Frequent air travel brings a few welcomed perks and for many, airport lounges are amongst the very best. While everyone else fights for seats and enjoys double priced, watered down coffee, road warriors can rejoice with complimentary beverages, and at the best of times even a shower or a nice hot meal. The problem is, like many parts of society – what constitutes as “ok” can be contentious. You know the types: the loud mouth sales person bragging at extreme volume on the phone, the pissed drunk honeymooners giggling and making out and the perennial favorite – the food and beverage thieves.

Travel Update drew attention to something that arguably few people ever knew existed, lounge etiquette guidelines. It turns out, Cathay Pacific believes that there’s a minimum level of decorum which should be observed in their lounges and have gone to the trouble to write them out very concisely. Qatar Airways also has an etiquette list, but it’s more focused on banning cargo shorts and open toed shoes, which may be equally if not more important in the grand scheme.

You may not make any friends, but carrying a copy on your next visit and handing it to the blowhard blabbermouth next to you may come in handy. In short.

  • Keep your voice down.
  • Use headphones.
  • Set phone to vibrate.
  • Don’t liberate food or beverage from lounge.
  • Don’t dilly dally in the shower facilities.
  • Attend to your children properly.

The full list can be found here. It’s refreshing to see a lounge set terms which should dictate what’s ok and what’s simply not. No one is saying you should “narc” on your seat mate for taking a call, but it may be fair to bring to someones attention that Joe or Jane Blowhard in the corner could benefit from a tone change, and everyone around them might too. Of course, GSTP also created etiquette guidelines for the entire airport experience long ago, in case you need a refresher.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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6 Comments

  1. I hope they release a guide for their staff on how to clean those lounges!! I was in The Pier last month and it was pretty sad. Dirty and stained seats, tables, non functioning USBs.

  2. Surely this should start a discussion on worst lounge decorum witnessed?

    My 2nd worst experience was a of Brtish OAPs in a lounge in Palma playing D&B music loudly on their phone. I did ask them to turn it down, only for them to try and start a fight. I consider this my fault for being in Majorca.

    The pick goes to a drunk fella in the Air Canada Lounge in Heathrow, loudly discussing his divorce on the phone to a friend, shouting out the C-word repeatedly at the top of his lungs. The guy was blind drunk, so much so that whilst seated he knocked a pint over himself and his neighbour whilst trying to pick it up (how you tip a glass towards you is still a mystery to me). The Air Canada hostess witnessed all of this, duly walked over, and got him a new pint…. words were spoken to the manager.

  3. For a good laugh read the T&C’s of the Escape Lounges. There’s a US version and a UK version with the UK version being a little longer because it has a longer list of clothing that is NOT allowed (“fancy dress”, like clothing that could cause offense i.e. stag/hen parties, athletic/team wear).

  4. What they should do is upon entry have people agree to terms by handing a multi language summary of rules. Or better yet via iPad. I did this entering the LaQua onsen in Tokyo which of course forbids any body art/piercings/tatoos. After asking which language, the cashier presented the entry terms to me digitally and I scrolled through and accepted.

  5. This is wonderful. I wish restaurants banned dirty American tourists with their worn out over washed dull coloured shirts and dusty Dad sneakers whose presence diminishes the effort Asians place in trying to rock stylish clothes in public spaces.
    Fyi, I’m not Asian.

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