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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Now you can pay to use a lounge at Sydney International Airport

Okay, so your flight is delayed and you look like spending a few extra hours at Sydney International Airport. Is it worth shelling out for the pay-to-use lounge?

Yes, true story, your editor reached into his pocket and paid out $55 for a five hour access pass to the Skyteam / Amex lounges.

Stylish but compact AMEX lounge.
Located near Gate 24 in Terminal 1 at departure level at Pier B, there are actually two lounges operated by the Plaza Premium Lounge people. The Skyteam (Garuda, China Airlines, China Eastern, Vietnam) airline lounge downstairs and the American Express Premium lounge upstairs.

Chilled whites and sparkling in the Skyteam Lounge
Technically, if you pay your money at the Skyteam desk, you can also use the Amex lounge next door. Having checked out both, my preference lies with the large Skyteam facility down the escalators. Why? For starters, it's much larger and serves both Asian and Western style dishes. While both lounges share the same kitchen, drink choices vary slightly, plus it is self-serve in Skyteam and bar service in Amex.

Two massage chairs in a separate quiet room
Skyteam lounge has comfy sofa style seats and a seated dining area as well as quiet (in theory) work zone at the back along with a few Apple computers. I like the two quiet rooms at the rear. One has a big screen TV where you can get excited about your football match and another with two massage chairs.

Skyteam lounge: Spacious and wider food choices.
There's plenty of good old fashioned papers and magazines to read and of course showers.

The $55 pricing is a special at the moment and a considerable relief from the usual $77 for two hours - which, frankly, must have been a hard sell.

My take is if you have more than three hours, it's a good deal.

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