Top 5 best First Class lounges in the world

People often ask me if there is more to it than just a fancy meal and a bed when flying first class. Well, there surely is. Aside from all the extras you get on the plane, there are tons of perks before and after your flight too. One of them is having access to the most luxurious lounges of these airlines. And while most of them are really nice, some of them are next level and if you ever have the chance to experience one (or several) of these, you’ll be in for the best time ever. Lufthansa First Class Terminal Among frequent flyers and aviation geeks, visiting the Lufthansa First Class Terminal is like coming home and knowing your family will take very good care of you. And no, it’s not a typo, it is indeed a complete terminal that was built in Frankfurt with the sole purpose of making sure its guests would have everything they need before boarding the plane. There is a massive selection of both food and drinks, they even have over 130 different kinds of whisky which you can taste. Of course, there are also offices, nap rooms, relax areas and so on but what about the cigar lounge, where those who like to indulge on the nicely rolled tobacco can enjoy their little treat without disturbing anyone else. There are several bathrooms, and upon entering it there will be the mascot rubber duck waiting for you. The duck has become one of the most desirable “must haves” for aviation geeks and to be honest, who doesn’t like to have a duck joining them for a bath? Your PA (yes, every guest receives one upon arrival) will be checking in with you on a regular basis to see if there is anything they can do for you, but also to come and collect you when the time has come to board the airplane. So no need for clock watching here. And being driven to the plane in a luxury German car like a Porsche or Mercedes S class will make sure you want to visit the first class terminal again. Qatar Al Safwa lounge We all know the Middle East is the place to go when bling is your thing. But what Qatar Airways did with their Al Safwa lounge in Doha is the total opposite. Clean lines, open spaces with natural light, … The lounge is massive, so even when there are lots of guests, it will still feel very exclusive and empty. When designing this space, they surely kept all types of travelers in mind, as there is the formal dining area, a more informal dining area and a family dining facility. I mean, it is all about choice, isn’t it? On top of that, there’s a spa, an extensive space for toys and activities for kids,  a business center and even a nanny room. Truth be told, clients who have the means to fly first class often have staff travelling along, so the nanny room does make sense. One of the things that stands out to a lot of travelers is the champagne which is offered. Even though it does change from time to time, you can expect to drink Krug, Comtes de Champagne and Cuvéé Louise. Sounds almost like the holy grail has been found. Air France La Premiere lounge The French are known for many things, and good hospitality services on top of amazing food and wines are just a few of the stand outs. Of course you can expect all of these, and so much more when visiting the La Premiere lounge of the French flagship carrier Air France in Paris. The design of the lounge is (as you can expect) very stylish with red, grey and white as the main colors throughout the space. They like to showcase their strength, hence why the food menu is designed by Alain Ducasse. And not only does that sound amazing, the dining experience itself feels more like you are having a meal in a Michelin star restaurant. Of course this couldn’t be a French lounge without a Clarins Spa, where you can get pampered before the flight in order to be totally relaxed when boarding your plane. And boarding the plane was never that easy, as Air France also drives their guests to the planes in luxury vehicles, just like they do at Lufthansa. Cathay Pacific The Pier Of course there wouldn’t be a top 5 possible without one (or more) of the Asian carriers who once again turn luxurious travel into reality. Cathay Pacific does it perfectly in The Pier, their first class lounge in Hong Kong, not to be mistaken with The Pier for business class. When you enter the lounge it looks like you walk into the hallway of a fancy complex in Manhattan. The lounge has several amazing features, but the one that you really want to enjoy is the private rooms, called the Retreat. There are several and they all have great views outside where the hustle and bustle of the airport is happening right in front of you, yet you are sitting relaxed while having one of your favorite drinks. Or if you rather just take a shower and start working, you’ll be glad to know there are some beautiful shower rooms and a business center which more looks like it was stolen from a fancy gentlemen’s club in the UK. The food is top notch as one can imagine and there are both Asian and more western options to choose from. As a guest you also receive a 10 minute foot massage, which will surely put a smile on many faces. The lounge work closely together with the famous The Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong, in order to make sure its visitors will leave refreshed, relaxed, fueled up and ready for the flight. Singapore The Private Room Last up, but surely not less impressive is The Private Room from Singapore Airlines in Singapore. While might not have all the fancy gimmicks like chauffeur driven transfers to the plane, or free massages in the spa, it does have something else that is probably the most important to all travelers, being impeccable service and the sense of exclusivity. It all starts by getting into the lounge, as you will have to walk through the business class lounge, and straight after also through the first class lounge, cause The Private Room is only for guests travelling the same day on Singapore Airlines First and Suites class. This lounge is known for its endless supply of Dom Perignon and amazing food options like lobster. Lucky enough there is plenty of cozy seating areas where you can try to recover from your food coma. Maybe the perfect time to try one of their amazing teas cause you can’t be surprised when I say there is a complete tea menu with over a dozen of different tastes. Travelling with the family? Not a problem, the lounge has a dedicated family room where you can have fun while not disturbing the rest of the guests. As you can see, waiting for your flight doesn’t always have to be a mission, nor does it have to be boring. Like I said in the beginning, I often get the question if flying First Class is worth it and if there is more to it than just a fancy plane ride. I hope the info above does give you an idea of what to expect and hopefully it makes you see that it’s a complete experience from the moment you reach the airport all the way till you exit the airport at your destination.

Kristof Eyckmans

Kristof Eyckmans is a travel writer from Antwerp, Belgium. He’s been living all across the globe and while he loves wildlife and nature, he can still enjoy a good urban jungle.

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  1. Spending time in a good quality first class lounge completely transforms the experience of flying. Most airports now are frenetic and noisy. Escaping into the serene bubble of a tranquil lounge is essential.

    1. I totally agree. Airports are sometimes hectic and even some business class lounges are becoming too crowded. That’s indeed the true value of a good First Class lounge.

    2. I don’t want to sound too snobbish but people sometimes treat Business as if it’s their own office. I’ve been forced to overhear some very abrasive calls. I really don’t want to hear the sordid details of “downsizing” whilst I’m waiting for my flight. Hopefully, First Class lounges can maintain their sense of decorum.

    3. Some people don’t think about the ones sitting around them and just act as if they are the only ones who are entitled to enjoy the peace and quiet of a lounge. Seen that the amount of First Class passengers (and seats) are declining, I don’t think it will get to this point in a First Class lounge. Then again, you only need that one passenger who thinks he is above us all….

  2. I’ve never really known exactly what goes on behind the scenes of these pre flight lounges so it’s interesting to see what you actually get for your money. 130 different types of whisky with Lufthansa definitely gets my vote! Good to know some of them, like Singapore’s lounges, also cater to families. I just really like that they all have such a laid back vibe, which is a stark contrast to the manic airports themselves. That sense of calmness and relaxation is definitely much needed. I reckon a lot of nervous flyers would benefit from a luxury lounge beforehand to reduce their anxiety.

  3. It’s good to know which airlines really does give value to your hard-earned bucks. People who fly first or business class certainly expect these amazing extras. I would expect, most of these lounges would have showers and places to nap for long layovers?

    1. All of them have showers indeed. Nap rooms are also mostly provided. It’s the little details and service where the difference is made.

  4. Well, I for one had a terrible experience with my fellow passengers at The Pier by Cathay Pacific. It was around in the mid of 2018, that I had to undertake a 30 hours flight from Manila in Philippines all the way to New York. So, we had a transit of good 11 hours at Hong Kong. My 9 months old hyper-active bub accompanied me and of course who would expect a 9-month old to keep up the best of his behaviour all the freaking time. So, while he was throwing an endless trail of tantrums, the fellow passengers literally gave me death stares enough to make me leave the lounge. The staff was courteous enough to help the super-exhausted mom, however I can never ever forget the looks of those travellers.

    1. Hi Mary I can feel for you. Being a mum of two super-active toddlers, your situation is completely relateable. Travelling with kids, literally send chills down the spine particularly if there are long lay-overs in between. However, the airlines and their staff at the lounge is not liable for the attitude of the fellow passengers. As Alex, mentioned earlier, it’s absolutely essential to maintain the decorum of these First Class Lounges.
      Even I had to fly often for business purposes from Auckland to UK with long transits in Hong Kong. Cathay is always my first choice and I am totally, totally in love with The Pier. Spending time here is something I am eagerly looking forward to- right when my flight takes off. From, the staff, the ambience, food and drinks to the business centre, Retreat and kids play area every single amenity is commendable.

    2. I can imagine the faces of those passengers. Travelling with small kids is indeed one of the most difficult things to do. I’ve done it many times with my two little ones back and forth between Europe and southern Africa. Sometimes all goes well, but sometimes they also have a tough time. And not all passengers understand that unfortunately.

  5. I always make a point to arrive at the airport well before my flight to relax and unwind at the airport lounge. This not only keeps me at par with the hustle and bustle of the airport but also greatly helps me to alleviate the stress and catch up on some sleep. On my business tours taking advantage of the fast WIFI access, I complete my office work while simultaneously charging my gadgets and sipping piping hot cup of coffee. And the best part is, the lounges are always stacked with variety of deliciois complimentary food and snacks to whet my apetite.

  6. For frequent business travellers, first class lounges can be considered an escape from all the stress. It may sound weird for most of those who fly for vacation but flying often gets boring, so why not savor every moment and allow yourself to indulge these perks which you have worked hard for anyway.

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