Airport lounges often aren’t the retreats for business travellers that they used to be. But they are still more desirable than spending hours at the gate. Here’s an update on where you can head to get some peace and pampering before boarding.
Plaza Premium’s elevated experience
Plaza Premium Lounge lets travellers enjoy pre-flight time in comfort, regardless of your airline or cabin class. For a fee, you can take advantage of the relaxing spaces in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Pacific and Middle East. Newest destinations include Cebu, Helsinki and a Plaza Premium First lounge has been added in Hong Kong.
Plaza Premium First is described as an “elevated lounge experience for elite travellers.” Though again, access is not restricted. The design and furnishings have been upgraded to give that first class feel and you can enjoy à la carte restaurant-style dining. Ultra-fast WiFi is available to make the most of your time.
Some airlines include free entry for their Business or First class passengers, such as Air France, Finnair, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways or Virgin Atlantic. Plaza Premium Lounge members, or credit card holders with access, can pay a surcharge to enjoy Plaza Premium First. If none of those apply, then you can pay around AU$169 for a 3-hour visit.
Air New Zealand new lounges
Air New Zealand is undergoing the redevelopment of its lounge network and investing $60 million in lounges across New Zealand. New lounges have also opened in Australia and Fiji.
An impressive Air New Zealand Regional Lounge has opened at Auckland Airport, on Level 1 in the Domestic terminal. Expansive runway views, modern design with different zones, self-serve buffet and barista-made coffee are features of the new lounge. The new permanent Nelson Regional Lounge has also just opened, on the mezzanine floor above the check-in area.
British Airways rolls out new lounges
Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International is the latest airport to welcome British Airways premium flyers to a new lounge. Business and First class customers now share one converted space, with a dedicated intimate dining area for First flyers. Particular attention has been paid to the lounge lighting, separate seating and business zones to ensure maximum comfort.
British Airways is introducing a new design to many of its lounge facilities. The airline has committed more than AU$11 billion to upgrade the customer experience. Improving its First Lounges and Club Lounges is part of that overhaul. Recent lounges to benefit from the new design rollout have included San Francisco, New York JFK, Rome Fiumicino, Milan Linate and Aberdeen. Updates are also scheduled for Geneva, Chicago and London Heathrow.
Etihad is in the house
London Heathrow Terminal 4 will once again have an airport lounge operated by Etihad Airways. The airline engaged No1 Lounges to manage the space in 2018, but reversed their decision in a recent review. Etihad Airways is keen to own and operate their own flagship lounges again.
For the time being, Sydney and Melbourne lounges will continue to be run by No1 Lounges as The House. In addition to Etihad flyers, The House lounge also accommodates Virgin Australia and British Airways passengers. Non-eligible passengers or flyers with other carriers can purchase a 3-hour visit for AU$80.
Etihad is commencing a fourth daily flight between Heathrow and Abu Dhabi. All the more reason for the airline to be able to influence the passenger experience for their eligible lounge guests.