There are four lounges airside at Delhi’s Terminal 3 domestic departures. The Air India Lounge is exclusive to Air India business class & Star Alliance Gold passengers. Vistara’s Lounge is exclusive to Vistara Elite passengers and Gold/Platinum Tier customers. The American Express Lounge, which is my personal favourite is for eligible American Express customers. Then there is the Plaza Premium Lounge, which is open for customers of various banks and credit cards, including Rupay, and also the contract lounge that Jet Airways uses for eligible Premiere, JP Platinum and Gold members.
While we have visited this lounge many times, it has always been super crowded and we’ve never really shared our experience. Last week as well, they did not disappoint with the crowd. Last week on our way back from Delhi, we headed to the Plaza Premium Lounge to get to know more about the state of affairs there.
The Plaza Premium Lounge is located on the first floor of the main concourse, right next to the food court and behind the Grid Bar. We took the elevators up and walked through the food court on the mezzanine floor to get to the lounge. The lounge is largely an open format, just like most Plaza Premium Lounges, along with enough plug points for keeping phones or laptops juiced up.
At the entrance, there was a separate queue for Jet Airways passengers and another for everyone using a bank card or a Priority Pass or such. There were about 5-7 people in the queue, and it took us about 5 minutes at the reception.
As I entered the lounge, I realised, nothing has changed here. The place was teeming with people and we couldn’t locate any empty seats. We finally found two empty seats in one dingy nook by the corner. It was early evening, and we hadn’t eaten lunch, so we headed up to the buffet area.
The hot spread was basic with rice, dal, a veg curry and chicken curry. All of the food was lukewarm and not really hot. There was a soup of the day and a reasonably big salad counter on the side. However, the salad was stale, as we realised when we ate it. Across the hot buffet, there was tea being served, and small bites such as biscuits and cookies were being served, along with some nibbles. A self-serve coffee machine was placed here as well.
The only food edible in the here was from the live counters, where a chef was flipping out fresh gram flour pancakes (chillas). Both Ajay and I had some dal chilla with panner inside. It was hot, crisp and tasted pretty good. There was also another counter doling out boiled corn.
After that, I wanted to get some work done, but I suppose I was too ambitious. At around 4 pm, the entire place was a cacophony of phone conversations, kids playing games on their phones with no mute buttons, people talking across aisles because of course, the family found empty seats in four corners, and the television running in the background. And then a child sitting behind me spilt sambar all over his seat. It was mayhem! However, the housekeeping staff was doing their best to keep the place clean and were clearing out the plates as quickly as possible.
To add to it, the wifi connectivity was insanely slow, so I could barely load an email during my time there using the Tata wifi, and then switched to hotspot with my phone.
Delhi was blazing hot and since this is an open-air lounge the air conditioning did not seem to have any effect. To top it off, there was some drilling work happening in the main terminal, and the noise poured into the lounge. For added impact, their flight information display did not work either.
The passenger sitting opposite to me was announcing on his phone that he only visits this lounge because they have a great whiskey collection. I popped up to the bar to verify the claim. The bar was stocked with 7 -8 brands of blended scotch, with Johnnie Walker Black Label and Glenfiddich being their top picks. Not the best I’ve seen but not too bad either. Alcoholic drinks in the lounge are not complimentary.
The small place is crammed with chairs to accommodate more and more people, without any room left to walk. I counted 150 seats, and there were more in the buffet section. The seating aisles were so narrow that I had to jump over other people’s feet to get to my seat.
After sitting around there for a while, we had enough of the nuisance, and we decided to move to the American Express Lounge. Just then, we got a call asking to head to the gate to reschedule our flights.
Access to the Plaza Premium Lounge Delhi T3
Apart from flying Jet Airways Premiere or being a JetPrivilege elite, there are many ways to access this lounge. The Plaza Premium lounge accepts Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, Rupay, Master Card and Visa Debit and Credit Cards. This lounge also has an option of pay per use, and the charges are INR 1,200 for 2 hours.
Overall, I’d rather spend time in the terminal building than be claustrophobic in this lounge. They accept everyone inside, so the crowd is never-ending. The food is below standard, just like the other Plaza Premium Lounges, such as the one at Terminal 1 Arrivals.
Have you visited the Plaza Premium Lounge Delhi T3 Domestic Departures? What has been your experience?