Bangalore, or Bengaluru, as it is now known, has been pivoting to an airport-owned lounge strategy, which found success with Mumbai Airport first. Delhi is working on similar lines, but Bengaluru went first off the mark to shut down earlier lounges operated by Plaza Premium and Above Ground Level and replace them with the airport-owned but TFS-operated lounges.
We already reviewed the BLR Domestic Lounge, but while I was there last in January 2022, I was told that the second lounge, 080 Lounge, was coming up in February 2022 at the space that Above Ground Level earlier occupied. So, on one of my trips to South India, I especially planned a detour via Bengaluru to be able to check out the new lounge that everyone is talking about. In all senses, it is Above Ground Level, or for that matter, above the crowded BLR Domestic Lounge, as well.
080 is the second, but a premium brand that TFS, which is the operator of the Adani Lounge at Mumbai as well as the BLR Lounge, has created, and they have a 080 Lounge International as well on the international side, as well as a transit hotel at the Bangalore Airport which operates under the brand. 080 is the trunk-dialling code for Bengaluru.
080 Lounge Bangalore Lounge Access
The 080 Lounge Bangalore sits on the mezzanine floor, right across from the BLR Domestic Lounge, and can be accessed via elevator or stairs. The signage on the ground floor is unmissable.
I arrived at the lounge on the way from Hyderabad to Mumbai, and I had specifically booked a one-hop at Bangalore as I’d intended to check out this lounge during the layover. However, due to some almost last-minute flight cancellations, my layover was truncated, and instead of spending about three hours at this lounge, I was only able to spend one.
You will notice the beautiful design that this lounge has right in the reception area as you enter. As much as I understand, the logo states 080 in the local language.
I arrived at about 9 pm, and the lounge was practically empty at the hour. At the reception, which they have two of, I was asked about what card I had. The Lounge Reception Agent proactively informed me that the lounge was only accessible to select cardmembers, and they had no tie-ups with any airline to host their customers.
I’d like to believe the limited number of cards which allow access to this lounge for the moment are more by chance than by design. But the per-trip cost of this lounge is pegged higher than the BLR Domestic Lounge, so it would have few but more premium card tie-ups. For the moment, you can access the lounge using the following cards:
- American Express Black and Platinum Tier Cards (As per the signage below)
- Priority Pass
- Axis Bank Debit Cards for Priority Customers.
You can also use the lounge via a buy-up of INR 750 after swiping your other credit/debit cards that provide you lounge access, as per a board installed at the stairs, but I’ve not heard of this being successful for anyone so far. Somebody who did not have access to this lounge walked in, and he was sent over to the BLR Lounge and not offered a buy-up.
080 Lounge Bangalore Lounge
The 080 Lounge Bangalore could have been an American Express designed lounge. That was my first impression. The Lounge draws inspiration from the positioning and demographic of Bengaluru as a tech city, so it has all sorts of seating arrangements for collaboration and being left alone.
The lounge has various sections, and especially on a quiet night, I had the whole lounge to myself to explore. As you enter, you will see a wide circular couch. Don’t worry; it is to share, and there are plug points under most seats.
As you’d enter, you will notice a work area on the left. There is an actual reading room here and many workstations where you can work by yourself.
Here is the mini library established inside this reading room. Two people could sit inside.
And here are all the workstations. Just bring your laptop along. I hope you notice the WeWork vibes.
As you move forward, you will notice an entertainment area. There is a wide-screen television installed inside, with amphitheatre styled seating. On the night that I visited, someone had taken control of the remote and watched cricket on the big screen, but I think this television was good for watching F1 Races as well.
There were some telephone booths for those who wanted a private station to seal a deal or have some private conversation at the airport.
There is also another community seating area with a faux fireplace installed.
Besides these, there were a lot of open seats, similar to the lounge across the atrium, as solo seats. Plug points for charging phones or laptops were all over the place.
The 080 Lounge Bangalore had enough food to feed a village, and I arrived here on a pretty empty night. I foresee this lounge to be relatively empty, just like its predecessor, till the airport operator decides to drop prices to go for volume over premium footfalls. Just as a point of comparison, here is the view from the 080 Lounge of the BLR Lounge, and you can notice how crowded that one is.
080 Lounge Bangalore Lounge Dining
There was enough food to feed a village here, as I mentioned ahead. And the food was top-notch quality as well. But the lounge also had two bars.
Even though they are not serving liquor due to the licenses not being in place, the lounge had a solid mocktail menu. Although they were payable. And there was no one at the bar that night, and I was in a rush, so I did not try them out.
There is a pretty large restaurant area at this lounge, which was impressive. This is only a partial picture and shows you about 50% of the seating.
Dinner was served when I went over, and there was a tonne of food to choose from. You could be from anywhere around the globe, with any food preference, and still not go hungry. Here are some pictures I managed to take of the offering that night.
The cold bar had ample choices of salads, including deviled eggs with wasabi mayo and fruits and desserts. Some chaat, such as Dahi Bhalla, was placed on the cold counters and some juices as well.
For Asian food lovers, there were noodles and Thai curry and some oriental fish curry which you could also pair up with steamed rice.
For those who like Indian curries, there were vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, including proteins such as Paneer, Fish and Chicken.
TFS also placed a local flavour with the Kori Gassi (Mangalorean Chicken Curry!)
To go along with the Indian curries, there were Indian breads.
Love some Italian; get some Pasta.
If you just cared to get some canapes, there were kebabs on offer for both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian categories.
The lounge also had some live stations. You could get some Risotto prepared fresh or Kothu Parantha on the night I went. For breakfast, it is an omelette and dosa, I believe.
I did try the Kothu Parantha, and it was passable. The rest of the food was very palatable and indeed very delicious as well.
I tried some naan with Paneer Makhani.
My quick meal was closed with trying out their desserts. There was some middle-eastern Kunafa and pastry around, which were both pretty nice.
The waitstaff came around pretty often and collected the dirty plates. You wouldn’t find a plate left behind for more than five minutes, but it was an easy night.
In terms of beverages, there was a counter for self-serve soft drinks and a coffee machine as well. Pro-tip, the diet drinks are at the bar if you need one.
One of the other features I found nice about the lounge was the sustainable design of the lavatories, which are also made with the current principles of no-touch. You have to wave your hand, and the water will flow for a while. Also, the lavs were pretty clean.
Overall, the 080 Lounge is the lounge that the premium passengers flying out of Bengaluru deserved for a very long time, and they now have it. The lounge has various areas, inspired by the work ethic and demographics of the city, and some great food as well. Although, for the moment, the lounge is only accessible with the Priority Pass, Amex Credit Cards and Charge Cards, and select Axis Bank Debit Cards
Have you been over to the 080 Lounge Bangalore? What has been your experience at this lounge?
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