If you fly often, airport lounges aren’t just an occasional treat; they’re a home away from home. However, at a lot of lounges it’s hard to do more than plonk yourself down in a chair, chow down on sugary snacks, and help yourself to free booze. Sure, sometimes that’s just what you want. But it’s not a particularly healthy way to pass the time.
To make airports a bit more livable, SAS Scandinavian Airlines has been working on a new generation of airport lounge for its passengers. We got to swing by Oslo Gardermoen Airport to explore the first of SAS’ so-called “next-gen” lounges. We found a lot of features there that were definitely out of the ordinary, like a real-deal gym, a cafe staffed with a barista, and a dining area decked out to look like mom’s kitchen. There were also some quirkier features, like a VR flight simulator and a 3D body scanner.
Read on for a photo walk-through of a lounge that’s definitely anything but ordinary!
Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
The beautiful terminal at Singapore Changi Airport – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
I recently needed to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong while on vacation. There are a lot of options for airlines and equipment for that four-hour flight. I had done the opposite route on the way there in Cathay Pacific business class on an A330. Since I’d never had the opportunity to fly Singapore Airlines (SQ), despite the rave reviews, I decided to transfer points from my Chase account to my SQ KrisFlyer account to redeem for first class. I figured the flight, while not long-haul, was long enough to get to experience the airline.
This article will focus on the ground experience at the excellent Singapore Changi Airport, which many consider to be the best airport in the world. I can see why.
- Entrance to the private check-in area
- Inside the private First Class check-in area – Photos: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
- Dedicated immigration line for First Class passengers
We arrived at the terminal via the MRT train. Given the chance again, I would have just caught a cab or an Uber, since it was nowhere as convenient and timely as, say, the Hong Kong airport express train. Also, when you arrive via car, you can be dropped off in the driveway of the private First Class check-in area. Instead, we had to wander through the terminal to find it – luckily my wife has become more patient with these types of adventures.
Aer Lingus Airbus A330-300
To say a lot has changed at Aer Lingus since I last flew the airline in 2014 would be an understatement. The airline’s fleet has grown, new destinations have been added, new products introduced, and ownership has transferred to IAG, the parent group of British Airways. On a recent work trip between New York JFK and Berlin, I had a chance to try out the new Aer Lingus business class product, which is now fully rolled out to every long-haul aircraft in the fleet. Yes, even the 757s.
My trip started at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK, where Aer Lingus is one of just two other airlines that share the terminal with JetBlue. For whatever reason, Aer Lingus is incapable of issuing mobile boarding passes on flights to and from the United States, so I had a chance to visit the dedicated business class check-in desks. Staffed by friendly JetBlue employees, I was quickly checked-in and on my way to the relatively new Aer Lingus lounge.
Etihad has strength in branding; this lounge could be anywhere. This entrance is the new LAX lounge, though. – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
It’s no secret that Etihad knows how to build a lounge. They have been very busy. Late last year, they opened their fabulous New York lounge. This year it was followed by a new lounge in Melbourne and their new First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi’s terminal 3. Before their efforts go to maximum on finishing the gorgeous new midfield terminal back home, they had one more lounge up their sleeve; Los Angeles. In the two years they’ve been serving LAX, they have transported more than a quarter million guests. The premium guests were using the lovely Star Alliance lounge next door until this facility opened earlier this week. The Star Alliance lounge, however, did not say Etihad.
James Hogan, in presence of the CEO of LAWA and other Etihad executives opening the LAX lounge – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
While this lounge does not have a Residence nook, yet, it does have a VIP area that could easily serve the purpose should the A380 ever grace the west coast. The public premium area, however, is fantastic.