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Airport lounge access is perhaps the best way to ease the anxiety of a visit to the airport. Plenty of cards give you either unlimited airport lounge access or a whole ream of day passes each year, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express, and the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card.
Not only are airport lounges a quiet hideaway from the noisy terminal, but they can save you money. Because many have free hot meals, free drinks (including alcohol), free Wi-Fi, and sometimes even beds and showers!
I use the Priority Pass lounge membership I receive from my credit card all the time when I’m traveling. It makes me look forward to being at the airport.
But I now know that Priority Pass lounge access is almost useless during ultra-peak holiday travel.
Beware Airport Lounges During Peak Travel
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on how to minimize your chances of being turned away from an airport lounge. Ironic that soon after I found myself on the outside of the fancy sliding glass doors peering in at all the free alcohol and comfy seats.
My flight home from Thanksgiving was delayed in Dallas (part of the landing gear needed replaced), so I decided to visit the airport lounges, 3 of which I could access with my Priority Pass membership. Just a few steps away from my gate in Terminal D was a Minute Suites, which are private rooms with beds and workstations, and also come with access to showers. The wait was 45 minutes.
Minute Suites give you the option to book a room in advance to avoid a wait. If I had known I’d be delayed, I would have reserved a room.
Elsewhere in Terminal D was The Club at DFW, which had a line out the door. Only once or twice have I actually been impressed by “The Club” lounges, so this wasn’t devastating.
Also on a wait, the Minute Suites in Terminal A.
This Thanksgiving did have a reportedly record-shattering amount of travelers. So I should have expected the airport foot traffic to be a macrocosm of the airport lounges.
On any normal day, airport lounges should have plenty of room for you and your guests. But if you’re traveling during peak season, at a time when the terminals are at their rowdiest and noisiest and you’d most appreciate lounge access, don’t be shocked if you’re queuing half an hour for the privilege.
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