REVIEW: Priority Pass Lounges

29 January 2019

With Priority Pass you have access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide and a choice of three membership plans to suit your particular travel needs. 

Priority Pass is designed for passengers to sit down, stretch out and enjoy complimentary drinks, refreshments and pre-flight bites. All Priority Pass lounges offer complimentary Wi-Fi and some also have conference rooms for business meetings.

Many credit cards come with complimentary Priority Pass membership nowadays, including AMEX and Citi in Hong Kong, or the DBS in Singapore.

To get you excited for your next trip, we have compiled a round-up of the 10 best Priority Pass lounges in the Asia-Pacific region:

 

Bangkok: Oman Air First & Business Class Lounge

The Oman Air First & Business Class Lounge at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi is easily my preferred Priority Pass lounge in the Asia-Pacific. 

The lounge is spacious and stylish and features plenty of seating options, from high chairs lining the walls to plush armchairs and secluded daybeds if you fancy a nap before your flight.

I’m a huge fan of unobstructed sweeping tarmac views (and natural light!). While this lounge offers neither, it cleverly accentuated the space with calming fish tanks in all shapes and sizes which makes up for the lack of daylight.

The lounge has showers, a business centre and a decent hot and cold buffet, including an open bar with Chandon champagne, wine, beer and a selection of spirits available.

I particularly enjoy the calm and quiet atmosphere. While other Plaza Premium lounges tend to get rather busy, this lounge was an oasis of peace and quiet during my visits. Also, the Oman Air lounge is the only Priority Pass lounge I know which serves real champagne.

 

Singapore Changi T2: SATS Premier Lounge

The SATS Premier Lounge Terminal 2 at award-winning Singapore Changi International Airport was named Asia Pacific lounge of the year by more than 72,000 Priority Pass holders. The space is truly awesome for a pay-to-go lounge and its signature laksa alone is worth a trip.

The lounge immerses its visitors in Singaporean culture, with displays of real orchids, Peranakan porcelain and artwork depicting local scenes. It hosts regular cultural events, for instance serving mooncakes during the Mooncake Festival, to treat guests to a unique experience every time they visit the lounge.

Above and beyond the famed laksa, the lounge features an extensive hot and cold buffet spread and a bar selection including unlimited beer and wine.

The SATS Premier Lounge is a real treat, although the space gets very busy during peak hours which might alter the experience. Nevertheless, there are spotless shower suites, private rooms with massage chairs that offer complimentary 10-minute massages, plenty of power outlets strategically placed all around, as well as several business booths.

 

Busan: Sky Hub Lounge

The Sky Hub Lounge in Busan is a real gem and easily my most favorite lounge in Korea. Sky Hub is modern, cozy, has amazing service, good runway views and a very good food selection. There are various seating options ranging from low tables to sofas and high chairs lining the walls. 

Unlike the Korean Air lounge in Busan (which you can also access using Priority Pass!), the Sky Hub Lounge offers a lovely hot buffet spread, including several Western pasta dishes, two soup options, Korean dishes and a DIY bibimbap station. Although there are neither wine nor spirits, passengers can help themselves to Korean draught beer, with instructions how to create your “customized lemon beer”.

The service at Sky Hub is impeccable. Dishes are cleared at breakneck speed and while there are obvious language barriers the staff couldn’t be more eager to please. The only drawback is a lack of showers, although this might not present a huge issue given that most passengers in Busan will depart for relatively close by regional destinations.

 

Bangkok: Air France-KLM Lounge

The Air France-KLM Lounge offers the best food selection of all Priority Pass lounges at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. There are countless hot and cold choices, ranging from pasta, various rice dishes, sushi, Chinese dim sum and cakes.

The bar has a good selection of spirits, white, red and sparkling wine.

The Air France-KLM Bangkok lounge isn’t small, but it gets busy, particularly in the mornings when Air France flies to Paris and KLM to Amsterdam. The space is also open to all SkyTeam status card holders, which can make finding a vacant seat between 10am-12noon challenging. The lounge has many different seating options and offers terminal and tarmac views. There are shower rooms and and complimentary massage chairs.

 

Dubai: Ahlan Business Class Lounge

Priority Pass has named Ahlan Business Class Lounge at Dubai International lounge of the year for the Middle East & Africa. Surrounded by wine barrels and wine chillers, the lounge specialises in creating personalised dining experiences for guests. Its signature ‘Refresh’ cocktail, a buffet offering an array of Arabic delicacies, a la carte menu and spa, all helped the lounge secure its win.

The space is stylish and features a well-stocked bar, although do note that there will be a surcharge for ‘premium liquors’, including champagne and whiskey. The hot buffet featured two biryanis, samosas and several curries. There was a cold food station featuring salad, fruits, cheese, sandwiches and cakes. On top of that, passengers may choose to order from an a la carte menu listing satay, burgers, hot sandwiches and egg dishes, just to name a few.

The service at Ahlan is very good, albeit on the slow side. The enthusiastic staff will check on you regularly and is always up for a chat. Showers and a separate smoking room are available.

 

Auckland: Strata Lounge

The Strata Lounge Auckland is extremely impressive. Personally, I’d say it’s all about the food in this space. Typical Kiwi, Strata pays close attention to offering guests a healthy and balanced menu, featuring several green and organic buffet choices and made-to-order counters. The bar selection is solid, including sparkling wine. The service couldn’t be friendlier, or more efficient. 

The lounge is large, with plenty of different seating options, many of them with views of the bustling terminal below. Strata has a separate ‘kids zone’, making it a good choice for both business travelers and families.

There are (very large!) showers inside the lounge, available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Strata Lounge is well worth a visit and, in my opinion, far superior to the Qantas lounge next door.

 

Bali: T/G LOUNGE

The T/G LOUNGE is a pleasant way to kill time before your departure from Bali. While by no means industry-leading, T/G is significantly better than the Premier Lounge next door (also available to Priority Pass holders).

The lounge is spacious enough and decked out in colonial meets resort-style white wood furniture. There is a considerable hot and cold buffet spread, featuring various Asian and Western dishes, as well as a made-to-order station serving Indonesian dishes nasi goreng and mie goreng. Unfortunately Priority Pass holders only get a voucher good for either a glass of wine or beer. Additional alcoholic drinks are subject to payment. 

There is a shower room inside the lounge and service is friendly. While not necessarily a glamorous space, I still consider the T/G Lounge a haven of peace and quiet compared to the often bazaar-like conditions in the Bali departures hall.

 

Bangkok (G2): Miracle First Class Lounge

Formerly known as the Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge, this facility offers near unrivalled space. The lounge is seriously massive, separated into several different zones with plenty seating and resting options and a smoking salon. I’ve visited the lounge at several times of the day and I never saw more than a dozen or so other passengers.

There is a large buffet, featuring countless hot and cold options, including Thai staples like green chicken curry, ‘tom yam’ seafood soup and fried rice. Next to this, there’s a self-serve drinks station with wine, sparkling and spirits.

Shower rooms and business facilities are available on request. The reception desk staff couldn’t have been more helpful; I was on a delayed flight and they kept checking with the gate on the updated departure and boarding time for me.

 

Delhi T3: Plaza Premium Lounge B

In all fairness, finding a good lounge in India isn’t easy, let alone one that’s accessible to Priority Pass holders. Thankfully, the Plaza Premium Lounge in Delhi’s Terminal 3 offers some respite and creates a relaxing pre-flight experience.

The space is huge and has seating options in all shapes and sizes. What sets this lounge apart from the competition in Delhi (there are eight other lounges Priority Pass holders can access at the airport!) and elsewhere in India is the really good food. There are several live cooking stations where, depending on the time of day of course, chefs will prepare made-to-order dishes. When I visited, they had brisk business scrambling eggs, making omelets and boiling up Asian soup noodles. I also quite liked the plush and almost gaudy lounge finishings, which remind me of a Bollywood setup.

There are shower rooms, business centre facilities and a well-stocked bar, although regrettably all alcoholic drinks are subject to extra payment for Priority Pass holders.

 

Beijing: Air China First & Business Class Lounge

The Air China international first class lounge is the only ‘flagship’ first class lounge available to Priority Pass members. That said, there is really no reason to get too excited about this space, although I would rate the lounge higher than the seven other lounges available to card holders at Beijing Capital Airport.

On the plus side, the lounge is spacious and I’ve never seen it get crowded (probably because most people, rather understandably, would think they don’t have access?). There is a hot and cold buffet, although this is mostly Mainland Chinese fare à la steamed buns and congee.

There are shower rooms and private cabanas (although these can be challenging to reserve as most of the time the reception desk would tell you they are reserved for VIPs). The lounge uses the general airport Wi-Fi.

Dominic Lalk

A familiar face in Orient Aviation and Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, Dominic is an aviation analyst and travel enthusiast.  When’s he’s not consulting, reading or writing about the airline industry, Dominic is most likely to be found flying around the world.