The concept of the airport lounge is not a new one, they have been the privilege of frequent flyers since the late 1930’s when American Airlines started the trend at New York’s LaGuardia airport. Originally a promotional tool to boost the airline’s bookings, the airport lounge has since become an expected perk by business class travellers.

First or business class lounges are still viewed as the pinnacle of luxury but, pay-per-use airport lounges are now an affordable alternative for economy travellers. Although not as well appointed, they still offer a welcome sanctuary from the noisy bustle of over climatised departure lounges. A safe haven to relax in comfy chairs with access to cleaner bathrooms, the internet, and multiple charging points.

For long-haul travelers with an enforced stopover, airport lounges offer a chance to regain a sense of routine after severe disruption to their body clocks. The regularity of mealtimes, a marker of normality in a day, is often thrown off balance when crossing multiple time zones. This displacement can easily be addressed by attacking the abundant food buffets on offer in most pay-per-use lounges. Breakfast, lunch and evening meal options are generally available and provide an added boost to the meagre in-flight meals. A hot shower,  massage or even a quick nap in a ‘sleep pod’ can help any traveller regain a sense of well being in preparation for the second or third leg of a long journey.

Priority Pass, Holiday Extras, and gosimply are just a few of the online services offering independent pre-bookable access starting from as little as £13.50. They offer a range of packages to suit your budget ranging from the length of stay, spa facilities, food and beverage options

Diners Club InternationalAmerican Express, and HSBC offer lounge access free to their account holders. The HSBC Premier account priority pass membership provides invaluable access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

So if you have a long flight and an airport lounge sounds like a great solution it may be worth checking with your credit card provider or bank before you pre-book a pay-per-use pass.