I took three weeks personal as well as a business trip to India a few weeks ago when coming back from India; I used my United miles to book a one-way business class ticket for $140.10 plus 80,000 United miles. This blog article is about the airport lounge in Chennai, India my starting point of the return journey to the USA.
Lufthansa Flight to Frankfurt in Business Class
My Lufthansa flight was on Sunday early morning at 1:50 AM IST, so I left for the airport at 10:00 using the Olacabs, the India version of Uber. The ride to the airport took 30 minutes, and there was a fewer crowd at the airport entrance so no issue in getting inside the airport. Sometimes there will be 3 or 4 flights departs at the same time, and the airport entrance gets crowded due to the fact the security checks your e-ticket or confirmation and the id card before they let you inside the airport. All the India airports are off limits to the visitors, and only passengers are allowed inside the airport after verification.
Check-in at Lufthansa Counter
Even though the Chennai airport receives 26+ international flights and one of the primary four international airports in India, it is small and still maintained by Airports Authority of India a Government organization. The check in process was very easy there was no crowd at the business or economy checking. I checked in and requested and got a windows seat for both legs of my trip, knowing well from my experience the seat next to me will be most likely empty so that I would not have an issue accessing the aisle.
I checked in and requested and got a windows seat for both legs of my trip, knowing well from my experience the seat next to me will be most likely empty so that I would not have an issue accessing the isle.
After the check in I was presented with a card and the Lufthansa representative told me I need to use the card for the Lounge access and it is a one time use only.
Immigration and Security
It took me about 30 minutes to clear Immigration and Security, and they are right next to each other. Unlike the USA, you do not have to remove your shoes or belts, but you need to place your laptop as well as tablet computer on a separate tray. Since I am taking an international flight liquids are strictly not allowed beyond the security, but Indian security allows liquids in the carry-on baggage if you are traveling within India from the domestic terminal.
Travel Club Chennai Airport Lounge
One level above right after security, the Travel Club lounge is available in the new terminal. I was also told another Travel Club airport lounge is available in the old international terminal I can use that facility if I prefer. I am not sure about the services offered in the old international terminal, and I decided to use the lounge available in the new international terminal.
As I mentioned before unlike Mumbai or Delhi, the Chennai airport is still run by the Government, and there are no exclusive airline lounges for each air carrier. All the international airlines leaving from the international terminal uses only one private lounge for both business class as well as first class passengers.
Lounge Access at Second Level
Righ after security I took the elevator and went to the Travel Club lounge. It is a standard lounge without any additional facility like private restroom or shower inside the lounge. To use the restroom you need to come out of the lounge and use the restroom available right next to the lounge.
At the entrance to the lounge, various airlines welcome board indicating that all the international airlines use the same lounge.
Check-in at the Lounge
Right after the entrance, I showed my boarding pass and the lounge access card to the lounge manager. He checked my boarding pass and advised me about using the other lounge in the old terminal. I said I do not want to go to the other lounge, and he took away my lounge access card to let me in the lounge. This lounge serves both business and first class passengers.
Found out that the lounge accepts Priority Pass for access. If you have Priority Pass, you can access the lounge even if you are traveling in economy class. Priority Pass with Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum card will give you access to this lounge free of cost.
The Lounge was the right size and can accommodate at least 60 to 70 passengers at an any given time. The lounge was not full only around 12 or 13 passengers were present.
Available Food Items
Most of the food items were Indian variety with a good mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. Even though the travel club website says alcohol is served in the lounge, I found out the alcohol was not served in the lounge. But plenty of soda’s and fruit juice choices were available.
Lounge Seating Area
There was plenty of seating area available in the lounge. In addition to food, the lounge amenities include only WIFI and television, no showers or private restrooms were available in the lounge.
- Most of the time it is not crowded because various international airlines fly at different times.
- Good size lounge to have peace and quite a time before your flight.
- Good food.
- Priority Pass accepted for access to the lounge.
- Open 24 hours.
- No lounge shower or restrooms.
- No alcohol served in the lounge.
- No personal computer room.
- No separate smoke area.
The Chennai Airport Lounge is not great at the same time it is not terribly bad. You can spend some time in the lounge away from the airport crowd and have good food at the same time.