I’ve never really had an addictive personality. Coffee is great but I’ll go months without a morning cup. I tried smoking a few times but never could never pick it up as a habit. Exercise is my thing, but many days I loath the thought of going to the gym.
During our last travel block, Kim and I became Priority Pass members. I wish we had done this from day one. If you are traveling you need to get Priority Pass now.
Priority Pass to the rescue
Here’s how it went down. Manchester Airport (MAN) is one of the most chaotic places I’ve been to. Not just airports, I’m including markets, bazaars, the Bangkok central bus terminal . . . When we landed at MAN for a 4-hour layover after 14 hours in the air from LAX and after the time and hassle at LAX and the dysfunction of American security, we were um, buggered, knackered, and feeling miffed (apologies to my British friends). We couldn’t find a place to sit and every cafe and restaurant was full of loud drunk groups really enjoying themselves.
Suddenly we were transported upstairs and sipping mimosas overlooking the runway and munching on scones and jam. I don’t recall if it was Bach or Mozart playing in the background.
Priority Pass is for everyone
Like most good things in life, coffee, sunsets, good conversation, Priority Pass is for everyone. Priority Pass doesn’t care if you are flying on an economy, business or first-class ticket, nor does it matter which airlines you are flying. Priority Pass provides you access to airport lounges around the world. And Priority Pass lets you bring in guests as well, for a fee, of course.
Travel – good. Airports – bad
Most of us love to travel but hate airports so imagine the thrill of travel without the headache, hassle, and hardship of the airport. Lounges are an oasis of peace in the middle of the airport chaos. A peaceful room with reclining chairs, a glass of champagne, and hors d’oeuvre (or dinner).
Instead of boarding announcements, pages for late passengers, and security reminders blaring through the echo chamber of the concourse you hear only the soft voices of angels singing in a lounge. Well, it’s quiet at least.
Where’s the value?
We love Priority Pass for three reasons.
- It gets us out of the mass craziness of the terminal and into some peace and quiet and comfortable chairs. This is really important because getting to an unknown airport in an unfamiliar city is in itself stressful. Then add the check-in process, the inspection at passport control, the madness of security, and we need a place to decompress.
- Lounges have big working tables, fast wifi (different from the airport wifi), and plenty of places to charge our often large number of items.
- The food and drink.
I worked as a host in lounges in several high-end hotels while at university. The definition of quality in regard to food and drink varied greatly by hotel brand, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with airport lounges – especially now that I’m over 50 and know what quality food and drink really is.
Not surprisingly the type of food and drink varies by location. More Chinese food in China and Italian food in Italy, but the quality has been consistently high. At the least, you will have a buffet which is not allowed to sit too long. More often you will have a chef standing at the ready for made-to-order omelets, salads, pasta, or meats.
Do be prepared for the regional differences. In Malaysia, no alcohol was served and in some areas, you won’t have pork as an option, in some U.S. states alcohol is available only after a certain time.
What is Priority Pass?
Priority Pass is the world’s largest airport lounge program with more than 1,300 lounges worldwide in 600 cities and 148 countries. More lounges are being added every month. It began in 1992 with just 49 lounges.
Priority Pass members do not need to book in advance. Just walk in, show your credentials, and the lounge is yours.
Once in the lounge enjoy complimentary drinks, refreshments and pre-flight bites including alcohol, quiet, comfortable space to relax, free Wi-Fi Access. Free newspapers and magazines, and shower facilities.
Three plans to choose from
Priority pass offers three annual membership plans
- STANDARD PLUS
As of June 1, 2020, the standard plan has an annual fee of US$99 (US$79 the first year) and a US$32 fee each time you use a lounge. The guest visit fee is US$32.
Standard Plus has an annual fee of US$299 (US$253 the first year). Members receive 10 free lounge visits, after which each visit costs US$32. The guest visit fee is US$32.
Prestige has an annual fee of US$429 (US$386 the first year) and all lounge visits are free. The guest fee is US$32.
Check the Priority Pass web site for the most recent information
We started with the Standard Plus program and next year we will upgrade to the Prestige. We use the lounge at almost every airport.
More than the lounge
Priority Pass is more than just the airport lounge. Priority Pass Members are also entitled to savings at airport dining, retail shops, and spas.
Just remember the lounges are all past security. Many airlines now share or rent gates at the airport. This means they do not open until 2 hours before departure. We have spent many hours in loud, overcrowded bars or restaurants snacking on overpriced food and drinks waiting for the check-in counter to open so we could cross immigration and security to get to the lounge. But even then, the wait was worth it.
Priority Pass brings the glamor back to air travel.