Accessing airport lounges while traveling is more of the more arcane and byzantine processes you’ll face while at an airport. Almost all airlines that offer a business class also have a business class lounge at their hub airport and several outstations.
Others, notably those that are part of an cross-airline alliance, offer DIFFERENT lounges for economy class passengers. These are available to travelers with mid-tier status with either that airline or a partner. This arrangement is most common in the Star Alliance, and these lounges have a “Star Gold” plaque outside their entrance.
If you have both status and a business class ticket, then where should you go?
Here are the following Star Alliance carriers that maintain separate Star Gold and business class lounges, often right next to each other or sharing a common check-in desk:
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
Typically, for these carriers, the Star Gold lounge is actually better than the business class lounge at the same airport.
Lufthansa, Swiss, and Austrian all tend to have hot food and a broader alcohol selection in their Senator Lounges than they do in Business Class Lounges
Conversely, Singapore, Thai, and EVA all have nicer lounges set aside for business class passengers than those in economy with elite status. Singapore in particular offers a big step up between their Krisflyer Gold Lounges at Changi Airport (for elite status) and their SilverKris Business Class Lounges in the same terminals. Confused? Silver is better than gold in Singapore’s case. The business class lounges have a full buffet and much more comfortable seating, while the Star Gold lounges have a more modest selection of food and drinks.
In most cases, it would probably be far less confusing to passengers and simpler to operate one big, well-apportioned lounge for business and status-holding passengers, but airlines — being creatures of intense nuance and hierarchy — still hold out to make things complicated.
I hope that this keeps you from running around the airport trying to find the most comfortable spot. It also helps to have LoungeBuddy to get pictures and reviews. That way you’ll know full well whether you should poke at the food there or wait until you get onboard. No packaged sandwiches for you!