Airport downtime may be the great equalizer among travelers, but what makes the difference is where and how you wait while you watch planes take off and land.
A first class ticket can provide you with an open door to an opulent lounge where you get free-flowing glasses of bubbly or have a personal assistant at your beck and call. Apart from the comfortable flight itself, these lounges make the ticket worth the upgrade.
Below, a list of some exceptional lounges that would make any delayed flight all the more bearable.
GVK Lounge by TFS Performa
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India
Last year’s World Travel Awards recognized this first class area with the top honor, as it did the year before. Similar to a five-star hotel experience, the GVK Lounge customizes its service for its passengers. Elegantly designed in gold and red, the lounge offers private meeting rooms and quiet areas, which are interspersed throughout the area. For the weary voyager, individual spa treatments and complimentary massages await. Instead of a buffet, the dining area offers gourmet selections such as lobster bisque, lamb biryani, or maple salmon. At the bar, passengers have access to a selection of fine wines and Champagnes.
Cathay Pacific The Pier
Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong
Renovated last year, the lounge offers added services such as complimentary foot massages for all passengers and neck and shoulder massages by request. The Retreat also offers eight Day Suites for those with overnight layovers, with each suite furnished with a daybed. Dedicated to the business-oriented, the Bureau comes equipped with six secluded work areas complete with iMacs and all the comforts of a home office. The bar and dining areas may be fantastic, but the limestone shower suites are of note for those who’d like to freshen up with a warm shower.
Qantas International First Lounge
Sydney International Airport in Sydney, Australia
Apart from exquisitely modern aesthetics showcasing marble counters and wooden elements in spacious seating areas, the Qantas lounge is especially known for anticipating each passenger’s needs, including booking a complimentary spa treatment of the passenger's choice. Other spectacular services include its well-stocked library, a seasonal menu crafted by head chef Neil Perry, and a wine menu which includes bottles of Perrier-Jouet, Bollinger, or Veuve Clicquot.
Swiss First Lounge
Zurich Airport in Kloten, Switzerland
Wine aficionados would enjoy going through the 1,000-bottle selection at this lounge’s wine humidor—a highlight that waits right at the entrance. Passengers may gladly sip their wine while enjoying the 270-degree view from a wraparound roof terrace. To pair with their libations is a choice between four different options of fondue or a five-course degustación. When all that’s done, passengers may rest their heads in one of two hotel rooms with panoramic views of the Alps or a mini suite.
Etihad First Class Lounge
Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal 3, Abu Dhabi
Open since last year, the lounge features several leisure zones, which include a fitness room, a cigar lounge, a showcase bar, and a children’s playroom, among other unique services.
All guests of the First Class Lounge may avail of spa treatments from the Six Senses Spa, while male passengers may visit the Style & Shave area for a quick touch-up or shave.
Exclusively for the use of guests of the Residence, a separate private space boasts of Savoy-trained butlers, custom-made Poltrona Frau leather chairs, and a shower room stocked with Acqua di Parma products, and its own prayer room and private dining room.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Much like LAX’s upcoming members-only terminal, Lufthansa also offers a separate terminal for its first class passengers. A personal assistant tends to their every need and accompanies them from security to check-in. When
Emirates First Class Lounge
Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Emirates has made it possible for members of the Emirates Skywards loyalty program to access the lounge regardless of their ticket, according to Travel + Leisure. Once in, passengers may enjoy an on-site day spa, salon, cigar bar, and free-flowing Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial Champagne. The lounge comes complete with its own duty-free shops. Afterward, passengers may board their flights directly from the lounge.