HR & Management

The best airport lounges for getting productive work done before a flight

5 min read

04 March 2016

As premium economy becomes a more popular option for business travel, and technology makes onboard WiFi a reality, flying has undoubtedly become more efficient and no longer has to mean a lost day of work.

Airport lounges are the best place to spend the time before a flight, with most geared up for business travellers and many bookable online in advance for less than £50 even if you’re flying on a standard ticket.

Below are our pick of the best:

(1) Wingtips Lounge, JFK

Forget meagre portions and watery coffee – the food and drink here are the real deal, so you can make sure you’re properly refreshed before power napping on the way home to avoid the infamous jetlag that comes with flying East. There are also printers and scanners available for any last minute inflight reading you want to print out. 

And – in case you need to communicate with anyone stuck in 1999 – there’s a fax machine too. Access can be obtained by booking online or joining an airport lounge club such as Priority Pass.

(2) No 1 Traveller, Gatwick

Expanded and reopened in February 2016 following a long period when demand for the only lounge in the South Terminal far outstripped supply, this new offering promises a much improved pre-flight work experience. A quiet library area has proper desk chairs and plenty of plug sockets as well as great panoramic runway views for thinking-outside the box moments. Institute of Directors members get free access, and anyone can book advance online.

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(3) The Centurion Lounge, San Francisco

As well as everything you’d expect from a lounge catering to the tech types coming in and out of Silicon Valley – think high-speed WiFi, good computers and sheltered hot-desking spaces – this American Express-operated lounge has unexpected extras for when the two spreadsheets you’re comparing finally agree and you can call it a day. 

With a Napa Valley wine-tasting area, a menu designed by up-and-coming big name chef Cédric Vongerichten and expert cocktails mixed to order by a master bartender, the only risk is that you won’t get any work done at all. All American Express cardholders are allowed in, with a fee payable for some cards.

(4) Quantas Singapore Lounge

Despite the distractions of its live cooking stations and glamorous cocktail bar, this Quantas lounge is a place where you can be seriously productive. There are proper tables and chairs, lots of plug sockets and fast, reliable wifi, and – for those using the airport as a stopover destination – luxurious showers. Designed for business class passengers, joining up to the Quantas club will also secure your entry.

(5) Skyteam Lounge, Heathrow

Plenty of computers, good internet speeds and comfortable desks mean this lounge has all the basics covered. But it’s the green surroundings provided by plant-covered walls, the relaxation provided by an onsite yoga room, and the oxygen shots available to perk you up pre-flight that make the lounge stand out, and mean you can concentrate on work without feeling at all like you’re in an airport.

(6) Luftansa First Class Lounge, Frankfurt

There’s no way in without a First Class flight booking, but this lounge is considered the best in Europe, with good reason. There are luxury whiskies to try, cigars to smoke, and sleep pods to nap in, not to mention the added bonus that flyers using the lounge are driven to the plane in a Porsche Cayenne. And if you can’t be productive in your own private office, with the reassurance that a member of staff will come and get you when it’s time to board, then quite frankly you don’t stand a chance.

Also, for the majority of SMEs that buy business travel, they do it in an unstructured and unmanaged way. But we’ve got seven steps for how to cut business travel costs by a fifth.