The standard airport experience consists of wanton cancellations, grab-and-go egg salad sandwiches, and sticky vinyl seats. That, statistically, is the truth. But here’s another: Airports, for some, are a pleasure. Groups charmed by their sweeping placelessness include kids silenced with kilo bags of duty-free Haribo gummies, middle-aged men peering at jet fuselages—and anyone with access to the world’s truly great airport lounges.
Any airport lounge is a haven, as it offers degrees of an airport’s most precious commodities: Quiet, privacy, cleanliness, quick Wi-Fi, and actual warm food. But a great lounge? A great lounge is a spa-like respite, an encounter with great design, a top-flight hotel bar, and a gourmet restaurant. Though many airport spaces are bland, a great lounge tells you exactly where you are, whether that’s with a spice-scented towel in Istanbul or local California citrus at LAX.
In case you’re past the age of sugar motivation and prefer the finer things in life, here is a guide to AD’s best airport lounges. Why not be a statistical anomaly and get on your flight smiling?