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Goldair Handling Lounge at Athens International Airport
There are two lounges of Goldair Handling at Athens International Airport: Goldair Handling Lounge which is in the Hall A (non-Schengen) while the other lounge, Goldair Handling CIP Lounge is located in the Hall B (Shengen). We visited the latter, Goldair Handling CIP Lounge.
A visit to this lounge before our flight with Ryanair to Bucharest was quite remarkable for some reasons.
The Location Goldair Handling Lounge
We chose to visit Goldair Handling CIP Lounge because it was easier for us to access from our departure gate. However, we were departing from the Satellite Terminal which made accessing any lounge really difficult. All the lounges are in the Main Terminal.
Athens Airport has two terminals: The main one and the Satellite Terminal. The Main Terminal has been divided into the Halls A and B. Flights to the Schengen area depart from the Hall B and non-Schengen flights from the Hall A. In addition, there is the Satellite Terminal, which serves flights both to Schengen and to non-Schengen destinations. Gates in the Hall A and in the Satellite Terminal are both called as Gates Axx, which makes the system confusing. The terminals are connected together with a long underground corridor.
The only choice for us was to access a lounge in the Main Terminal. We decided to access the lounge in the Hall B because no passport control is needed to reach the lounge. However, we had to pass the security check to access the Hall B. When we exited the lounge, we had to exit the Hall B, walk through the long corridor back to the Satellite Terminal and have a new security check there. That took time about 30 minutes.
Goldair Handling CIP Lounge is exactly located opposite of the Gate B13, Level 1 in the Hall B. It is easy to find after you find the right hall.
This lounge caters primarily to their airline partners including Air France, KLM, Alitalia, airBaltic, Astra airlines and LOT. Also, the lounge accepts passengers who are members of Priority Pass, Diners Club International, Diners Prestige, Dragon Pass, Lounge Key and Lounge Club.
We assume that a walk-in admission is not accepted by Goldair Handling CIP Lounge as even Priority Pass members can be refused entry when the lounge is busy, giving more priority for clients of their airline partners. It is still possible to pre-purchase a single Lounge Pass to the lounge.
Friendliness of the Customer Service
There were three receptionists appearing not to be so busy when we got into the lounge, no queue at all. There were many seated visitors in the lounge but we noticed quickly that there were still a few vacant seats. We were welcomed by a lady receptionist who at first painted a smile into her face but upon learning that we are entering by Priority Pass, the staff expressed openly a disappointment. She told us that she can't admit us telling that the lounge is busy at that time and they are prioritizing clients from their airline partners over Priority Pass members. We told that it took us really much effort just to reach the portals of this lounge by telling that we came far away from Gate A31 just to reach this lounge, needing even to pass the security control. She insisted that she can not let us in and suggested that we go to the other lounge with her tensed voice and facial expression. Taking into account that we noticed there were still a few available seats, we convinced her by explaining that we are running out of time, so we intend to stay a maximum of less than an hour. Finally, the lady staff said, I'm letting you in but this is beyond my capacity.
An interesting fact is that the lounge was not becoming crowded at all but after our entrance more and more vacant seats appeared. For some reasons, the lounge didn't just want to have Priority Pass members.
In the other hand, the kitchen staffs were so friendly. They cleaned up the tables really quickly and made sure all the times that drinks and foods are refilled quickly as needed.
The Easiness to Reach the Lounge
The lounge is really easy to find after you pass the security of the Hall B. After passing security, just follow the sign, business lounges while shortly after it followed by directional signs leading to B9-15 and B28-31. You will find Goldair Handling CIP Lounge opposite of the Gate B13.
If your flight is departing from the Satellite Terminal like we had, it will take time before you reach this lounge. You are lucky if your departure gate is in the Hall B of Athens International Airport.
Goldair Handling CIP Lounge has a nice interior and the lounge in general was clean. They have comfortable wide leather chairs and also glass detailed furniture that were arranged in a manner suitable for bigger group of lounge visitors. The presence of green plants made the lounge more lively.
The lounge has a worktable with two Mac terminals. There were magazines and newspapers, free fast WiFi and a television. Though there is a flight information monitor, flight announcements are made live by the staffs inside the lounge except for Ryanair flights. This lounge does not have any sleeping facilities but during our visit, we spotted many tired lounge visitors recovering from sleep on those comfortable leather chairs.
There were not enough power outlets near the chairs but you can find many sockets on the computer table. There was only one toilet for each gender and so at times, it was closed due to maintenance works. Being a busy lounge, there could have been more toilets for increased comfort for such big crowd. There is no shower facility in the lounge. The view is to car parking area so unfortunately plane spotting is not possible.
Food and Drinks
We arrived to the lounge hungry and thirsty and so it was worth a trip to savour the lounge's nice selection of Greek foods and drinks. At the time of our visit, they had vegetable soup, breads, turkey and salmon sandwiches, Greek salad, eggplant salad, beetroot salad, beans with potatoes, pasta salad, fruits and yogurts. We enjoyed much the warm meal - chicken with vegetables and rice. They also had desserts. The drink selections were as good as the food choices. These include canned soft drinks, bottles of water, red wines but no sparkling wine, a large selection of spirits, beers and a well-working coffee machine including a Nespresso machine and filter coffee.
Despite being almost denied access into this lounge for being a Priority Pass member, we were still happy for our lounge visit to Goldair Handling in general. The quite disappointing behaviour of the receptionist by reasoning that they are reaching their capacity and saying that big crowd of arriving passengers were proven untrue as we have carefully followed the situation. Otherwise, we were satisfied with the great catering while the other staffs ensured that there was adequate food and beverages all the time. The tables were cleared fast.
So far this is the first and only airport lounge we have visited at the Athens International Airport. Based from our previous visits in other lounges in other airports, Goldair Handling Lounge offers better food and drink selection than most standard airport lounges. The business of the lounge did not gave any reason for a poor service quality. However, if you are accessing this lounge with Priority Pass, prepare to go to another lounge if the receptionists deny your access but make sure to confirm they have indeed reach their capacity before agreeing to do so. Just be assertive but remain calm and nice like we did.
We recommend you to buy an inexpensive lounge entry on Lounge Pass.
Have you visited any lounges in Athens International Airport? Comment below.