When we pick a business or first class flight we often make our choices based upon the service in the air. However, in today’s world of long security lines we often get to the airport way ahead of the scheduled departure so we end up with lots of time on the ground. And many times if you’re doing a long haul trans-Atlantic night flight you’ll want to eat in the lounge before take-off in order to maximize your rest time during the flight. Therefore having a great airline lounge becomes even more important if you want to be lounging around before you fly.
An airline lounge is no longer just a fancy waiting room. So here are my thoughts on the best first and business classes lounge. But first a word of caution, first class lounges are very different to business class ones. Also remember the hub of the airline will always be their flagship and best product.
Let’s start with first class lounges.
- Unbelievable, does not get much better than this. In Hong Kong they have upgraded the Pier lounge which has a restaurant, a spa, a bar and the most opulent decoration I’ve ever seen in an airport lounge.
- In Bangkok they have concierge service that drops you off to the lounge and takes you directly to the plane. They have a restaurant with private rooms filled with champagne and great Thai food. Modern decoration.
- This possibly has the most exclusive lounge in the world. Five-star dining which is possibly the best I’ve ever seen. Private rooms and everything you could ever imagine.
- A beautiful buffet restaurant with fantastic food, choice of champagnes and a private car to take you on the tarmac to your plane- James Bond eat your heart out!
- Not very impressed by the food but the decoration is very Modern British and service is a little bit stiff but it does have a VIP exclusive feel about it.
These are the top of my list and worth thinking about it if you have a choice of airlines to consider travelling with. Now let’s look at business class offerings.
Let’s just say straight out that Virgin Atlantic is as close to first class as you could ever get for a business class product. The clubhouse has everything you need. You can get your haircut, have some sushi, drink champagne and play games. It just hands down beats all the rest.
Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific
- Cathay Pacific’s new lounge the Pier just re-opened. Noodle bar, dim sum, bars, showers and the best design I have seen in a business lounge. Singapore Airline’s biz lunge is large and expansive with good food.
British Airways, Lufthansa and Thai
- All three of these carrier’s business class lounges are kind of mediocre and to me, the next bracket down. Food is OK, decor nice, drinks good. One nice feature though is that BA offers in lounge dining in USA cities to eat before you fly, so you can maximize on rest.
Most other Asian carriers are good and offer much more food than American carriers. Turkish Airlines gets a special mention for than Istanbul lounge and Air Canada is a cut above the US carriers. Both offer great places for lounging around before boarding.
Another shout out has to go to the Gulf carriers but those reviews will have to wait for a future article.
Sorry to say it but KLM, Delta, American, United and Alaska just don’t have it on the food side. They generally don’t offer much more than crackers and cheese with a few more options like humus and pasta salads.
United says they’re upgrading but right now they’re quite a poor offering. Delta has made the biggest upgrades recently and some of their lounges like in JFK, allow you to pre-order very good food but you do have to pay for it. Delta seem to have invested the most in the decor of the upgraded new lounges.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.