Why I’ve Learned to Appreciate Airport Lounge Access More Than Ever


Recently, I blogged about a controversial topic on Why You Should Avoid Traveling to Western European Countries. Now it’s ironic that I’m currently on a trip to Helsinki, Geneva, Nice, and Monaco which is definitely the four most expensive cities in Western Europe. The point of this trip was to visit new countries and to re-qualify for American Airlines Executive Platinum status for around 5cpm or lower.

Two days ago, I was in Helsinki and found myself shocked to see a 6” regular sandwich at Subway for 3.90 Euros ~ $5.27 USD and doesn’t even include a drink.


A footlong sandwich at Subway would cost you upwards of almost $11 USD! I’ve been spoiled with the $4 lunch special (sub & sandwich) in the United States.

To offset the high prices of food in Helsinki, I found myself buying a chicken sandwich and a drink at a local grocery store for about 3 euros.


The one thing I looked forward the most in Helsinki airport was the vast array of lounges. I put my euros away and helped myself to free food and drink. I had pastries, beer, eggs, beans, meats, cheeses, coffee, and donuts for free.

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I definitely appreciate airport lounge access more now since all the food I ate would’ve cost almost 30 euros in a restaurant in Helsinki.

Yesterday, I spent a day in Geneva and found myself at a nearby Starbucks. I ordered a venti iced mocha and that cost 8.20 CHF ~ $9.00 USD.


I normally pay less than $4 for the same exact drink at my local Starbucks in the United States. I decided to purchase the coffee because it would lead me to free Wi-Fi access which I needed at that time to find my local apartment hotel.


I was sick of paying these expensive prices, so I opted to take advantage of my stove at my apartment hotel. I bought groceries at the local organic market (Everything is organic in Switzerland).


The total damage for an apple juice (2.40 Fr), Beef tortellini (5.10 Fr), Pasta sauce (2.90 Fr), and a loaf of bread (1.55 Fr) was 11.95 Francs ~ $13.15 USD.


Now, it was quite expensive, but local Italian dinners cost upwards of 25 CHF minimum in Geneva just for the dish. I had bread and a drink, so the restaurant price would’ve been 30 CHF or more. I definitely saved a lot of money by cooking my own meal, but this shows you how expensive Geneva can be.


I’m currently writing this from the Dnata Skyview Lounge in Geneva airport and appreciate the availability of free food and drinks, not to mention the free speedy Wi-Fi.


I’ve taken lounge access for granted over the past few years, but this time, I really appreciate it even more now.


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Points Summary
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3 Comments on "Why I’ve Learned to Appreciate Airport Lounge Access More Than Ever"

  1. I agree with Gerard’s comments from your Trip Summary Report post. Germany, Belgium, and Spain are cheap countries to visit.

    Who cares if you booked this trip back in February. You wrote a post about how horribly expensive Western Europe is and then went to said countries. As Gerard said, you could have gone to less expensive countries but you picked the most expensive places.

    Then you go to chain places such as Starbucks and Subway. At Starbucks, horrible choice for coffee, you continue ranting how it cost $9 for sugar water with a bit of coffee. You could have had better coffee at any local cafe and for much less. However you use the excuse of needing the free Wi-Fi? I’ve stood outside of Starbucks just for their free Wi-Fi all over Europe. So you actually paid for the Wi-Fi and at a premium. You could have used that cash towards a local sim card and had data.

    Subway? Did the thought of seafood or an open faced sandwich ever cross your mind? What’s the point of visiting foreign places only to eat the same thing you can at home.

    Instead of complaining about the prices of everything, c’mon America has a bad habit of paying almost nothing for everything, you could have angled it towards how much of a value the lounges are outside of the USA and how much more they offer. No, you continue your rant about how much stuff is and what little you get for what you paid.

    Did you do no research at all before your trip? There are many discount grocery stores in Geneva and most of Western Europe too. I know as I used to live in NL and vacation in Switzerland.

    I think novice travelers can get better advice from Rick Steve’s than out of your trip reports.

  2. I have to agree to a degree here Jamison… one ought to really avoid visiting US fastfood restaurants and especially Starbucks in a foreign country. Particularly the countries that you know are going to be ‘expensive’. Think about it… if European products/namebrands are sold over here, don’t we pay more for that? Ergo, US places overseas are going to be priced accordingly.

    When we were in Norway and Denmark, just for info purposes, I priced the cost of a latte in Starbucks. It was close to $10.00. Yet at the local coffee places – one was Samson and the other was Kaffebrennereit- the same cup of coffee was half the cost of Starbucks. And the local coffee places have much, much better coffee than Starbucks!

    I believe one of the points of traveling abroad is to experience as much of the ‘local’ life as possible. I try to avoid the American-food overseas joints as much as I can and have happened upon some incredible cafes and restaurants as a result. And no, they are not all expensive.
    Maybe on your next trip, do as Celine says… a little research and find where the locals go to eat on the cheap. Believe me, those places exist!

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