Nobody enjoys hanging out in the public seating area by the departure gate. Noisy sound systems, uncomfortable chairs and overpriced sundries and snacks are your constant companions. And if you arrive with only thirty minutes to spare, there really isnít any way out of it. However, if youíve got a few hours on your hands, then you may want to explore the perks of Priority Pass lounges.
While airline-specific or airline alliance lounges typically require you to reach a certain number of miles first, or to be flying first class, the Priority Pass program is a global network of independent airport lounges in more than three hundred cities around the world. That you can access by flying coach on any airline you choose. The travel benefits one has access to in Priority Pass lounges can vary slightly by location, but frequently include free alcoholic beverages, snacks, newspapers, magazines and Wi Fi. The chairs are typically miles more comfortable, and itís not uncommon for Priority Pass lounges to include sleeping areas, showers, private meeting rooms and other business services such as photocopying, scanning and more. These are basically executive-style airport lounges that even budget travelers can access.
For selected moderate annual fees starting at $99 (there are three pricing plans available), travelers can access the network of Priority Pass lounges for an additional $27 per day. If you typically only fly once or twice per year, then this isnít necessarily a deal. However, if you fly frequently then this is a huge savings over the cost of airport bar tabs and a great way to score some free travel food. Not to mention the fact that you can usually score free Wi Fi in an airport that may not offer it in the public area, and rest in a chair that was actually designed for a human being to sit in.
The free newspapers and magazines are another area of significant savings, particularly for voracious readers. At up to $10 a pop, itís possible to recover the cost of your membership to the network of Priority Pass lounges in a single five-hour layover alone.
Is a membership right for you? That depends on your flying frequency, reading habits and typical bar tab for starters. But even if you only run up moderate airport expenses when you travel, chances are youíll break even. Which makes those complimentary comfy chairs, sleeping nooks and shower stalls a freebie. Consider your travel habits carefully, and if the costs come out in your favor then purchasing a membership to the Priority Pass lounges might be right for you. Again though, if you only fly a couple of times a year, then it might not be a bargain for you, unless you typically rack up a hefty bar and dinner tab waiting between flights. Run the numbers carefully before you decide.
Photo Credit: Mujitra
Editor’s Note: Trek Hound is a member of the Priority Pass affiliate network because we believe in the value of the program. We were not financially compensated for writing this post, but will receive a small commission for any sales that are generated as a result of this article, which was written to inform you, the reader about the program.