Priority Pass is a global network of airport lounges that that requires a yearly membership fee. There is a varied selection of airports with said lounges, including the ones in Dhaka, Windhoek and Malta – so if you are a global businessman/woman or someone with loose cash who vacations frequently, it probably makes some sense to buy a membership. Or, you can just get the American Express Platinum card and sign up here; it’s a free benefit. For me, it’s been useful for accessing the AAdmirals Club at LaGuardia on a couple of occasions and while the free food, read mushy apples and old cookies, are nice, the access is not anything for which I would pay money.
|AAdmirals Club – LGA|
I’ve had good, and even superlative, experiences at airport lounges. The champagne at the SWISS Senator lounge in Zurich mixes well with the fresh orange juice and will often lead to consumption of 4+ mimosas before 9am. At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, I showered in a huge, marbled bathroom after an 11 hour flight, partook in dim sum and enjoyed, as a business class passenger, a 30 minute head-and-neck massage when leaving for Laos. ANA has a great noodle bar and those insane Japanese toilets at Tokyo’s Narita.
|Dim Sum Course 1 – BKK|
|ANA Lounge – NRT|
|Panorama Lounge – ZRH|
This left me lauhging when I got an email from Priority Pass proclaiming the Pau Casals VIP Lounge at Barcelona’s El Prat airport the “2013 Lounge of the Year.” Pau Casals was, according to the internet, the pre-eminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. Great. No seriously, as a ex-cellist, there should be more recognition of the wondrous tone and melodic opportunity of the cello – it’s why The Rains of Castamere goes so, so hard!
However, Elizabeth Rigby, bless her, neglects to mention that there is no daily cello concert at the Pau Casals lounge, leaving the lounge ill-named. There are showers, but no baths, like in the Lufthansa First-Class Terminal. There is no noodle bar or sake bar. There are no massages being proffered and according to this report, the “slumber rooms” are both loud and lit, rendering them useless. So, while the Priority Pass users voted this the number one lounge, it seems as though they need to transit through better airports.
Seriously, the preflight massage in Bangkok is unreal.