World's Top Airport Lounges

Find the ultimate in preflight comfort at these 12 airport lounges that beg you to stay awhile.

Carmen Chan
OF 13

Travel is meant to be a rich experience, a means of engaging with culture, cuisine, and pleasure. It’s a shame, then, that often the greatest trials of the experience often occur in the earliest hours of the journey. The process should be simple, really: show up at the airport, flash a passport, drop bags, and board the plane—preferably with a glass of Champagne in hand. But this hasn’t been the case for years, and both the voyager and travel institutions like the airport have suffered as a result.

In the last decade, cities around the world have launched a new age of luxury travel, starting with new, exceptionally designed, well-functioning airports: Consider the brightly painted struts and wood ceilings of Madrid-Barajas, or the soaring, glass-roofed spaces of Incheon International in South Korea (for more high-design terminals, see our slideshow). Along with these stunning structures, of course, have come equally thoughtful airport lounges tucked away inside.

Here, we scoured the world’s most important international hubs for the top 12 lounges offering first-rate amenities, privacy, and calm, all catering to global travelers who want the journey to be as memorable (and stress-free) as the destination. It's all so good, in fact, that next time you book a flight, you might even consider extending your layover—or at least arriving at the airport a few hours earlier.