers, soda and coffee, you are good to go. I was thankful for the big chairs but certainly wouldn’t pay extra to get into this lounge.
I’m still trying to decide if I really want to be a frequent airport lounge visitor. They seem to have differing policies about guests. So with our entire family traveling, it might cost extra to get into some lounges. I do appreciate having some type of complimentary food and drink instead of overpaying at an airport kiosk. I recently acquired the American Express Platinum card which grants me access to all of the Amex centurion lounges and Priority Pass lounges. I got the card for other reasons, not the lounge access, but why not take the other benefits for a spin? I’ll keep trying them on for size throughout the year and keep you posted.