With a long layover in San Francisco earlier this week, I spent about six hours in the American Express Centurion Lounge. Let me tell you that it was the most productive six hours of my week thus far!
Travelers value airport lounges for different reasons. For some it the food and drink. For others the tranquility from the busy airport beyond the doors of the lounge. For me, it is my ability to work without interruption. That requires:
I cannot stress how important fast internet is. I got stuck at the Alaska Lounge at LAX yesterday for a few hours and found the internet so slow that my productivity nosedived. Internet is always fast enough in the AMEX Lounge, the most important essential in running my mobile office.
The AMEX Lounge, particularly in SFO, fills up, but I have never had a problem finding a seat. Typically I head directly for the round tables against the wall (pictured below). That gives me space to work on my laptop, keep my phone on the table, and eat/drink. The chair is padded and supports a good posture.
Best I can get is about four hours out of my laptop, so power plugs are vital. This doesn’t seem to be an issue in any modern lounge, but is still a huge issue in many airport concourses.
Quality food and coffee on demand
I don’t like to an interrupt a work day, but I do get hungry. Perhaps above all else, this is where AMEX Lounges in the USA shine.
Tuesday, for example, I arrived into the lounge at around 8am having awoken at 5:30a and not had anything to eat or drink beyond a glass of water on the flight up to SFO. AMEX had a great breakfast spread: huevos rancheros, quiche, French Toast, mixed berries, and non-fat Greek yogurt.
Along with a decent machine-made cappuccino, I fueled myself for the next serval hours. The great thing was the quality was exceptional and it was all right there: instant gratification. The Yankee Pier restaurant outside the lounge may have better food, but you lose at least 20 minutes just waiting for you food (plus the additional cost).
After a productive several hours, I had lunch: protein-filled chicken thighs with soup and salad. Once again, it was not just something to fill me up, but actually good food.
Restrooms + showers
I did not use the shower this visit, but after a few cups of coffee and glasses of water, I did have to avail myself to the restroom. They are clean, smell nice, and have great L’Occitane soap. Stalls are private and spacious as well. The perfect lounge restroom.
Just like anyone who works at home, I have productive and non-productive days despite all the ingredients to success being present. But when I am traveling and have extended layovers that force me into an airport lounge, I find my productivity is highly contingent upon the factors above. It is why I won’t be working in the Alaska Lounge at LAX ever again. It’s why I love American Express Centurion Lounges.