Best Airport Lounges
When you're flying, the long hours aboard the plane can be made more bearable if you have access to a quality airport lounge before and after your flight. Many airlines offer lounges for first- and business-class passengers, but not all airport lounges are created equal. European and Asian carriers generally offer the most amenities, but U.S.-based carriers certainly don't slouch when it comes to pampering passengers who are willing to pay for the privilege.
Cathay Pacific has been consistently voted by travelers as having the best airport lounges in the industry. The Wing and The Pier are two of their premium lounges, both located at Hong Kong International Airport. These lounges are accessible by business-class and first-class passengers, but the first-class passengers get extra perks. They can take advantage of individual rooms in which private showers and sleeping quarters are provided. Televisions and concierge service, including light refreshment and full meals, upon request, are provided. These lounges offer dining options like a noodle bar and sit-down first-class dining. There are smoking rooms in which cigars and cigarettes are provided. The Long Bar serves cocktails and the Short Bar offers coffee in a more relaxed setting. Meeting rooms are also provided for business and first-class passengers with Wi-Fi Internet connection.
At the Frankfort Airport in German, an entire terminal has been constructed for first-class passengers. At 19,000 square feet, the Lufthansa first-class lounge terminal is one of the largest at any airport. Lufthansa offers a cigar lounge, and a first-class restaurant that serves full meals, pastries and light dining. Private meeting rooms and offices are available upon request, and each first-class traveler is assigned a personal concierge who will take care of reservations and other services for the traveler who simply doesn't have the time. The concierge will check bags, and can order full transportation service to and from the airport in a luxury vehicle, typically a Mercedes or Porsche. You can also arrange to use these vehicles to go from a private terminal to the aircraft boarding area.
American Airlines offers The Admirals Club, a lounge within the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The lounge can accommodate more than 300 guests. There is a separate music room, and the lounge can be used by both business and first-class passengers. You can even receive faxes at the lounge and have them held for you. There are luxurious conference rooms available on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are shower services for guests who need to be refreshed. There is an on-site, full-service bar for guests who want to ease their pre-flight jitters with a quiet drink.
Virgin Atlantic's lounge at San Francisco International offers guests the ability to use the on-site Wi-Fi connection, and have the staff take care of simple business matters such as sending and receiving emails and faxes. The lounge offers a full dining menu during normal business hours, as well as 24-hour snacks and refreshments. Both first-class and business-class passengers can enjoy this service. The lounge has digital art exhibits which showcase local artists, guests can take in the sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline and the bay.
Image Courtesy of Hong Kong International Airport