There’s no denying that the general standard of airport lounges in the United States isn’t great. If you think of airport lounges, you might think of crowded rooms with outdated furniture, stale snack mix, and cheap chardonnay. Fortunately not all lounges are created equal, so in this post I wanted to share some of my favorite airport lounges in the United States (I’ve separately ranked the world’s best first class lounges).
Rather than just doing a numerical ranking, I’ll instead share my favorite lounges among a variety of categories. Let me acknowledge that in some cases there’s going to be some overlap between these categories, though hopefully everyone can appreciate that the intent is to share some of my favorite lounges across a wide variety of factors.
With that out of the way, below are some of my favorite airport lounges in the United States, in no particular order.
In this post:
Capital One Lounge DFW (best credit card lounge)
The Capital One Lounge DFW opened in late 2021, and is simply spectacular. It has beautiful design, innovative amenities, a great food & drink selection (including grab & go food, cold brew, and more), and exceptional service (especially from Rumana). The Capital One Lounge network has grown since then, with the opening of lounges in Denver (DEN) and Washington (IAD). Amex Centurion Lounges are great, but I do think Capital One has the edge as of now in terms of quality.
American & British Airways Chelsea Lounge JFK (best first class lounge)
With American and British Airways having recently co-located at JFK Terminal 8, there’s a whole new set of lounges, including the Chelsea Lounge, Soho Lounge, and Greenwich Lounge. The Chelsea Lounge is the most premium of the lounges, and is open to international first class passengers. It has incredibly elegant decor, and features a la carte dining, a beautiful champagne bar, and a relaxation room.
United Polaris Lounge SFO (best business class lounge)
United Polaris Lounges are the best business class lounges run by any US airline, and I’d argue among the best that you’ll find anywhere in the world. All Polaris Lounges are very similar, but I guess if I needed to pick one, I’d choose the United Polaris Lounge SFO. The lounge has beautiful design, nap rooms, shower suites, barista-made coffee, a la carte dining, and more.
Delta Sky Club LAX (best airline membership lounge)
The new Delta Sky Club LAX opened in early 2022. While I hate putting a lounge on the list I haven’t personally visited, I think this must be one of the nicest membership lounges in the United States. In general Delta Sky Clubs are better than American Admirals Clubs and United Clubs. On top of that, the lounge is massive, has creative decor, and has an outdoor terrace.
Qantas First Lounge LAX (best lounge for elite members)
The Qantas First Lounge LAX is the best lounge that can be accessed on account of airline elite status. Specifically, oneworld Emerald members can access the Qantas First Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal, and it offers an excellent restaurant-style dining experience.
Star Alliance Lounge LAX (best alliance lounge)
There aren’t many lounges in the United States run by one of the “big three” alliances. One exception is the Star Alliance Lounge LAX, which is open to Star Alliance first & business class passengers, plus Star Alliance Gold members. The best features of the lounge are the indoor terrace (overlooking the terminal) and the outdoor terrace (overlooking the apron). There’s even a separate first class section to the lounge. This lounge is in a totally different league than the adjacent Korean Air Lounge that most SkyTeam passengers are sent to.
American Flagship First Dining MIA (best lounge within a lounge)
American Flagship Lounges are business class lounges, but within some of these lounges are Flagship First Dining facilities, which are exclusively for Airbus A321T and Boeing 777-300ER first class customers. I quite like Flagship First Dining Miami, which features excellent a la carte dining and champagne, which will make you wonder if this lounge is really run by American Airlines.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK (best Priority Pass lounge)
In my opinion there are very few Priority Pass lounges in the United States that I’d consider to be great (I generally consider them to be higher quality outside the United States). However, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK belongs to Priority Pass during select hours, and is excellent. It has cool and fun decor, and a solid selection of food & drinks.
The above are some of my favorite lounges in the United States in a variety of categories, ranging from the best membership lounge to the best business class lounge.
Admittedly this is all highly subjective, so to OMAAT readers — what are your favorite lounges in the United States? Any others that really stick out, even if it’s “just” the best Priority Pass lounge?