Lounge Membership comes with a price, however the best part of traveling internationally is most international airports have a Diners club lounge! My Diner’s Club card, provided by my work, allows me free access to these lounges while traveling! Although this does very little for me in the United States, due to the limited numbers, it’s great when traveling outside the country.
On my trip home from Manila, I had a chance to check out the PAGSS lounge at MNL. This lounge is the Diner’s club lounge at Terminal 1, and serves a number of other airlines. The lounge is used by Etihad, China Southern, China Airline, Gulf Air, Air Niugini, KLM, and is also the Priority Pass Lounge. With so many airlines using one lounge, and having a mixture of luxury carriers like Etihad mixed in with the middle of the road standard carriers (KLM, China Southern, etc) I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this lounge other than a nice place to sit and relax before my flight to Guam. Most lounge at MNL are nothing to write home about, so I knew it wasn’t going to be jaw dropping, so I lowered my expectations and entered the lounge.
The lounge, on top of Terminal 1, just past duty free, is a small room with approximately 100 chairs and maybe 20 end tables. It had a tacky decor and appeared to have been built in the early to mid-80s and never remodeled. There was a leak in the roof and two large tubs sat in the middle of the room with a caution sign alerting travels to avoid the area. The lounge was unmistakably dated and the reddish-orange chairs with the fake wood backing burnt my eyes! After checking in and having my access validating with the young and sweet female lounge attendant, I shaded my eyes with my sunglasses and I found myself a seat in the corner of the room. The lounge was not elaborate, but was still more comfortable than the swarming gate area.
The lounge only had standard chairs in it, nothing to relax or lounge in; therefore, for a long layover I would highly recommend leaving the airport. The PAGSS lounge is not a place you want to spend hours. There was a small bar area and some finger foods in the back corner, but again nothing was over the top. The alcohol selection was primarily cheap local Filipino spirits and a few imported selections. It was nice to see them displaying the local selection, instead of the typical imported alcohol such as Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker, Absolute, Blue Sapphire, etc. However, I honestly think there was a larger selection of sodas, water and ice coffee in the accompanying fridge than there was alcohol! Despite this, I made myself a rum and Pepsi Max and returned to my orient-themed seat to relax before my flight
A few minutes later I went back to kitchen area to check for snacks and again found myself somewhat disappointed. There were a few small sandwiches which were more bread than anything else and a few small dessert items; again, lacking substance and variety. Honestly though, this is my third lounge I’ve visited at MNL (Delta’s and Korean Air’s in the past), and each time I’ve been far from impressed! The selection has seemed to be basically the same at all three lounges, telling me the airlines caterers are really deficient in Manila.
I finished my drink and I headed to my gate and boarded my plane to continue on to Guam. The lounge was a nice escape from the chaos at the gate, but it also over exemplifies why T3 at MNL needs to host more international airlines other than just ANA. T1 is no longer cutting it!
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