Shipra is my fiancée and the first of contributors at the blog. She has worked with one of the largest airline conglomerates in the world, and is now based in Mumbai. Shipra has lived, worked and travelled across 4 continents. We travel often enough, together and separately. These are her perspectives, as she gets used to the world of business and leisure travel and our hobby!
I am the person who likes to land at the airport exactly 60 minutes prior to departure, check-in, drop my bags and head straight to board the aircraft. If I had a little extra time in hand then I’d pop into the airport duty free and try out perfumes. When I started my airline career at the Bangalore airport there was no lounge and I often noticed passengers get very upset. We did give a voucher to the only coffee shop in the terminal but many expressed disappointment. This led me to believe that lounges are for opulence, indulgence and for people who don’t want to mingle with the masses. So not me!
Here’s how my perspective about airport lounges have evolved over the last one year or so. I can never forget my first visit to the Plaza Premium Lounge in Delhi. I had flown into Delhi to have an episode of Meet the Parents with Ajay’s folks and we were taking the evening flight back to Mumbai. After passing the toughest assessment (no job interview can ever get close to this), we had to rush to the airport to take the flight back to Mumbai and the minute we entered the lounge I grabbed a beer to calm my nerves.
Lesson #2: The Lounge is an oasis of calm
After that day, an airport lounge has become a place where along with sampling and reviewing the food spread, we spend talking and discussing our future plans together. Over the last one year, I have visited more than ten lounges. Some were accessed through business class travel privileges, some through my MasterCard debit card and some through Ajay’s elite status where he could guest me in. During this time I’ve figured that some lounges are functional (like the Rose lounge in Ho Chi Minh city), some are busy (the American Express and Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi), some reflect opulence (the newest GVK Lounge at Mumbai’s Terminal 2) and some offer great views (at Singapore’s Changi Airport). The Etihad Lounge in Paris CDG had great food! What remains common in all of them is that it’s become a great place where sometimes we spend time together and sometimes I find time to introspect sipping a glass of wine all by myself. I’ve heard there are lounges which are destinations in themselves, such as Bangkok Thai F Class which has a spa and Emirates F Class in Dubai where the lounge is as big as the airport terminal!
During our last tête-à-tête in the Royal Orchid Lounge at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, we decided to put up a large world map in the study of our new home and pin every destination we have explored together.