Rules for who’s allowed to enter airport lounges and who isn’t can be challenging, particularly if you’re dealing with an airline and/or airport you’re unfamiliar with. I’ve found no airline with more confusing lounge rules than Lufthansa. When we were connecting from our business class flight on Singapore Airlines to a Lufthansa flight in economy, I decided to see if we could spend the time from our layover in the lounge near our gate.
I was informed in a formal, polite manner that we did not have access to a Lufthansa lounge with our tickets. I suspected this might be the case, so I was not bothered by being turned away. I feel that I took it much better than the people I saw getting turned away while I sat in a lounge one afternoon, using the interactions as a way to pass the time.
Each lounge has its own set of entrance rules from the exclusive First Class Terminal to the most basic offerings. Here are my notes on “Lufthansa Lounge Access For Beginners,” which I hope will prevent you from running into the same issues we did when trying to get into a lounge.
The best place to start is Lufthansa’s website. They have a complete listing of all of the different types of lounges and who has access to each one.
Lufthansa has four kinds of lounges
- First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)/First Class Lounges
- Senator Lounges
- Business Lounges
- Welcome Lounges
Lounge Access Rules
There are way too many rules for me to write them all down. One overarching rule applies when entering Lufthansa lounges that makes everything easier to understand. If you’re trying to get access to the lounge because of your class of service of your ticket or from Star Alliance status, the flight you’re getting on is usually the one that matters, not the one you’re connecting from. Lufthansa and SWISS Miles and More frequent flyers have different rules for lounge entry, and I’m not going to go into their rules because I doubt people with status will bother to read this post anyway.
So while we were arriving on a business class ticket with Singapore, we were connecting to a Lufthansa flight in economy class. That meant we were not eligible to get access to any Lufthansa lounge.
To get lounge access for a business class ticket, we’d need a boarding pass for a Lufthansa/Star Alliance flight departing on the same day.
All of this is different if you’re on a first-class flight from Lufthansa or SWISS or a HON Circle Member, then you can get access if you’re arriving or departing on that ticket. Unless you can’t.
Access to the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is only possible with a confirmed First Class flight on the same day with Lufthansa or SWISS. HON Circle Members have access to the First Class Terminal for Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian Airlines flights departing on the same day. Passengers flying into Frankfurt have no access to the First Class Terminal.
With your First Class boarding pass for a flight operated by Lufthansa or SWISS on the same day, you have access to the First Class facilities (First Class Terminal and First Class Lounges). Passengers who, in addition to their First Class flight, are taking a connecting or feeder flight, have access to the First Class facilities, as long as the entire First Class journey is a through booking.
AMEX Platinum Lounge Access
I could have gotten lounge access if I had kept my American Express Platinum card. It’s one of the many lounges you can get into with a Platinum card, as expanded lounge access is one of the significant reasons to keep the card.
This benefit is available to the Platinum Card. Additional Gold Cards and Additional Green Cards on your Platinum Card account are not eligible for complimentary access. Platinum Card Members have complimentary access to select Lufthansa Business Lounges (regardless of ticket class) and Lufthansa Senator Lounges (when flying business class). To access the Lufthansa lounges, Platinum Card Member must present a government issued I.D., a same-day departure boarding pass showing confirmed reservation on a Lufthansa Group flight (Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian airlines) and a valid Platinum Card. For the most current list of participating lounges and access requirements, please use the Lounge Finder feature in the American Express App or visit americanexpress.com/findalounge. Card Members must adhere to all rules of participating lounges. Participating lounges and locations subject to change without notice. Additional guest access and fees subject to terms and conditions of participating lounges. In some Lounges the Platinum Card Member must be at least 18 years of age to enter without a parent or guardian. Must be of legal drinking age to consume alcoholic beverages. Please drink responsibly. For the most current Lufthansa rules and guest access and pricing policy, please visit lufthansa.com/de/en/lounges...
The one lounge where the entrance is dependent on the class of ticket of your arriving flight is the Welcome Lounge in Frankfurt. You can get access if you have a First Class or Business Class boarding pass for a Lufthansa or SWISS intercontinental flight arriving on the same day.
I didn’t even get into the minutia of how many guests you can bring into the lounge or the restrictions on entering partner lounges. I was starting to get lightheaded already.
So while we were rightfully denied access to a Lufthansa lounge, it wasn’t the end of the world. Frankfurt Airport has free wi-fi access, and there are plenty of places to charge your devices. I picked up a sandwich and a soda from a shop near the gate and spent the hour before our flight reading a book on my iPad.
If you’re looking for lounge access during your trip, take some time to learn the airline’s rules and even of that particular lounge before your trip. A few minutes of preparation can prevent hours of discomfort at the airport.
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