Travelling in 2020? Avoid airport food courts, and find out where you should wait instead.
We’ve all been there. That frantic, last-minute dash to the airport, where you’re hauling your suitcases out of the Uber and speed-walking to customs because you lost track of time.
Everything seems panicked, rushed.
You forgot to apply makeup. You didn’t brush your hair. And hey, you forgot to eat breakfast as well, which is pretty terrifying given you’re about to embark on a 10-hour overseas flight.
Not wanting to suffer through the pre-packaged, plasticky treats they serve up on board, you make the decision to brave the airport food court.
It’s exactly what you’d been dreading: a sprawling plaza populated by dozens or maybe hundreds of noisy holidaymakers, the air heavy with the smell of grease and fried food.
The only available table is about three metres from the men’s bathrooms, and it’s scattered with crumbs and half-dried pools of coffee. Over the sound of someone’s screaming child, you tell your partner to secure it while you go and find food.
There are long lines at most of the eateries. All you want is a soy latte and some avocado toast, but it looks like you’ll have to settle for whatever’s on offer.
After waiting for ten minutes – you have to text Hubby to assure him you haven’t gotten lost – it’s finally your turn. You browse the glass display cabinets, trying to see past the condensation.
No avocado toast, but, hey, that ham and cheese croissant might be okay. Then you see the price: ten dollars. Seriously? Ten dollars?
You dart a glance at the cashier, wondering how they can possibly justify charging ten dollars for a croissant, a slice of ham and some Macdonald’s-style cheese.
Two coffees and two croissants end up costing you just under thirty bucks. You and your partner agree: the coffee’s burned and the croissants taste like they were made yesterday.
You cringe at all the sodium and preservatives you’ve just ingested. Worst of all? You’re still hungry.
What’s the alternative to airport food courts?
That’s the kind of scenario most of us encounter when we enter an airport food court. Sure, it’s an industry that’s slowly changing.
Some airports are forcing their food vendors to charge street prices instead of mark-ups that take advantage of captive consumers. Gourmet restaurants are starting to creep into the larger airports.
But, for the most part, airport food courts are still a wellspring of bad, unhealthy experiences.
You’re probably wondering what the alternative is. After all, you need to eat, especially before those big international flights.
Our advice? Head to an airport lounge.
Like airport food courts, some lounges get a bit of a bad rap. And that makes total sense.
As with any service, you’ll come across the good, the bad and the ugly. Some lounges charge you a lot of money for nothing more than tea, coffee and ten-year-old furniture. Others are little better than the food courts – teeming with noisy travellers, overrun by out-of-control kids and about as exclusive as Hungry Jacks.
That said, there are some great options available.
Places where you relax, revitalise and prepare yourself for your holiday. Places where you can chill out with a cocktail, freshen up with a shower, or enjoy a healthy vegetarian meal. Places where you don’t have to hand over your life savings just for a cup of coffee.
Our Choice: Plaza Premium Lounge
One of our favourite airport lounges? Plaza Premium Lounge. As one of the global leaders in airport lounges, Plaza Premium know how to keep you, their customers, happy.
Each lounge has different facilities and pricing, but, generally, you can expect stylish comfort, inclusive food and amenities, and highly reasonable pricing.
Let’s take a look at an Australian example. Plaza Premium have lounges in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, but our favourite is definitely Brisbane – not only do they have a bar, a fairly extensive line-up of food, and comfortable seating, but they’ve also got a wellness spa!
Plaza Premium Brisbane’s amenities include:
- A bar
- Charging stations
- Flight information
- Food and beverages
- An extensive lounge bay
- Shower facilities
- The aforementioned spa
- Free WiFi
- A range of magazines and newspapers.
It’s nothing ground-breaking, but here’s the thing: you don’t have to worry about fighting for a seat. You don’t have to worry about someone stealing your clutch when you get up to go to the bathroom. You don’t need to stress about missing your flight. You can start relaxing before you’ve even taken off.
What’s the catch?
“Hold on,” you’re probably thinking. “What’s the catch? Surely Plaza Premium Brisbane costs a ridiculous amount of money to get into?”
Well, you’re half-right. It does cost money. For 2 adults (you and your partner) staying for 2 hours, it’s AUD90. That’s $45 each.
Expensive? Not really. See, Plaza Premium Brisbane actually gives you a lot for your cash, because everything’s included.
Yes, that’s right. Everything. From amenities to meals to those three schooners of Great Northern Lager, you won’t have to pay a cent more.
Their bar opens at 7am, which is pretty unusual for an airport lounge – perfect for enjoying a glass of bubbly with their breakfast buffet.
For lunch and dinner, you can choose from an a la carte menu which features Italian- and Asian-inspired dishes, or go classic with an extensive buffet that includes salads, cheese platters, soups, desserts and a variety of hot dishes.
They even have on-tap beer (Stella Artois and Great Northern Lager), as well as a variety of spirits, bottled beer and cider. Coffee and tea are, of course, included.
You get all that (plus peace, quiet and an upscale ambience) for just $45 each. It’s not a bad deal.
In fact, it’s pretty awesome. Because you just went from paying $15 each for a cup of burnt coffee, a stale croissant and a soundtrack of screaming kids to having an incredible pre-holiday experience.
And to make it even better? We’re offering you 20% off all Premium Plaza bookings if you book through us. Yep, that’s right. You’d be paying just AUD36 for everything we just talked about. How good is that?
Bookmark this post, and, next time you’re planning an overseas flight, come back here and click the below link. You’ll get 20% off, and you’ll avoid the horror of airport food courts. Don’t say we don’t look after you.