Airport lounges are known for offering a more peaceful respite from chaotic boarding gates, complimentary food and drinks, and sometimes a refreshing shower. But some First Class lounges offer other fantastic perks. Here are four of my favorite lounge perks, and where to find them:
1. Sleeping room
It often seems to me that the one thing a tired, jetlagged traveler craves most on a long layover between flights is also the one that is conspicuously absent from most airline lounges, even most first class lounges: a place to lie down and sleep.
That’s why I especially love the sleeping rooms at Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, which offer two sleeping rooms on a first come, first served basis that are quiet and completely dark when you turn out the lights. My son took a nice nap in one, after a red eye flight into Frankfurt. Lufthansa’s First Class Lounge in Munich also offers a sleeping room.
British Airways offers “Cabanas” in its Concorde Lounge, and these have a day bed (not a real bed, as in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal) along with a private bathroom and small work desk. There are also relaxation beds in a few other lounges, so keep your sleep mask and earplugs from the plane if you’re hoping for a nap on one of the day beds in a lounge without any private nap rooms.
2. Complimentary massage
Another perk that I highly value when traveling is a massage, which, especially after a nice hot shower, helps relax knotted muscles, rejuvenate, and make one feel human before or after a long flight. My favorite airport lounge massage perk is unquestionably the Thai Airways First Class Lounge, since it offers First Class passengers a full 1 hour massage at the nearby Thai Royal Orchid Spa (Business Class passengers enjoy a 30 minute neck and shoulders or foot massage treatment).
If you’re not flying Thai Airways anytime soon, other lounges offer a shorter massage perk, for example Etihad’s First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi offers a complimentary 15 minute massage treatment at its Six Senses Spa, Emirates offers a similar 15 minute complimentary massage treatment at its Timeless Spa in the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai, while Cathay Pacific offers a 15 minute foot massage at The Pier First Class Lounge in Hong Kong. Qantas likewise offers a 20 minute complimentary massage at its spas in the Sydney and Melbourne lounges. And Japan Airlines offers a complimentary 10 minute massage to both First Class and Business Class passengers, in its Tokyo Narita lounge spa.
British Airways also offers a 15 minute complimentary Elemis massage treatment to First Class and Club World Business Class passengers, although it was easily the worst of all my airport lounge massages–my therapist, even after I told her the treatment was hurting me and after I requested less pressure, insisted that this was the way the massage was supposed to be and continue to inflict pain, so I left. Your mileage may vary, but let’s just say I won’t be having any more Elemis massages, even when flying BA First.
3. Fitness center
In addition to lack of sleep, another negative aspect of traveling is often prolonged hours of sitting, which wreaks havoc with your body and overall wellness. Yet surprisingly few airports, let alone airport lounges, offer a fitness center–you typically have to book into a airport hotel to gain access to one. That’s why it’s admirable that the new Etihad First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi offers a Fitness Center, even though it’s a quite compact one. There are separate men’s and women’s showers, after a workout.
4. Supervised children’s play room
While a number of lounges do feature a kids’ play room or family room, to my knowledge only the Etihad lounges in Abu Dhabi feature a supervised Children’s Play Room, where cheerful staff are happy to look after your kid(s) while you have a crucial work call or enjoy a massage or salon treatment. While my son is old enough to look after himself for short times at home, I wouldn’t have been comfortable leaving him alone in any part of an airport lounge, so I was very appreciative of this service, which enabled me to have a short massage to get out the knots in my shoulders.
What are your favorite airport lounge perks?
Hilary Stockton is the CEO at TravelSort.
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