The Best European Business Class Lounge You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

I’d argue the best business class lounge operated by a European airline is the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow. There are also some good business class lounges in Europe operated by non-European airlines, like the Etihad Lounge at London Heathrow.

However, I’d say the second best business class lounge in Europe operated by a European airline is the Air Serbia Premium Lounge at Belgrade Airport. Perhaps part of the reason I was impressed so much was because I had low expectations coming in, both of the airport and the airline.

Over the summer, Air Serbia began flying between Belgrade and New York, and Tiffany and I had the chance to take the flight yesterday. I didn’t know what to expect, though I certainly expected “the Etihad effect,” given that Etihad is notorious for aligning “their” airlines, and they’re a shareholder in Air Serbia.

While I’ll have a separate post with my initial impressions of the Air Serbia flight, and will also eventually have a much more detailed trip report, I first wanted to share my impressions of the Air Serbia Lounge at Belgrade Airport. Damn, it’s nice!

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Air Serbia has a small fleet with just 10 A319/A320 aircraft and one A330 (along with some props), so they don’t have many premium passengers. As a result, the lounge was nice and quiet. It had a more traditional area with comfortable leather seats, and then also a dining area.

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The lounge had the best coffee-based beverage I had during my time in Belgrade (I found Serbian wine and brandy to be great, while the coffee left a lot to be desired).

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In terms of food, there was a nice buffet with high quality food, as well as an a la carte option.

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That’s very impressive, in my opinion. On top of that, service was extremely attentive, with servers constantly roaming to see if anyone wanted anything.

This lounge provides a quiet environment from which to work with fast wifi, excellent coffee, attentive service, and a la carte dining. There aren’t many business class lounges that deliver on all those fronts.

While there are some lounges where I come in with high expectations, it’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised, like I was by this lounge.

What do you think is the best business class lounge run by a European airline, perhaps with the exception of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. You should try the LOT lounge in WAW again, after a change in management last year the Elite Club offerings are really good.

  2. LOT has poor and overcrowded lounge. Many M&M cheap FTL people. Food is so, so. Compare to other lounges in Europe it’s still in behind.

  3. True that LOT lounge tands to get overcrowded at peaktimes however I find it amazing that as a FTL I’m entitled to free massage and premium quality food, one of the best star alliance lounges in Europe, easy.

  4. Lucky, I went to the ‘Premium lounge’ in BEG a few years ago ( i belive there was only one lounge at the airport then) as a *A gold pax flying TK. Lounge looked similar to that. Is it the same one? Are there multiple lounges at BEG now?
    I was very impressed at the time. Spotlessly clean, quiet, nice buffet and very proud staff that eagerly showed me every inch of the lounge ( they seemed excited to have something to do).

  5. Jack: the Elite portion is much less crowded usually (only *G / SEN / C-class access).

    Since last summer the regular lounge food is way better then LH, AF/KLM or SK lounges (not mentioning OW since they’re a bit different with lounge levels – but food wise I’d mind choosing LO EC over BA Emerald level).

  6. Your post does not mention your commercial relationship (you might call it a “partnership”) with Air Serbia, whereby you posted an unnaturally high number of posts about this airline a few months ago and gave away free tickets on their new JFK routing. Obviously I will never know the exact nature of your arrangements with Air Serbia, but it’s disingenuous to not mention your business relationship with them in this post, since it might be biasing your review of their flagship lounge (and later on, biasing the trip review you post of their actual flights).

  7. Before reviewing each and every lounge all over the world, consider a little bit more before judging that “this lounge is the best in Europe” or “this lounge is the worst in the world” or something like that, no?

  8. Having spent 7 hours at the CIP lounge in IST last June, I can safely say that it’s the best lounge in Europe, hands down!

  9. Kobe Bryant: You KNOW this is a blog about miles, points and flying right?

    Daniel M: Please leave and don’t come back. ever. Reason? See above.

  10. Agree to Kobe Bryant, I think it’ll look more professional by rephrasing to “ONE of the best” or “ONE of the worst” instead of labeling it directly. That being said, the lounge does look really good and a la carte service in Business lounge is great!

  11. This lounge has just celebrated 1 year from it opening. The staff is very attenative and even the lady at the front desk happen to remember my flight every time si when they make announcements she come to me personally to say that mu flight is boarding. Have you tried “cevapi” from the menu? It’s Serbian specialty.

  12. Sorry to say it you missed it completely Qatar lounge at Heathrow 4 is orobably the best and most exclusive,fune wine,a la carte menu and no loyal customers allowed just business and first ticketed passengers.

  13. @Mohammed – it is a nice lounge I agree but it’s not operated by a European airline which I think is the thrust of this article.

    I don’t share the same aesthetic as the blog authour but the Air Serbia lounge looks okay. Bit light on detail but I accept it’s a first impression and more info may follow.

  14. The best lounge is the one that pays me to tell about it to my friends.

    Under that metric all lounges are horrible currently.

    So you like air Serbia lounge? Hmmmm

  15. Hmmm, Belgrade as some pretty good coffee. Better than what you’re drinking there in the lounge. Serbians love food, have good taste and are on it with quality. Przionica D59B in Dorcol is excellent and makes a cold coffee drink that I’ve seen nowhere else. The city in general has excellent affordable restaurants. Cool people and great bars. It’s definitely a city that requires some level of hip, in-the-know knowledge. Secret garden restaurants full of models not on google maps etc. Something like Berlin was in the old days. If you’re not the hippest guy you may have missed a lot of that.

  16. @Hiro

    What’s funny is in the article itself, he proclaims it the second best business class lounge in Europe operated by a European airline…but I suppose that wouldn’t have sounded clickbaity enough 😉

    This does give him wiggle room to fawn over business class lounges in Europe operated by airlines like the Big ME 3, Air Canada, etc.

  17. I’m glad you like Air Serbia that much, it makes me proud (I live in Serbia). Nevertheless, from a political point of view, AS is not a EU airline. 😀 We’re not in Europe. On the other hand, Serbs do love food, and they are usually nice people. I am surprised by their offer, to be honest, but pleasantly.

  18. I agree: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and Etihad Business Class Lounge, both at Heathrow, are firm favourites. Can’t go past a manicure in the Etihad lounge prior departure!

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