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Once the reserve of the rich and famous, airport lounges, much like everything else in life have been opened up to the masses, and you can now make use of them no matter what class of air ticket you have, as long as you are happy to pay the entrance fees.

Depending on which airport you are using to make an international flight, you will find many pay as you go type airport lounges, in which you can make use of free Wi-Fi, relax in comfortable surroundings away from the maddening crowds and help yourself to “free” food and drink.

However, a recent survey by the consumer magazine Which? has suggested that airport lounges no longer off the exclusiveness they once did, and due to the way they are now run and operated offer air travellers no real value what so ever.

The magazine surveyed a large number of their readers who have made use of airport lounges around the globe and found that on average the ones visited by their readership scored just 2.6 out of a possible score of 5, in regards to value and customer satisfaction.

The cost of using an airport lounge can vary, and it is often the case that if you do pre-book you can make some large savings on the walk-up rate. However, it has been found the quality of food on offer in airport lounges and the cleanliness of many of them does leave a lot to be desired

In an attempt to make some larger profits, many airport lounges have now introduced a time limit in regards to how long any of their paid guests can stay, and as such if you do have a long wait before you flight leaves then you will be forced to pay again if you initial visit exceeds the lounge’s visiting time limit!

Having read through the list of complaints left by people taking the Which? Survey it would appear many people are disgruntled with the quality of food and drink available in such venues, and many airport lounges have a special “premium” menu that visitors can purchase if they are not that impressed with the complimentary fayre!

It is also the fact that many airport lounges have been extended in size, or the once ample and comfortable spaces found in such venues have been dramatically reduced in size to cram in even more chairs and tables that has annoyed many people.

The whole idea of an airport lounge is that you are able to get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy airport and relax, however that does not now seem to be the case in many airport lounges as you are often going to find them just as full and as busy as any of the other venues and walkways inside the airport terminal, that are accessible to everyone.

However, there are still some airport lounge hidden gems, but the number of them is quickly reducing, and it may not be before long that they are not worth paying for, if this reduction in cleanliness, food quality and value continues!

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Sara O'Connell
A passionate photographer from Arizona, Sara enjoys art and culture.