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Most people count down the days until they get to go on vacation, so they can get away from the stress of their daily lives, work woes, their bosses, sitting in traffic and the daily grind to relax on a beach, hike a mountain range, go on an African Safari, or chill out in a European market square with a coffee and soak in all the history around them.
Travelling to and exploring foreign lands can be exhilarating for your soul and just what you needed to melt away all your worries.
Getting to and through the airport and spending hours in lines is a whole new ballgame though. You have to arrive early, wait in lines to check your bags, go through more lines at security and heaven forbid that you forgot to take your laptop out, or forgot your half empty bottle of water in your carry-on. Ugh! The stress mounts. It’s one hundred degrees in the lineup as you are surrounded by crying babies, people screaming at each other and the guy in front of you forgot to shower today. AHHH!
Just when you think you’re about to lose your mind, you grab your belongings after passport control and you head to your gate to wait out your six hour layover. As you approach your gate, you see that all the chairs are taken and the only spot left for you is the floor with a spilled drink pooling in the vacant area. Grrrreat. You decide to wander around and then you see a sign that points to an entryway that reads, “Lounge” and you wonder, “Should I?”
Yes, yes you most definitely should.
As you approach what looks to be an entryway made of gold and glass, a sliding door whisks open and you’re hit with the aroma of essential oils wafting from the lounge spa. You look around and see a large desk with a smiling receptionist to greet you, beautiful tiles on the marble floors, which are so clean, you can see your reflection in them. You sheepishly ask if you can purchase a day pass and to your surprise, they say yes. You buy the pass and slowly walk into the lounge area, which is covered in stunning details and designed in a way that screams (not too loudly though) relaxation.
You notice the soft, dim mood lighting, the scent of freshly cooked food and hear faint sounds of people’s forks and knives clinking against their plates and a cappuccino machine frothing some milk. You wonder to yourself, “What is this magical place?”
Welcome to the Airport Lounge, my friend.
Before my recent trip to India, I never thought I’d be able to get into one of the elusive and swanky airport lounges, let alone be able to afford visiting one. I diligently did some research prior to my trip, since I knew I was going to have some crazy long layover times (9 hours in Oman going there and 6 hours in Mumbai coming home), so I decided to see what the lounges had to offer and take a sneak peak at the prices. I was pleasantly surprised at the amenities and the costs and I figured, what the hell? I was travelling to and from India solo, so some downtime in style would be nice. Sometimes you just need to treat yo’self and boy, did the two lounges I used live up to the hype.
I’m obsessed with lounges now and I’m ruined for life because of them! I will never spend another long layover sitting in uncomfortable steel chairs, listing to people shouting and paying obscene prices for a drink and a meal. Goodbye $15 sandwiches and hello all you can eat buffets!
The two lounges I visited were the Prime Class Lounge in Muscat International Airport in Oman and the other was the GVK Business Lounge in Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. Both lounges are located after security and passport control and are easily marked with signs above throughout the terminals.
Here is a summary on why I think buying an Airport Lounge Pass is worth the money.
Benefits Of Getting A Lounge Pass
It’s Nice & Quiet
Stepping into an airport lounge is like stepping into another world. The constant buzz of people chatting and announcements sounding off are non-existent. Most lounges have large enough couches where you can kick back and catch up on some much needed Z’s, or just simply throw on some headphones and listen to music, or watch a movie in the cinema. Just note that in the lounges, there are no flight announcements, so keep an eye on the numerous flight display screens throughout the lounges, so you don’t miss your boarding time.
As I walked into the Prime Class Lounge in Muscat and the GVK Business Lounge in Mumbai, I couldn’t get over how clean and pristine everything was. There was no garbage on the ground, my shoes didn’t stick to the floors and I could see staff cleaning up the entire time without being intrusive to guests. I was seriously impressed for a first time lounge visitor from the moment I walked in, to the moment I left. Oh, and nothing is better than using a sparkling clean bathroom to freshen up after, or before 20+ hours flying…just saying!
The Food & Drinks Are Better
When visiting an airport lounge, get ready to be blown away by the food selection. Keep in mind that not all airport lounges have spectacular food choices, but the two lounges I used were out of this world amazing! The buffet was jam packed with fresh cut fruits, local cuisine, Western cuisine, omelette stations, coffee bars, liquor and beer bars and a dessert table that seemed to fill up before I could blink an eye. Everyone knows that airplane food isn’t exactly Michelin Star levels, so if you want to fill up on a nice selection of food before your flight, hit up a lounge and get ready to stuff your face!
Friendly & Attentive Staff
Nothing ruins your travel day more than unfriendly staff at the airport. The friendly and attentive staff within the airport lounges I used was unlike anything I’ve ever encountered. At the GVK Business Lounge in Mumbai, I experienced a level of customer service that I never knew was attainable. I basically had my own personal waiter who would bring me ice cold beers faster than I could finish them, small table snacks to munch on and he even gave me a personal tour of the lounge and told me about all the cool features. The lounges had impeccable service from the initial greeting at the front desk, right until the time of departure. If you do have a really great experience with an individual staff member, make sure to tip them, as they work hard to make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed.
Reasonably Priced For What You Get
If you factor in purchasing food, drinks, coffee and snacks at the airport kiosks, restaurants and bars, you’re looking to spend a pretty penny, especially if you have a long layover that will require you to eat a few meals. While I had a short layover in Abu Dhabi, the cost of a cappuccino, sandwich and an iced tea cost me $31.00 CAD!!!! Insane! The cost of the Prime Class Lounge in Muscat (at the exchange rate in March 2019) cost me $143.00 CAD for 6 full hours, so approximately 20,000 OMR per every 3 hours. The cost of the GVK Business Lounge in Mumbai (at the exchange rate in March 2019) cost me $77.00 CAD for 3 hours, which is approximately 3,500 INR for 3 hours. When I factored in the cost of how much I ate and drank while in the lounges, I ended up getting quite a good value. Plus, you can’t put a price on pure relaxation. 😉
One thing I hate about certain International airports, is the fact that you need to login to the WiFi, obtain a password, then use that password to login, BUT you can’t access your network if you don’t have connection, so it’s literally useless and frustrating especially if you need to send a quick email to say you’ve arrived safely to your loved ones back home. Some airports (I’m looking at you Muscat) make you scan your passport at a machine within the terminal, obtain a code and use that code as the password. The airport lounges run on their own private WiFi, so less people are using it, which makes it lightning fast and reliable. Upon payment at the front desk, you’ll be given a piece of paper with the login and password for the WiFi in the lounge, which you then can have unlimited use during your stay. Score!
Airport lounges just ooze comfort. Big inviting leather couches are scattered throughout the lounge, along with cocoon style armchairs that seem to engulf your whole body and give you some much needed privacy. The lighting is nice and dim, which creates a relaxed feeling and just makes your airport stress melt away. A few glasses of beer, or wine will have the same effect, or so I’m told. 😉
You don’t need to be a high roller, first class flying, multi millionaire passenger to enjoy the perks and amenities of an airport lounge. Next time you have a long layover, skip purchasing a meal and drinks at the airport and treat yourself to an airport lounge day pass. You’ll thank me later, trust me. For a complete list of airports and their lounges, you can visit the Loungepass website and find a lounge that suits your needs and your wallet.
Have any of you guys used an airport lounge? If so, which airport were you at and what was your experience like? If you haven’t used an airport lounge before, is it something you’ll consider now for your next long layover? Let me know in the comments below! xo
Thanks to all the staff at Prime Class Lounge in Muscat International Airport in Oman and GVK Business Lounge in Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. Both lounges were stunning and had great service and amenities. All photos and opinions are my own.