Tag Archives: lounge review

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.

Lounge Review: Korean Air Lounge Osaka (KIX)

The Korean Air lounge at Osaka Kansai (KIX) airport is located outside of security and is accessible via Priority Pass. Go down to the third floor, and look for the lounge sign near Uniqlo. Given that the lounge is located outside of security and immigration, make sure to leave plenty of time to get to your gate on time. On this visit, it took me about 30 minutes to get through security and immigration after leaving the lounge.

Signs to the lounge

Signs to the lounge

Entrance to the Korean Air lounge

Entrance to the Korean Air lounge

The Korean Air lounge offers some seating and some food (theoretically).

Seating

Seating

More seating

More seating

Alcohol

Alcohol

Drink fridge

Drink fridge

At breakfast, there were pastries, onigiri, instant soups, and instant noodles. But all of the food would disappear very quickly. As you can see from the below pictures, there was only one left of many of the items.

Sparse food options

Sparse food options

Some packaged snacks

Some packaged snacks

There’s also a meager assortment of beverages, but this lounge is really not worth a stop. It’s hard to find, the offerings are scant, and it’s located outside of security, so you can’t really relax until your flight.

Lounge Review: Bangkok Airways Domestic Lounge BKK Airport

To get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, I flew Bangkok Airways. I’ve also taken the overnight train, which is a decent way to get between the two cities as well.

Bangkok Airways markets itself as a boutique airline, and one cool amenity is that all passengers get “lounge” access. In some airports, this doesn’t mean much (e.g., Koh Samui, where Bangkok Airways has close to a monopoly), but at BKK, there was a proper lounge.

Friendly bear at the entrance

Friendly bear at the entrance

The lounge is essentially a long room with lots of seats. There were plentiful electrical outlets for the counter seats along the edges of the lounge. When you enter, you get a wifi code printout, and the wifi was decently fast for an airport lounge in Southeast Asia.

Lounge seating

Lounge seating

Lounge seating

Lounge seating

Beyond the typical lounge seating, there was also a children’s play area, although I didn’t see any children using it.

Children's area

Children’s area

In terms of food and beverages, there are lots of small desserts, popcorn, coffee, and drinks. One thing that I do appreciate is that some of the snacks are foods that are more common to the local area like sticky rice in banana leaves. Really, I just like sticky rice.

Coffee machines

Coffee machines

Thai desserts

Thai desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Drinks and snacks

Drinks and snacks

Popcorn and coffee

Popcorn and coffee

Overall, there’s nothing fancy about this lounge, but it’s a place to sit, eat some snacks, charge devices, and get on wifi. Surprisingly, even though all Bangkok Airways passengers get lounge access, it’s not completely overrun like some other lounges that I’ve been to. Perhaps not all passengers realize that it’s a perk that everyone can enjoy!

Lounge Review: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge Doha Airport (DOH)

At the time I visited the Al Mourjan lounge in Doha, the first class Al Safwa lounge had not yet opened (I have since visited the Al Safwa lounge, but at the rate I’m posting trip reports, it’ll probably take me another… let’s say 6 months to write about it).

The Al Mourjan lounge is quite massive. To the point where maps are genuinely needed to navigate the lounge. There are lots of different spaces (e.g. multiple dining areas, showers, quiet rooms, business center, family spaces) which you might want to check out.

Lounge map

Lounge map

First impressions were very positive. It’s a massive space that’s well decorated. There are a variety of different seating options, although in spite of the size of the space, I can see how crowding can be an issue.

Seating

Seating

More seating

More seating

More seating

More seating

View of apron

View of apron

The lounge has most amenities you can think of. There’s a pretty massive business center with computers and workstations, and there was even a game room with video games, foosball, and arcade machines.

Business center

Business center

Game room

Game room

Games

Games

Games

Games

Pinball

Pinball

Foosball

Foosball

There’s also a family area, which I can imagine is helpful if you have small children.

Family area

Family area

Family area

Family area

iPads everywhere

iPads everywhere

I took a shower in the lounge on my layover. The shower rooms are less grand than the rest of the lounge, but it was perfectly functional. The shower amenities were from Rituals.

Shower

Shower

Shower amenities

Shower amenities

Staircase up to the dining room

Staircase up to the dining room

At 6am when I first arrived at the lounge, most of the lounge wasn’t too busy, except the dining room was packed. I had to sit at the bar (which I didn’t mind). At the bar, they were still serving Krug upon request (I believe this has changed), although they were very hush hush about it.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Wines

Wines

The breakfast buffet had two sides for food, plus a small made-to-order menu (I am not sure if they still have the made-to-order menu). One side was mostly sweet (e.g., crepes, waffles, porridge, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt), while the other side was mostly savory (meats, cheeses, foul medames, omelettes, frittatas, hashbrowns).

Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet

Dining room

Dining room

Cold foods

Cold foods

The food was decidedly mediocre. I ordered some shakshuka off the menu imagining poached eggs in tomato sauce, but instead received scrambled eggs with some diced tomatoes and peppers. I’ve since tried a number of food items at the Al Safwa lounge as well, and the food ranges from bad to meh. This is one area where the Qatar Airways ground experience is a huge letdown in my opinion.

Shakshuka?

Shakshuka?

If you don’t want to deal with the main dining room, there’s a separate food area that has things like sandwiches and antipasti (i.e. cold foods).

Non-dining room buffet

Non-dining room buffet

Other food room

Other food room

Finally, the lounge does offer some quiet rooms, which are a nice idea. I found the quiet rooms to be not particularly effective in practice because they were quite loud. Lots of talking, alarms going off, snoring, and people watching TV too loudly. But you might be able to sleep for a bit if you wear ear plugs.

Private resting room

Private resting room

Screen in private resting room

Screen in private resting room

Overall, it’s a large, well-appointed, attractive lounge. The service can be a bit strange at times (e.g., there were three attendants in the bathroom, but only two bartenders in the much busier dining room), and the food is generally a letdown. But there are lots of objectively nice amenities, and it’s an impressive space that’s worth checking out. Of note, you only get access to this lounge if you’re flying in business class on Qatar Airways–oneworld status will NOT get you in the door if you’re flying economy.

Lounge Review: British Airways Terraces Lounge Berlin Tegel (TXL)

The British Airways Terraces Lounge in Berlin’s Tegel (TXL) airport is a decently-sized lounge. I used this lounge prior to my flight from Tegel to Doha on Qatar Airways.

Entrance to the British Airways Terrace Lounge

Entrance to the British Airways Terrace Lounge

The lounge has a couple of different seating options: some bar seating, some chairs, and at least one small secluded room. Unfortunately, there were not enough power outlets at the seats.

Counter seating

Counter seating

Seating

Seating

There’s a typical bare bones assortment of lounge beverages. There was a coffee machine, soft drinks, alcohol, wine, and beer.

Coffee machine

Coffee machine

Wine

Wine

Alcohol

Alcohol

Beer and wine

Beer and wine

The food options were also pretty basic. There were some sandwiches, chips, pretzels, pound cakes, apples, bananas, and mini marshmallows. I found it amusing that the chips were “Hungarian” flavored, but I think that just means that they’re flavored with paprika.

Chips and pretzels

Chips and pretzels

Sandwiches

Sandwiches

Cake

Cake

Overall, not a place where I’d want to stay for very long, but your lounge options at TXL are very limited, so you’ll have to make do.

Lounge Review: Cathay Pacific Lounge Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

The Cathay Pacific lounge at CDG is located right beside the American Airlines lounge, and unless you get your access to the AA lounge via an Admirals Club membership or credit card, you probably have access to either lounge.

The lounge is just a large room, but it’s decorated and furnished according to Cathay Pacific standards. It’s the same color palette for chairs, the same solus chairs, the same white marble bar that you find in these lounges around the world. There’s plenty of seating, with both a dining area and lounge area, and the lounge was overall less crowded in the morning compared to the American lounge next door.

Typical Cathay decor with solus chairs

Typical Cathay decor with solus chairs

Lots of seating

Lots of seating

More seating

More seating

Newspapers

Newspapers

Views from the Cathay Pacific lounge

Views from the Cathay Pacific lounge

Besides the dining room and seating, there’s a computer room, luggage room, and showers. There are some nice large windows with good views of the apron, and electrical outlets were plentiful (albeit with European-style outlets rather than universal ones).

Business center

Business center

Dining area

Dining area

The breakfast options in the Cathay Pacific lounge were not quite as good as the breakfast options next door, but there were some fun drinks like Orangina, canned oolong tea, and canned soy milk.

Breakfast foods

Breakfast foods

Coffee

Coffee

Drinks

Drinks

Alcohol

Alcohol

Carbs

Carbs

Desserts

Desserts

Breads and condiments

Breads and condiments

Drink fridge

Drink fridge

There is a noodle bar in this lounge, but it doesn’t start serving food until 10am. I’m just going to come out and say it, but I really don’t think Cathay Pacific’s dan dan noodles are very good… Lots of people seem to like them, but I don’t think they’re very flavorful, and the little flavor they do have just isn’t quite right.

Noodle bar menu

Noodle bar menu

Dan dan noodles

Dan dan noodles

Even if this lounge is slightly lacking in the breakfast department, it’s significantly better for lunch than the AA lounge (mostly because the AA lounge doesn’t actually transition to a lunch buffet). There’s a salad bar and a variety of hot food options, in addition to the aforementioned noodle bar.

Salad bar

Salad bar

Lunch buffet

Lunch buffet

Overall, it’s a solid Cathay Pacific lounge with better-than-average food for an outstation lounge. If you’re choosing between the two oneworld lounges, I’d probably go to the AA lounge for breakfast, the Cathay Pacific lounge for lunch, and the Cathay Pacific lounge for a somewhat quieter experience.