100 Best Airport Lounges worldwide

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  • ThomasCox

    For what it’s worth, here’s my two-penn’th:

    1 – The old Concorde Room at LHR Terminal 4 – I flew Concorde once, aged 25, just before BA announced its retirement and I took my brother to NY for his 21st Birthday. Maybe I have rose-tinted memories but this was the pinnacle of luxury for me, with free-flowing vintage champagne (Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis) and canapes with caviar. Not to mention a view of Concorde and direct access to the plane. Heaven.
    2 – Qantas First Lounge Sydney – hands down most comfortable, most spacious lounge with a great view, the best / friendliest service and the tastiest food courtesy of Mr Neil Perry.
    3 – Cathay Pacific First, The Wing, Lounge HKG – Whilst the Pier is cosier this one has the private cabanas with baths. Repeat, baths. This alone wins if for me 🙂
    4 – Virgin Clubhouse LHR T3 – Private entrance, private check-in and security, then a short walk to the lounge which is still bonkers / lovely, and one of the few lounges I know of where you can get a properly made cocktail by bar staff who know what they’re doing!
    5 – BA Concorde Room at JFK – comfortable, exclusive, spacious with friendly staff and excellent wine / Champagne selection (vintage Taittinger Comte de Champagne last time I was there). And it’s far nicer than the Concorde room at LHR which is sadly always underwhelming.

    Honourable mentions to
    1 – BA’s First lounge in Chicago which, whilst small, has lovely staff who invariably upgrade me. There’s also a decent view of the piers / runway and you can access the plane direct from the lounge
    2 – BA’s First lounge in Houston where staff escort you the short walk to the plane and ensure you’re first to board.


    Great challenge, Tom

    Many people have mentioned the QF First Lounge in Sydney. I rather like its smaller cousin in Melbourne which tends to be quieter but offers the same quality of service.

    QF are doing a really good job refurbishing their Business lounges system-wide. I was in the new Domestic Lounge in BNE a couple of weeks ago and think it is a fabulous place and certainly a leader in domestic lounges.

    I would also like to put in a vote for the very small but comfortable MH First Lounge in Heathrow T4 – the service is personalised and attentive and the food offering varied and excellent quality.

    Finally, to go with the flow, CX’s Pier in HKG is a real pleasure to visit. The Wing is fine but is let down by its crazy layout.

    To counter the positive assessments of AY’s Helsinki Premium Lounges, I think they are bland, lack areas of privacy and have limited food offerings. They are generally overcrowded as well. Not as bland as KLM Lounges in Schipol, mind you…..

    Tom Otley

    Funny you should mention the MH (Malaysia Airlines) Lounge at T4. I was there last night for the inaugural flight of the A350.

    It is a lovely lounge, but it will be refurbished because, for one thing, it has next to no plugs and the staff have to raise floor panels for you to find some power for devices!

    It will be refurbished along with the other lounges – so the main international Golden Lounge here in KL is currently shut (opening in February 2018)


    So I’m in the Regional Lounge which reopened last October and is excellent – a definite one for the top 100.

    I’m going to write a review of it while I’m here, and also eat a lot of Malaysian food, freshly cooked.

    “Located in the Main Terminal Building, the Regional Lounge has been designed to cater to the needs of Malaysia Airlines Business Class, Enrich Platinum members, Enrich Gold members, eligible oneworld® Sapphire and Emerald Passengers whose flights depart from the Main Terminal of KLIA.

    Facilities include high-speed Wifi, international sockets, washroom with shower facilities, nursery and baby care room and Muslim prayer rooms.

    Our buffet features a selection of Asian, European and International dishes with the menus rotating weekly. Passengers can indulge in favourites such as Chicken Biryani, Beef Korma and Grilled Fish with Mango and Chilli Salsa depending on the week they are travelling in. There is also a selection of healthy salads, sandwiches, fresh fruit and soup. For a uniquely Malaysian experience, enjoy a bowl of Laksa from our Laksa Bar. Each week highlights a different type of Laksa from the various states of Malaysia.”


    The key things I look for in a lounge are

    1. Spaciousness
    2. Well lit
    3. Good views over apron
    4. Plenty of plugs for my phone and laptops

    Food and drink are secondary for me and cannot make up for cramped, dark lounges with no views and plugs.

    On this basis, two lounges that stand out in recent memory are the 51st & Green lounge at Dublin and the BA lounge at Copenhagen (not sure who the provider is). The COP lounge had superb views and in both you could sit up at the window with your laptop plugged in and work and watch the world go by. Another great one in this regard was Gibraltar’s priority pass lounge where you could sit outside on sofas!

    I am sure there are other lounges that I could add to this list but these come to mind straightaway.

    Tom Otley

    I completely agree.

    Without power for devices lounges aren’t much use, and in places where data is expensive, free wifi is good as well, particularly if you have to work.

    I do like food in the lounge, however, since often on flights I just want to sleep when heading home. Even on the long flights from Asia it’s better to have ticked that box and to be able to decline the service on board in favour of reading a good book (or watching the IFE – though I don’t, generally) and then getting a good night’s sleep.

    However, I take the point about dark lounges with no views.

    Thank you for your suggestions – we are getting there, though there’s a notable lack of US lounges from our posters. I wonder why 🙂


    It’s been great to read other lounge recommendations – ThomasCox, I’ll be looking to follow up on a few of yours in particular. Indeed, I’d totally missed that there were cabanas in the CX The Wing at HKG – and are these just for First Class/Emerald pax? I recall the showers are in the part of the lounge open to Business Class/Sapphires too.

    There’ve been a few comments about the Finnair HEL lounges – and I agree that they are increasingly suffering from overcrowding at peak times. But, TominScotland, there’s only one Finnair Premium Lounge, in the non-Schengen pier, in addition to the two Finnair Lounges in both Schengen and non-Schengen sides (yes, they could have gone for more distinctive names!). I agree the two Finnair Lounges are satisfactory rather than outstanding – but the Finnair Premium Lounge – now only open to Emeralds – is something a bit special, with a very good food spread, emphasis on quality over quantity with lots of tasty tapas-style plates including some traditional Finnish. There’s also a nice space at the back with views over the apron.

    To mention three third-party lounges – the Marco Polo Lounge at VCE has already been referenced, several very nice spaces including small outdoor section, food was ok and only oddity was the staff member always hovering by the food/drink area to enforce the no-self-service rule for alcoholic drinks! There’s also the Cibeles VIP Lounge at MAD T1, nice large space with great apron views and reasonable food selection. For outdoor space, I think the ZRH Aspire Lounge in Concourse E is hard to beat, a proper terrace with seating where you can take food and drink outside, with brilliant views of the apron, runway and the main terminal – on a Monday morning it was great fun watching the Swiss longhaul arrivals coming in, some then taxiing to gates right underneath.


    If we’re stuck for US lounges, two of mine to throw into the mix – accepting that they’re very good by US standards but might not make the top 100 cut:

    ORD American Airlines Flagship Lounge – a cosy comfortable space (though never seen it too busy), especially charming and helpful staff and a decent food display (though I think this has since been replaced by a new lounge which I’ve yet to visit).

    SEA Delta Sky Club, South Satellite – new(ish) lounge as part of the DL push in Seattle, great space, decent food offer and view of the apron, runway and Mount Rainier.


    Last week I was in the ANA First Class Lounge at Handeda Airport in Tokyo and the place was amazing! Almost A la Carte breakfast and at 6.50am they were running around offering people not only Champagne but Habiki Japanese Whiskey which if you are familiar with your whiskey’s is amazing … however not at 6.50am albeit amazed how many people were having a dram!! I am back there in a couple of weeks for an afternoon flight back to SIN I will check it out again for sure

    Thank you.
    I’m visiting KL on Tuesday with MAS but I think its lounge there is being refurbished at the moment, so I’ll miss seeing how that one has improved. Good idea of lounges (and airlines) to celebaret the products of their country – I’ve never had Japanese whiskey so will try it when the opportunity presents itself.

    Hi Tom hope you enjoyed the A350 to KUL!

    If you get the chance could you ask if the closed lounges are still on track to re-open on schedule on 29 JAN? :-))

    Tom Otley

    I did enjoy it, thank you, yes.

    Flight review: Malaysia Airlines A350 business class

    I was told that the new lounge will open in February, but whether that simply means the first few days (from January 29) will be a soft roll out to make sure things are working before they throw the doors wide open, or that there has been a definite delay of a few days or weeks, I’m not sure.

    I was told by the staff in the Regional Lounge that they have to do a lot of crowd control between the various lounges because of the large numbers of Oneworld-entitled guests wanting access to the lounges – especially QF and BA.


    Thanks Tom.

    Urgh. So typical of MH. Their last lounge refurbishments were delayed way beyond when they said they would reopen. I’ll never understand why they chose to close both the only First Class lounge AND their largest J class lounge at the same time. Surely it would have made sense to close one, refurbish it, open it. Then close the other and repeat.


    t5 ba gold lounge
    swiss air zurich
    qantas first sydney

    how can anyone diss ba gold lounge ? even the galleries are better than most other european first lounges!


    To ThomasCox: A quick question please re CCR at JFK – when did you visit and enjoy the Taittinger Comte de Champagne?

    I was there in July 2015, and the champagne was non vintage something and the wines were very ordinary.


    To ThomasCox: A quick question please re CCR at JFK – when did you visit and enjoy the Taittinger Comte de Champagne?
    I was there in July 2015, and the champagne was non vintage something and the wines were very ordinary.

    They had some in early Dec last year (2017), although I’m in here again now, waiting for the BA114 and it seems Laurent Perrier NV is the pick of the bunch. Not even the Grand Siecle sadly. Hopefully they have something better onboard.


    Photo of tonight’s wines in the JFK CCR attached.



    You should try La Premiere Lounge by Airfrance at CDG.

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