If anyone knows the best amenities in airport lounges around the world. It would be Patrick LeQuere, founder and owner of the website LoungeReview.com. He is a self-described travel geek who began keeping track of his lounge experiences more than 10 years ago. He says he has visited more than 200 airport lounges around the world and has developed a list of the amenities he likes best.
These are crucial to LeQuere, who says he needs peace, quiet and a place where he can work where people don’t look at his computer screen. These come in multiple flavors, including private hotel rooms at Turkish Airlines’ Lounge Istanbul, United Airlines productivity pods at the Polaris Lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and the Plaza Premium honeycomb seating.
For LeQuere, access to showers is as key as private spaces. “A shower will help reboot you at the end of a long flight or during a long layover,” he said, noting that good ones include a sink and toilet. Some of his favorites are in Cathay Pacific’s The Wing at Hong Kong International Airport, the Delta Sky Club at Hartsfield-Jackson airport's international terminal and Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, which features tubs and rubber ducks.
LeQuere noted that he didn’t really value these until after a grueling trip, this amenity was available in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Germany’s Frankfurt Airport. “They are really nice rooms with a door and a lock.” He also cited semi-private spaces including sleeping pods offered by United Airlines at London Heathrow and Brussels Airlines at Brussels Airport.
Although he considers them somewhat of a gimmick, LeQuere admits they are a pretty cool amenity. While British Airways has a full spa at its Heathrow lounge, it tends to be backed up, since only first class passengers can call ahead for an appointment. Other airports with impressive spas include Air France at Paris-Charles de Gaulle AIrport, Emirates in Dubai, Etihad in Abu Dhabi and Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow.
For LeQuere, this is both a little-known perk and an aviation geek’s dream. “It doesn’t get any better than being driven to your plane in a limo. And the longer the ride, the better,” he said. Lufthansa does it at its First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, Swiss does it for first class passengers in Zurich and both United and Delta Air Lines occasionally do it for their top customers.
This has become a hot amenity that allows passengers to see aircraft up close and get the smell of jet fuel, said LeQuere. His pick for the best one? The Star Alliance Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport. “It has fire pits, great bartenders and amazing views of Hollywood and the mountains,” he said. “Zurich Airport’s Dock E has a whole deck that wraps around the building and offers great views of aircraft and the Swiss Alps. And if you’re a first class passenger, they’ll serve you hot Swiss fondue on the deck.” He also noted outdoor decks at Lufthansa’s Senator Lounge in Hamburg, the United Club at LAX and Delta’s Sky Club at JFK Airport.
Different Dining Options
Having cooked-to-order fresh food is a sweet benefit, said LeQuere. “Plaza Premium lounges was the first to do this, but it’s becoming more common these days,” he said. Swiss and Virgin Atlantic offer this, while Turkish Airlines will do it for local or Western food and Lufthansa has pop-up stands that cook fresh pasta and vegetables. He also likes ones that offer full-service restaurants like the British Airways Concorde Lounge at London Heathrow.
Wine Walls/Self-service Bars
It’s more typical for foreign airlines to have self-service bars, said LeQuere. “Sometimes you don’t want to talk and you want to make your own drink,” he said. And wine walls are becoming popular in places like the Delta Sky Club at Hartsfield-Jackson and the American Express Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport.
You may need to change but don’t have time to wait for a shower, said LeQuere. “At United’s Polaris Lounge, each bathroom is large, with a sink, a toilet, a bench and a hook for clothes,” he said. A similar set-up is available at British Airways’ Concorde Lounge at London Heathrow and Delta at its Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Sky Club.
When there’s a long layover, you may want to leave the lounge and wander. LeQuere says it’s nice to have these lockers so you don’t have to worry about your belongings. Airlines including Lufthansa and Turkish have lockers in their lounges. Unfortunately, the Transportation Security Administration has banned the use of lockers in U.S. airports, citing security concerns.