For business travelers, getting work done while stuck in an airport can seem all but impossible. While most terminals have a few desks, an electrical outlet or two, and possibly (if you’re lucky) wireless access, they also have distractions like screaming children, and the constant drone of the PA system.
Luckily, for many of us, the solution to such woes can be found in airport lounges–especially ones (like those on our list) that cater specifically to traveling executives’ business needs.
These lounges incorporate all kinds of amenities to help you stay productive en route, whether that means high-tech work stations and conference rooms, a personal assistant to fax your documents, or a whiskey lounge for relaxing before your big presentation. And while some are only accessible with an upper-class plane ticket, others are “pay-in” lounges, open to anyone for an hourly rate. So whether you find yourself needing to tap out a few quick emails or manage an urgent corporate crisis, consider one of these spots as your personal satellite office.
- British Airways Concorde Room, London Heathrow
Widely considered the gold standard for airport lounges, British Airways’ first-class Concorde Room at Heathrow has a vast array of amenities for business travelers and vacationers alike. If you’re hard at work, the full conference suite here includes a boardroom kitted out with seven computers, a printer and a 40-inch LCD for presentations. After wrapping up your meetings, you can hit one of the lounge’s private “cabanas” for a nap, the dining area for complimentary Champagne (or afternoon tea) or the spa for a gratis 15-minute mini-massage, facial or other treatment. A nearly identical copy of the Concorde Room can also be found at JFK Airport—ideal if you’re traveling between London and New York.
- Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, John F. Kennedy Airport, New York
Virgin’s 10,000-square-foot lounge at Kennedy mirrors its postmodern aesthetic, with futuristic designs that can make you forget you’re in an airport. When business calls, the Internet Bar is the place to go: iMacs await and concierges are on hand to help facilitate document printing, address obscure cell phone–charging needs or simply arrange your next meal. Food can be ordered to any seat in the lounge, though it’s perhaps better to enjoy your risotto outside the berthlike sleeping pods, or the Bumble and Bumble salon chairs.
- Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Newark Liberty International Airport
If you’ve been ignoring Newark as a hub for getting in and out of New York, it’s worth a fresh look. Quieter and closer than JFK, Newark now has its own high-end, 5,000-square-foot lounge, courtesy of Virgin Atlantic, opened in 2012. Though its design is more restrained than JFK’s Clubhouse, it’s still packed with goodies, including ample phone-charging stations, adapters and a room stocked with a flat-screen TV and DVDs ready to watch. Private sleeping pods are available in a zone called the Passion Pit, and food is available on call throughout the sprawl. Plenty of work areas provide semi-private space for those in crunch time.
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal Lounge, Frankfurt am Main Airport
First-class Lufthansa fliers in Frankfurt don’t just get their own lounge, they get their own entire terminal. The lounge here encompasses 11,840 square feet, complete with valet parking and a personal assistant assigned to every traveler. Work is easy to accomplish in the lounge: Private offices are available, each with a desk and telephone. For more casual business, consider popping in to the cigar room or whiskey bar, where a whopping 80 selections are available to choose from. And when rest is in order, private rooms offer daybeds and solitude—as well as bathrooms with actual tubs.
- Qantas International First Lounge, Sydney Airport
A vertical garden featuring some 8,000 plants growing right out of the wall welcomes you to Qantas’ first-class lounge in Sydney—and signals the attention to detail here. The business minded can head immediately to one of two private meeting rooms, equipped with PCs, printer/scanner units and plasma display; there’s also a separate business center with 11 workstations. Tech amenities continue in the entertainment area, where a Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable devices are available for those in need of a quick game. For something quieter, head to the traditional library (stocked with actual books), or to the Payot Paris day spa for a complimentary 50-minute massage.
- Finnair Schengen Lounge, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
Nearly 5,000 square feet of space awaits visitors to this posh lounge (who gain access with a Finnair business-class ticket or Finnair Plus membership). As well as the usual amenities—beer and wine on tap, a buffet and barstools set against the ceiling-high windows giving you a view of the goings-on on the tarmac—the lounge offers three cubicle-style work spaces, each stocked with an iMac. Helsinki Airport’s wireless is world class (some have clocked it at nearly 30Mbps), and each work desk sports a unique wireless charging system for your cell phone. Just pick up a ring-shaped adapter from reception and connect it to your phone, then drop the device on the PowerKiss button found on your desk. Your phone will start charging immediately, no wires required.