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Best Airport LoungesBattle of Airport Lounges
Nordic salmon with juniper, a bottle of Chablis, live chamber music. A gourmet restaurant? No, an airport lounge.
The battle between airlines isn’t just taking place in the sky. In 2014, airlines are jockeying for top position on the ground, opening up a record number of new lounges – and ramping up their luxury offerings, from shirt-pressing to complimentary massages to very good German beer (thank you, Lufthansa.)
The latest openings: Quantas is unveiling a new lounge in spring 2014 in Hong Kong, as is Finnair in Helsinki. In December 2013, Lufthansa introduced two multimillion-dollar lounges at Newark, both of which are the picture of eco-elegance – oak floors and leather club chairs against backdrop images of a German forest and the snowy Alps. In October 2014, Lufthansa is also opening its largest lounge outside of Germany at Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 (excuse us, The Queen’s Terminal, as it’s officially called). Star Alliance, the global airline network that includes United, led the way in 2013, with a new Air New Zealand lounge at the upgraded Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. The lofty, light-filled lounge has an open-air terrace – complete with fire pits – with views of the northern runways framed by the Hollywood Hills. For all its perks, though, one of the best is the power outlets at nearly every seat. Star Alliance also opened a lounge in Buenos Aires, modeled after the campo (countryside), with local ingredients to match – Malbec and grass-fed beef. Most lounges are accessible only to Business and First Class, or those with premium status, but there are many ways around that – check out The Points Guy for tips.
Relax with Amex
Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention. With the merger of American Airlines and US Air, Amex Platinum cardholders are losing a major perk in March: complimentary access to American and US Airways lounges. In response, American Express announced that it will open its own branded lounges at LaGuardia and San Francisco airports. American Express is also giving many Platinum members access to its two current Centurion lounges in McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. And this has appeased many, because the Centurion comfort zones are easily the airport apex of lounging – free fifteen-minute spa treatments, from massages to manicures; complimentary top-shelf cocktails; and southwestern cuisine from Dallas chef Dean Fearing. Spend an hour here, and you may be hoping for a flight delay. Or, you might want to do what this guy did.
Stay tuned: We’ll be reporting weekly on travel news and trends on Travel Buzz.
(Photos courtesy of Star Alliance)