Travel is the most beautiful thing to do in the life, but to visit new places and meet new cultures it is necessary to spend time on planes and also in the airports. For security reasons passengers must be at the airport one or two hours before the departure. The exact time it depends on the type of flight, but sometimes also on the airport and the border management and this means also more time.
It is quite boring to wait in lounge for the plane, especially in the small airports, but there are some ways to enjoy more the time spent inside the airport. Not only in the main destinations the companies are improving fastly the services provided to passengers to make them more comfortable. Not only the airlines offers VIP lounges, but also the companies that own the airports. There are hotels, meet and greet services and much more.
What are the main services proposed in the airports? The variety is really big and I just tried few of them, but I have to say that in last years in many countries to wait for the plane is becoming a pleasure. Sometime, unbelievable, it happens that I want to go ahead of time, just to enjoy a specific service. Do not worry, it never happens when the place to visit is so interesting and attractive.
Some examples of airport services
I generally make a distinction among the services: the ones that help the passenger to not loose time and those that are created to make the waiting pleasant. In the first case I intend fast track, check-in reserved, priority boarding and so on. The comfort is given by the private lounges, the small cars to move inside the airport, the complimentary food and drinks.
What can happen inside the airport for a passenger who wants to enjoy better the waiting? Well, I can describe one of my trips, including the return. I use quite often two airports: Milan Malpensa, Italy, and Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey. So just to give you an example I can describe the different steps made before and after the flight, so I have the chance to go a bit more deep into the airports services.
With my car I arrive in Milan Malpensa Airport (Terminal 1), I park under the terminal, with the elevator in a while I am in the departure area. I do the check-in and then I move to the security check. Thanks to the fast track I skip the queue and I go directly to the passport control. After that I am free to reach the Vip Lounge. Meanwhile I monitor the status of my flight I can have some food and drinks, read newspapers, use the Wi-Fi, relax or work seated in the comfortable armchairs.
At the proper time I can go to the gate and seat on the plane. When I land in Istanbul Ataturk, a very big and crowdy airport, I go down from the plane and I find dedicated personnel of the airport ready to take me to the passport control with an internal shuttle I go with the driver and the assistance to passport control. There is a line dedicated, so I do not have to wait for the other passengers.
I go with the staff to the baggage claim and then a driver with a luxury car take me to the hotel. On the way back a car with driver come to the hotel to pick me up and to take me to the airport. A person waits for me at a reserved entrance so I can do immediately the security control with my luggages and go to the check-in. I go with the assistant of the airport to the check-in and then to a dedicated line for the hand baggage security check and the passport control.
With the internal shuttle, a driver and the assistance I go to the VIP lounge to wait for my flight. There a great variety of food and drinks, newspapers, showers and sofas where I can relax waiting for my flight. At the proper time a person come to me and take me, using the private internal shuttle take me to the gate for boarding. This service help me to skip all the queue and also it allow me to enjoy more the waiting.
Obtain the airport services
How to get the services? It is easy and you don’t need to be a VIP. According to the different airports the policy can be different as the offer for passenger. I mentioned Milan Malpensa and Istanbul Ataturk. In both cases there are cards to be bought by passengers. There are various levels of membership with different prices, from few hundreds of euro to 2.500 euro more or less.
Better divide the two proposals. In Milan you can purchase a card of Sea Club, for Malpensa and Linate airports, that it cost 1.000 euro per year and it gives the access to all the vip lounges, also the ones at the entrance and the one at arrivals. In the first one it is possible to do the check-in for the flight, but it depends on the deals with the airline company.
You can also benefit of other services, with a discount on the prices, as the Meet and Greet service (like the one that I described for Istanbul) in order to do all the steps before and after the flights with a preferred lane and assisted by an hostess. You can also rent a car with driver and have the support you need to prepare yourself and wait for your flight.
In Istanbul the company that manage the airport is Tav, owner of different airports in the world: Turkey, Croatia, Macedonia, Latvia, Georgia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia. You can request free car park and valet service, discounts for transfers, fast tracks, lounges access, ring service, business check-in, advantages in using bars, restaurants and the Tav hotel inside the airport.
You can buy the card that allow you to use lounge and fast track for free every time you need in the Tav airports for 350 euro. If you prefer you can buy a card that gives you a certain amount of services for free spending 1700 euro or the unlimited card for 2700 euro, in this case you will have also transfers to the city totally free. Those rates are the yearly fee. It is also possible to have some guests that can have the same advantages for free.
Of course it depends on how much you go to these airports, if you do not frly often to those destinations you can just buy single services when you need. Anyway in worldwide airports there are many opportunities to have more comforts and benefit of more services to have a pleasant waiting, relaxing and using better lounges with free food and drinks.
Airline companies and cards
Almost each airport in the globe has a card that allow passenger to have discounts and VIP services, there are also other types of cards, as Priority Pass that allow passengers to enter in the lounges of the majority of the airports around the world. The cost is different and it depends on the level, so on how many entries the passenger wants included. The basic level is cheap but it gives only a discounts.
Many benefits for passenger arrives also by certain credit cards, like Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa that allow the holders to use Vip lounges in the airports. The other way is reserved by the airline company. If the passenger travel in business or first class or has a specific card of the company can use fast track, Vip lounge and other services that are useful to go fast and to live a nice experience before to leave.
The airports proposals
Around the world there are innovative services dedicated to passengers because there are more travellers and it is important, also in relation to the competition among sector companies to offer tailor made services to make more pleasant the time spent before the departure or after the arrival. I enjoy also those kind of benefits in between of flight connections.
In Los Angeles airport, thanks to The Private Suite you have the chance to enter with your car in a private area of the airport, have a steward that takes you to a suite that is your private lounge for the time you need, with tv, magazines, food and drinks and no one enter. Then you have the reserved safety check and passport control. With a car the staff takes you to the plane.
Cathay Pacific and Qantas are offering airline lounges with spa, where you can have a massage or a treatment to relax yourself and recover energy to travel. In Frankfurt in the lounge you can find a cigar room and a superb restaurant, where the variety of water is even more the one of wines. In Paris you can eat a dinner made by a famous chef.
These are only few examples of the airports and airline proposals for passengers, but you can find a lot of interesting features and also not only in relation to the lounges. If you don’t have a ticket or a card to take advantage of the services privided you can always buy them. The costs are noth high and you can pass faster or seat in a better setting, finding also satisfaction if you are hungry or thirsty. Keep into consideration that in case of delay of your flight you will enjoy your time with a spa treatment or some entertainment.