It’s well known that a Business class ticket – or elite airline status – can get you into airport lounges before your flight. But many airlines also offer arrivals lounge access. Depending on your airline, status and class of travel, you may also be entitled to lounge access on arrival at your destination.
Arrivals lounge access could be useful if you’re meeting somebody at the airport or your flight arrives early. But arrivals lounge access is most useful after an overnight flight. The lounge provides a welcome opportunity to freshen up with a shower and grab some breakfast, allowing you to maximise your sleep on board.
Qantas Lounge Access on Arrival
Qantas does allow access to its domestic lounges on arrival in some circumstances. Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers may visit any Qantas domestic Business lounge when arriving on a Qantas or partner airline flight. Up to two guests are even allowed. But arrivals access is not permitted at international Qantas lounges.
Lounge access on arrival is not generally offered to Qantas Business or First class passengers, with a few exceptions. Qantas Business class passengers arriving in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane after an overnight flight from Perth can use the Qantas Business lounge on arrival.
Virgin Australia Lounge Access on Arrival
Virgin Australia is more generous than Qantas when it comes to arrivals lounge access. All Virgin Business class passengers are entitled to use any of Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges when arriving at their destination.
Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyer members can also access any Virgin Lounge within Australia when arriving on any Virgin Australia or partner airline flight. Virgin even extends arrivals access to Gold Velocity members and Virgin Australia Lounge members, “subject to space availability”.
Virgin Australia lounge access on arrival is also extended to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members, and up to one guest, when travelling on a domestic flight operated by Virgin Australia.
Some airlines take it a step further and operate dedicated arrivals lounges! These facilities are located at the hub airports of many major airlines. They are typically located in the airport arrivals hall, after the customs & immigration checkpoints.
Most airlines’ arrivals lounges are open in the morning, allowing business travellers to freshen up after long-haul overnight flights. Arrivals lounges typically offer shower rooms, buffet breakfast, coffee and work stations. Some lounges also offer a complimentary ironing service.
Generally speaking, you’ll need to be flying in Business or First class with the airline operating the lounge to gain access. Most airlines also offer arrival access to their own top-tier frequent flyers. But the reciprocal lounge access rights offered to frequent flyers with Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam airlines do not extend to arrivals lounges. So, for example, your Qantas Platinum status won’t get you in to the Iberia arrival lounge in Madrid.
Below is a list of major arrivals lounges. Unless specified, access is available to Business and First class travellers of the airline operating the lounge, and the airline’s own frequent flyers with top-tier status.
Oneworld Arrivals Lounges
- Doha: Qatar Airways Arrivals Lounge – access for Business and First class passengers only. See lounge review.
- Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific “The Arrival” Lounge (closing 5 November 2018)
- London (Heathrow Terminal 5): British Airways Arrivals Lounge
- London (Heathrow Terminal 3): American Airlines Arrivals Lounge – access is also available to Qantas Business and First class passengers, as well as Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers travelling on American Airlines or British Airways. See discussion on access eligibility for this lounge.
- Madrid: Iberia VIP Lounge – access for Iberia passengers arriving on flights over 4 hours
- Tokyo (Narita and Haneda): TIAT shower room access for Japan Airlines passengers
Star Alliance Arrivals Lounges
- Frankfurt: Lufthansa Welcome Lounge
- Istanbul: Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Arrival
- Johannesburg: South African Airways Arrivals Lounge
- London (Heathrow Terminal 2): United Arrivals Lounge
- San Francisco: United Arrivals Lounge
- Zurich: Swiss Arrival Lounge
Other Arrivals Lounges
- London (Heathrow Terminal 3): Virgin Atlantic Revivals lounge – access for Upper Class passengers, Flying Club Gold and Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum members
- Abu Dhabi: Etihad Arrivals Lounge – access for Business and First class passengers only.
- Paris (CDG Terminal 2C): Air France Arrivals Lounge – access can also be purchased for €35-50
- Seoul: Korean Air Business and First passengers have complimentary shower access at the Grand Hyatt Incheon hotel