Air travel can be a pleasure for travelers who have access to exclusive lounges within the airport. These are quiet, comfortable, and spacious, offering amenities not available in the terminal. Here are the three lounges across the US that offer the best in comfort and services.
1. Emirates Lounge, JFK, New York City
Revamped and re-opened in July 2018, this luxurious lounge in Terminal 4 is an oasis in the chaos. The lounge design is elegant and inviting, with private seating areas. Padded chairs with pillows line the windows facing two east end runways.
The lounge accommodates 216 guests, which is ample for the number of business and first class passengers who use the lounge on any given day. A business center in the middle of the lounge has four computers and a printer.
High speed internet is free, and the lounge is stocked with a variety of reading materials. The bar offers a wide range of fine wines and champagne and premium spirits. The buffet serves expertly prepared Arabic, Far Eastern, Western, and vegetarian dishes. Massages are available. Passengers boarding at gate A6 board the aircraft directly from the lounge.
Business and first class passengers and Gold and Platinum Skywards elites traveling on Emirates or Quantas have complimentary access. Other passengers traveling on Emirates can purchase a day pass for $100.
2. Centurion Lounge, San Francisco International Airport
The airport lounges in American Express’s Centurion network are consistently good. Men’s Journal named the San Francisco Centurion Lounge as one of the world’s most luxurious. At check-in, guests are offered L’Occitane toiletries kits. The lounge has ample, comfortable seating, shower suites, and fine dining with seasonal foods prepared under the direction of a master chef. Meals are cooked in-house. Snacks and beverages are always available. The bar serves premium spirits, and a complimentary wine card entitles guests to five pours of Northern California wines.
The main seating area has comfortable chairs and sofas arranged in conversation groups that accommodate various numbers of guests. Electrical outlets are near each chairs. A workstation is well lit, and the family room is soundproof. A TV nook has sofas and chairs and a large, flat screen TV. The TV noise is confined to this area. Monitors around the lounge display gates and departure times. In a quiet, secluded, dimly lit room, guests can turn two chairs into a makeshift bed. Individual work spaces include high speed wifi.
Access to Centurion airport lounges requires a Platinum, Business Platinum, or Centurion card. If you have a different American Express card, a one-day pass is $50. You may bring two guests.
3. Delta Sky Club, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta
The Delta Sky Club in Atlanta gives travelers more than a quiet respite from airport chaos. It also has an outdoor sky deck. On this large patio, guests relax with drinks and watch planes take off and land.
Delta’s Master Sommelier curated a wine selection that is featured at a unique wine wall. Guests can request a taste, a glass, or a flight of wines. A wine ambassador helps guests select the perfect wine for their taste. Complimentary cocktails and craft beers are also served.
For dining, chef-inspired Southern fare includes locally sourced foods for soups and salads, breads exclusive to Delta Sky Club, pastas, and more. A full breakfast is available with locally baked bagels. Drinks and snacks are served throughout the day.
Art showcases work from emerging artists and local galleries and includes works inspired by the Atlanta area. Seating is comfortable and most seats have power outlets. Wifi is free, and reading material is abundant. TVs play at low volume. “Window cubes” provide quiet places to relax or to work.
Lounge access requires an international or transcontinental first class ticket, elite status with Delta, or an American Express Platinum or Centurion card.
4. United Global First, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago
United Airlines’ newly renovated premium lounge is one of most exclusive. It is small but posh. Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs are perfect for lounging. The food is expertly prepared to suit international tastes. The champagne is Veuve Clicquot. Showers have heated floors and towel racks. On request, clothes are pressed and mended. At departure time, guests use a private exit that opens right at their gate.
This lounge is an elite, invitation-only club for travelers in United’s Global Services Program who accumulate hundreds of thousands of miles annually. Day passes are not available.
5. Private Suites, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Domestic and international passengers can experience the epitome of airport service in this exclusive lounge that is located in a separate terminal. Guests arrive in a secure, private, gated parking area with valet service. A personal host greets each guest and guides him through the terminal’s private no-line TSA screening area and into a private suite. The suite includes comfortable seating, a large bathroom, a daybed, and a food service pantry with an extensive array for food and drinks. Toiletries and travel products such as headsets are provided. At departure time, guests are driven directly to their aircraft in luxury cars.
The Suites are open to members and nonmembers willing to pay a hefty fee in the thousands for this ultra luxurious airport service.
If you find yourself with too much time between flights while on your way to your luxury mansion rentals, Airbnb, or hotel, check out the exclusive lounges in your terminal. Even if you do not have the required ticket, points, or loyalty card, many lounges will give you a day pass for $50 to $100. Comfortable seating, gracious surroundings, a hushed atmosphere, and great food will make it money well spent.