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Piles of newspaper and old magazines are no longer an issue for Virgin Australia and their airline lounges, as they’re getting ready to go digital. We’re sure some periodicals will be kicking around in paper format for quite some time, but we still think their latest move is pretty darn clever.
It sounds like visitors to the Virgin Australia lounges down under will soon have access to well over 2,000 different publications thanks to PressReader. Basically you’ll connect to the wireless network, fire up the app, and then start perusing plenty of newspapers and magazines from nearly 100 countries across 50 languages. Local favorites like The Australian and Gold Coast Bulletin are available, but feel free to digitally flip through the Los Angeles Times as well. They promise complete digital replicas of each and every edition, and often things are available through PressReader before they hit the newsstand.
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Hot breakfast sandwiches. Free WiFi. A power outlet for each comfy chair. A slick bar stocking all the good stuff for complimentary cocktails. Cheese plates. Private restrooms with showers. Macbooks.
Hello, this is airport heaven.
Though it kinda sounds like we've been describing an ultra-premium airline lounge for elite flyers at some exotic international airport, all this is in fact coming to a new lounge within Terminal 5 at New York-JFK, aka the home of JetBlue. It's to be called Airspace, and travelers will find it come May 2013 after security, near Gate 24.
What's that saying? Ah yes, "the best camera is the one you have on you." Since we're never without a camera and hardly ever not traveling, we've managed to capture a serious collection of travel photos in our numerous Photo Galleries.
To start the week off right, let's venture behind the tight doors of the Arrival Lounges of three airlines: Lufthansa at Frankfurt Airport, Cathay Pacific at Hong Kong Airport and Delta at London-Heathrow. We say "tight doors" because typically entrance to these loungeslounges which sit outside security on the Arrivals levelonly admit international travelers coming off their flights, holding tickets for Business or First Class.
The spaces may be small, but the comfort of Arrivals lounges are large. You can count on a private shower, breakfast, cozy chairs, free WiFi, and a quiet corner to read the day's paper before heading into the city for a meeting or while awaiting your ride.
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Flying Cathay Pacific or Dragonair in Business or First Class to Hong Kong? Lucky you, not just because you'll be kicking back in bigger seats on what is a very long flight, but you're heading for one of our absolute favorite places in the entire world. Sure, Hong Kong is excellent, but we're talking about the airport itself!
Cathay Pacific, being the flag carrier and largest airline at HKG, takes huge pride in their elite lounges. Airside, we've already toured you through the premium playgrounds that are The Wing, The Cabin and The Pier, but there's also one sweet little secret lurking on the lower level of the arrival hall, outside security. It's simply called "The Arrival."
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You're at Los Angeles International AIrport and preparing to wing your way to another continent and you'll be spending those in-air hours in either Business or First Class. First off, that sounds like you planned an excellent tripcongratulations. Second, you'll want to hit up the lounge for a last-minute tipple or email check, and if you're traveling on a Oneworld alliance airline (like Qantas, LAN, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Japan Airlines), then the lounge for you is on Level 5 of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
As it's a combined lounge, the amenities here are generic but plentiful. This means more than 10 shiny Mac desktops, a long buffet bar with both and hot and cold food options, two extensive self-serve beverage areas plus a full bar with bartender, private shower rooms, and plenty of modern, comfy chairs nearby power outlets. The design isn't exactly revolutionary or even notable, but it is clean, modern and spacious.
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Picture this: you've just ordered a cocktail and, while a bartender shakes it up, you catch a glimpse of a tail of a Delta 747 gliding by on its way to the runway to take off for Tokyo. The sun is shining on your face as you sip your drink and watch another Delta jet gracefully lift its wings. It's almost time for your turn.
Such a relaxing scene is the stuff of frequent traveler dreams, or was, since Delta is making this a reality with the introduction of open-air Sky Decks at two of their Sky Club locations. Under construction as we type, the first-ever outdoor terraces in the Delta system will be found at New York-JFK and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson as soon as four months from now.
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When was the last time you flew in a plane piloted by a woman? What about two women, both pilot and co-pilot? It's possible to not even know since passengers rarely see their flight crews much anymore, but they are up there. Trust us.
Starting this week, travelers on Lufthansa will get to see the very rare occurrence of two women in the cockpit...before even stepping onboard a plane. Famous Berlin-based photographer Kiki Kausch has installed her triptych, titled "A380 Female Cockpit," at the JFK Business Class lounge.
The three images capture two normal Lufthansa pilots, Fleur and Karin, at work in their office, which just happens to be the cockpit of one of the airline's A380 superjumbos en route from Frankfurt to Singapore (LH 778). The photos were actually taken as the plane cruised high above Afghanistan, the ethereal light of sunrise over the Hindukush illuminating the women.
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2013 probably won't be the year of the airline club since that designation really belongs to 2012, but don’t tell the designers and organizers over at United that. After changing the name of their lounges following their merger with Continental, it looks like United is going all in with a little bit of a revamp and renovation to the United Club.
It all starts with one of the clubs over at Chicago-O’Hare, as the airline has released a sneak peek of what things will look like in Terminal 2.
To our eyes, the new design mimics the stylish lounges for long-haul travel, and by that we mean that they’re skipping the domestic carrier coffee-machine-and-a-comfy-chair look. Think a dash of Virgin's panache, but without all the additional features—and food and beverage—that come along with a true international airline lounge experience.
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Are you ready for this jelly? Virgin America has just used the opportunity of today's notable 12-12-12 date to debut their very first airline lounge. It's called The Loft and you'll find it snuggled up airside in Terminal 3 at LAX near the Virgin America gates.
The lounge, in all its mood-lit glory, replicated much of what makes the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses so desirablenamely the slick design (and designer furniture) and complimentary meal and drinks service. Instead of a grab-and-go snack bar like you'd find in many US domestic lounges, Virgin America offers a menu with options like smoked salmon bagels, sushi, soba, and shrimp caesar salad.
And, instead of a cash bar with well drinks, the Loft offers six specialty cocktails (drooling over the "Runway Ruddy Mary"), top shelf liquors, red, white and sparkling wines, domestic and imported beers on tap and in bottles, and even juice mixes if you've already had one Ruddy Mary too many.
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"Oh man, ugh whatever." - the typical feeling upon discovering your flight is departing from Newark-Liberty International Airport
It's true. Newark isn't exactly the most convenient airport, nor will it be winning any airport beauty pageants, but airlines have ways of turning your frown upside-down real quick. A grand example is the newly revamped, just-debuted-this-week Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Clubhouse.
At 5,000 square feet, it's half the size of their also recently reopened JFK Clubhouse, but that's partly due to the fact this one doesn't have the Cowshed Spa. Going for a downtown feel (JFK's aims for uptown style), it instead focuses around the architectural central bar (most popular cocktail? Mojito!) and chill-out lounge nooks (see the "Passion Pit" in our gallery below).
Gift giving crunch time is right around the corner, but we’ve got an idea for your favorite frequent flyer this holiday season. You can give up endlessly searching on Amazon for one of this and one of that, as an airline lounge pass is the way to go. Here’s just a few of the options from the country’s bigger carriers, and what they’re rolling out for the holidays.
Delta Sky Club
If Delta’s your favorite carrier—or is just the one you have to use—then a Sky Club membership is probably a great idea. In total there are around 245 different lounges between the Sky Club options and partner lounges, so there’s a great deal of free drinks and snacks from which to choose. Annual memberships start at $450, but there are discounts available if you are—or the one that needs a gift is—a Delta frequent flyer. There’s even a payment plan that breaks things down in case it’s a little too much to swallow all at once.
There’s also a 30-Day option for $90, or you can just score a single day for $50. Just in time for the holidays there’s also a little bit of a seasonal sale going on, as Delta is also offering up four one-day passes for just $99—quite the savings. The only catch is that these are only available at the Sky Club at the airport, and you have to mention the promotion.
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What do you do when you've just built an airport addition that, in itself, is the size of a whole other airport? Well, if you're Lufthansa at Frankfurt International, you fill it with some superlatives like, say, the largest lounge in the entire system.
This is the case at FRA's brand new A-Plus Concourse, where the LH Senator Lounge on the non-Schengen departures level takes top spot. Its 23,000 square feet easily beats the 19,400 square feet of the airline's next largest lounge, which just happens to be next door in Terminal 1 proper. In total, A-Plus adds five sparkling new, sprawlingly spacious lounges to the roster: a First Class Lounge, a Senator Lounge and a Business Lounge on the EU Departures and Arrivals level and, on the non-European area (Non-Schengen area), there is a Senator Lounge and a Business Lounge.
Now that we've shown you around the rest of the A-Plus Concourse, it's time to have our boarding pass checked, grab a Frankfurter Allgemeine and a tall, cold glass of Franziskaner beer and have a good look around a couple of these spaces.