Thursday, June 18, 2009

Access Over 600 Airport Lounges With Priority Pass

I must admit, when I first heard of this lounge access program, I was a bit skeptical. The idea of a company selling day-use access to airport lounges at a discounted price brings unwelcoming visions: families with kids running around as if the lounge was some sort of playground; a single tray of refreshments only to be swooped up by the vultures; herds of people jockeying their way through the masses for access to the bar. In fact, Priority Pass isn’t that – at least usually.

This past year I had the pleasure of trying out a standard membership to the Priority Pass network. The plan normally costs $99 a year plus a pay-per-visit fee of $27, which enables access to over 600 airport lounges throughout the world, including select airline-branded ones such as United's Red Carpet Club, Singapore's Kris Flyer and Delta's Sky Club Lounge – to name a few.

The amenities vary at each lounge. Soft drinks, light refreshments, Internet, and a wide variety of magazines are pretty standard. Some lounges even provide hot food, cocktails, resting rooms, and shower facilities. Best of all, lounges are often a quiet (though not always) break away from the hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfare and boarding area of airport terminals. And with Priority Pass, you need not fly that particular airline to access their lounge – often a restriction with airline-branded memberships. For example, if you are flying United Airlines through Tampa, Florida, you have access to the Delta Sky Club Lounge with your Priority Pass membership.

Families who travel infrequently may find the $99 annual fee plus day use fees a bit to steep to justify the purchase. This probably goes a long way in preventing the lounges from overflowing with guests, allowing for a more relaxing visit.

If you travel frequently, consider a membership with Priority Pass. Different levels of membership are available depending on the frequency of your travels and how often you wish to have guests accompany you (for a fee) into the lounges. Click here for more information on the Priority Pass Airport VIP lounge access