Flying, Travel

The Airport Lounge

An airline ad from the 1960s shows a chef serving custom cuts of meat.

When I was a little girl, flying was for the wealthy. Airline ads from back in the day show meals that include roast beef carved on a tray pushed down the very wide center aisle. In those days passengers dressed up in their “Sunday best” because traveling was special and rare.

Then in the 1970s airline regulation came along. Prices plummeted and nearly everyone could afford to fly. Families who could only afford long road trips were able to pay for cross-country flights. Airlines added more seats, crammed them together, narrowed the aisles and, over time, eliminated hot food for all but first class passengers. It’s not unusual to see passengers in gym shorts and t-shirts or even pajamas and slippers! 

Crowds are returning to air terminals.

Airport terminals suffered much the same fate. Madding throngs of travelers cram into waiting areas and jostle for boarding position, lugging wheeled carry-ons and overstuffed backpacks. 

That left the discerning travelers with little choice but to cope with the crowds or seek out a lounge. If you’ve considered lounge access, but opted to save the one day entry fee, you’re missing out on some great chill time before a flight.

Because we live in an American Airlines hub city, it follows we mostly fly American. It made sense for us to join the AAdvantage frequent flyer program and opt for their credit card that gives you points and includes Admirals Club access. We travel enough that we’re admittedly a little spoiled now.

Avocado toast and a fresh cappuccino are lounge perks.

We like to take morning flights whenever possible (less chance of a weather-related delay.) The Admirals Club has recently offered freshly made avocado toast, so we check in early and snag the delicious snack along with a fresh cup of coffee. Waiting for an afternoon flight, we usually split a sandwich and enjoy a free cocktail (premium liquors available for an extra charge). Due to COVID, the selections are less varied, but there’s usually something to please our palates.

The American Airlines lounge is Phoenix is very comfortable and usually quiet.

The comfy chairs are a nice place to curl up, pull out your phone or laptop and while away the hour-or-so before boarding with free, hi-speed wi-fi. 

Hydrating in a VERY clean lounge shower was a special treat between long flights.

If you’re flying internationally, the lounge is a really great place to go on a long layover. I have taken a nap in a dark room with recliners, refreshed myself between two LONG flights with a free shower and even enjoyed a hot meal and drink in airport lounges. Most airlines offer day passes if you want to try it out.  

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Sometimes a little sanctuary from the crowds is a good thing!

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