Reply To: Best airport lounges in the world?

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How about best “non-lounge lounge” experience? Noumea springs to mind. Checking in 2 hours before the Qantas flight to Brisbane you then discover that you can’t access the lounge as passport control doesn’t turn up till about 45 minutes before the flight. No worries go to the airport cafe – but “sorry, no food” (a common theme in parts of Noumea it would seem). 50 mins before the flight, passport opens. I am first in line, and it takes an eternity as the goon on the desk examines every single page in my passport, very very very slowly.

There are no signs to the lounge. Eventually discovered upstairs. The attendant is hogging the internet computer, which she continues to do until we leave for the flight. For the 11 people that eventually turn up in the lounge there are 5 tiny individual canape plates. They turn out to be extremely old – the bread has completely dried out and the prawn ones do not smell well at. All are left unmolested. Despite the lounge having just opened, the ice has melted. the wine and champers are warm. There is nothing else to eat. There is no wi-fi, and Mme Atttendant is still busy with her correspondence. There is a jug, tea bags and cups but no water to make a cup of tea which my colleague desperately needs, as he contracted food poisoning in Noumea only the day before, whereas I had it on day one as was up for a stiffer drink. The attendant leaves the internet for a moment to make tea in the coffee machine (!!!!). It tastes like rancid coffee. So really all the lounge had in the end, was a couch to sit on and a warm drink. Period.

As a coda, once on board the FSD told me of a regular customer on the Bris-Noumea flights, who had had food poisoning on three consecutive trips at three different hotels. And on the next trip where the hotels didn’t poison him, he ate the canapes in the lounge and was violently ill most of the flight and pretty much took up residence in the forward bathroom Be warned!

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