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Cathay Pacific’s HKG lounge. Aka “The Wing”

You don’t have to be a premium traveler to enjoy airport lounges

Member exclusive by Rosie Spinks

Most people, whether they realize it or not, have an airport routine. Perhaps they nervously arrive way too early and only relax once they get to their gate—a full 90 minutes before boarding starts. Or maybe they treat the I’m-running-late airport Uber ride as an adrenaline-filled prelude to a relaxing flight.

I myself am somewhere in between those two poles. However, one thing that has really changed the game for me is realizing that while I’m not a premium traveler, I am an airport lounge enthusiast.

Though I fly frequently, most of it takes place on Europe’s notorious short-haul carriers like Ryanair or easyJet, or in an economy seat (always on the aisle) on a transatlantic carrier like Virgin Atlantic or Norwegian Air. Perhaps it is because I am no stranger to the indignities of commercial air travel that I’ve come to believe airport lounges are a worthwhile upgrade to my pre-airplane ritual. There is nothing more dignified than a pre-flight prosecco and a little space to breathe as you clear your inbox and charge your phone in the 30 minutes before boarding.