Are Priority Pass Lounges Usually Crowded? Here Is My Experience With The Priority Pass Lounges!
BY Sarmind SafiOct 6, 2023
Are you thinking of getting a Priority Pass? Does lounging at the airport, with good food, good drinks, some rest, and luxurious amenities tickle your fancy? Well, I have been a Priority Pass member for more than two years. And before you test the waters of a Priority Pass, hear me out on some of the best and worst airport lounges that I have been to around the world. You are bound to benefit greatly from my experience with the airport lounge membership network. How To Avail A Priority Pass? Image Source With the Priority Pass, my experience, on average, has been good. I am a sucker for access to the airport lounges while I travel around the world, although some are comparatively better than others. Some of the airport lounges I have had the pleasure of visiting are in Atlanta, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Istanbul, Boston, Washington DC, Miami, Madrid, Hong Kong, and Paris. The priority pass gives you access to electricity, free food, beverages, and drinks. Priority Pass does charge for drinks in certain lounges. What gives these lounges their allure is their additional benefits that go beyond lounging. For instance, in Atlanta, you can book one of their “Minute Suites”-- a private room where you can take a nap or work in privacy. There are some restaurants where you receive a credit of about $30 towards food and drinks, like the Corona Beach House in Miami International Airport. This lounging network is constantly adding new lounges to its membership fleet. I keep getting emails every other week with a list of their new additions. If you don't find your local airport, keep checking in because it could get added anytime. Priority Pass Restaurant, Spa, And Suite Deals There are some airports that do not have a Priority Pass lounge, but it offers vouchers and discounts for certain restaurants. Bobby Van’s Steakhouse at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Corona Beach House at The Miami International Airport are examples of such. If you want to redeem a voucher or credit, talk to the server before placing an order. Some restaurants will ask upfront, whereas others will ask for the Priority Pass membership card once it's time to pay the bill. These passes also have partnerships with airport spas, which could be free or discounted. Their apps will give you all the information you require to know about their services, treatments, and hours of availability. How To Avoid Lounge Crowds? Image Source Are priority pass lounges usually crowded? This is one of the most asked questions by travelers looking to get one of these memberships. Priority Pass lounges tend to limit entry during specific crowded hours. Sometimes, the lounge might be very full when you do get an entrance. One of the downsides of this membership is you do not have much control over when you get to visit the lounge because the visit depends on the time of your flight. All you can do is predict the crowd based on the departure schedules around the time of your visit. For instance, many hub airports in the US have international red-eye flights. Usually, the lounges get a thick crowd in the evenings in those parts of the airport. Sometimes, due to the crowd, you may have to put your name on a waiting list or simply get turned away. Priority Pass Airport Lounges Image Source Here are some of the Priority Pass Lounges I have visited that you would want to know before you invest in a membership or visit the particular airports. SkyTeam Lounge International Departures At Vancouver International Image Source Location: International Terminal, near gate 53 Opening Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily This one is an intimate, 5,600-square-foot lounge that is open to Priority Pass members who are flying internationally. They serve business and first-class passengers of SkyTeam airlines such as Air France, KLM, and Korean Air. The international rule, however, exempts travelers flying to the United States. The venue is sleek, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and minimalist interiors. The food and drinks here are locally inspired, including freshly caught Pacific salmon, dumplings, and noodle soup. The best part is the free-flowing Pacific Northwest wines that are available at the self-service bar. They also serve beers from Vancouver’s various microbreweries. Las Vegas This one is probably the last one that you should visit. It is as small as its food supply. I found them offering apples, bananas, chips, and ramen. Ramen noodles, though, were what surprised me the most. It's a lucky coincidence that I do not take flights through Vegas too often. IGA Lounge At Istanbul International Image Source Location: International Terminal, on the mezzanine floor on the right-hand side Opening Hours: 24 hours daily Istanbul is not a pinchpenny when it comes to its lounge size. When you are flying business via Turkish Airlines or Star Alliance partners, the vast 60,000-square-foot business-class lounge will treat you like royalty. This lounge takes up the entire upper level of the main foyer. If you are flying economy or non-Star Alliance international flights, you will be more than happy to relax in the 48,000-square-foot IGA Lounge located in the International Terminal. You will find on this floor amenities like a pool table, a cinema room, a kid's playroom, and a quiet room with sleeping pods. It obviously houses a cocktail bar, supersized food spreads, and lots of seating options. Chase Sapphire Lounge By The Club At Boston Logan International Image Source Location: Terminal B to C Connector, between gates B40 and B39 Opening Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily This lounge is open to the public since May 2023. This is the first Chase Sapphire lounge to be opened in the United States. It is packed with amenities, spacious with an area comprising 11,640 square feet. It is teeming with design-driven nooks for preflight relaxation and layover rejuvenation. Located in Boston, Logan’s newly opened Terminal B and C Connector. The central bar anchors its midcentury modernist-inspired area with many dining areas. They feature self-service, as well as service via the Club’s app. Its cuisine is supervised by Chef Douglass Williams, who owns the forever favorite restaurant of Boston’s South End, Mida. There are two wellness rooms with antigravity massage chairs, a private nursing room, and two dual-head shower rooms when you move deeper into the lounge. Dulles Airport, Washington DC: Air France Lounge This lounge is great overall. It does get busy, but it makes up for it with its French food and drinks that make it all too worth visiting. I visited this lounge before one of my Paris flights, and the lounge was positioned just across my departure gate. The convenience of it won me over. It was probably one of my best flying experiences. They also offered me one of those French Michel et Augustin chocolates. Turkish Airlines Lounge At Washington Dulles International Image Source Location: International Terminal, Concourse B, near gate B43 Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily This lounge kind of eases the otherwise rough experience of flying out of Washington Dulles in comparison to the centrally located DCA. The layover, too, is long and exhausting. But it is one of those experiences you still look forward to because of its delicious food options. If you visit them, you must try their mezze with pita. They also have a speedy bar service and a floor-to-ceiling window that overlooks the tarmac. With Dulle’s airside connectivity, it is also accessible to travelers moving from other concourses by train or walkway. Turkish Airlines Lounge At Miami International Image Source Location: South Terminal Concourse H; take the elevator located midway between Concourses H and J to the third floor. The lounge is on the left. Opening hours: 4 a.m. to midnight daily It is one of the two Turkish Airlines Lounges that is accessible to Priority Pass members at the Miami airport, but the other one, located in the Central Terminal, is pretty basic and disappointing. The amenities available in the 10,000-square-foot lounge comprise a full-service bar, a buffet with hot and cold items, two shower suites, a kid's area, and seating spaces to accommodate both single and group travelers. The lounge is also used by business and first-class passengers of all the Star Alliance flights that depart from the terminal. Priority Pass users are asked to arrive earlier, packing some patience in order to enjoy the services this lounge has to offer. It gets periodically restricted in case of overcrowding. Barajas Airport, Madrid: Cibeles Lounge Image Source I have come to love this lounge. It is highly spacious, with three of its walls made of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. A long bar in the middle of the lounge offers all kinds of snacks for you to enjoy. I had to visit the lounge for a morning flight, and it got me a nice little breakfast to go. There are lots of seating arrangements and electrical outlets to work if you have spare time. Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Atlanta – Club At ATL This could easily be your favorite lounge, given its high comfortability. It does get busy, but the lounge is expansive and has a delicious selection of food and snackables to enjoy. I have been here for various layovers as well as visits to Atlanta. They have a solid coffee machine paired with the fanciest newspapers and magazines you could think of. There are quite a few bars where the bartender will likely make you a curated mix or just simply pour you a glass of wine. Despite the crowd, you can manage to squeeze in some work while you are here. Chase Sapphire Lounge By The Club At Hong Kong International Image Source Location: Terminal 1 West Hall, near gate 40 Opening hours: 6 a.m. to midnight daily Chase opened its first branded lounge in October 2022 at the Hong Kong International Airport. This Airport boasts the world’s best lounges, including many top-tier Cathay Pacific lounges and the notable American Express Centurion Lounge. Although Chase does not offer what Cathay Pacific and AmEx offer, it is the best option accessible through Priority Pass, and it does not fall short of its reputation. The 12,000-square-foot Chase Sapphire Lounge is a mix of a huge dining area and small nooks, including a beautiful triangular bar, booths, and a relaxation zone. There are dim sums available all day, complemented by a range of Chinese dishes (it includes congee) and international cuisine. You can self-serve or order via the Club’s app. This lounge is available to both Priority Pass holders and non-Reserve Priority Pass members through the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The regular membership rules apply. Star Alliance Lounge At Paris Charles de Gaulle Image Source Location: Terminal 1, after passport control but before security on level 11 Opening hours: 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (though hours vary according to flight schedules) Assuming you spent your life’s worth of money in Paris, this lounge is where you can have some premium drinks, light snacks, and pre-flight relaxation without any charges. If the low ceilings make you feel out of breath, head to the outdoor terrace for some fresh air. This is also where others go for a smoke break. The lounge is placed after passport control and before security check-in. This is where most Star Alliance flights depart. If you are flying some of the flights that depart from terminal 2, like Air France or American Airlines, you won’t be able to visit this lounge because the terminals are not connected airside. Can You Use Priority Pass On Arrival? Image Source In most cases, the answer is no. A boarding pass is required when you enter the lounge, which is only possible for outbound travelers. You can not expect to head into a lounge after a long flight. The whole idea is to get travelers some rest before the long haul of a flight. So, the benefit is given to those who have a pending flight rather than those who got off one. Forget about a priority pass on arrival. They expect you to go home after a flight! Wrapping Up A Priority Pass makes your travel a little less exhausting with all the lounges you can avail of at your terminal. All you have to do is show them your digital card on the app and the boarding pass. They allow you in within minutes. In case they want to check you in with the physical membership card, keep the card on you. They usually do not make such a fuss, but if they do, having the card comes in handy. Is it worth it? Well, the $500 price tag is definitely too high, and I could honestly live with saving some bills on that. But I do enjoy being treated to good food and exclusive service at airports amid the uncomfortable hassle of long flights. If you have thoughts to share or questions to ask “on are priority pass lounges usually crowded” please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you! Read Also: Airwander: Should You Try This Platform For Booking Your Travel? Condor Airlines: Is Booking Tickets On Condor Worth It? Is Skyscanner Legit? 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