I struggle to ever pay for business class flights, I think it’s my upbringing but the thought of paying $2k+ for a flight, when I know the guys 10m behind me paid maybe $350 doesn’t work for me, so I book economy 99.9% of the time. If the client is paying though, that’s a different story! So each year I fly over 50 times, more than once a week, and I generally book the cheapest tickets. That means there are often awful transits, sitting in airport gates in Shanghai, Moscow, Turkey for 5+ hours on regular occasions. I used to hate it, but I kind of got used to it. But now it’s all changed!
Last year I signed up to Priority Pass. It’s basically a membership card that you pay once at the start of your 12-month membership, and then you get free access to lounges in pretty much every airport in the world. There are 3 tiers to the membership:
1) Standard: $99: Tier 1 means you get membership and then you get access to the lounges for a set $27 fee each time. I wouldn’t bother with this one personally, I don’t think it’s that good of a deal.
2) Standard plus: $249: This was my choice the first time I signed up to Priority Pass. $250 and you get 10 free lounge passes, and then it’s $27 per visit after your 10 are used up. I loved this but I always found myself thinking “Should I use one of my 10 choices for this 3 hour layover or not!?”/
3) Prestige: $399: This year I finally upgraded to the full option. Unlimited lounge access! I signed up 2 months ago and have used 7 lounges already, amazing! A place to work or chill, free flow red wine/champagne/beers, dinner, breakfast, showers. It’s amazing. It’s changed my economy flight experiences into something I look forward to, and I go to the airport early now each time so I can go to whatever lounge they have!
I’m based in Bangkok, Thailand so I’m often flying out of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK), I log onto the Priority Pass app on my iPhone and check if BKK has any lounges I can access. Realistically I know there will be some, 99% of all airports globally work with PP so there are rarely any problems there. I was shocked when I logged in though, to find that BKK has ELEVEN lounges to choose from. Crazy.
Over the last few months though I’ve worked out which lounge is best in BKK. The thing about the Prestige unlimited pass means that if you have a long layover you can jump from lounge to lounge, until you find the best one. You can visit as many as you want within the 12 months so you don’t have to pay a penny. Finally I stumbled across the gem in BKK airport, the Oman Air business lounge.
Oman Air Lounge
So Priority Pass teams up with airlines in each airport and then ‘borrows’ their lounges, sometimes they’re great, sometimes even better and Oman air is one of those. It’s located in the international departure terminal between concourse G and concourse E, so let’s have a look at the lounge itself.
Firstly it opens daily: 05:00 a.m. – 08:30 p.m. The lounge then is split into two rooms, a main room that also has the buffet and computer workstations and a separate room that is usually closed if the lounge is not crowded. There is then a shower room in the back of the main room too, pretty awesome all-in-all.
Then the food and the alcohol. The food has an Arabic twist considering it belongs to Oman Air. That means hummus, Arabic deserts etc. Of course, orange juices, waters, soft drinks are all available too. You serve yourself all the food and alcohol, there are some staff dotted around should you need anything specific but generally you help yourself. Different options are available depending on whether it’s roughly breakfast, lunch or dinner but there is always food (and drinks) available so don’t worry about what time you arrive.
I’ve spent probably more than 10 hours in total in this lounge and I really recommend it. To think of all the hours I used to sit at the gate, fighting for chargers, sitting on cold floors so I can plug my phone in, trying to find WiFi connection, paying for awful fast food and wondering should I spend $10 on a glass of wine. Not anymore!