This is how you avoid airport nightmares.
Chalk it up to naivety, but I’d always held the notion that airport lounges were areas are only meant for those who can afford to fly business or first class. That’s when I stumbled upon the existence of pay-per-use lounges, and it has revolutionised the way I’ll be travelling in future.
As the name suggests, pay-per-use lounges grant access on a per-entry basis based on the duration of one’s stay, and is available regardless of which class you fly. What’s the difference then between this and chilling in places around the airport, and why would anyone choose to pay extra?
If you have a couple of hours before your flight and want to freshen up by taking a hot shower or a nap without waking up to a sore back, a lounge is your answer. So I did the legwork and visited every pay-per-use lounge in Changi Airport to see exactly what you’ll be paying for.
Although there’s plenty of things to eat, see and do inside Jewel, those who want some peace and quiet will find respite in the mall’s lounge, conveniently located opposite the early check-in counter.
Since you don’t have to pass through immigration to enter Jewel, this is the only lounge within Changi Airport that can be visited even if you’re not leaving the country. So if you’re sending a friend off and want a place to hang out, this is a good spot to consider.
In addition to the typical lounge facilities (shower, buffet, charging points etc), there’s a room full of futuristic-looking nap pods said to be used by astronauts in NASA.
Blankets and noise-cancelling headphones will also be provided, so if you’re the kind who hate sleeping on flights, perhaps this is an option to consider.
Fancy a massage before being confined in a metal contraption up in the sky?
If you’re in desperate need of one, the Plaza Premium Lounge located in T1 offers the service but be prepared to cough up.
A 30-minute foot massage will set you back by $51, and every additional 15 minutes thereafter adds $24 to the tab.
For those who value privacy, there are also individual spaces to work or relax at, and private or family-sized nap rooms are available, which may come in handy especially if you’re travelling with kids.
The pay-per-use lounges in T2 and T3 are both owned by the Harilela Group and located beside the Sunflower Garden and Butterfly Garden respectively.
According to the staff, the major differentiating factor other than physical location, is that T2’s ambassador transit lounge has a gym while T3’s offer massage services.
Access to the gym is priced at $28 for two hours (inclusive of a shower), and while equipment is pretty basic, it’s probably enough for those who just want to work up a sweat and get that post-exercise adrenaline high.
Compared to the rest of the lounges which gave off a luxurious vibe, I felt that the place had a no-frills feel in terms of decor and other facilities.
As mentioned, the ambassador transit lounge at T3 offers passengers the option to loosen up some knots before their flight.
Complimentary showers come with those who purchase either a 60-minute full-body massage ($91.81) or a 60-minute foot massage ($51.79).
If you’re a fan of butterflies, the lounge, where you’ll be able to sit back with a hot cuppa coffee, tea or food from the buffet line, has a pretty good view of Butterfly Garden and its winged residents.
In my opinion, the aptly named Blossom Lounge is the most aesthetically pleasing pay-per-use one within the airport.
At the doorway, visitors are greeted by an intricate white archway with various blooms intertwined around the metal.
Treat yourself to a view overlooking T4’s famous facade of brightly coloured shophouses, where every half hour, Dick Lee’s six-minute short film, Peranakan Love Story comes on.
There’s also a napping facility available but it doesn’t come cheap — 3-hour sessions costs $41 in private recliners that could double up as a work space if you’re in serious need of some peace and quiet.
Entry into the lounge is priced at $38 for three hours and $58 for five hours.
Next time you’re travelling abroad and need a place to kill time in comfort for a couple of hours, will you consider shelling out the cash for one of these pay-per-use lounges?
By Joey Lee, AsiaOne, July 2019 / Photos: AsiaOne (Joey Lee)
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