Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Penang Airport

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I arrived at Penang Airport at around 1PM for my 3PM Starlux Airlines flight to Taipei, so I had a bit of time to spend in the Plaza Premium Lounge.

This is the contract lounge used by almost all international flights at the airport. The exception is that Cathay Pacific has their own lounge, which oneworld passengers can use (assuming the opening hours overlap).

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang Location

After clearing security and immigration I found myself in the rather small international departures hall. There was signage to the left pointing towards lounges, in the same direction as gates A1-A2.

Penang Airport terminal

Sure enough as soon as I turned left I saw the escalator leading up to lounges.

Penang Airport terminal

Penang Airport terminal

At the top of the escalator was the entrance to the Plaza Premium Lounge (and to the right of that was the Cathay Pacific Lounge).

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang Airport entrance

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang Hours

The Plaza Premium Lounge Penang is open daily from 5AM until 11PM, so it covers virtually all departures from the airport.

How To Access The Plaza Premium Lounge Penang

Plaza Premium Lounges are generally contract lounges for airlines, and can also be accessed with Priority Pass and other lounge memberships/programs.

In the case of the Plaza Premium Lounge Penang, premium passengers on the following airlines have access:

  • SilkAir
  • China Airlines
  • China Southern
  • Qatar Airways
  • Starlux Airlines
  • Thai Smile

On top of that, the lounge can be accessed by Priority Pass members, and you can also purchase access outright, including through LoungeBuddy.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang Review

This is a very small lounge, so there’s not all that much to talk about. Let’s look at the layout and seating in the lounge, the food and drink selection, and then the bathroom situation.

Plaza Premium Lounge Layout & Seating

The Plaza Premium Lounge Penang is small, which seems like a problem, given how much growth this airport has seen. Emirates is about to start flying here daily with a 777-300ER, and presumably they’ll be using this lounge.

The first thing you’ll notice when you approach the lounge is that there’s overflow seating to the left of the lounge. I didn’t see anyone using it, though I guess it’s creative that they set up seating outside the lounge?

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang overflow seating

The lounge is split up into a couple of areas.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang entrance

Inside the entrance and to the left is one of the main seating areas, which looks like, well, any Plaza Premium location anywhere. There were about two dozen seats set up in rows, facing one another.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang seating

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang seating

Then there were three high-top seats.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang seating

Next to that was a communal table with a TV.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang seating

Then there was the dining area, which had half a dozen dining tables seating four people each, and then three dining tables along the wall, seating two people each.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang seating

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang seating

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang seating

And that’s it…

When I arrived at the lounge it was almost empty, while when I left virtually every seat in the lounge was taken.

Plaza Premium Lounge Food & Drinks

The Plaza Premium Lounge Penang has a fairly extensive food selection for a smaller contract lounge, though personally I didn’t think most of the food looked all that appealing.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

There was a salad bar with whole apples and orange slices, a couple of types of dessert, bread, cereal, crackers, snack mix, and a few hot options.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

Hot options included mantou and green bean soup.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

Then there were mini pao coconut and mini pao kaya, both of which were tasty.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang drinks

One nice feature is that the lounge has some freshly prepared dishes — all day they have fishball noodle soup, in the mornings you can order eggs (scrambled, omelet, or sunny side up), and the rest of the day they have BBQ chicken rice or char kuay teow.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang buffet

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang a la carte food

The drink situation was interesting. They had a variety of soft drinks, and there was a sign saying they were chargeable for takeaway. Fair enough, since you’re not supposed to usually take stuff from lounges, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sign like that before.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang drinks

The only complimentary alcohol that the lounge offers is beer, and you have to ask the lounge staff for that, as it’s not self serve.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang alcohol for purchase

In addition to the above, the lounge had juice, water, tea, and coffee.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang drinks

Plaza Premium Lounge Bathrooms

The Plaza Premium Lounge Penang doesn’t have showers, but it does have bathrooms, which were reasonably well maintained.

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang bathroom

Plaza Premium Lounge Penang Bottom Line

Plaza Premium is pretty consistent with their lounges, and this location is no exception.

The lounge is small, which perhaps wasn’t an issue in the past, but will become an issue as the airport continues to grow. Furthermore, the only alcohol that the lounge has is beer.

It’s not worth arriving early to use this lounge, but unless you’re flying Cathay Pacific or a partner, this is also your only lounge option.

If you’ve visited the Plaza Premium Lounge Penang, what was your experience like?

  1. Looks from the sign that the beer is also free if you consume it in-lounge (and only chargeable if you take it away)…am I wrong?

  2. This is my home airport lounge, and it’s exactly as described. Tiny, cramped and often completely full (especially during the Qatar Airways departure time).
    The beer only on request, and the signs about takeaway are quite new. They used to be available on a self serve basis in the fridge until a month or so ago. The food to order is usually terrible too. I only use this lounge as its somewhere comfortable to sit and do some work before departing Penang, as there are no other options other than the noisy terminal and gate lounges.

  3. My guess is the takeaway signs went up when the extra overflow seating was installed since it would be easy for someone to sneak off with booze or whatever.

    I am, however, shocked there isn’t wine. Then again, most of the wine at hotels and the like in Malaysia is quite cheap. Like $5 Chilean bottles.

  4. Was there in November. Was flying Air Asia and accessed thru PP. Our departure gate was just below the lounge.

    Thought I was losing my mind as I got the beer from the fridge myself so like Expathotelier said they just changed it. ( Carlsberg was the only option.) Also don’t remember the overflow seating.

    We had a morning flight to SIN. Breakfast was eggs or they had porridge. Couple other things like toast, cheese, etc. Really was basic as far as options so either afternoon and evening options are just better or they have upped their game. On the flip side it was not crowed in the morning. Maybe 25% full.

  5. @Lucky, did you earn points with Plaza Premium’s new loyalty program? Do you present the app before or after your access credentials (BP, LoungeBuddy, PP, etc.)?

  6. It’s still 100x better than the Cathay lounge next door, which was a real surprise.
    Also, Malaysia is a Muslim country after all, so don’t expect alcohol everywhere.

  7. It’s not Cathays top lounge for sure, but beats the brakes off anything you get at a domestic us lounge. Ymmv. It’s penang—think Tucson as to Asia. Looks pretty good to me. I’ve been to this lounge. It was fine.

  8. Do they also have a smoking area? I will be in that lounge the next day and I just wanna know if I could smoke there. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this Ben!

  9. Agree with TLS, already way better than the Cathay lounge next door, which is also managed by PP. Whatever food that is available in Cathay lounge in the morning will also be available at PP, but PP tends to have more choices.

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