Airlines and Aviation
Whether it is enjoying a glass of wine while waiting for departure or having a comfortable spot to work on your lapstop - or catch a few winks between flights - airport lounges are becoming increasingly luxurious.
The Design Air and Airways magazine evaluated airport lounges around the world and came up with a Top 10 list of the world's best airport lounges.
Airport lounges used to be relatively simple affairs, but they are becoming increasingly luxurious as airlines see them as a way of distinguishing themselves from the pack.
The Top 10 list includes one paid in lounge, a lounge at Mumbai International Airport in India. All of the others are operated by airlines.
I have to admit: I love having a lounge to relax in before departure. I'm lucky as my credit card offers me access to a paid-in lounge at Hong Kong International Airport.
Unfortunately, whereas access used to be unlimited, now I can only use it 4 times a year.
In Between Flights
Having access to an airport lounge is even more important if you are changing flights. On my last trip to Europe, there was a 3 hour hiatus between flights at a major hub in the Middle East.
Fortunately, we had access to a very sumptuous airport lounge, which even had shower facilities. Unfortunately, I didn't get to take a shower because the showers were all full. So I had another glass of wine instead.
On a flight to the United States, however, I DID get to take a shower at the smaller - and less crowded - business class lounge in Seoul, Korea, and it really DID make a difference.
Qantas must be doing something right. The Australian airline's lounges in 2 airports - Sydney Airport and Hong Kong International Airport - came in 1st and 3rd place, respectively.
Hong Kong International Airport, a.k.a. Chek Lap Kok, has 2 lounges on the list: the Qantas lounge and Cathay Pacific's 5 lounges.
London Heathrow also has 2 lounges on the list: the Virgin Atlantic and British Airways lounges.
Other airports with lounges making the top 10 include Helsinki Finnair), Taipei (China Airlines), Tokyo Haneda (Japan Airlines), and Doha (Qatar Airways
Best Airport Lounges
Ranked as the world's best airport lounge, the Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney Airport is divided into different sections, each with a different feel. Photo Credit: oneworld.
1. Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney Airport (SYD) in Sydney Australia came in first, climbing one place since last year;
2. Finnair Premium Lounge, Helsinki Airport (HEL) in Helsinki, Finland, and Qantas Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) in Hong Kong tied for 2nd, with both lounges making the list for the first time;
4. Cathay Pacific Lounges, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) dropped 3 spots to 4th place. There are 5 Cathay Pacific Lounges scattered about Chek Lap Kok, the airline's hub;
5. China Airlines Lounge, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) in Taipei came in 5th place, making the list for the first time;
6. JAL First Class Lounge, Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) in Japan came in 6th place, making the list for the first time;
7. GVK Lounge, Mumbai Airport (BOM) in Mumbai, India, is a paid-in lounge, the only one to make the top 10. It made the list for the first time;
8. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, at London Heathrow (LHR) in England, Qatar Airways Lounge, at Doha International Airport in Qatar (DOH) and British Airways Concorde Lounge at London Heathrow (LHR) tied for 8th place. The first 2 lounges made the list for the first time. The third down dropped 4 places since last year.
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