New Contender For The “World’s Worst Airline Lounge” Title

In February I shared my experience at the Changsha Airport lounge that Hainan uses. I said it was the worst lounge I had ever been to.

Well, I’m happy to report that there’s a new contender for that title, if this place can even be called a “lounge.”

Yesterday I shared my great experience in Air Astana’s 767 business class, which really impressed me. Well, today I took a domestic flight from Almaty to Astana, and can’t say that Air Astana’s domestic lounge at Almaty Airport left me with the same great impression.

The domestic lounge is actually located before security, and is in the same area as business class check-in.

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I suppose it’s convenient that you can go from check-in to the lounge in less than five seconds.

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However, unfortunately the “lounge” simply consists of a big room with comfortable chairs.

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There are plenty of food & drink options… though you have to pay for everything.

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The lounge has a bathroom, though it was disgusting — the odor was horrible.

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To top it all off, the lounge doesn’t have wifi.

Fortunately the security process was painless, or else it would be annoying that the “lounge” is before security.

So yeah, I think this place is even worse than the Changsha Airport lounge I visited.

A pre-security lounge with no free food & drinks and no wifi?

rhonj

Of course I found this amusing more than anything, though in terms of Air Astana’s overall brand it left me confused. My Air Astana flight was top notch and greatly exceeded my expectations. I really got the feeling that the carrier was trying. I understand there might be limited space for a lounge and don’t even mind that it’s connected to check-in and before security, but they can’t even offer wifi and free drinks/snacks?

Comments

  1. Looks almost as bad as the United club in Orlando. Random blue furniture all over the place where it looks like they just had to make do with leftovers from other lounges

  2. I suppose I should have alerted you! Here are some things to note

    Steak, pies etc are of horse meat unless specifically mentioned otherwise

    Live music can be had at the Rixos Hotel though I suppose like most foreigners you prefer the Radisson

    Astana being the capital is very different than Almaty. It’s mostly a government town key to get licsenses for mining, activity with the sovereign wealth fund etc.

    Yes the lounge is small and does charge even for coffee. The service however tends to be fairly good. Note that since most come to Astana seeking Gov’t clearances entertainment is big and so accordingly are costs.

    Have fun!

  3. Why do they even bother with this? Better to have no lounge than something this low level. It borderline insulting to passengers.

  4. In Kazakhstan the lounge is firmly tied to the airport and not at all to the airline. Air Astana obviously knows about this deficiency, but is unable to change it … or rather put it that way: Not even Air Astana can change it.

  5. Malabo airport. Chairs and a TV. No water. No food. A case of beverages, but “only for air france passengers.” Of course, lounge shared by all airlines, so this is the airport, but then, why is it only Air France that has a cooler of drinks??

  6. Lucky, wait until you see the “International Lounge” at ALA. That is by FAR the worst dump that I have ever been in! I’ll let you experience that on your own. I can’t believe that Etihad gave me a lounge pass to that place. It is almost like a prison sentence! You’re in for a treat!

  7. Almaty Airport management is bunch of idiots, that’s why Air Astana have proper lounge only in Astana (though only for international flights) and slowly mowing to single hub model, focusing on Astana.

  8. Is light years better than the VN “lounge” at Hanoi’s awful, old domestic terminal. Smaller, all 1960s wood decor, and not really a “lounge” since many, many people have to stand due to the overcrowding. Decent beer and soft drink selection, the only food edible was the packaged snacks. Even most of the locals looked at, sniffed and rejected any hot or supposedly fresh food. As we boarded our flight we noticed an overflow lounge that was equally crowded.

  9. @Ben,

    Kid, you haven’t traveled the world. You just go from airport to airport, hotel to hotel and maybe spend a day here or there typically (gasp)…. resorts!

    As a good old American you are completely clueless about how the world actually works, although I will give you that having German parents actually do makes you see things different than most Americans. However when you post things like this one it makes me wonder: do you even have the slightless clue of where you are? It’s Kazakhstan!!!

  10. I was just at this lounge in July. They had WiFi then. The strangest part, though, was that they gave me two free beers but charged for Coke.

  11. Is Astana an Airline that has (a) just replaced an old dinosaur or (b) just improved its on-board experience and service. This would explain why the lounge might yet to be improved. I also think any lounge needs to be seen in the context of the airport it is located in. Could you by any chance give us an “overview” of the airport, and preferably not just of the business class or priority areas, to see how the overall infrastructure is?

    Would help a lot of people planning trips there.

    Thank you.

  12. I recognize that this comments section has devolved into an embarrassing scene of one-upsmanship, I really do. But I still have to say that, as someone whose international travel is almost exclusively within sub-Saharan Africa, I assure you that worse “lounges” exist. I put that word in quotes because there are some things that don’t deserve to be called lounges yet somehow still are labeled as such. That said, that doesn’t change the fact that the lounge in this article is pathetic, too.

  13. @RakSiam @lucky
    Say what you will about Indonesian lounges: bad food, pokey wifi, small space, but at least once you get in everything’s free (some lounges are run by card companies and are a pretty terrible effort. Others, like the Citibank lounge at CGK, are thoroughly average. Very few are great: I suppose they’re limited to Garuda’s flagship lounges. Not even the Pura Indah Lounge at CGK, used by every major international carrier except SQ, stands out in any way)

  14. Looks about like when I flew AA and tried the non-assigned section of the Club at DFW a few weeks ago. Old chairs in a windowless room

  15. Looks better than the lounge South African uses in Dakar. It’s post security but on the Dakar-JFK flight you have to be rescreened anyway.

  16. You never saw the old Warsaw terminal. Come to that you’ve not seen the purple hanger monstrosity that was mainly in use by Wizz Air from WAW. I hope that’s changed in recent years.

    A lounge like this one would have been heavenly by comparison to the metal benches and melty plastic chairs!

  17. “…lounge with no free food & drinks and no Wi-Fi?” Sounds like the main terminal of any airport, except most now have free Wi-Fi.

  18. Haha, have you visited some Caribbean lounges? In Barbados it’s not much to speak of. Terrible wi-fi, but at least some free cookies and beverages. Super loud and no power anywhere save for one spot next to the children’s room. It’s attractive at least.

    In Curaçao, they have the friendliest staff, but have dinner rolls and cream cheese as the food choices. Occasionally you might find a pre-wrapped muffin. A few power ports at about 4 desk locations and that’s it.

    One of the nicer ones I’ve been to is in Trinidad. It’s located before security unfortunately. Some sandwiches and snacks, decent wi-fi and chairs so comfortable you could fall asleep in.

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