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One way to make flying with kids less tiring for all of you is to have access to an airport club lounge. There are several paths to get into a lounge; one of the easiest is by having a Priority Pass membership. Priority Pass is a partner with many independent lounges worldwide and membership allows travelers to avoid the masses at the boarding gate and wait for flights in peace and comfort.
You can purchase a Priority Pass membership annually with memberships ranging from $99–$429. Certain packages also charge a per visit fee to the member or guest. Or, you can get Priority Pass complimentarily from a credit card that offers complimentary access as a benefit. Some of the more popular cards that offer this access include: Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card® from American Express, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Citi Prestige Card.
Each credit card that offers this benefit has its own rules regarding the number of guests who can receive complimentary access along with the card member. If you are traveling with your family, you might only be allowed to bring along two guests and then pay for everyone else. There are, however, many lounges that give complimentary access to guests under a certain age, so you’ll want to look for those lounges where your kids might not count toward the Priority Pass membership guest limit if maxing out admissions is a concern. Typically, the magic age for getting in free is either 2 or 12.
With more than 1,200 participating lounges worldwide, there are a few that stand out for families.
VIP Lounge, Punta Cana
The VIP Lounge in the Punta Cana airport is like no lounge you’ve seen before. After you enter and grab a bite to eat, you can walk outside and take a dip in the only airport lounge pool we know of. It is unique and maybe even unnecessary. But for kids, it’s awesome.
The lounge is in Terminal B, which means you are in luck if you’re flying American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Allegiant Air, British Airways or Air France. Just flash your Priority Pass card and your family can take one last swim before flying home. From the pool deck you can also get a great view of the airport’s runway. Note: JetBlue, Southwest and United fly out of Terminal A — which means no pool access.
The lounge is open daily between 8am and 9pm, but you are limited to a maximum stay of two hours. Unfortunately, only children under 2 years old are admitted for free. Depending on the size of your family and the number of complimentary guests you are allowed under your credit card’s Priority Pass benefit, you might be on the hook for paying a guest fee. A great workaround, however, is if both parents have a membership. Then you can maximize your complimentary guest count.
Gameway is not your traditional lounge, but instead an entertainment area where you can sit down and, as the name states, play games. Right now, Gameway is only located at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport but it has two locations: Terminal B (open 6am–9:30pm) and Terminal E (open 5am–9:30am).
Gameway accepts Priority Pass, which will give you complimentary access to one game station for two hours. You will then be billed for every hour thereafter, but you’ll receive a 10% discount. When I last visited Gameway, it was filled with families having an absolute blast. It is truly a kids’ heaven to kill time while waiting for their flight’s departure. I even had fun playing games when my flight was delayed and I am definitely not a “gamer.”
The Gameway section is spacious and clean. At each of the 36 gaming stations, you’ll find a leather chair, 43-inch flat-screen 4k TV, more than 25 pre-downloaded games, noise-cancelling headphones and a charging station. On top of the games, you can also pick one drink (soft drink or bottled water) and two snacks.
The Club JAX
This lounge in Jacksonville Airport is great for adults and kids alike. Located in Concourse A near Gate A1, it is open seven days a week from 4:30am–9:30pm. Here you’ll find unlimited drinks and light food with breakfast served until 11am.
This lounge is divided into several areas and one is a children’s play area. This “zone” features gaming tables as well as books and iPads. It’s the perfect opportunity to keep your kids confined in one spot with activities to occupy them.
Best of all, children under 12 are free. Young kids won’t count toward your guest allotment and you will not be charged an extra fee.
The Club MCO
There are actually two The Club MCO lounges at Orlando airport, both of them featuring children’s play areas. They are located in Terminal A, Concourse 1 and Terminal B, Concourse 4. Since there are lounges in both terminals, all travelers flying in and out of Orlando can visit one of them with their Priority Pass membership.
Both are open seven days a week but unfortunately there are times that access might be restricted because of space constraints (12–2pm and 3–7pm for Terminal A lounge; 2–8pm for Terminal B lounge). Throughout the day you’ll find complimentary drinks (including alcohol), finger foods, soups, salad and desserts. There’s also a cool candy bar for the kids (or adults).
For families, the best part of the lounge is that there is a separate section just for kids. You’ll find a table and chair set, video games, books and a TV playing kids’ shows. Travelers report that the lounge in Terminal B is the better of the two.
Similar to the The Club JAX, children 12 and under are free.
Minute Suites at ATL, DFW and PHL
Minute Suites were added to the Priority Pass network back in 2017 and allow your family to reserve a private room in select airports. This lets you do work, read a book or even take a nap in a quiet and private space. Minute Suites will probably pop up at more airports in the future, but currently you will only find them in Atlanta (Concourses B and T), Charlotte (Atrium), Dallas-Ft. Worth (Terminals A and D) and Philadelphia (Terminal B).
These private suites include a daybed (for two), bedding and sometimes even a TV. With your Priority Pass lounge membership, you’ll receive one hour free. After that there is an hourly rate of $28. There is also a cap of three on the number of guests who can join you for free.
Unlike the other clubs mentioned here, there are no games or toys for kids, but you are separated from a bustling airport and your child(ren) can relax or take a nap on the daybed noise-free. The rooms are soundproof and many include a white-noise machine.
Note: The Minute Suites are subject to availability.
Having a quiet place to go with food and drink is always more pleasant than waiting at the gate. Your kids can snack, play games and even nap. If you find yourself at an airport with a Priority Pass network lounge, check it out. And the kids will appreciate travel even more if they can pick out one or two special snacks while they wait.
Here’s some more travel advice for your family:
- The Best Credit Cards for Priority Pass Lounge Access
- The 9 Best Priority Pass Lounges in the US
- How to Enroll in Priority Pass (With Eligible Credit Cards)
- Everything You Need to Know About Amex Centurion Lounge Family Rooms
Featured Image courtesy of Priority Pass
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