When travelling in business class or first class, or with a Gold or Platinum-grade frequent flyer card in your passport wallet, chances are you’ll have access to an airport lounge: and there’s an easy way to see which lounges you can enter by searching through various online directories.
Sure, the airline will point you to a specific lounge after you’ve checked-in, but many travellers don’t realise that their boarding pass can also unlock other – sometimes, better – lounges than the one their airline wants them to use.
Here are five online lounge directories you should know about, which could help make your next business trip or holiday a little more relaxing or productive by unlocking a better lounge at the airport.
1. Oneworld alliance lounge finder
Flying with Qantas or another Oneworld airline in business class or first class, or with Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald (Qantas Gold or Platinum) frequent flyer status? Then take a moment to visit oneworld.com and key in the airport you’re flying from next to discover all your lounge options.
For example, if you’re flying Qantas from Bangkok to Sydney on Qantas flight QF24, Qantas will normally direct you to the independent Miracle Lounges in Bangkok, as the directory shows…
… but Oneworld’s lounge finder highlights that the Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines lounges are available too, when “traveling on any Oneworld member airline” – which means you can stop by before a Qantas flight, provided the lounge is open at the right time:
The lounge directory hasn’t yet been updated to include Qatar Airways’ new Bangkok Premium Lounge, which you can also access as a Oneworld business class or first class passenger (although not as an Emerald or Sapphire frequent flyer travelling economy), but the directory’s listings are otherwise usually quite comprehensive.
2. The Qantas Club website
If you’re a Qantas Club member travelling on a Qantas international flight, it should come as no surprise that the Roo’s own website is the go-to for lounge listings, outlining which one you can access in every city overseas: whether that’s a Qantas lounge or an independent ‘associated lounge’.
The website explains that in Beijing, you can use the Cathay Pacific lounge; in Dubai, the Emirates lounges; in New York and Santiago, the American Airlines Admirals Clubs; in Noumea, the Aircalin lounge; in San Francisco, the Air France/KLM lounge; in Shanghai, the China Eastern lounge; and at Tokyo Haneda, the Japan Airlines lounge, among the options in other cities.
Qantas Club members can also access American Airlines Admirals Club lounges when travelling with AA, but for a comprehensive list of lounge locations, you’d have to look to the AA website instead.
3. Virgin Australia’s international lounge directory
Because Virgin Australia isn’t a member of a global alliance and each of its international airline partnerships works a little differently, checking Virgin’s international lounge directory before you fly is essential, not just to confirm which lounge you can use, but that you’ll actually receive lounge access in the first place.
For example, the directory shows that when flying Virgin Australia from Sydney to Los Angeles or Hong Kong as a business class passenger or Velocity Gold or Platinum frequent flyer, access is provided to the Etihad Airways lounge at Sydney Airport.
But equally, the absence of a lounge in the list means that there won't be one you can access, such as when flying Virgin Australia out of Nadi (Fiji) in any class, or when flying Hawaiian Airlines from Brisbane, Virgin Atlantic out of Hong Kong or Singapore Airlines from Paris as a Velocity Gold or Platinum member.
4. Star Alliance’s lounge directory
One of the more comprehensive online directories is Star Alliance’s lounge finder, useful for passengers flying business class or first class with a Star Alliance airline, holding Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status, or a paid Star Alliance airport lounge membership with Air Canada or United.
Using Bangkok as another example, most passengers know that a Thai Airways business class ticket – such as on flights to Australia – unlocks Thai Airways’ own business class lounges, but under Star Alliance rules, it provides entry to the Singapore Airlines and EVA Air lounges too, which many savvy travellers prefer.
Simply plug in the airport you’re flying from, and as much information about your journey as you’d care to share: such as the airline you’re flying with, your class of service, and if you hold elite frequent flyer status or a paid Star Alliance lounge membership, and the website lists all your options.
5. The SkyTeam lounge finder
For passengers travelling in business class or first class with SkyTeam member airlines, or jetting about with a SkyTeam Elite Plus frequent flyer card, SkyTeam’s online lounge finder works in much the same way – just key in the airport you’re flying from and the options appear.
However, the website doesn’t show when you can and can’t access a specific lounge, other than which terminal it’s in and which airlines use each lounge as their ‘default’, so the onus is on you to know the airport layout and to have memorised SkyTeam’s rather restrictive lounge access rules.
To refresh: as an alliance-wide rule, SkyTeam airlines only provide lounge access to passengers travelling internationally the same day, not when merely flying domestic, and while other airlines only make that distinction in North America, for SkyTeam, it’s a global policy with just a few exceptions for specific airlines and flights.
So, even if you’ve found a lounge, double-check that you can get access to it.