Exit45 Travels-Best Airport Lounges in the World-Polaris-lounge-dining-room-view

Best Airport Lounges in the World

Here are 5 of the best airport lounges in the world for killing time while waiting for your flight as recommended by seasoned, everyday travellers!

For the majority of us, it has been a long time since we have been able to travel. After arriving at the airport and checking in, the rest of the time we spend waiting in the airport for our flight to depart can feel like forever. However, spending this time in a lounge can make this time an extremely enjoyable part of the travel experience.

Today, the best airport lounges in the world feature facilities such as spa treatments, gyms, cigar bars, dining rooms with menus designed by celebrity chefs, and the convenience of being driven to your plane in a luxury car.

Access to lounges vary from one airline to another, however, you don’t just have to be flying in First or Business Class to enter many lounges. Many lounges allow you to use mileage points, or pay at the entrance. There are also companies such as Priority Pass which allow access to thousands of lounges around the world with an annual subscription. Some premium credit cards will also grant you access.

Whether you are seeking peace and quiet, privacy or first-rate amenities, this list of the best airport lounges in the world are some of the best ones to visit. You may even consider arriving to the airport early to maximise the time spent enjoying what is on offer!

N.B. Some of these lounges might still be closed at the moment or on reduced hours, but all are expected to reopen sometime in the not too distant future.

Did You Know?

Best Airport Lounges in the World

Interestingly, there’s a strong correlation between the world’s best airlines and the best airport lounges in the world. The best airlines have recognised that an amazing lounge experience is an essential part of the overall travel experience!

Lufthansa First-Class Lounge – Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt

The Lufthansa First-Class Lounge in Frankfurt offers all sorts of different services for your well-being as a traveller. You can truly leave the hustle and bustle of the airport behind at the front door and start to enjoy the five-star service. The lounge is open from 5:15 am to 10:00 pm daily and offers all possible amenities you can think of. 

There are entirely equipped office units, daybeds, relaxing chairs, and fully equipped bathrooms, even including a bathtub. Enjoy some exquisite wining and dining experiences, or try one of the 100 whiskies you can choose from at the bar. 

If you like to smoke, the in-house cigar lounge is the place for you. The five-star service also includes a limousine service which will take you right to your plane. You can even bring one extra person with you to the lounge who will get free excess on the same flight ticket.

As a first-class lounge guest, you will have priority access to the check-in and security without having to leave the lounge. From the very first moment when you step into the lounge, you will get taken care of without having to worry about boarding. You will be picked up personally at the lounge in time.

How to Gain Access

If you have booked a first-class ticket with Lufthansa or one of the selected Star Alliance Airlines, you can enter the first-class lounge, as well as if you are a HON-Circle-Member.

Opening Hours

It is open from 5:150 am to 10:00 pm daily.

Location of Lounge in the Airport

The Lufthansa First-Class Lounge is located in Terminal 1, Hall A next to Gate A13.

Exit45 Travels-Best Airport Lounges in the World-Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt

Plaza Premium Lounge – Heathrow Airport, London

London Heathrow’s Plaza Premium Lounges are the ideal place to relax between connecting flights or before you start your vacation! With access to an all-inclusive bar and lounge, private cubicles, showers, and even a private resting suite, if you have a layover in London, this is the way to spend it! 

Nothing beats having a shower between long flights to freshen up and wake up. Reservations can be made at the front desk for 30 minutes, and include complimentary body wash, shampoo, body lotion, towel, and hair dryer. Dental kits and shaving kits are also available.

Enjoy a hot meal while relaxing at the bar with a wide array of beverages. Since Covid has changed the way things are done in this lounge, visitors can now choose their meal options off a menu instead of a self-service bar.

There are a variety of comfortable seating areas, from single booths to armchairs, tables, and private booths for groups of people with a modern design, each with their own charging port to charge your devices and free Wi-Fi. 

How to Gain Access

Not all airport lounges are the same, and while most are overpriced and overcrowded, you can walk right up to the front desk and check yourself into the lounge. You can opt to add on a private resting area to catch some sleep between flights. Entrance fees range from £40 – £80 GBP depending on length of use. There is a maximum 5 hour stay.

Opening Hours

It is open from 5:00 am – 11:00 pm daily.

Location of Lounge in the Airport

The lounge is located in the departures terminal past security and passport control. A boarding pass is required to access the lounge.

Exit45 Travels-Best Airport Lounges in the World-Plaza Premium Lounge - Heathrow Airport
Plaza Premium Lounge – Heathrow Airport

Kepler Airport Lounge – Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, Istanbul

Recommended by Marco at ‘Nomadic FIRE’

The Kepler Airport Lounge is a unique treat for those weary international travellers flying out of Istanbul, or simply transiting through Sabiha Gokcen International Airport late at night. Located after passport control, to the left and up a set of stairs to the second level is an exhausted travellers oasis.

After checking in with the front desk, the men and women separate into a gender-specific area. An attendant leads you through a quiet sliding door; all the lounge doors are motion controlled by waving your hands for a touch-free COVID experience. Each guest has a large locker to store any belongings securely. You have the option for a hot steam shower, or you can immediately slip into some Kepler-supplied slippers and make your way to the private sleeping capsules called “Keps”.

Each Kep is built to help you relax. The sleeping units have super soft ergonomic mattresses and memory foam pillows. The units are sound insulated and provided guest tablets send out periodic reminders for guests not to speak. If you are not ready to sleep, each Kep has a SMART TV with Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming options to help you pass the time.

How to Gain Access

Anyone with a Priority Pass membership (plus one guest) and Lounge Key Members can access the lounge for free for up to 3 hours. If you are not a Priority Pass member, you can still access the Kepler Lounge for USD$8 per hour or USD$50 for a full day pass.

Opening Hours

It is open 24 hours a day every day.

Location of Lounge in the Airport

Turn left after passport control in the International Terminal and take the set of stairs to the second (mezzanine) level.

Exit45 Travels-Best Airport Lounges in the World-Turkey Istanbul SAW Kepler Lounge
Kepler International Airport Lounge – Turkey

United Polaris Lounge – Newark Airport, New Jersey

Recommended by Anne at ‘Packing Light Travel’

The practice of collecting miles and points puts luxury travel experiences within reach of budget travellers. It can mean the difference between spending many gruelling hours in the economy cabin of an aircraft or wallowing in the comfort of business or first class. It also translates into passing several pleasurable hours in an airline lounge versus sitting in uncomfortable seats and paying inflated airport prices for meals and beverages.

The personalized service in the sit-down dining and bar sections is exemplary, setting Polaris apart from the many airline lounges that only offer self-serve buffet options. Fancy a specialty coffee? Visit the barista. How about an aviation-themed cocktail? Head to the bar and watch the bartender work their magic. Is there time to enjoy sit-down dining? If so, making the choice between several delectable menu options may be the most difficult decision of the visit.

How to Gain Access

Who is eligible to visit one of the United Polaris Lounges? Passengers travelling in United’s Polaris business class on a long-haul international flight may access a Polaris lounge at departure, connecting, and arrival airports. Passengers travelling in first or business class of another Star Alliance airline on a long-haul international flight may access the lounge at their departure airport.

Opening Hours

It is open from 5:00 am – 10:00 pm daily. (Temporarily Closed)

Location of Lounge in the Airport

The Newark Lounge is located in Terminal C, between Gates C102 and C120.

Exit45 Travels-Best Airport Lounges in the World-Polaris Lounge-barista-coffee
Polaris Lounge – Barista Coffee

Air France KLM Lounge – Dulles Airport, Washington D.C.

Recommended by Denise at ‘Chef Denise’

I’ve been in numerous airport lounges around the world, and the Air France KLM Lounge at Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. is my new favourite. It is located in Terminal A right across from gate 20, which happened to be the gate we flew out of. The convenience was nice, and since we were four hours early with COVID paranoia, we were beyond happy to be able to use the lounge.

We gained access because we were flying internationally in business class (even though we were flying for free using points). However, you can purchase a day pass for $50. From 10:30 am until the last flight leaves, the lounge provides free Wi-Fi, lots of outlets, work areas, comfy chairs, bathrooms, a shower, and free food and drinks

And the free drinks—all French top shelf—Citadelle gin, Grey Goose vodka, and even Taittinger Champagne! Although it’s not self-serve, we never had to wait for service at the bar. 

Four hours flew by quickly! I would definitely go to this lounge again, even if I had to pay myself!

How to Gain Access

Access to the Air France KLM Lounge at Dulles airport is shared with KLM, Korean Air, Iceland Air and SkyTeam premium and elite passengers, as well as Emirates customers. Priority Pass members are also welcome during limited hours.

N.B. Access may be restricted at any time of the day due to space constraints.

Opening Hours

It is open from 10:30 am until the last flight daily.

Location of Lounge in the Airport

The Air France Lounge is located in Terminal A right across from Gate A20.

Exit45 Travels-Best Airport Lounges in the World-Air France Lounge Dulles Taittinger Champagne & Grey Goose & tonic
Taittinger Champagne + Grey Goose & Tonic

The Best Airport Lounges in the World – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best airport lounge in the world?

This is extremely subjective, however, the following airport lounges are the ones that consistently rank as the best airport lounges in the world (listed alphabetically).

  • Air France Salon La Première at Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris
  • British Airways’ The Concorde Room at Heathrow Airport, London
  • Cathay Pacific’s The Pier First Class at Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
  • Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai International Airport, Dubai
  • Etihad’s The Residence Lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi
  • Etihad’s First Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi
  • Qatar Airways Al Safwa First-Class Lounge at Hamad International, Doha
  • Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt International
  • Singapore Airlines The Private Room at Changi International Airport, Singapore
  • SWISS Air First Class Lounge at Zurich International Airport, Zurich

What is the most luxurious airport in the world?

  • Singapore’s Changi Airport
  • Doha’s Hamad International Airport
  • Tokyo Haneda Airport
  • Hong Kong International Airport
  • Munich Airport

What are the benefits of accessing an airport lounge?

  • Peace, space and quiet
  • Personal assistance
  • Freshen up upon arrival
  • Food and beverages
  • Fast Wi-Fi speeds
  • Specialised facilities i.e. massages, gyms etc.

Do you get airport lounge access with Business and First-Class tickets?

If general, if you are travelling internationally in Business or First-Class, you will get lounge access.

How can I get access to airport lounges (without flying Business or First-Class)?

  • One day lounge pass
  • Frequent flyer points
  • Elite status
  • Premium credit card
  • Purchase an annual lounge membership i.e. Priority Pass

Are food and beverages free in airport lounges?

Yes, all food and beverages are complimentary. In some lounges, premium alcohol and meals for purchase are not included and need to be paid for.

In Summary – The Best Airport Lounges in the World

The time spent in airport on travel days can be boring, uncomfortable and exhausting, but when you have access to these amazing airport lounges, you’ll be looking forward to your time at the airport.

These small oases away from the hustle and bustle of busy airports will allow you to relax and offer gourmet dining, premium drinks and even hour-long massages, along with sleeping pods before your flight.

Our top tip is to make sure you allow enough time to enjoy these lounges the next time you travel. Enjoy your flight!

What is your favourite airport lounge in the world and why? Have you visited any of the airport lounges listed above? Post your tips, comments and questions below.

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