The 9 Airport Lounges I’m Most Excited To Review

Filed Under: Travel

Earlier I wrote a post about the airlines I’ll soon be reviewing, which I’m looking forward to, since there are quite a few fun ones on the list. As I take that trip, in this post I wanted to write about the lounges I’m most excited to review in the next several weeks.

I won’t mention all the lounges I’ll be reviewing, but rather only the ones that I’m most excited to visit. Not only has my trip been planned around reviewing the airline products I’ve revealed, but I also planned around some of the ground experiences I’m hoping to have.

So here are the lounges I look forward to most, roughly ranked by my level of enthusiasm (from highest to lowest):

Qantas First Class Lounge Singapore

Qantas will soon be opening a first class lounge in Singapore, which is only their second first class lounge outside of Australia (with the other one being in Los Angeles).

The lounge is supposed to open this month, and I can’t wait to check it out. It should feature nice decor and a la carte dining. I’ll be able to access this because I’ll be a oneworld Emerald flying out of Singapore on a oneworld flight.

Finnair Platinum Wing Helsinki

Earlier this year Finnair opened the Platinum Wing in Helsinki, which is their new most premium lounge. The lounge features a la carte dining, a Finnish sauna, and more.

The catch is that business class passengers don’t get access to the lounge. Rather it’s only open to oneworld Emerald members. Since I’ll be flying Finnair business class as a oneworld Emerald member to Singapore, I should have access to this lounge.

American Flagship Lounge & Flagship First Dining Dallas

American has been investing heavily in their lounges. Their most recent new lounges to open are in Dallas, as they opened a Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining at the airport.

This complements their existing premium international lounges. They have Flagship Lounges in New YorkChicagoMiami, and Los Angeles, and Flagship First Dining in New YorkMiami, and Los Angeles.

This will be the last lounges I have to check out, and I’m particularly excited to be drinking Krug at American’s expense. What a strange world we live in…

Hainan Airlines Lounge Beijing

There aren’t many impressive lounges in mainland China, in my experience, though based on what I’ve heard Hainan’s flagship lounge in Beijing is one of the best. So I’m looking forward to checking that out prior to my Hainan long haul business class flight.

The Jewel Singapore

Okay, I’m cheating here a bit, because this isn’t actually a lounge. But I can’t wait to visit The Jewel for the first time, which is the amazing new shopping complex at Changi Airport.

Cathay Pacific Lounge Singapore

Cathay Pacific has a new lounge decor that they’ve been introducing over the past several years, and one airport with that style lounge is Singapore Changi. I plan to check that out prior to my oneworld flight, along with checking out Terminal 4, which is the only terminal in Singapore I haven’t yet been to.

Changi Lounge The Jewel

I don’t have high hopes, though I do find the concept fascinating. As mentioned above, The Jewel is the awesome new shopping mall connected to Changi Airport. It can be visited by anyone, as it’s not past security or immigration.

Well, The Jewel has a lounge, called the Changi Lounge, and it belongs to Priority Pass.

Why on earth is there an airport lounge inside a mall that’s next to airport terminals? I have absolutely no clue. But I can’t help but check it out…

Cathay Pacific The Deck Lounges Hong Kong

I’ve reviewed many of the lounge options in Hong Kong, including the Pier First Class Lounge, the Wing First Class Lounge, the Qantas Lounge, and the Amex Centurion Lounge.

During my layover in Hong Kong I’d like to this time review The Deck Lounge, which is open to business class and oneworld Sapphire members, and looks quite nice.

I had also wanted to review the Plaza Premium First Lounge, which was accessible with Priority Pass in conjunction with a co-pay, though it looks like it has been removed from Priority Pass? Is that recent?

Turkish Airlines Lounge Miami

I don’t exactly have high expectations, but Turkish Airlines recently opened a lounge in Miami, and I plan to check it out. The lounge is open to Priority Pass passengers and is in American’s terminal, which is a completely different terminal than where Turkish leaves from. An odd and intriguing setup…

Bottom Line

While I’m probably most excited about the flights, I’m also excited about some of the lounges. In particular, the Singapore ground experience is most exciting — I can’t wait to check out The Jewel, and also hope that the Qantas Lounge Singapore opens on time, so I can check that out.

If you’ve been to any of the above lounges, please let me know what to expect so I can manage my expectations. Also, are there any other lounges at the above airports I should check out that I haven’t reviewed before?

Comments
  1. What about the ‘Turkish Airlines exclusive lounge’ at Istanbul, Lucky? Although construction doesn’t look anywhere near to be finished at all (and TK itself continues to say the lounge will be open “soon”). Besides, access rules will be quite restrictive as only TK Miles&Smiles elites flying TK business class can enter (so no other *G, nor business class passengers of other Star Alliance airlines!).

    At least on paper it sounds like it should become a fantastic lounge!

  2. The secret’s out on the TK lounge in Miami. It was packed on Friday with priority pass cardholders.

    They do have hot food and Aperol, so it’s definitely better than an AC, but it feels very much like a priority pass lounge

  3. Which OW airline are you flying ex-SIN? IIRC they have been rather strict with T4 access, only allowing you access into the terminal (and hence the CX lounge) if you have a departing flight from that terminal.

  4. My wife went to the plaza premium first lounge in HKG using priority pass two weeks ago. It was a $30 copay for 3 hours. She also said they offered the benefit as part of the Amex Plat card with the $30 copay.

  5. 1. Singapore T4 is totally detached from T1/2/3, so I guess you would need a ticket on CX to visit their lounge in T4.
    2. For Plaza Premium First HKG, it is not shown on the Priority Pass system since it requires a co-pay? From what I heard it is HKD200 (~USD26).
    3. The Deck is nice, but it isn’t much different from The Bridge etc.

  6. As another person already has commented, unless your OW flight is departing T4 at SIN you won’t be able to access T4 and vice versa. It is enforced by boarding pass. So given you don’t mention which airline I’m gathering you’re not flying CX and so you won’t be able to view T4

  7. Just saying I have a lot of friends who live in Singapore who have accessed the jewel when not flying. My friend went there for lunch the other day (I happened to ring him and he was there and having lunch). Just to clarify “The Jewel” is not at T4 it is at T1 (https://www.jewelchangiairport.com/en/getting-to-jewel.html) . T4 is a new terminal which requires a shuttle. It looks amazing though from all the video I have seen. As for the QF lounge in Singapore I hope it is better than the Melbourne one – I found it very underwhelming. The Singapore business lounge is ridiculously busy so hopefully it reduced the load on that lounge.

  8. The deck in HKG is very similar to the other CX lounges. Honestly given its proximity to the QF lounge you’re better off going there if your flight is right near there. The deck is basically a Cathay lounge without the ceiling but it’s still cool I guess…..

  9. Thanks for the heads up about T4, guys! I am flying Cathay Pacific. Question: Can I access T4 day of flight several hours prior to departure, then leave the terminal and go to another terminal, and then return to T4? Or once you’re in there is there no easy way out short of going through immigration?

  10. @Lucky: Once you’re in T4, there’s no way to get to T1/2/3 without a boarding pass for those terminals. The airside transit is for arriving passengers only.

    Unlike the other terminals, T4 has separated departures and arrivals, so it’s not even possible to go through immigration once you’re in the departures hall, short of an emergency.

    As an example, with a CX ticket from T4, there is no viable option to head to T1 and use the Qantas First Lounge before the CX flight.

  11. I’ve been to the Changi lounge in the Jewel. It’s across from the early check-in desk hence its location but there is nothing too spectacular about it.

  12. Nope, once you are in the security area in Terminal 4 in SIN, you can ask the security to let you visit the Terminal 1/2/3 by taking the internal shuttle bus if you have plenty of time, minimum 2-3 hours before your flight. You just need to tell them you want to visit the duty free shop in the main terminal. I just did this last month.

  13. Lucky, as others have said, there is no way of accessing T1-3 with a T4 boarding pass and vice versa. The CX lounge is nice though, used it a couple of times.

    I’ve always liked the Cathay Lounges and the Deck is a nice lounge, although spoilt for choice at Hong Kong!

    The Jewel is fantastic, as a Singapore resident who has frequent guests or business colleagues visiting, I have suggested an extra hour or two earlier at the Airport to visit it – the only complaint I’ve ever had is they wish they’d had more time!

  14. Might not be an issue… According to Executive Traveller, Alan Joyce will open the Singapore lounge on 2 December.

  15. Lucky, you can definitely visit other terminals after checking in at T4, either from landside or airside. At airside, just tell the security you want to go shopping at other terminals. Easy peasy. Just make sure you have at least 3 hours otherwise you would be rushing abit.

    However, without a T4 boarding pass, pax can’t visit T4 from T1-3. Alot of people always get confused.

    Have fun and looking forward to your reviews!

  16. The Jewel lounge is nothing to be excited about. You can’t use it until 4 hours before departure (they check boarding pass). It’s actually useful if you are tired of shopping and just wanna have a place to sit and get a drink. Don’t forget a lot of SQ flights are red-eyes, for people who have 5-6 hours layover, it is perfect as that timing is a bit too long to just sit around at the airport, but too short to go to the city. Walk around the jewel for a couple of hours, then usually you get quite tired for people from a red-eye flight, it’s nice to just sit down on the sofa (yes, they have very comfy sofa) and get some nibbles and drinks.

    They also have pay per use nap room as well.

  17. Don’t get too excited about the Deck at HKG. It’s easily the worst of the 4 CX lounges. Very small, limited food selection. It gets its name from an area that is open to the terminal (no ceiling). I understand the need to check it out for completionist sake, but once you see it you’ll know there’s no reason to go back there when you have the Wing, Pier, and Bridge at your disposal.

  18. Don’t quote me, but I think you can first access T1 from landside with your CX BP (under the guise of “shopping” as someone else suggested), hit up the QF lounge there, and then use the airside transfer bus to get to T4. Once you’re airside in T4, though, there’s no “formal” way out. The FT thread(s) in the CX and maybe other fora should be able to confirm this.

  19. Re “:The Jewel” are you just transiting through T4 and not actually staying in Singapore? If that is the case then you need a minimum of 4 to 5 hours (I can’t remember the exact number) to leave the airport as you will need to clear immigration at T4. From T4 you can catch a shuttle bus to the other terminal. When you come back you just go through immigration again. I have had a friend (who was a resident) do this when she forgot something plus had several friends clear immigration when transmitting just to meet with me. If you are staying in Singapore then just arrive early and great straight to T1 then check take a shuttle to T4 and check in there. If you don’t want to carry your bags around the jewel then there area places you can leave your luggage (obviously you pay). Unlike other airports around the world, Singaporeans are encouraged to use the pre-immigration sections of the airport. I worked close by and we would go there for lunch. When the Star Wars exhibition was on at T3, the terminal was a nightmare as loads of non-flyers went to see it. I should also add the unlike my local airport (MEL) parking is REALLY cheap. I spent 2 hours waiting for a delayed flight and it cost me <$2 Singaporean- which is another reason why people hang out there. The airport is designed to be used. Hope the new CX lounge is good – the old one was awful.

  20. The dude in the Hainan clip trying to look like IM Pei still doesn’t know how to design a food service space. Oh, and don’t forget the 3-world part of the clip showing a female attendant covering a male with a blanket.

  21. Last month we went through SIN both ways. We had a flight mixup and got stuck at the airport for 22 hours. We used the hotel airSide. Immigration gave us a bit of a fuss that we were there so early but once we explained the hotel it wasn’t a problem. I remember hitting both lounges. In T4 which was much better than the sad experience at Singapore air lounge.

    I fly out of ORD/MIA and sometimes JFK flagship lounges at least twice a month and honestly they are the ONLY REASON I continue to fly American. But the Dallas lounge that just opened was a sad version of Chicago or Miami. The food selection was terrible. ORD and MIA are always pretty great. I began to panic that all the other flagships would be dummied down to the Dallas experiences. Hope I’m wrong.

    I leave today for HKG/SIN with a 24 hour layover in the terminal. Trying the other hotel this time and looking forward to spending a day exploring the lounges (except Singapore which sucks). Any suggestions?

  22. @marc the private lounge in Singapore is much nicer. Sadly reserved for people who fly Singapore Airlines First Class. The business class or kris gold are so crowded…..a lot of people have regional jobs and get gold status easily. If I had 22 hours I would leave. T3 has Crowne plaza attached to it. They rent rooms by the hour (Sounds dodgy but is not). They have a gym and an ok pool. If you have a long layover and want to go to a hotel then ask the airline to only check your bags as far as Singapore (I have done this). You could then jump on the MRT and go to Changi City Point and eat at the food court. If you are flying SQ and have not been to SG before then you also use their day tour option. Alternatively go and eat some hawker food at Changi Village (catch a taxi). Other option is Dnata lounge which I have found to be quiet but fairly ordinary.

  23. Derek is right. I flew CX out of Singapore last month. Here’s what i did:

    Take a taxi directly to Jewel and alight at its main entrance (Level 2), where you will see Shake Shack on the left once you enter. Take the escalator down one storey to Level 1, where you can do an early check-in for your luggage and get your printed boarding pass. Explore Jewel (land-side), then walk across to T1, where you can clear immigration with the CX boarding pass. From there, take the (air-side) Skytrain to T2 and transfer to the (air-side) shuttle bus to T4.

    The above sequence should allow you to visit all the lounges you planned for. Also, as long as you have a valid boarding pass, you can clear immigration through either T1/T2/T3, after which only passengers of T4 departing airlines are allowed to board the air-side shuttle bus to T4. No restrictions apply if you board the land-side shuttle bus to T4.

  24. Qantas Singapore First Class lounge will be the THIRD outside Australia, as Auckland has one, but it isn’t worth visiting as it is of a much earlier generation. It is due to be closed and integrated into one big next generation lounge for business and first, ala Hong Kong, but no indication of schedule for that yet.

  25. I’ve heard the same thing as Mark P on the Deck from my colleague: it’s the smallest of them all; it’s newer but not much more to offer. Sounds like you only have been to the First Class lounges, I would recommend the Pier Business Class Lounge (that is different then the Pier First Class Lounge; right next to each other). In my opinion, the Pier (both First and Business Class Lounges) are the best at HKG. The Pier Business Class Lounge is big, usually not too crowded like the Wing, and it got the Yoga area that I think you should check it out. I was there last month and found the yoga area is quite nice (there was a couple actually using it at the time).

  26. I explored the Jewel twice in June. It’s an easy walk and well connected to Changi airport. The vortex waterfall is an interesting site. There is a monorail train when transferring from different terminals at Changi that goes through the Jewel. There are some attractions in the Jewel like a garden. Other than that, it’s just a shopping mall. Surprisingly, the Jewel does not have high-end shops, it’s very average and the stores are nothing special at all. Nonetheless, it’s something to see once for about 30 minutes.

  27. Has the CX lounge in SIN been recently renovated? I was there in March and found it to be rather ordinary. There wasn’t anything wrong with it – the food and ambiance were fine – but there wasn’t anything notable either.

  28. Ben – The Plaza Premium First lounge at HKG is still accessible using Priority Pass with a co pay. I just checked into this lounge about an hour ago. The current co pay is HKD $250 (about $32) for 1.5 hours, although I’m not sure they actually track how long you stay as long as it’s not outrageously long. I think the rumors that the former Cathay First crew moved here are well founded. The dining room here has entree options that remind of what The Pier and The Wing used to have, like tonight I had the lobster pasta. Last time I was at The Wing in April, the food seemed to be a serious downgrade from what I remembered before. Anyway, you should still be able to get in so swing by the next time you’re in HKG!

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