My mileage run ended up giving me three hours to kill at EWR. I was pleasantly surprised when earlier this week, I was emailed an invite to dine at United’s invitation-only dining location near gate 120 at EWR.

Called, Classified, I read about it when it opened, but was never given an invite to attend before now. I was led to believe it was for 1K and GS members of Mileage Plus, but they apparently are dipping down into Platinums like me. I had nothing to lose and made a reservation.

Making a reservation time based upon a plane landing on time is a little trick, but I allowed 30 minutes from the scheduled time. Turned out we land a little early AND didn’t have to wait half an hour for the plane wranglers to get in into the gate. Although the reservation said it was near Gate 120, it wasn’t obvious from standing in front of that gate where it was. Reading further, it said to go to the restaurant Saisson and tell the host that you had a reservation for Classified.

After mentioning Classified to the host (should I have whispered it?), he led me back a long path.

Inside was a long narrow dining area. Basically, a dozen table with one aisle to serve. Smart use of what was probably back-of-the-house space that wasn’t making any money. There was a nice waitress who seated me and then explained how to use the tablet ordering system.

They had a full restaurant menu and were serving brunch since it was Sunday. The server recommended the burger, but I decided to go for something that I rarely have anywhere – a lobster roll. Added a beer and I was done.

One nice thing is that if you use your Chase United card, you get 20% off. Since the prices are normal for airport food, that pretty nice. As you can see, I got 7 bucks off. You do have an option to pay with miles, but that’s very poor value, less than a penny a mile.

The beer can a couple of minutes later and the meal within ten minutes.

Now, was this the best lobster I had ever had? No, but certainly good and meaty.

I should mention that for AvGeeks, you do get a nice view of the ramp. Unfortunately, heavy rains made it a poor day for sightseeing (and bumpy flying).

One thing that was really interesting is that they told me that once I had dined here, I did not need a future invite. Just go to the reservation site and book next time I am in EWR. I think I’ll bring the wife next time I have extra time at EWR.


Posted by glenn | 4 Comments

I usually travel through SEA with my wife who has an Alaska Lounge membership so we spend our layovers in one of the three lounges there.  Here is a review of their newest lounge in the C Concourse.  On this rare occasion, I was on my own on a six hour layover so time to use my AMEX Centurion Card.

The Centurion Lounge is located in the B Terminal, home to mostly Delta and Southwest flights.  It was a reasonable walk over from where I landed in C, but make sure you allow enough time to catch your flight as terminals at SEA are spread out, particularly the S and N Terminals.  The map makes it look like it is right at the intersection of Terminal B and the main corridor, but you need to walk a couple hundred feet down to spot the signs.

The desk checks you in and explains where everything is if you haven’t been there before.

Despite this being a smaller lounge, I thought there was plenty of space.

The food was much better than in the Alaska Lounge.  Quite a good variety of food (although no pancake machine!), including German coldcuts for breakfast.

I stuck with tea and a cherry bearclaw.

The room in the back has the bar and a great view of Terminal B and S.

They display the flights and I liked the décor on the media wall which is made of old suitcases, books, cameras and other travel items.  I just need to figure how to make one at home!

Altogether a very nice lounge with good wifi and food.  Check it out if you get a chance.

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These are passes to the AS Lounges in LAX, PDX, SEA, or ANC and will expire 12/31.  If you are interested, reply to this post and I will draw random winners.

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I had reviewed this lounge in its previous version a few years ago when it was an Aspire lounge.  It was a pay for play lounge which obviously didn’t get enough customers and closed a couple of years ago.  Now it has been completely renovated and opened as The Club.  The Club is a rapidly spreading chain of private lounges that take Priority Pass for admittance.  I was really glad when they re-opened this lounge as it really sucks to wait around for your flight in the main terminal seating.  I guess you could call me spoiled.  I also like the fact that Alaska moved their flights to the D Terminal from the C Terminal to be closer to this lounge.  So let’s check this out.

The directions say they are at Gat D10, but it is really closer to D11 so keep walking until you see this sign.

Show your card and sign at the front desk and enter.  It is not the largest lounge in the world – but it is the only one in the domestic terminals at BWI.

Even though it is small, there was plenty of room for my wife and I.

There was a nice variety of food, but it was mostly cold food.  I did like the fact that they had granola bars to grab and have on the plane.

Not to mention the essential coffee machine

Even though they are not part of an airline, they have a nice board to make sure you don’t miss your flight.

So this lounge definitely gets my recommendation whenever you need to travel through BWI.


Posted by glenn | 2 Comments

Using our AS miles for a Business Class flight from BUD to DXB and then on to IAD two days later was costly in terms of miles, but the 105K miles were worth it.  One of the benefits that I really enjoyed was enjoying the Emirates’ Business Class Lounge at DXB.  We lived in Dubai from 2000 to 2002 and we enjoyed the old Business Class Lounge (you only had to be Silver in the Emirates program to get access), but this new lounge was over the top.  If you are familiar with Dubai, “over the top” should surprise no one.

Business or First passengers get sped through the terminal.  A short walk through Duty-Free gets you to the entrance to the lounge.  So I should probably start out by explaining how different the Emirates lounges are.  They cover the entire floor of the terminal.  Yes, each one.  This photo should explain it well.

See the Duty-Free on the bottom floor,, then the next level up is the First Class Lounge, then the level I am on is the Business Class Lounge.  Why does each lounge cover the entire terminal?  Because you load the aircraft directly from the lounge!

So when you enter the lounge, they actually need to direct which way to go so you are close to your boarding gate ass shown by this sign.  We arrive six hours before our flight so they apologized that they only had half the lounge open.

Needless to stay the lounge is expansive.  Plenty of sub-divided areas make it seem more intimate than the size would suggest.

They have several kids areas. So plenty to keep the kids occupied if you are spoiling your kids by flying them in Emirates Business.

And several areas to take a nap.  Note the blanket and eye mask that come with each lounger.  Note that some are more secluded than others, so look for those behind a  screen if you don’t want to be disturbed.  Just make sure you tell your spouse where to find you!

And there is food, plenty of food.  There are at least four major dining areas where the staff will serve you what they have on hand.

You’ll notice that the bar is co-located with the food and the staff is happy to serve you whatever they have in a bottle.

And for desert, help yourself to all the Haagen-Daz you can handle!

I should mention that the bathrooms all have toothbrushes and shaving kits if you want one.  We spent six hours here and ate more than I care to remember – four time I think?  Anyway, time to board the flight and enjoy the good life even more,..



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Review of China Eastern lounge 36, Pudong, Shanghai (PVG). By Chuck!

This is quite a nice lounge in Shanghai (PVG). My flight arrived about 4AM, and after some international transfer follies some other passengers and I arrived at the lounge about 5AM.  The MU lounge 36 sits next to another lounge, 39.  Even though lounge 39 is branded Air France, SkyTeam Elite members flying MU aren’t allowed in.

The lounge was easy to find, just a few steps from the security screening area at the departure gates and up the escalator. It was already open, and checking in was very quick and easy.



I was happy to see that this lounge has showers, the Delta App didn’t list this amenity and the Priority Pass (PP) app said their lounges in Terminal 1 didn’t have showers either.

Upon arrival I was working hard to figure out a way to get over to Terminal 2, where the PP app said several PP lounges do have showers. An immigration officer shut me down quickly on that idea – you have to exit security to get to Terminal 2 and you need a boarding card for a flight there to get in.  No way I was going to go through that again after the flailex in JFK the day before.  And to think that some people say that squids can’t be taught!

The lounge is situated on two floors. The first floor is where you check in, there’s a hot food bar with local food options and some other items (breads, broiled bacon/mushroom mixture, etc) for breakfast, and a couple of beverage stations.  There is also a bank of lockers that you can use for free.  Using the lockers is intuitive and easy, but I found the fingerprint reader feature to open the lockers to be very fussy.  I had to call an employee to open my locker several times.

Moving upstairs, there’s a room with 4 power recliners and 4 fancy massage chairs with a variety of massage options from which you can choose, and 2 showers! These shower rooms are huge, you could have a small meeting in there (see the pictures below).  The showers in Schiphol (AMS) and Paris (CDG) were, at best, a third this size.  The shower I used was quite clean, except for this one door.  I don’t know what’s behind it, but they need to open it up and give it a good cleaning.


There’s a station for food and beverages, and there’s also a computer room, but excluding the showers the highlight for me was those massage chairs after my 14+ hour flight from JFK.



Maybe I should explain my fixation on showers. For most of my flying life I’ve flown across the world with no chance to get clean, and that includes those 24+ hour Cat B flights from Norfolk, VA to Bahrain that I took more times than I care to count.  I’m not knocking the AMC pax terminals, I love those guys and am very grateful that we have that option.  But, I’ve never seen one that had an easily accessible shower (maybe that’s changed since I took my last AMC flight 8 years ago?), and I never had any sort of status with an airline until last year when I was able to hit Platinum status courtesy of a bunch of flights and a couple of strategic AMEX credit card sign ups.  When I took my first shower during my 6 hour or so layover in Schiphol enroute to Ghana last September I was blown away by the difference it made for me.  So, now I actively seek out opportunities to get clean while I’m traveling.

One downside to PVG, there are A LOT of mosquitoes flying around. I probably saw 30 or more inside the lounge itself, though I saw far fewer in the main terminal when I went exploring.

Overall my experience in PVG in general, and in the China Eastern lounge specifically, was quite good and I look forward to my next opportunity to visit.

Posted by glenn | 2 Comments

I was fortunate enough to travel to the French Riviera earlier this month and was very impressed.  Made me homesick for California where I grew up.  Flying out of Nice, I was able to experience one of several very nice private lounges which can be accessed by Priority Pass.  Even though Nice is one of the larger cities in France, the airport is fairly small by American standards.  If you have Loungebuddy, finding one of the four lounges there shouldn’t be a problem.  They all have cute little names such as the Levity Lounge or Library Lounge.  The one I reviewed is called the Infinity Lounge.

You will see an elevator up to the lounge, but I would advise not to waste your time.  I waited five minutes and finally ended up taking the stairs to the left in the photo.

Once up the stairs, the checking in process was very easy.  Didn’t even need to sign like with most Priority Pass visits.

The space inside is very eclectic, like four different architects designed it.  I kind of liked the rattan swing chairs.  Although the section with a bajillion power points was great for all you “connected” flyers.

Food and beverages were pretty decent.  Nice pastries and packaged foods.  Plenty of booze for those who want to start the day early.

I was very happy with my caffeine and chocolate croissants!  On the whole a nice little lounge to bide your time in while waiting for your flight.


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I flew a redeye on BA for my recent trip to Nice, which of course means a stop at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).  I was actually looking forward to the trip just to be able to try out BA’s lounge there.  How did I get access?  Not through flying Business unfortunately, nor through a lounge membership like Priority Pass.  I got access through a little secret: Alaska MVP Gold and Gold 75K’s get free lounge access  when traveling through LHR.  Here is the reference page in case you want to verify.

I went to one of the two in Terminal 5 although they also have one in Terminal 3.

It was all the way at one end of the terminal and the other one is all the way at the other end, so you can find one no matter which direction you go.  I posted the other ways to get in such as being an elite on One World.

The lounge is quite large, which is good because it was very popular even on a Sunday morning.  There is an “outdoor” section which I think is meant for families.  It is not air conditioned, but is still within the terminal building.  Good views of the tarmac from there for you AvGeeks.

The breakfast had a very good selection of cold food or pastries.

There is plenty of unguarded booze for those of you who want a different type of breakfast.  The way they guard the alcohol in U.S. lounges makes you think we are a nation of alcoholics that the airlines are trying to save us from ourselves.  Europeans have much more mature attitudes about drinking than we do.

Showers are available for those of you who want to refresh.

And there is a desk for help with your BA Flights if needed.  I note how small this desk is.  I guess that must be because there are very rarely problems with them.P

On the whole a pretty good lounge to pass the time in.

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I rarely fly out of Terminal B at Newark, so I researched lounges that I would qualify for using the Loungebuddy app.  Turns out Priority Pass gave me access to a strangely named lounge – “The Art & Lounge”.  I made the mistake of going through security and looking for the lounge, but couldn’t find it.  Turns out if I had paid attention to Loungebuddy, the lounge was before security near the Duty Free shop.  It wasn’t that hard to find once I learned to follow directions.

Although Priority Pass is the easy access here, you can see that Norwegian, Polish LOT, and French LaCompanie also can give you access presumably if you are in Business or First.

Inside the lounge felt tight but that’s because it is subdivided into many rooms.

Turns out that this lounge has a mission – to highlight art and be a gallery to appreciate local art.  Almost all the walls are covered by various pieces of art or all type.  I didn’t ask, but I am sure you could arrange to buy a piece that you really love.  If you are an art lover, this would be a great way to pass the time waiting for your flight.

Of course, if you are slightly less into art, like me, there is always the food and drink.  They have a self-serve bucket o’ booze and a fairly good buffet of various foods.

All-in-all a very different type of lounge than we usually encounter.  I spent four hours there doing work with very good wifi.  Check it out, especially if you got one of those ridiculously cheap Norwegian fares and are flying out of Terminal B at Newark.

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