The Lufthansa First Class Terminal is one of the best lounges in the world. I’d argue it’s the best first class ground experience in the world for those actually originating their travel at a hub airport, since you can skip the terminal altogether when using this lounge. Being driven to your plane in a Porsche doesn’t suck either.
Well, if you’re looking for that experience but Lufthansa first class isn’t in your travel plans, there’s good news — another airline has a comparable experience.
Last year Uzbekistan Airways opened their new CIP Lounge, which really can only be compared to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. Uzbekistan Airways doesn’t even have first class, so all international first class passengers can indulge in this service.
The lounge is completely separate from the rest of the terminal, so you can skip the terminal altogether. Or something like that. Unfortunately the entrance was wired shut when we visited, so we had to go through a security checkpoint, take the elevator up a level to the main concourse, go to another security checkpoint, and then another security checkpoint, and then we were in the business class lounge. Minor details.
There was a private check-in area, and then a private customs checkpoint, where your bags are screened. And then there’s a private immigration officer. Well, at least that’s the case once you wake him up from his nap because you’re the first premium passenger he has seen all day.
On the ground floor is a stunning room with an extensive selection of the world’s finest full flavor soft drinks.
But the real treat is upstairs in the dining area.
There’s a huge selection of carbs for your eating pleasure, and there’s even Dom Perignon (for purchase).
Lounges are all about relaxing, and this one gets that exactly right. By not offering Wi-Fi, you’re guaranteed to disconnect during your stay.
When your flight is ready for boarding, the experience is basically the same as in Lufthansa first class, as you’re driven to the plane. Except you first go through yet another security checkpoint. And rather than getting a Porsche, you’re driven in a shared bus that stops at a couple of different flights. And rather than being encouraged to take pictures, the security officers confiscate your phone and make you delete them (he was fantastic at deleting, but apparently didn’t know about the “recently deleted” folder… oops!).
All joking aside, this was actually an extremely impressive experience. Tashkent Airport is a dump, so this separate area they have for premium passengers hugely exceeded my expectations. The private check-in, private security, private immigration, private bus to the plane, etc., was awesome. And they even had properly made cappuccinos. Now if only they had functioning Wi-Fi!
Stay tuned for the full review.