Newly minted: A review of the Primeclass Lounge at Palm Beach Airport
The Palm Beach airport (PBI) is one of the most relaxing in the country, but that's not necessarily because of the lounge options currently found there.
Since Florida -- and Palm Beach specifically -- is a destination that attracts a disproportionate amount of leisure travelers, airlines historically haven’t seen value in opening lounges there. Having grown up flying from PBI, that hasn’t bothered me since I've always found places to sit and relax.
Until recently, the Delta Sky Club was the airport's only lounge, though a new mixed-use Primeclass Lounge opened on January 8. I recently had the chance to check it out. Read on for my thoughts on this soon-to-be Priority Pass-accessible lounge.
PBI has two separate airside concourses. This lounge is located post-security in the one that houses the A and B gates. As such, travelers flying Air Canada, Allegiant, American Airlines, Bahamas Air, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines will be able to access the lounge.
If you’re flying from the C gates (Delta, Frontier, JetBlue and Spirit), you can still visit the lounge but you’ll need to clear security twice. This would probably only make sense if your flight’s been significantly delayed.
The lounge is open daily from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m. At the moment, it's only open to people purchasing a day pass, as well as members of Dragon Pass and Lounge Me.
At $35 per person, this is one of the cheaper day passes I’ve seen in my travels.
However, you won’t have to pay for that much longer. As we reported, the lounge intends to join the Priority Pass membership network. According to the lounge manager, it's actively working on becoming a Priority Pass-accessible lounge.
And fortunately, getting a free Priority Pass membership is as simple as holding the right credit card.
RELATED: The complete guide to credit cards that offer Priority Pass memberships
The lounge is just one large room with some great apron views. As such, there are no private workstations or phone rooms.
There’s a variety of seating options, including couches, countertops and benches, as well as plenty of individual armchairs.
The design blends beautifully with the relaxed Florida vibe and was inspired by the area’s beachfront lifestyle.
This AvGeek appreciated the expansive apron views of the B and C gates. Even if plane spotting isn’t your thing, I bet you’ll be thankful for a few last minutes of Florida sun.
The buffet and bar are located just past the main seating area. Noticeably absent here are dining tables. Instead, you’ll probably want to eat at one of the 10 bar stools or 6 countertop spots.
Every square foot — and there aren’t many of them — has been converted to a seating area. I appreciate that the lounge is trying to maximize the space, but I’ve got to imagine that it‘ll still get packed when the lounge begins accepting Priority Pass.
When I visited, there were about 10 other passengers, and it already felt crowded, especially in the narrow aisles between seating areas. I can’t fathom what it looks like when the lounge hits its 66-person capacity.
At least there are some small trees spread around the space to add some sense of privacy and division.
Food and beverage
For such a small lounge, I was impressed with the culinary selection.
There’s a snack bar and fridge located on the left wall as you enter. It's stocked with some of Frito-Lay’s most popular nosh, a Faema coffee machine and an assortment of waters and juices.
The gastronomic experience continued at the buffet with a cold selection featuring a fresh and tasty create-your-own salad bar. The tropical flavor of the mango bruschetta was exactly what I needed as I was about to board a flight back to the tundra New York City
The prepared foods were located on the other side of the buffet. There were two soups — lobster bisque and tomato basil — as well as three entree options. The best must’ve been the Caribbean curry chicken since they kept running out of it. The roasted red pepper pasta and rice weren’t bad either.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, there was a selection of hard fruits and two desserts — an Oreo chocolate mouse and chocolate walnut brownie.
The lounge plans to rotate the food selection quarterly, though frequent visitors would probably appreciate a more varied menu.
Should the lounge be overcrowded, you can wash it all down with some alcohol. Unlike the Primeclass Lounge at JFK, there were no drink coupons here; instead, the booze is free-flowing.
Though the cocktail menu hasn’t been finalized yet, the bartender was ready to whip up your drink of choice. There was plenty of beer, including some local selections on tap, red wine and an assortment of hard liquor.
Overall, everything I tried was great, and beat the choices at the neighboring Sky Club.
As you’d expect for such a small lounge, there wasn’t much in the way of amenities.
It did, however, have all the basics covered. There were easily accessible power outlets at almost every seat.
The password-protected Wi-Fi was also blazing fast at 263 Mbps download and 21 Mbps upload.
Finally, the lounge had private, gender-specific restrooms.
The Primeclass Lounge is a welcome addition to one of my favorite airports. Though small, it’s nicely designed and offers a good alternative to sitting in the already pleasant terminal. The food I sampled was great, and the liquor choices were above average.
While I wouldn’t pay $35 to use the space, I look forward to returning once the lounge starts accepting Priority Pass members.
All photos by the author.