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7 Best Airport Lounges in the World – and How to Access Them

Experience luxury at some of the world’s best airport lounges, featuring gourmet dining options, rejuvenating spas, and more.

Say goodbye to boring airport waiting areas and hello to luxury. In this modern age, the world’s best airport lounges now feature amenities like yoga studios, spa treatments, and gourmet dining options created by celebrity chefs.

While access is typically limited to business or first-class flyers, certain premium credit cards can also grant entry.

We’re showcasing 7 of the best airport lounges worldwide and detailing how you can access them so you can swap your tedious layover for a luxurious stay.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt

Best airport lounges in the world
Photo courtesy of Lufthansa Group

Take a step inside and get ready to be blown away. Once welcomed in, you’ll be treated to an array of upscale amenities such as a cigar lounge, a bar stocked with over 130 types of whiskey, a fancy dining room, and shower rooms that make you feel like royalty.

And for the ultimate indulgence, request one of Lufthansa’s signature rubber duckies to take a soak in the full-service bath.

How to Access: To enter the luxurious First Class Lounge and exclusive First Class Area, all your travel buddies (including significant others, children under 18, etc.) must have a valid boarding pass for the same flight as you.

Emirates First Class Lounge, Dubai

emirates first class lounge
Photo courtesy of Emirates

As you enter the lounge, you’ll be greeted by a vast space that spans nearly the entire length of the airport’s international concourse.

Sip a glass from the lounge’s wine cellar or indulge in a relaxing spa treatment at the Timeless Spa. Need a pick-me-up? Head to the coffee bar for an espresso or unwind with a cigar in the lounge. Browse through an array of in-lounge duty-free shops before sitting down to enjoy a delicious buffet with sushi, pastries, and more.

For added comfort, there are also shower suites and semi-private quiet rooms for a quick nap.

How to Access: To enter the Emirates First Class Lounge, you must have Emirates Skywards Platinum elite status or be flying first class on an Emirates flight.

Delta Sky Club, Atlanta

Delta’s Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport boasts nine Sky Clubs. So, if you want to enjoy views of the runways while snacking and sipping drinks, head to the one in Concourse F. If that’s not an option, the flagship club in Concourse B is the place to be.

Photo courtesy of Delta

With ample space, a “wine wall” curated by a master sommelier, Southern tapas from a renowned Atlanta chef, and artworks by local artists, it offers a perfect spot to unwind.

Brightly lit shower suites are also available.

How to Access: Want to access the Sky Deck and enjoy a view of the runways while enjoying snacks and drinks? You’ll need a Delta Sky Club membership to fly in business class on international or transcontinental routes with Delta or its SkyTeam partners. You can also get in if you have an Amex Platinum or Delta SkyMiles Reserve card. Elite members of SkyTeam can also access the club.

Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge, Hong Kong

the pier lounge
Photo courtesy of Cathay Pacific

Step into a world of luxury and relaxation with Ilse Crawford’s designed salon at the airport. Indulge in elegant sitting areas with tarmac views for aviation enthusiasts, or mingle at the distinctive horseshoe-shaped cocktail bar.

The Retreat also features shower suites and a small spa offering complimentary mini treatments like facials and foot massages.

How to Access: Access to this luxurious lounge is reserved for those flying first class with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, as well as those with top-tier status in the Oneworld Airline Alliance, such as Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members, regardless of their class of travel.

American Express Centurion Lounges

centurion lounge
Photo courtesy of Centurion Lounges

American Express is expanding its network of Centurion Lounges, which includes both Centurion Lounges and Escape Lounges-The Centurion Studio Partner. With 40 locations worldwide, guests can expect a variety of amenities and services, including local art, regional cuisine, signature cocktails, and regional drink options. Some lounges also feature spas, and the JFK location has a speakeasy bar.

How to Access: To access these lounges, you must have an American Express Platinum, Business Platinum, or Centurion card and a same-day boarding pass. Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders flying Delta are also eligible.

American Airlines Flagship First Dining

American Airlines Flagship First Dining is a luxurious lounge experience offered by American Airlines in select locations. The lounges feature individual seating, gourmet menus with seasonal dishes, and an extensive wine and cocktail selection.

The airline typically serves Krug Champagne and other premium vintages from France and the U.S. However, they are considered one of the most exclusive lounges American Airlines offers and are highly rated by those who have had the opportunity to visit them.

How to Access: Access to Flagship First Dining lounges is limited to passengers traveling first class on international routes or transcontinental flights with American Airlines in a three-cabin aircraft. The Miami location is planned to open again in September, and the other sites will follow.

Air France La Première Lounge, Paris

air france
Photo courtesy of Air France

Air France’s La Première first-class cabin is a luxurious travel experience, and the airline’s lounges are just as stylish.

In May of last year, the airline reopened its flagship first-class lounge at Charles de Gaulle after a renovation that improved the ambiance of the cocktail bar and added semi-private relaxation areas and new artwork. Passengers can still indulge in gourmet cuisine created by renowned chef Alain Ducasse in the dining room.

Customers traveling in Air France’s La Première class are eligible for a complimentary 30-minute beauty treatment at the Sisley beauty center, which is open daily.

How to Access: Access to the La Première Sisley beauty care center at Charles de Gaulle is available for those traveling in Air France’s La Première cabin or for purchase for those departing on a long-haul Air France or Delta flight without La Première cabins at the cost of 500 Euros (~$550) or 75,000 Flying Blue frequent flier miles per person.

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