Are Priority Pass Lounges Usually Crowded? Tips on How To Avoid Packed Lounges

Written By
Julija A.
July 11,2023

Waiting for a flight can be a pain, especially if you're stuck at the airport terminal with nowhere to go. If you have a Priority Pass membership, though, you can access over 1,300 airport lounges in more than 600 cities across 148 countries and enjoy a comfortable place to relax, free food and drinks, Wi-Fi, showers, and more.

But are priority pass lounges usually crowded, and are they always a peaceful haven amidst the airport hustle and bustle? It depends. A few factors determine if a lounge will be jam-packed, including the time of day, the airport location, and the type of lounge. Read on to learn how to plan a pleasant lounge visit and avoid crowds.

How To Get Access to a Priority Pass Lounge?

Priority Pass lounges are a network of airport lounges that offer respite from the crowds that throng the main terminal. They feature ample and comfortable seating, access to conference rooms, complimentary snacks and drinks, high-speed Wi-Fi, nap pods, workout equipment, fast-track airport security screening, and even amenities such as spas and barbershops.

To get access to the Priority Pass lounges, you can either sign up for a membership or obtain a credit card that comes with the perk. If you're a frequent traveler, a Priority Pass membership might well be worth the investment. Otherwise, a card that comes with a free or discounted membership might be a better option. 

Priority Pass Membership

With a Priority Pass membership, you’ll get access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world, irrespective of the level of airfare. There are three membership tiers, and the priority pass membership cost varies depending on which one you choose.

  • Standard: $99 annually and an additional $32 fee per visit.
  • Standard Plus: $299 per year. This membership gives you 10 free lounge visits, after which you'll pay $32 per visit.
  • Prestige: $429 annually. This top-tier membership also gets you unlimited free lounge visits.

If you decide to invite guests, each visit will cost you $32 per person with all pricing plans.

Credit Cards with VIP Airport Lounge Access

If you don't travel that often, consider simply getting a credit card that comes with a Priority Pass instead of opting for a standalone membership. There is a range of credit cards with Priority Pass Select membership, which is typically offered by financial institutions and provides unlimited access to certain lounges.

If you're not a cardholder at one of those institutions, you can scoop up all the perks and benefits by signing up for a travel rewards credit card. It will enable you to earn points, miles, or cash back on your travel and everyday expenses, which you can redeem for free or discounted travel. 

Yet another option is to go for one of the top-rated dining cards, as they let you earn points on your dining expenses. You can then redeem these points towards travel and maybe even earn Priority Pass airport lounge access.

Are Priority Pass Airport Lounges Overcrowded?

Although it used to be an exclusive perk for business travelers and those flying first class, the airport lounge service is now available to anyone willing to pay the annual fee. As a result, the lounges can get crowded, especially during peak travel times. What’s more, all membership tiers offer guest privileges, so you may find yourself sharing the lounge with more people than you expected.

If you happen to be traveling during a busy time, you might get denied access to the Priority Pass airport lounge if it's at capacity. In that case, you can try another lounge at the same airport or wait until the crowd has dispersed.

To avoid being turned away at the door, you should travel during off-peak hours like mid-morning or late evening/early night. Moreover, your chances of getting in will be greater if you're traveling alone and going for a less popular lounge such as one located in a less busy terminal.

What Are the Alternatives?

You might have read something in the Priority Pass reviews shared by users that makes you think you won’t enjoy this particular lounge experience, or you don’t want to risk being denied entrance to the lounge. If so, there are other lounge networks you can check out, such as DragonPass, LoungeBuddy, or TAV Passport. 

Another way to access a comfortable lounge area is by choosing an airline you frequently fly with and inquiring about the airline’s lounge access rules and restrictions. In most cases, airlines have an annual membership fee for their clubs, offering travelers unlimited visits to their airport lounges. 

For those who don’t want to commit to an annual fee, some airlines also provide a day pass that can be purchased at the door; however, keep in mind that a day pass can get rather pricey.

Bottom Line

So, are priority pass lounges usually crowded, or is that just a myth? According to our research, it depends on the airport, time of day, and the popularity of the lounge.

However, if you're looking to avoid a crowded lounge, there are a few things you can do, such as arrive early or find a lounge near less frequented gates. Whichever route you choose, make sure you're prepared so you can relax and enjoy your time at the airport.


Is Priority Pass worth it anymore?


Priority Pass is still one of the most popular lounge networks, with over 1,300 lounges worldwide. It offers myriad benefits, such as free food and drinks, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a pleasant setting where you can relax before your flight. 

While some priority club airport lounge members have complained about the overcrowding of lounges, this mostly depends on the airport and time of day. Overall, Priority Pass remains an excellent option for those interested in lounge access at airports around the world.

How long can you stay in the Priority Pass lounge?


Depending on the airport and the lounge itself, there might be cut-off times for how much time you can spend in the lounge. In general, you can stay in the lounge for as long as you like until your flight departs. This gives you plenty of time to relax, grab a bite to eat, and use the complimentary Wi-Fi.

What are the advantages of Priority Pass?


Even though our answer to the query "Are Priority Pass lounges usually crowded?" indicates that there are some locations and times of the day which draw bigger crowds, that doesn't cancel out the program’s many advantages. After all, it's one of the world’s largest and most popular airport lounge memberships for a reason. 

The Priority Pass program provides numerous perks for members, including fast-track security, exclusive discounts, amenities such as showers and spas, snacks and drinks, high-speed Wi-Fi, and even nap pods.

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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