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Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Skipping Airport Lounges with No Regrets

Skipping Lounges is part of the Rum Rum Caribbean Castaway Trip Report.

I used to get to the lounge as early as possible (see Amex LAS Centurion Lounge: The Full Day Freeloader Review and AA Admirals Club JFK Gate 42: Here All Day) to capitalize on everything that is free. This was especially true if the airport had a Centurion Lounge.  As of late, I have not done so. It may be blogger laziness (see Hangover = Blogger Malpractice?), but it has more to do with the decline in quality of lounges. Unless flying first, lounges are jam packed with people with few seating options and stale food choices.

I used to complain about Delta’s carrots and hummus (see Delta Sky Club Detroit Metro: This Again?), but now that criticism extends to lounges across the board. Perhaps it’s because everyone has an Amex Platinum (except me now, see Keep Vs. Cancel: Amex Platinum Charles Schwab). Perhaps it’s because everyone has at least one membership to Priority Pass. Whatever the reason, lounges no longer feel the need to provide the quality which they would provide if the lounges were more exclusive. That’s why on the way to Trinidad, I chose to arrive minutes before boarding and skip the lounge. Unlike before, I had zero regrets about doing so.

What about you? All day freeloader? Or skip it, it’s overrated?

an elevator with a sign and a logo
MIA from Centurion MIA


  1. There’s a lot of variables to consider. Class of service, peak travel periods, lounge quality, etc. For instance, I find the Polaris lounge in ORD to be pretty amazing. Cathay lounges set the standard for what a lounge should be. AA/DL/UA standard lounges are ok. Priority Pass lounges normally beat sitting by the gate. I haven’t tried Amex lounges yet. Overall, I’ll normally allocate some extra time to see a lounge out of curiosity, if nothing else.

    • If it’s Cathay or EK or the real ones, I’m going early. I meant for casual travel, especially domestic.

  2. It’s true that Amex lounges in the US tend to crowd up quite a bit, but the food and drinks are usually much better than your average PP lounge. As someone noted, UA has done a great job with the Polaris lounge, but not a lot of people qualify to visit. I do like the trend of PP having $28/pp in some restaurants; gives you a little more choices. As you can tell, I’m still a fan of lounges, even while being aware that they aren’t always all that great.

  3. The purpose of a lounge isn’t to give travelers a 5 stars experience but a place to sit that is a bit better than at the gate. If you want luxury, forget priority pass/centuriou and go to a Mandarin Oriental hotel. With that said, yes lounges are overcrowded, which is why the higher end lounges like Flagship or Polaris restrict access pretty much to only international business passengers.

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