5 Reasons Why Airport Lounges Are The Greatest Travel Hack
As much as we love to travel, it can be extremely tiring - especially on air travel days. There's security, long lines, big crowds, and the constant feeling that we're late for something. The fatigue that airline transport causes is the main reason why we love airport lounges. Of course, not all lounges are the same. Some are top-notch, while others are barely better than sitting at your gate. But regardless of the quality, the worst lounge is still better than the best terminal. Keep reading to find out why.
1. Lounges Are Quiet
There’s something so lovely about hearing the sounds of the terminal fade away as the doors to the lounge close behind you. Lounges, in general, are quiet. Even if a lounge becomes crowded, it's filled with people trying to escape the airport or people working. So the volume level is lower. Some even have designated quiet zones, where kids and phones aren't allowed. We've also seen private call rooms, where you can sit and have a phone call without bothering others or having them bother you. If you're trying to escape the constant hum of the terminal, lounges are where you need to be.
2. Lounges Are Relaxing
A quiet room is automatically more relaxing than sitting at your gate, but most lounges have dedicated features to help you calm down even more. To start with, the chairs inside are more comfortable. Even the most basic of lounges will offer big comfy chairs to kick back in. The Centurion lounge in DFW has huge three-sided cocoon like chairs with big pillows that help you gain some privacy. One lounge in Ecuador had a dedicated nap room, where you lay your head down on flat leather sleeper couches away from everyone else. During peak travel times, lounges can become crowded. But still, lounges are a pleasant respite from the huslte and bustle outside.
3. Lounges Have Private Showers And Bathrooms
This is a big feature for us. We love freshening up before or after a long flight. We once had an 8-hour layover in Panama, during the summer. We left the airport to explore the city. We had a good time, but it was so hot. After we finished walking around, we showered and changed clothes in the lounge before our next flight. It was awesome. It's also great to be able to clean up after a long overnight flight if you arrive before you can check in to your hotel. Plus public airport bathrooms are usually gross. You know they are. With lounge access, you almost always have a private, clean bathroom to use.
4. Lounges Have Free Food And Drinks
For the most part, food options in an airport are overpriced and not the most exciting. Sure there are some great restaurants in airports, but places like Chilis and Applebees are more plentiful. It's also not unheard of to spend a hundred dollars or more on food and drinks if you have a long layover.
Lounges come to the rescue again. Most lounges have a free full bar and simple snacks, but the better ones have great alcohol choices and fantastic food. Some of the best lounges for food are the American Express Centurion Lounges. In the Seattle Centurion, the breakfast buffet was phenomenal. Our favorite Centurion Lounge, in the Dallas airport, has pork tacos for me and plenty of vegetarian options for Charise. Grab a plate and load it up with whatever you want. Then head to the bar for a drink to calm your nerves about flying. And the best part is that it's all free. We've saved so much money eating and drinking in lounges. Plus we've avoided wasting travel funds on subpar airport food.
5. Lounges Have Other Unique Amenities
Lounges also have other amenities you might not expect. The DFW Centurion lounge has a spa that offers manicures, pedicures and massages. Private meeting rooms and office space can also be found if you need to work. Minute Suites are a chain of small private living rooms where you can kick back on a couch and watch Netflix. An over the top lounge we're going to visit soon in Istanbul has a bowling alley, movie theater and honey you can freshly cut off the comb yourself. The sky is the limit on premium perks some lounges offer. We use the Priority Pass and Loungebuddy apps to read reviews and pick the best lounge to hang out in and pass the time.
How To Get Access
All of these perks do come at a cost, however. If you travel infrequently, you can purchase one time access to some lounges. It varies, but this will usually cost at least 50 bucks. If the lounge is nice, that cost can quickly be recouped by the amenities inside. Our recommendation though is to get a premium rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum. Both of these cards offer Priority Pass memberships, which give you access to a large selection of lounges around the world. The Amex Platinum card is needed to gain entry to Amex's own Centurion lounges. Both of these cards have fairly substantial annual fees. But if you travel a lot, the perks of these cards, like lounge access easily outweighs the expenses involved. We have both cards and come out ahead on cost every year. How do you feel about lounges? Do you visit them when you travel? Answer below in the comments.