It is often the case that air travel can be somewhat less than enjoyable. Personally, I love airports. There is a feeling of excitement that comes from the beginning of the adventure and the anonymity of flying that I crave. However, even I have had some less than stellar experiences. Sometimes your flight is delayed. Sometimes you lose your wallet and passport on the way to the airport. Other times you just so happen to have a pass for the International Lounge and not only is your flight delayed, but you caught a ride from your neighbour 4 hours before your flight. This is the only time these two unfortunate events are more than acceptable, perhaps even enjoyable.
When you arrive to the airport 4 hours before your scheduled flight, there are no feelings of panic, confusion or frustration. You have all the time in the world. You can just relax and soak it all in. I realize that your average business traveller may have lost all appreciation for airports, but not me. Even though I have done what some would consider my fair share of travelling already, I still love rolling up to departures with my backpack and passport. When I also have a lounge pass – I’m unstoppable.
For several years now, due to my fathers frequent flyer rewards program, I’ve had the good fortune of getting forwarded several lounge passes a year. Sadly, even with all the flying I’ve done this year, it appears as though I will still come up short to join the Elite on a regular basis with my own membership. Unfortunately next year will be no different. You never know what the future will bring, I remain hopeful that this becomes more than a once in a while deal for me.
For those of you who have yet to experience the simple joys of an international lounge and are thinking “What’s the big deal?” Well, friends, the big deal is this – You can, quite literally, lounge around in plush leather chairs for as long as you like right up until your boarding call. They will even announce it for you with plenty of time to stroll up to the gate just in time to board. There are magazines, free wifi, a buffet, gourmet coffee machines, newspapers from around the world, clean well stocked bathrooms and best of all – free booze. Perhaps you’d enjoy a Caesar with your pita chips and hummus. Maybe you’d like a glass of wine with your cheese and cracker plate. How about a cold beer right out of the tap? It’s all there for you to enjoy – free of charge.
As I write this, I’m looking out onto the tarmac at the comings and goings of thousands of stressed out, jet lagged, aggravated miserables and can’t help but think about the little things that are making my day better. There’s the perfectly spiced Caesar, the asian stir-fry with crispy noodles and the supple leather arm chair you seem to just sink into. I don’t always fly with lounge access, but when I do, I fly in comfort.
You can, I believe, buy passes to most lounges now and depending how long your flight is delayed or how early you get to the airport – it might just be worth looking into. Air travel can be stressful, irritating and for some, it can be unbearable. If this is you, I urge you to give a lounge a try. You won’t regret it. It doesn’t look like my seat will be upgraded today, but yes, I will make that a double…