How to access airport lounges on an economy ticket

Stephan Brünjes
By Stephan Brünjes

Not just for VIPs! Even with a bog-standard ticket, these 5 tips will help you get airport lounge access on an economy ticket

From the threadbare and battered seating in the crowded, noisy airport waiting areas, your gaze turns towards the glass panel in the cherry wood door, the word ‘Lounge’ embossed upon it. A word that presses play on the projector of the mental cinema of almost any economy-class passenger. Sat, clutching your styrofoam coffee cup, you dream of sipping bubbly, chilled to perfection, while reclining on plush couches with plenty of leg room in impeccably-lit saloons.

These days, lounges are no longer just the stuff of exclusivity and dreams. No, you don’t need to be a frequent-flyer, first-class passenger or gold club member to access these airport oases. Here’s how:

APPsolute simplicity – with Loungebuddy

Easy to download for both IOS and Android, simply give Loungebuddy your itinerary and voila! The program shows you all the airport lounges located “along the way”. With info on amenities, reviews and photos allowing you to find the perfect lounge for you. Then you just have to turn your decisions into smartphone clicks – the lounge is ready, and there’s a liveried waiter waiting for you at the glass door, with that Beluga caviar you ordered.

Become a lounge member – as in, join the club?

© Loungebuddy

Yip, and get easy access to 1000+ lounges in 100s of cities worldwide! With Priority Pass, one of the most widely-used frequent flyer programmes, you can become a Priority Standard Member for £69 annual membership where you pay just £15 for a visit to the lounge. As a Priority Standard Plus member (£159 per year), you get ten free trips to a lounge and then pay the usual £15 after that. If you know you are going to flying a lot this year (and this applies if you are going on multiple business trips or backpacking your way across the Southern Hemisphere) grab yourself a Priority Prestige membership: Relax in and take advantage of the lounges as often as you want for a very reasonable £259 for a full years fee.

Cheap flights to some of Asia’s hottest destinations: 

For a one-off unwind – the Day Pass:

© Loungebuddy

You’re not a sports personality, neither are you a politician, a gold-card member or anything else that guarantees you a hot shower and a chilled glass of Sauvignon to sip on between flights.

But, damn. That 9-hour stopover in Singapore is going to break you unless you get some proper downtime. It sounds like you may be the perfect contender for a Day Pass instead of priority pass. A Day Pass, for the airline or independent lounge of your choice, – costs between £15 and £60 on average.

KAYAK Insider Tip: Make sure to pre-order your pass. Day passes ordered on the actual day you need them are going to cost you more.

Premier Airline? Nope, try an independent lounge?

© Loungebuddy

If showing off to your friends back home by name-dropping all the celebrities you rubbed shoulders with in some Swarovski-studded Lounge isn’t top of your list, then maybe you should focus on finding an independent lounge. They’re comfy as can be, the WiFi signal is strong and the food hearty and delicious. Chains such as Airspace (especially in the US) and Plaza Premium (which will keep you rested across places like Canada, China, Australia, Malaysia and India) often offer all this for 20 euros. Sometimes there are even small spa treatments for an extra charge. The catch: some of these public lounges close towards the evening.

Cheap flights to some of the UK’s favourite destinations: 

For professional chancers: get hustling

© Loungebuddy

Every first-class passenger may bring a guest to the lounge – free of charge. So why shouldn’t you capitalise on that? If you consider yourself a hustler, a mover, a shaker or just a damn fine actor why not put those skills to the test. Hang out around the entrance and get ready to look exhausted, turn on the charm or present your case however you see fit. Maybe you’ll have a sob story prepared about a horrendous flight, will be brutally honest just ask for the time and weave a story from there, but many an economy passenger has been known to while away the hours at a premier lounge on an otherwise horrendous stopover, thanks to the kindness of strangers. Probably best to dress the part and get your plan of attack sorted before having a practice run.

Note: These rates are based on search queries made on on September 12th, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.