How to fly into terminal bliss, no membership needed

You don't have to be staying at airport hotels or have business-class lounge access to take advantage of their facilities. Sky Report columnist Julietta Jameson reveals the secrets.

If only all airport lounges could be like Virgin Atlantic's Heathrow set-up with its free manicures, pool tables, day beds and vodka loft.

But you don't need to be Richard Branson, or even have lounge access, to qualify for a little spoiling pre-flight or during connections.


Jakarta Airport has a terrific hotel above international departures. A suite for six hours costs $US130 ($130).

Tokyo's Narita Airport has day rooms in the departure halls at terminals one and two. It costs 1500 yen ($14.77) for the first hour and 750 yen each hour after.

In 2011, Heathrow opened Airside Bedrooms at T3 ( It costs from £20 ($30.75) an hour. All rooms have en suites.

Jakarta and Heathrow have wi-fi and TV. Bookings are recommended though not essential.


Singapore's Changi Airport is the leader in the leisurely layover stakes. One of its advantages is an on-site swimming pool. Guests at the Ambassador Transit Hotel can use the pool and adjoining jacuzzi for free. But others passing through can use it, too. About $S14 ($11) covers use of the pool and jacuzzi, shower facilities, a towel and a non-alcoholic drink. The pool is on level three of the Departure Transit Lounge East.


Birmingham International Airport was one of the first "Eurohubs", a regional British airport through which cut-price airlines ferried lads and ladettes to the continent for bucks' and hens' parties, football matches and the Oktoberfest.

With that in mind, it's not really surprising to discover a betting shop at Birmingham airport. British-based gaming company Ladbrokes has operated there since 2006.


Passengers travelling through Dubai International Airport can now experience Timeless Spa, the same brand spa as at the ultra-luxurious Emirates Wolgan Valley. There are three Timeless Spas in Terminal 3: two of them within Emirates lounges.

The third is accessible to all, regardless of your carrier. Open daily from 9am to 9pm, the spa has express treatments and massages as well as Timeless Spa's signature body treatment.

The spa is adjacent to the airport hotel on level U4.


International flights through Kuala Lumpur are handled by Satellite Terminal A. KLIA, as the airport is known, is one of the best for relaxation with massages, showers, children's play areas, movie lounges and free wi-fi. But a highlight is the Jungle Boardwalk in the middle of the terminal, a lush outdoor forest with waterfalls and ample foliage.


When all around us is chaos, champagne is often the answer, which is probably why the stools at the Caviar House and Prunier Seafood bars at Heathrow are usually well-patronised. So well-patronised, there is a bar in Terminal 1, one in Terminal 3 and another in Terminal 5.

These popular set-ups serve caviar and smoked salmon, alongside an array of wines - and champagnes, of course. The house drops are delightful, or for something a bit more indulgent, go the Dom Perignon or Krug Grande Cuvee NV.


Los Angeles International Airport has a Pets Unstressing Passengers program. Thirty pets and their owners have undergone training and registration to be "therapy dogs". They roam the airport with red vests carrying the message "pet me".


Plenty of airport hotels have gyms, but they're usually out of reach for transit passengers. Dubai Airport has a gym inside the airport.

The 24-hour G-Force Health Club features resistance and cardio-vascular machines, a pool, shower facilities, saunas, jacuzzi, steam rooms and massage rooms.

The gym is part of the Dubai International Hotel. Entry costs $13 for an hour and includes a towel and shampoo.


Nothing really beats a good old-fashioned airline lounge. The free drinks, the tiny sandwiches, the comfy chairs, the ritzy products in the bathrooms. But some are not as exclusive as you might think.

Airports all over the world have lounges that don't require membership or a premium ticket for entry.

Among them are Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international, Bali, Singapore's Changi, Beijing, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. For a nominal fee, passengers with an international boarding pass can access the lounges' services and amenities.