Airport Lounge Review: Business Club, Belgrade Nikola Tesla, Serbia.

Dan and I flew through Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport this summer on our vacation to Montenegro. We connected in Belgrade after flying Air Serbia’s sole transatlantic flight from JFK, which is almost 10 hours long… Landing in the morning, we exhausted tired and ready for a rest and some food before flying the last 45 minutes to Tivat, Montenegro (50 minutes, also via Air Serbia).  

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Final destination: Perast, Montenegro.

Lucky for us, or so I thought, the Belgrade airport is home to a Priority Pass lounge, and not much else. After deplaning, we found the Business Club pretty easily; it was located quite close to where we entered the airport. Delirious, we did not do much looking around aside from locating the lounge.

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Welcome to the Belgrade Business Club!

Checkin to the Business Club was quick and easy. We simply presented our boarding pass and Priority Pass card. A quick swipe and we were in! 

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Getting settled in the Business Club.

The Business Club is on the smaller side, and you can view the entire lounge at checkin.   The lounge is separated into three main parts: a food service area, an eating and business area, and a lounging area.  The most comfortable of these 3 areas is what I dub the lounging area. This area is slightly removed from the food and is filled with couch-like chairs and sofas. There are numerous coffee/end tables in this area, too, and it makes for a comfortable place to relax before your flight.  There are TVs scattered throughout this area playing CNN. This area was pretty crowded when we landed on Saturday morning, so we set up shop in the business/food area (yes, odd pairing).

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The kitchen/business area.

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Crowded lounge area.

The business portion of the business/food area is comprised of several kitchen-style tables that are perfect for eating and drinking, they also make a good desk for getting some work done (there’s the combo!).  Just behind these tables is a row of computers that can apparently be used for working. However, I didn’t see anyone using the computers when we visited.

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Computers for use.

Next to the business area is the food, which I found to be lacking. We visited the Business Club twice during breakfast hours, which once spilled into lunch. At breakfast, the food options are slim, with a cold buffet and a few slices of cold cuts and cheese playing the starring role. There were also some pre-packaged tuna sandwiches in one of the fridges and some odd salad fixings. Hard pass.

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Serbian meats.

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Salad?

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The aforementioned tuna sandwiches.

When lunch rolled around, the lounge staff, who were very nice, set out soup, pasta, and rice. Nothing looked too appetizing or tasty, so I skipped it all around. I believe Dan tried some of the pasta. He didn’t get sick, so that’s a win.

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Lunch food.

The drink set-up was only slightly better, although since it was so early, I didn’t properly explore all the options. There was a decent espresso machine, as well as soft drinks and plenty of bottled flat and sparking water. There was also this really popular Serbian energy drink called Guarana. Dan tried one and seemed to like it. It was all the rage in Belgrade!

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Non-alcoholic beverages.

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More non-alcoholic beverages.

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Guarana Serbian energy drink.

In terms of alcohol, I was excited to try the wine after noticing a sweet set-up in walking in.  To my disappointment, this was simply a set-up and there were only single bottles of wine in the mini-fridges, as well as a few types of beer, including Leffe (not bad!). There was, however, a decent display of rakijaa, but it was all warm…. I would note that people were still drinking it, and I probably could have found some ice.

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Rakijaa spread.

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The faux wine spread.

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Well-known Serbian wine from Aleksic – we visited this winery later in the trip!

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Beer and water.

In addition to the above, the lounge has a small bookshelf with reading materials and basic clean WCs and the staff was pleasant and constantly replaced the limited food options. In a small, not-great airport, the Business Lounge was a welcome distraction and an easy place to waste a few hours. I probably would not pay to enter, unless I planned to drink a lot of warm rakija!

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Reading materials.

STEAL OUR LOUNGE

Business Club Nikola Tesla Belgrade Airport: Between Gates A4 & A5. Open 5h30 – 13h. Complimentary access to Priority Pass members.

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Airport Lounge Review: SkyTeam Lounge, London Heathrow, Terminal 4.

When passing through London Heathrow after an overnight flight from JFK, we spent a few hours in the SkyTeam Lounge in Terminal 4 before our connecting flight to Malta via Air Malta.  We had a number of options through Priority Pass in selecting our London lounge, including a couple in Terminal 3 (where we landed), and multiple options in Terminal 4 (from where our Malta flight departed) – a branch of the Art & Lounge, a Plaza Premium Lounge, and the SkyTeam Lounge. We opted for the SkyTeam Lounge in Terminal 4 based on other online reviews, and we were not disappointed. The SkyTeam Lounge was a GREAT Priority Pass lounge! Side note – Heathrow is almost always a mess, so I always recommend lounging in your departure terminal rather than the arrival terminal and, more importantly, leaving LOTS of time between connections, especially coming from the US and then connecting elsewhere in Europe.

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New Zealand Cider and views at the SkyTeam Lounge!

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Airport Lounge Review: No. 1 Lounge, London Heathrow.

En route back from Malta, Dan and had a little over three hours to kill in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 before flying back to New York via Virgin Atlantic. Since we flew economy class, we had two options for airport lounges via Priority Pass – the Aspire Lounge and the No. 1 Lounge. Since we had visited the Aspire Lounge (albeit in Terminal 5) previously, we decided to check out the No. 1 Lounge this time, as it was new and it gets pretty good reviews.

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Welcome to the No. 1 Lounge!

The No. 1 Lounge is part of a chain of lounges in the UK. The public can buy access to the lounge for 40 Pounds, and the No. 1 Lounge also accepts Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, Diners Club, and Wexas, and acts as a lounge for certain carriers. As such, it can definitely fill up and lock out Priority Pass members. To avoid this, the No. 1 Lounge offers an option for Priority Pass members to purchase guaranteed access for 5 Pounds/person. We did purchase this option, but it ended up being unnecessary.

The No. 1 Lounge is located post-security on the second floor of Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport, just next to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and very close to other airline lounges. It was easy enough to find, just follow signs for airport lounges and don’t get distracted in crazy Terminal 3! There is an elevator and stairs to access the lounge. Entrance was quick and easy with our Priority Pass, and there were no restrictions for entry at 11 AM on a Sunday morning in June.

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Pricing scheme.

Upon arrival, you are given a menu with hot meal choices for the day, a bit of general information on the lounge, and the wifi password. 

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Daily menu/literal meal ticket.

Upon entry, the No. 1 Lounge is quite large with decent airport views (the exact same as the Virgin Clubhouse, only 1 floor higher). Just past checkin is a pretty large bar with bar stool seating. Just past the bar is a small buffet and coffee area with table seating.

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Cool runway views.

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The lounge. I failed to get great pictures…

Moving around the corner from the buffet area, there is a lot of seating, both nice sofa like chairs, tables, and seating overlooking the runway.  While there was a lot of seating, it was pretty crowded.  In addition to this area, there are a few private rooms that can apparently be rented out for private groups (or possibly airlines).  We ended up in one of these rooms at a large table just in front or a large TV playing BBC. These small side rooms also had small fridges with soda and water. 

FOOD

Since we had limited time in the lounge, we decided to order hot food as soon as we sat down. Dan took our two menus to the bar, where all orders are placed, and placed our orders. The way the hot food works is that your menu is a ticket for one meal. We just missed breakfast, so I ordered the truffle mac and cheese and Dan ordered the bacon sandwich. Our food came out about 15 minutes later and both were quite delicious!! My only complaint is that the dishes were a little small… But we ended up lucking out and our neighbor gave us his menu (he was not eating) and we ordered a third fish wrap, which was served with potato chips and was SO good!! We were definitely plenty full at this point!

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Bacon sandwich with brown sauce. Available all day.

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Truffle mac and cheese. Available after 11 AM.

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Fish finger wrap with potato chips. Available all day.

Aside from order from the menu, which is a really fun option in an airport lounge, we also visited the little buffet area. We visited just as the lunch portion was going out. When we visited, the buffet consisted of a hot soup, a beet salad, a small lettuce salad with some vegetables, fresh fruit (whole apples, oranges, etc.), and some nuts and dried fruit. The nearby coffee bar doubled as a dessert bar and offered cookies and a couple different types of tea cakes. The desserts were really good and the buffet food was high quality, but I was looking for something a little more unhealthy on my last day of vacation….

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The buffet.

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Beet salad and fresh tomatoes.

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Fresh fruit and salad toppings.

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Sweets from the sweets table.

THE DRINKS

While the hot food is understandably limited at the No. 1 Lounge, the drinks (well most) are free flowing (unlike the Aspire lounge). At the No. 1 Lounge, all alcohol beverages come from the main bar, and there are a lot of options. Seriously, Prosecco, numerous types of red and white wines, draft and bottled beer, and cider. There is also Champagne available for purchase. Between Dan and me, we tried the Prosecco, cider, and the Spanish Rioja red wine. I do not recall the brand of wine, but the Spanish Rioja was an excellent wine for a Priority Pass airline lounge.

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Complimentary Prosecco.

In addition to alcohol drinks, the No. 1 Lounge offers complimentary bottles of flat and sparkling wine, a variety of sodas, juice, and a large coffee machine making all of the standard espresso beverages. These drinks are all unlimited and are self-serve via several small fridges spread out throughout the lounge.

OTHER AMENITIES

The No. 1 Lounge has in lounge lavatories, which were clean and large enough to change and freshen up. The No. 1 Lounge also offers showers for 15 Pounds, nap pods for 20 Pounds, and apparently spa services! We did not use these features, nor did I see anyone else using them, but they apparently exist…

All in all, the No. 1 Lounge was a good lounge, and I think that I liked it better than the Aspire Lounge, but only slightly.

STEAL OUR LOUNGE

No. 1 Lounge Heathrow: Post-security in London Heathrow Terminal 3.  Follow signs for Lounge F access. Directly above the Virgin Clubhouse. Open daily 4:30 – 22:30. From 34 Pounds in advance, 40 Pounds at the door. Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, Diners Club, and Wexas members have complimentary access. Showers are 10 Pounds extra for patrons with complimentary access.  Pass members can also guaranty entrance for 5 Pounds per person online in advance.

Airport Lounge Review: The D’nata Lounge in Terminal 1 of Singapore Changi International

Thanks to Priority Pass (which we have through the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the American Express Platinum, the Citi Prestige, and the Hilton Honors American Express – yeah, we are really deep into the credit card game…), Dan and I have access to a lot of airport lounges throughout the world. Given the cost and the quality of airport food and drink, we always try to take advantage of these lounges, as the food and drink are typically free and usually at least the same quality (if not better)! We were very excited to visit Southeast Asia on our honeymoon, as Southeast Asia is rumored to have some of the best airport lounges on the planet!

The D’nana Lounge in Singapore Changi’s Terminal 1, was the first (and actually last) lounge that we visited on our trip, and its a good one! Lots of space, unlimited free booze, and a solid selection of food that should tied you over for even the longest of flights!

THE LOCATION

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Singapore.

This D’nata Lounge is located in Changi’s Terminal 1, post-immigration, but not security (security is at each gate). And I note “this D’nata Lounge,” as the Changi airport is home to another D’nata Lounge in Terminal 3, which we did not visit on this trip.  For those interested, D’nata is a Dubai company that supplies food and other products to airlines around the world, and we saw a lot of D’nata branded things at Changi. 

In any case, to get to the D’nata Lounge in Changi’s Terminal 1, do not blindly follow the signs for “lounges.” Most of the lounges are located opposite the D’nata Lounge.  Instead, upon completing immigration, take a right and proceed up the escalator to the second floor. When you reach the top of the escalator, turn around and and you will see the D’nata Lounge entrance! 

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The entrance.

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Airport Lounge Review: KAL Business Class Lounge, JFK, Terminal 1

JFK Terminal 1 has two great lounges: (1) the Lufthansa Business Lounge and (2) the Air France Lounge.  This post is about neither of those.  JFK Terminal 1 is also home to the Korean Air Business Lounge, known as the KAL lounge.  If you are flying out of JFK’s Terminal 1 and using Priority Pass, you will likely be using the KAL Lounge (as the Air France lounge restricts access to Priority Pass members and the Lufthansa Business Lounge does not participate in Priority Pass).

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Airport Lounge Review: Copa Club, Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama

Tocumen International Airport is Panama’s main airport and one of the primary airports in Central America.  Panama’s flagship carrier, Copa Airlines, operates out of this airport to all over the Americas.  As a result the airport is very busy, and the inside is not nearly big enough to handle all of the people in my opinion.  All parts of the airport were very crowded and there was not nearly enough seating for those waiting for flights.  This coupled with the fact that there are not very many sit down restaurants/bars (only a food court) makes a lounge a good option, unless you like to shop.  There is an abundance of shopping in the Panama airport!

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Club S.E.A., Sala Pergolesi, Malpensa Airport, Milan: Airport Lounge Review

Malpensa Airpot is a huge airport about an hour outside of Milan.  Malpensa handles a lot of international flights, while Milan’s other airport, Linate, handles domestic and regional flights.  If you are flying into or out of Italy, there is a good change that you will go thorough Malpensa. Here are some pictures of Milan, which as a side note, warrants at least day to see the sites (Milan is home to my favorite duomo)!

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Wingtips Lounge Review: JFK Airport, New York

With the holiday travel upon us, here is my review of Wingtips Lounge in Terminal 4 of New York’s JFK Airport.  I have visited twice, once at breakfast and once at lunch, and will likely return.

Wingtips is a private airport lounge located plane-side, just past security, on the second level of JFK’s Terminal 4.  Several foreign airports use Wingtips as their lounge and priority pass members receive complimentary entrance.  NOTE – if the lounge is too crowded, priority pass members’ access is cut off.  Individuals not part of priority lass can buy a one-day membership for $50 USD.

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