Airport Lounges

I love airport lounges, they make long layovers so much more bearable; specially when traveling with kids. Lounges have clean bathrooms without long lines, TVs, business centers, usually free wi-fi, snacks, beverages, and sometimes even meals; some have  children’s play areas and showers.
Waiting for your flight in a lounge beats sitting in uncomfortable seats at a crowded gate, waiting in line to use the restroom, looking for a table at the busy food court, and chasing board kids around the airport.

Airport lounges are usually reserved for Business and First Class ticket holders, but that is not always the case.  Most lounges offer a per visit fee which can be purchased online when your ticket is booked or can be paid directly to the lounge.  Another alternative is to buy membership to an independent lounge  program such as Priority Pass or Lounge Club.

Lounge Club membership must be obtained thru one of their business partners.  Priority Pass memberships is open to all, annual fees start at $99.  We currently have membership with Lounge Club and have pretty much unlimited access to their partner lounges worldwide.

Airport LoungesI’ve been in many different lounges, my favorites would have to be Emirate Airline’s Marhaba Lounge in Dubai, Royal Jordanian’s Crown Lounge in Amman, Philippine Airline’s Mabuhay Lounge in Manila, and the 2 story United Club in Houston.  In my opinion they provide the best amenities and great meals, snacks, and beverages.

This summer on our way home from Houston I was traveling with my youngest daughter, her year old son, and my two other grandsons ages 7 and 13.  We had a 6 hour layover in Los Angeles which turned into a 9 hour layover when our flight to Honolulu was delayed at the last minute.  Thank goodness for the airport lounges!

When we arrived in LAX at 9:00 am we decided to head to the Bob Hope Hollywood USO Lounge to wait for our 3:00 pm flight home.  My daughter’s husband is in the military and USO lounges are open free of charge to active and retired military and their families.

Airport Lounges

The Bob Hope Hollywood USO Lounge is on airport property but unlike most other lounges is not located in the airport proper.  It is a couple of blocks walk from the baggage claim area of all the terminals.

The volunteers who staff the lounge are incredible.  They are so welcoming and make you feel comfortable.

The lounge has clean showers, bathrooms, and baby changing tables stocked with everything from toothbrushes to shaving cream, clean towels to baby wipes and diapers.

There is a movie room, dining room, and plenty of comfortable seating.  There’s even an outdoor dining area.  The children’s playroom has a TV where kid’s can watch DVDs, toys, and books.

They also have a place to store luggage and will provide free luggage carts to take back to the airport when you’re ready to leave.  They provide meals, snacks, and beverages all for free. The staff encourages you to pack a sandwich and snacks for your flight.

Don’t expect luxury though at this lounge, everything they have comes from donations, but the place is clean and the people there very friendly, also there’s plenty of food for everyone. It’s so much more comfortable than sitting in the airport, specially if you have kids.

The kids really enjoyed the snacks and the play area.  They were able to watch one of their favorite Disney movies.  We stayed in this lounge until it was time to make our way thru the crowded security checkpoint and to our gate, about 2 hours before our flight.

Just as we got thru security we got a text informing us that our flight was delayed by at least 3 hours.
We decided not to return to the USO lounge, we didn’t want to have to go thru the long security line again.  We opted instead to head for the Alaska Airline Board Room in Terminal 6, close to our gate.

I’d been to the Alaska Airlines Board Room in Seattle a couple years ago with my grandson Devon, at the time Delta was sharing this lounge for their First Class passengers. So Devon was very excited about visiting the Board Room in LAX, he had loved their lounge in Seattle and was telling everyone what a great time he had there.

Airport Lounges

We were very delighted with the Board Room at LAX, it was even more comfortable than the one in Seattle.

This lounge has lots of comfy seats, clean bathrooms, and a children’s playroom with a TV and toys.

They provide soup, crackers, french toast, and other snacks for free.  Free beverages include Starbuck’s coffee, tea, and sodas.

They offer breakfast and lunch plates for $8 each.  We had the Salmon and Chicken plates, and a pizza.

The bar serves beer, wine, and cocktails for free.  Premium beverages are available for a fee.

The kids enjoyed staying at the lounge until we were ready to go.  Both lounges made this trip stress free.  We boarded our flight well rested and full.  The meals we purchased at the Board Room was less expensive and tasted better than anything they offer for sale on board most domestic flights.

Next time you travel consider waiting for your flight at an airport lounge.  You don’t have to be flying Business or First Class to gain access to these great lounges.  You can buy single access to most lounges or membership to one of the programs if you travel frequently.  Single access starts at about $50 – 75 per person and annual membership fees start at $99.  Either way is much cheaper than purchasing a Business or First Class ticket.  In my opinion the comfort they provide is worth it.