(Lufthansa Airport Lounge at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) (First Class Terminal). Wikipedia Commons)
It used to be that only those who racked up mega miles traveling long distances had the opportunity to use the airlines’ business class lounges. The ultra elusive lounge remained a mystery for anyone unable to gain access to their private world hidden behind the frosted glass doors.
Most people get to the airport and are happy to grab something from McDonald’s or Sbarro and sit on one of the less than clean seats covered with garbage, crumbs, and whatever else one leaves behind at the airport. I once traveled out on a 7 a.m. flight and was at my gate at around 6 a.m., but I wasn’t alone. No, I was in the company of a family of mice who had decided that the airport gate was part of their home. It was from that point forward that I decided I would a) never sit on the floor if there were no seats at the gate and b) I needed to get into a business class lounge somehow.
For the average traveler, the business class lounge was somewhere they simply weren’t ever going to gain access to during their lifetime. That is until recently when with the cost of an airplane ticket, you could pay for not only an emergency exit seat, priority access, or extra baggage, but also access to the private world of the business class lounge only previously just beyond your reach. As the airlines looked for additional ways to boost their bottom line, the once exclusive hideaway for first class and business-class travelers was now open to well, the rest of us.
Granted, those who earned the use of these lounges with their million, Medallion, or Silver miles probably are a little irritated that for a price, anyone can now walk into a lounge. Their private clubhouse is now open to the riffraff that normal huddles at the departure gates around the airport. Whether or not it’s fair, it’s now part of everyday travel and we’ll all need to just get along.
If you don’t have the airline status or want to pay the airline’s fee, there are other options. One of them is enrolling in a program called Priority Pass. Priority Pass gives you access to over 600 VIP lounges in more than 100 countries and 300 cities worldwide. For a yearly fee, which varies depending on whether you have a promotion code or not, you can go to one of their select worldwide affiliated lounges and know that when you travel, you’ll always have somewhere to sit down and relax before a flight.
With three different types of annual memberships, there’s something for everyone. Be it the Standard membership, where you’re charged $27 for every visit; the Standard Plus membership that includes ten lounge visits and thereafter it’s $27 per visit; or the Prestige Membership with no per visit fee. You can even bring a guest along with you for an additional fee.
The next time you are rushing off to the airport feeling like a frantic, hot mess, why not consider skipping the airport gate and heading to a business lounge? Relax with a beverage of your choice, a snack, wifi, and the confidence that your next trip started out on the best possible foot.
Marian Krueger is the Founder of the Travel Shop Girl blog, a blog that simply states, “Travel musings by a girl who loves to write and travel the world.” Functioning on high-octane coffee most days, her straightforward and honest approach has resulted in a worldwide following and a desire for global domination. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.