How Great Does A Lounge Need To Be To Schedule A Long Stopover?

When you first get access to an airport lounge, all of them are magical. You get snacks and drinks. Maybe there will be some hot food (or not). You get free WiFi access and plenty of chairs with plugs. You could get used to that kind of life.

It doesn’t take long to realize that there’s only so much snack mix and crudites that you can try before they all taste the same. Then you visit a lounge that’s more than you thought possible. This usually happens at a flagship lounge located at the major hub city for an airline, like the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in London, Turkish’s lounge in Istanbul or the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt.

These aren’t just lounges, they’re experiences. Shouldn’t you want to spend some time there to enjoy them?

So my question is, how nice does a lounge need to be for you to schedule flights including a long layover just so you can spend more time at the lounge?

We’ve only visited two lounges that I’d consider spending more time in than was absolutely necessary. One of them was the Thai lounge in Bangkok. We were only flying business class but that still allowed us to get a massage (which Sharon got but I didn’t). The lounge itself was nice enough but nothing amazing.

The other lounge we visited that was really nice was the Star Alliance lounge in Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful space with a dining area, outside terrace and indoor view of the terminal. We spent maybe two hours there waiting for our flight because we arrived at the airport extra early. That was more because we were really cautious not to be late for our flight to Australia than really wanting to sit in the lounge for two hours.

Now, these are nice lounges. However, I still couldn’t see myself scheduling time out of a vacation for me to spend time there instead of getting to where I’m going to for my vacation. I guess I’m asking when does the trip to the lounge become part of the reason for the trip?

Since I usually need to book our trips around which airlines have available award space, I’ve never had the opportunity to book a flight based on the lounge. However, the closest thing I’ve ever done to this is when I booked a flight with a long layover so we could go to Dublin for the afternoon for lunch.

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Really, I’m curious. I’ve read tons of lounge reviews and I want to know which lounges are experiences in their own right. Are they all first-class lounges or are some business class lounges nice enough to make a trip out of visiting? Is it the thrill of getting to visit the first time or do they impress time and time again?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

3 thoughts on “How Great Does A Lounge Need To Be To Schedule A Long Stopover?”

  1. I think regardless of the lounge, after 3-4 hours, it gets a little old. I think the ones I would spend the most time would be the Qatar First Class lounge in Doha (where 6 hours actually flew by! – the Qatar Business Class lounge is a close 2nd), Air France La Premiere Lounge (CDG), Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FRA), Polaris Lounges, Qantas First (SYD). Other than that, I probably wouldn’t purposely extend a layover to visit a lounge.

  2. The Lufthansa lounge in Athens was really nice. Nicer than the lounge in Frankfurt, in fact, but not enough to schedule a stopover. Cathay lounges are really nice in first class. For those, maybe. The Chicago Polaris lounge is the best I’ve experienced domestically. Those are nice. Probably not worth a stop to experience unless you’re a major aviation geek, but I am, so I’d likely do it again if chance allowed.

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