Etihad Airways now lets you pay your way into its airport lounges

By David Flynn, March 21 2017
Etihad Airways now lets you pay your way into its airport lounges

Etihad Airways now lets economy passengers pay to access its airport lounges, following similar moves by Gulf neighbour and rival Emirates.

Lounges covered by the scheme include Etihad's business class lounges at Abu Dhabi terminals 1 and 3, as well as the premium 'first and business class' lounges at Sydney, Melbourne, London Heathrow, Manchester, Dublin, Paris, New York JFK and Washington Dulles.

However, unlike Emirates, there's not – at least not yet – the option to pay your way into its flagship first class lounge at Abu Dhabi (below).

The cost varies between lounges, depending on their facilities; for example, Etihad's Sydney and Melbourne lounges charge A$99 per person, with a reduced $77 fee for children aged between 3 and 12, and free for infants under three years.

By comparison, Etihad's London lounge charges £45 (A$72) for adults and £35 (A$56) for children.

As you'd expect, access is subject to capacity restrictions – so if the lounge is unexpectedly full when you arrive (due to a delayed Airbus A380 flight, for instance) don't be surprised if you're turned away.

Is it value for money? Obviously that depends on the lounge, but Etihad's latest lounges are superb efforts (especially those at Melbourne and New York) with a la carte dining and a tended bar.

There are certainly worse places to spend a few hours before your flight, and arguably few better – and the appeal is even greater if you have a long layover at Etihad's Abu Dhabi hub.

However, and as many Australian Business Traveller readers have noted with regards to Emirates lounges, it has to be said that offering paid access to any upmarket 'premium' lounge will always take the shine off its purported exclusivity for business and first class travellers and top-tier frequent flyers.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 704

Interesting that they have enough space to allow people to pay for access but don't seem to have enough space for VA Gold card holders...

28 Dec 2016

Total posts 71

Maybe its because VA gold status is not worth more than $50 outside of AU?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 113

That is only in LAX. LAX isn't on the list of lounges that will be offering this. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 468

I wonder how much VA pays for each admission to partner lounges?


13 Sep 2013

Total posts 115

After visiting the Melbourne Etihad lounge last year, I think $100pp is great value! The a la carte menu was terrific and the cocktails were fabulous. Dinner and a couple of cocktails is $100 right there!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 262

Per person though?

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 193

anybody who used the etihad melbourne lounge knows how small it is and can hardly accomodate a 777 business class flight now on top of this this paying crowd?? greed gets the worst of this arab airlines-take example of Singapore where only real travelling first class pax are allowed to their lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Sep 2011

Total posts 77

Why would you pay for entry to a lounge that allows infants under 3 in at all, let alone for free?


03 May 2013

Total posts 667

Great more screaming kids

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 241

Still don't get why more airlines don't do a paid annual lounge policy like Qantas Club.

I still think AC do it the best. Two or three levels of membership, one being Canada Only, one being North America Only and a Worldwide option.

That means for, (off memory,) $600 CAD, you can get access to 'any Star Alliance lounge when traveling in any class on any Star Alliance ticket'.

Simple, good revenue stream for the airline, goes some of the way to protecting the product/service offering.

I think the simplest way my QC membership has been explained is 'Lounge access is available whenever on a QF, JQ or AA coded flight and the venue is airside in the terminal you're departing from.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2017

Total posts 1

Is there a time limit on these entries, say, 4 hours?

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