Category Archives: Lounge Reviews

Lounge Review: Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 (SIN)

There are two interesting features of the Ambassador Transit lounge in Terminal 2 of Singapore’s Changi airport: 1) it has a gym; and 2) there’s an outdoor seating area near the (accessible to the public) sunflower garden.

Entrance to the Ambassador Transit Lounge

When I visited the lounge, I was one of the only passengers there. But the lounge is actually a pretty large space with lots of seating, although the furniture was a bit old.

Seating

Lounge seating

Seating

Unfortunately, if you want to use the gym, you have to pay extra. I accessed this lounge using Priority Pass, but Priority Pass does not give you free access to the gym.

Gym

Gym

I’m not sure why someone would want to sit outside given how hot and humid it is in Singapore, but if you like, this is a lounge with an outdoor seating area. It seemed to be mostly used by people who wanted to smoke.

Outdoor terrace

Sunflower garden

I guess one final notable thing about this lounge is the number of showers it has. I think there are something like 15 shower stalls in the unisex bathroom.

Showers

Showers

In terms of food, the options were pretty limited. There were hashbrowns, mixed vegetables, chicken, rice, french onion soup, salad, and cake. For drinks, there was juice, coffee, tea, and soda, but you had to pay for alcoholic drinks. The alcoholic drinks were also not cheap, but that is common in Singapore.

Food

Soup

Food

Food

Swiss rolls

Drinks

Drinks

Drink menu

While the SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 2 was a pleasant surprise, the Ambassador Transit Lounge at Changi was a big disappointment. I wouldn’t come here unless I really wanted to work out during a layover.

Lounge Review: SATS Premier Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 (SIN)

The SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore Changi airport Terminal 2 is located near the Singapore Airlines lounge and the DBS Asia Treasures lounge (and apparently a defunct Malaysia Airlines lounge). This lounge is accessible via Priority Pass, which is how I got in.

Entrance to the lounge

The lounge has lots of seating with lots of outlets, which is always appreciated. There are some skinny cubbies to work in, there are some sections for groups, there are two massage chairs, there is a dining area with tables and long communal tables, and there’s even a first-class section that was roped off when I visited.

Lounge seating

Seating

Massage chair

Roped off section

More seating

Cubbies for working

There are showers in the bathroom, as well.

Shower

The food options are pretty good for a Priority Pass lounge. There was dim sum and congee, a variety of hot foods like stir-friend noodles, curries, and self-serve laksa. I tried some of the fried noodles, tofu stir fry, vegetable curry, and rice, which were all edible (albeit salty). There were also sandwiches, salads, yogurt, cereal, fruit, and breads for breakfast. For drinks ,there was the typical selection of soda, beer, wine, liquor, coffee, and tea.

Hot food options

More hot food

Self service laksa

Self service laksa continued

Drinks

Drinks

Sandwiches

Salad

Dim sum and congee

Seating in eating area

Dessert and fruit

Coffee

Cake

This lounge isn’t fancy, but it’s very functional and a good Priority Pass lounge. Lots of seating and electrical outlets, decent food options, and they even have massage chairs. The one critique is that I found the wifi to be slow, but everything else was pretty solid.

Lounge Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Langkawi Airport (LGK)

To depart Langkawi, I had booked the 8:55am Air Asia flight to Singapore, which was the first flight of the day to depart out of LGK. Given that I had a rental car to return, I got to the airport a  little early and ended up in the terminal at 7:15am, but nothing was really open. You couldn’t get past bag check to check bags until around 7:25am, and the immigration checkpoint didn’t open until around 7:40am.

According to the Priority Pass website, there’s a Plaza Premium lounge and cafe prior to immigration, although really it’s just a cafe, so I’m not sure what the lounge aspect is. But past immigration and prior to security is an actual Plaza Premium lounge. I got access via Priority pass.

Entrance to the lounge

The lounge is just a small room with plenty of seats. There were lots of outlets near the seats, and there were a couple of computers to use as well.

Seating

More seating and food area

Computers

Security line in front of the lounge

There’s also a shower in the bathroom. I don’t know when the last time someone used it is, but it could be useful?

Shower

The food options were a little sad. In the fridge, there was yogurt, disgusting-looking salad, soft drinks, soy milk, and water. There was no alcohol in sight, which I guess makes sense for Langkawi.

Drinks

For food, there was congee, some fried noodles, baked beans, bread, and fruit.

Hot food

Food

Congee

This lounge is not at all worth spending extra time to visit, but hey, it still beats sitting at the gate.

Lounge Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Penang Airport (PEN) Domestic Terminal

The Plaza Premium lounge in the domestic terminal of Penang airport is accessible via Priority Pass, and it’s located just past where you clear security.

Entrance to the lounge

It’s a relatively small lounge, but there’s a fair amount of seating, and it wasn’t crowded at all when I was there.

Seating

Work stations

Tables

For a domestic lounge, I thought there was a surprisingly decent food selection. There was fish ball noodle soup, curry, mixed vegetables, pasta with Alfredo sauce, barley soup, and congee. Definitely enough to have a filling snack before a flight.

Fish ball noodle soup

Hot food

Cold foods

Desserts and drinks

Soup and porridge/congee

The wifi worked okay, and the lamps scattered throughout the lounge had USB chargers, but I couldn’t seem to find any normal outlets, which I found confusing. But overall, I found this to be a very pleasant domestic lounge with pretty good food options and comfortable seating.

Lounge Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Airport (HKG) East Hall

My flight from Boston landed just before 5am, so the first lounge I checked out was the Plaza Premium lounge in the East Hall, which is open 24 hours and was one of the few lounges in the Hong Kong airport that I hadn’t been to before.

Entrance to the lounge

Now, I’m not sure if it’s normally this dark or if it was just this dark because it was just past 5am, but this was the darkest lit lounge I’ve ever been to. Also, because I was there at just past 5am, there were very few people there, but it also meant that there was very little food out. So even though the lounge is technically open 24 hours, there might not be much stuff going on.

Seating

Center bar/food area

More seating

Seating

That being said, there was a ton of seating. The lounge is quite large, although there aren’t really any places for someone to take a nap. You could move two chairs together, but there’s no designated relaxation area like there are in other Plaza Premium lounges (including those in HKG).

Instant noodles and snacks

Snack mixes

Drink fridges

Hot food area (but none at this time of day)

Again, at the time of my visit, there wasn’t really any food out, but they did have malted soy milk to drink, which I enjoyed.

Eating area

Closed seating area

In general, I think I enjoy the Plaza Premium lounge in the West Hall more than this one, although that could just be because I visited this lounge when nothing was going on. But this lounge is also pretty dark and closed to the outside (i.e. no windows), while the other Plaza Premium lounge is not a cave. But both are accessible via Priority Pass, so you could go to whichever you like if that’s how you get lounge access.

Lounge Review: British Airways Lounge Boston Logan Airport (BOS)

I flew Cathay Pacific out of Boston Logan to Hong Kong, and the flight departed at 1:45am. One benefit of a 1:45am flight out of Boston Logan is that security is pretty empty. The Cathay Pacific flight is the last flight of the night out of Logan out of that terminal.

To get to the British Airways lounge, you go all the way to the left after clearing security and go DOWN the elevator or stairs. You then walk down a creepy-ish hallway past the Virgin Atlantic Club House, the Lufthansa lounges, and the Aer Lingus lounge, until you get to the BA lounge. The right-hand side of the lounge is the “first class” side; the left hand is for business class. While the first class side has nicer furniture, if you’re in this lounge for the Cathay Pacific flight, the food options are larger the same on both sides since the dining rooms are closed.

Sign pointing the way to the lounges

Long hallway of lounges

Computer workstations

When the dining rooms are closed, there actually isn’t that much seating in the lounge. It’s just a small room, and so many of the chairs were facing toward the center of the room, so it was kinda like you were just looking at each other.

Seating

Closed dining area

In terms of food for the Cathay departure, there was no hot food. Instead, they had sandwiches, cookies, crudites/hummus/things like that, chips/crisps, and snack mixes. Fine if you’re a little hungry, but nothing special.

Sandwiches

Salad

Cookies and crisps

Cheese

Mezze

Alcohol selection

Wines and snacks

Tea and coffee

After checking out the first class side, I also took a look at the business class side. Again, for the Cathay departure, the two sides offer essentially the same food options, but the furniture looks more dated on the business class side. The business class side did have bathrooms, and it felt like there was slightly more privacy because there was a wall in the middle of the lounge, so everyone wasn’t just looking at each other.

More seating

Business class food

Business class seating

Overall, it’s nothing to get excited about, but the wifi worked, and there were snacks if you were peckish. I’d be interested in checking this lounge out again when the dining rooms are open.

Lounge Review: Finnair Lounge Schengen Helsinki Airport (HEL)

I wasn’t expecting much from the Finnair Schengen region lounge at Helsinki, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this lounge.

Entrance to the lounge

Entrance to the lounge

First, I loved the design of the lounge. It felt airy and open with lots of cool furniture and lighting fixtures. There were large windows, so there was natural light. The lounge was pretty busy, but there were plenty of seats still available.

Airy lounge

Airy lounge

Sizable lounge

Sizable lounge

Seating

Seating

Couches

More seating

More seating

More seating

Standing area

Standing area

Funky furniture

Funky furniture

Private work station

Private work station

View of apron

View of apron

The lounge had showers, which may be useful for anyone connecting from a long flight.

Shower

Shower

Soda and beer on tap

Soda and beer on tap

Wine

Wine

In terms of food, I wouldn’t say it was great, but it was there. There was soup and a hot option (of something that I could not identify), breads, salad, fruit salad, and cake. Everyone likes cake, right?

Fuit

Fuit

Salad

Salad

Soups

Soup

Hot food

Hot food

Cake

Cake

Going in, I was expecting something similar to US domestic lounges, but the Finnair Schengen region lounge at HEL is a step above. It’s just a cool-looking lounge, and there’s some food and showers.

In general, I think Helsinki is a pretty great airport with interesting lounges. It’s not super fancy or extravagant, but the airport and lounges are solid with great design and character. I’ll also note that even you’re connecting from a non-Schengen flight to Schengen flight, you can still use the non-Schengen lounges prior to passing through passport control, which is a great perk.

Lounge Review: Platinum Lounge Non-Schengen Budapest Airport (BUD)

To get to this lounge, you need to go up a floor from the gates. It’s accessible via Priority Pass, which is how I entered. It’s worth noting that this is the only lounge in the non-Schengen area of the airport.

The lounge was a pleasant place to sit for a little bit. There were proper tables if you wanted a place to sit for eating or working, but unfortunately, there was no bathroom in the lounge.

Entrance to the lounge

Entrance to the lounge

Seating

Seating

Work station

Work station

In terms of food and drink, I think there was a marginally better food selection at breakfast than compared to the other lounges I visited at the Budapest airport. Or at least the food was vaguely healthier. For example, there was yogurt, muesli, and fruit on offer, instead of just pastries. But there was also the unhealthier desserts like turo rudi and sport bars if you wanted your fill.

Wine, alcohol, water

Wine, alcohol, water

Soda dispenser

Soda dispenser

Yogurt, turo rudi

Yogurt, turo rudi

Packaged snacks

Packaged snacks

Pastries, olives

Pastries, olives

Meats

Meat, bread

Since this is the only lounge in the non-Schengen region, you don’t have much of a choice of whether you want to come here, but it’s solid for a Priority Pass lounge in Europe.

Lounge Review: Finnair Premium Lounge Non-Schengen Helsinki Airport (HEL)

I had previously transited the Helsinki airport, but the Finnair Premium Lounge in the non-Schengen region did not exist at the time (the lounges I did visit include the Finnair lounge, the Almost@Home lounge, and the Aspire lounge). Finnair doesn’t have a first class product, so this lounge was opened essentially for oneworld emerald members.

The lounge was pretty crowded when I visited, but there were tons of seats and electrical outlets, and things were cleaned up quickly. Nothing felt particularly fancy, but I appreciated the general design and furnishings of the lounge.

Seating

Seating

More seats

More seats

Crowded seating area

Crowded seating area

The lounge has a bar with bartenders, as well as some self service champagne and wine options.

Bar menu

Bar menu

Bar

Bar

Champagne

Champagne

Wine

Wine

The food options were pretty decent. There were two soups, a bunch of meaty things (including herring, if you’re so inclined), some cold items (including Karelian pasties), desserts, and fruits. Everything that I tried was pretty good for lounge food.

Fruit and desserts

Fruit and desserts

Salad and cold food

Salad and cold appetizers

Cold foods

Cold foods

Soup and hot food

Soups and hot food

Perhaps the best part of the lounge is that they have a sauna. It’s small (maybe fits about 4 people comfortably?), but it’s an actual Finnish sauna. I’ve used a hot tub in an airport, but this was my first sauna experience in an airport. Now, in Finland, you’re supposed to be naked when you’re in the sauna, and everyone that used the sauna while I was there was naked, but everyone was also male, so I don’t know the norms for when women want to use it, since I only saw one sauna…

Overall, I thought that this was a solid lounge offering, and it’s cool that Finnair has this premium lounge even though they don’t have a first class product. The sauna is also a novel amenity that’s worth trying out if you have time during your visit. One thing that’s also nice about the Helsinki airport is that you can visit this lounge even if you’re arriving on a non-Schengen flight and connecting to a Schengen flight. You can wait to clear immigration and use this lounge prior to your flight, which is a great perk.

Lounge Review: Lounge Pacific Osaka Airport (KIX) North Terminal

Lounge Pacific is the lounge used by the non-JAL oneworld airlines at Osaka Kansai (KIX) airport in the North Terminal (although I think Malaysia Airlines may have since switched to the ANA lounge, but Cathay and Finnair still use Lounge Pacific). Unfortunately, there’s no JAL lounge available in the North Terminal.

Entrance to Lounge Pacific

Entrance to Lounge Pacific

The lounge is pretty basic, both in terms of amenities and furnishings. Depending on when your flight departs, the lounge can also get pretty crowded.

Seating

Seating

More seating

More seating

The lounge offered some wine, sake, liquor, and beer from beer machines.

Drinks

Drinks

Drinks

Drinks

Beer machine

Beer machine

For food, there were some instant soups, cookies, sandwiches, and inari and crab stick sushi. In general, the service in the lounge was good, but it was very crowded, and the food wasn’t replenished quickly enough. The inari was the most popular item, but they only brought out five pieces at a time, so they were quickly snatched up.

Instant soups

Instant soups

Sandwiches and pastries

Sandwiches and pastries

Sushi

Sushi

It’s disappointing that Cathay Pacific and Finnair use this lounge rather than a JAL one, since the JAL lounges in Tokyo are some of my favorite lounges in the world. It’s fine to pass time prior to your flight, but there’s really nothing remarkable about this lounge.