The elevator doors slid open, and I stepped into the dimly lit oasis.
Suddenly, no more shrieking kids or sprinting desperadoes.
Just contented travelers, sitting in leather chairs, quietly reading newspapers or pecking on laptops, sipping their morning coffees.
I walked up to the Alaska Airlines rep at the counter and slid over my ID and Priority Pass card.
Unlike buying beer for the first time at a gas station on my 21st birthday, this transaction went as planned. None of that “Are you really 21?” stuff. Just a simple, “Thank you, enjoy.”
I headed for the breakfast and coffee bar, which was equipped with an espresso machine and all the staple syrups a former barista could hope for. Vanilla, hazelnut, mocha, white mocha.
I made an iced white mocha that tasted exactly the same as the $5-version at Starbucks. (Next time I’ll make a tuxedo mocha, a mix of dark and white chocolate, just a half-pump of each, swirled into the fresh espresso, topped with milk and ice.)
Alaska Airlines Board Rooms, as their lounges are called, are famous for their pancake makers.
My luck had just run out, as it was out-of-order.
The breakfast bar did have yogurt, cereal, apples & oranges, a soda machine, and pastries.
Priority Pass gets you into airport lounges like this one around the world and costs hundreds of dollars for a yearly membership, though there are a few credit cards that offer free membership.
I wrote a couple of months back about the credit card that I think is completely worth its $450 annual fee. Well, I finally caved recently and signed up for the Citi Prestige card, which brought me to this, my first airport lounge visit.
Citi recently announced some changes to the Prestige benefits that will take effect next Summer: No more free golf, no more Admirals Club access when flying American Airlines, and less value per point when booking award travel through Citi’s portal.
These changes will make it very difficult for me to pay the fee on this card when it comes due next year, but for now I’ll try to check out as many Admirals Clubs as possible while I can, like I did last week at my second ever lounge visit – the LAX Admirals Club.
This lounge is currently under renovation, but I was still quite impressed. It’s got a beautiful view of AA planes taxiing in and out, and a friendly bar with free well drinks and Budweiser.
The food…well, it was basically just cheese cubes and cookies, but it’s better than nothing. They do have a restaurant menu you can order from for fair prices.
As usual with AA and UA, my flight was delayed about two hours, so I was incredibly grateful for the lounge access.
The customer service reps in the lounge were friendly and helpful, and there were plenty of fresh copies of the NY and LA Times to keep me busy.
If the main lounge area is crowded, there are two other whole sections of seating down the hall that are a lot quieter. And showers if you need one.
If you’re a lounge veteran, I’m sure this sounds like I’m describing the back of your hand, but I’d love to hear your thoughts or tips. Thanks for reading!