Changi's newT1 lounge for all travellers gets thumbs-up

Since the Plaza Premium Lounge opened in April, it has served 18,000 guests, offering meeting rooms for business travellers, and resting suites and shower facilities for the weary.
Since the Plaza Premium Lounge opened in April, it has served 18,000 guests, offering meeting rooms for business travellers, and resting suites and shower facilities for the weary.PHOTO: PLAZA PREMIUM LOUNGE MANAGEMENT

Most airport lounges welcome only travellers taking specific airlines or flying first or business class.

But now, economy class passengers can enjoy this luxury too, at least at Terminal 1 in Changi Airport - and the service is proving popular.

A new lounge for all travellers opened there in April, with entry fees starting at $58 for five hours.

Management estimates that, since then, 18,000 people have used the Plaza Premium Lounge.

Singaporean Paul Heng said he visited the lounge to "have a bit of food and read The Straits Times" before he flew to Hong Kong.

GETTING VALUE FOR MONEY

I really like that it's pay-as-you-go.

MS ERICA HADDON, who is from Australia

The lounge offers charging stations at its seats, as well as meeting rooms for business travellers.

A frequent flier, Mr Heng said it was "very nice" and comparable to the SilverKris lounges offered by Singapore Airlines.

Some tired travellers certainly appreciated the facilities.

Australian teacher Heather Jones, who had travelled from Germany to Sri Lanka and then to Singapore all within a day, said the massage and shower facilities made her "feel human again".

Guests said the lounge was value for money.

Ms Erica Haddon, another Australian, said: "I really like that it's pay-as-you-go." She used to have a Qantas Club membership, but gave it up as she rarely travelled.

She, too, had a massage at the Plaza Premium Lounge, which she said helped relieve her stiff back.

Massages are $31 on top of the basic package. To use the lounge for three hours and catch a three-hour nap in one of the private resting suites (miniature hotel rooms with beds), you can take a package that comes to $75 for a single room and $180 for a family room.

Most guests also praised the food. When The Straits Times visited, dishes such as teriyaki chicken, pasta and salads were being served buffet-style, while laksa and chicken rice could be ordered.

There was only one complaint. Ms Kisha Stevens, also Australian, said she wished there had been more vegetarian food options.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'Changi's newT1 lounge for all travellers gets thumbs-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe