Measuring up Indonesia's many airport executive lounges, waiting around in luxury.
of the few thing s I like about Indonesian airports is that executive lounges are in general much less exclusive and cheaper to visit.
Where visiting the executive lounge overseas can cost hundreds of dollars in an annual membership, in Indonesia all you need is the correct type of credit card, VIP mobile phone membership, premium bank account or (with Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Mandala Air) an executive class/priority ticket. Or you just pay a nominal fee in cash, often about Rp50 000.
What you need: some ways to enter an executive lounge
Plus - as many Indonesian airports are often dirty, very crowded and/or in poor condition - the benefits of visiting an executive lounge are perhaps greater than normal.
A 3-star toilet at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta
However, I am aware from my own experiences travelling in Indonesia that quality at some airport executive lounges is ummmm... variable.
So let's rate the best and the worst of Indonesia's airport executive lounges, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Please include the following information:
Name and/or Location: It's handy to know, especially when there are multiple lounges in the one area. With the latter, please be as specific as possible.
What you need to enter: Which airline's or credit card's executive lounge, and/or how much you need to pay.
Special features: What you particularly liked/disliked about it
Footnote: If you travel by train, you may not be aware that many trains stations also have executive lounges also. However, these are just nicer waiting rooms with e.g. a/c, nicer chairs and a communal TV.
To get the ball rolling, here are my opinions:
Name: Dewa Lounge
Location: Ngurah Rai Airport, Denpasar Bali; international terminal, between departure gates 4 & 5.
What you need to enter: I used rewards points for my gold credit card, but I could bring a friend too for Rp50 000 in cash.
Special features: Real food, not just snacks; bottles of wine available and beer on tap (with glasses chilled in the fridge); a few computers for checking emails; spacious; nice view of airport out the window; quiet and relaxing with comfortable chairs and couches.
MY LEAST FAVOURITE:
Name & Location: I don’t remember the name, but it’s at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta; on Level 2 of Terminal 1B, on the left before the security screening.
What you need to enter: Same as above.
Special features: Small, cramped, overcrowded with toilets in poor condition, very little food or drinks, smelly and old.
I would advise to use the executive lounges at Sukarno-Hatta, Jakarta, especially on Fridays. Sometimes the waiting rooms at the gates are magically turned into prayer rooms and foreigners, in particular the bule variety, are gently pressed to go wait elsewhere.
Never use them myself. If I have something to read, I’m content to wait with the motley, but what I object to is the rip-off shop-keepers.
Even grotty old Heathrow, last time I was there, didn’t insist they were entitled to overcharge for a daily newspaper – the Jakarta Post is marked up by 2 or 3000 rupiah in Soekarno Hatta..
Reminds me of the old joke about getting something to eat at an airport. You pick up a coffee and a kit kat, take it to the counter and then apologise to the cashier that you’ve only got a twenty dollar note. She replies “Better put the kit kat back, then.”
The Padma Lounge in the domestic terminal of Denpasar (Bali) Airport, next to gate 18 is surprisingly crap.
It blocks out the constant airport announcements (good), but then repeats most them using an in-house audio system turned up to such an excessive volume that the announcement is barely comprehensible amidst all the distortion. On a lighter note, they then follow up that up with a guy walking around holding a laminated A4 sign with the flight number and destination, as though no one could understand it.
The choice of food was limited, and what they had I either didn’t like or had never heard of (despite living in Indonesia for many years).
Newspapers comprised of yesterday’s Kompas, and the 4-page wraparound Bali section of “The Jakarta Post” – not any of the rest of the paper.
The Krone Lounge in the Polonia International Airport, Medan, North Sumatera, was quite impressive. If you have one of the credit cards they co-operate with, or just simply pay Rp. 70,000, you will receive a very well service in food, beverages, free wifi, 2 PCs for internet free use, and you will be delivered to the plane with special bus, rather than walking to the plane from the waiting / boarding room. I think Rp. 70,000 is quite appropriate with the services, especially when your flight is in delayed status.