It's a commonly held truth among American travelers that airports are a miserable slog. You wait in line to check in, then you shuffle through security, enduring a hands-up pat-down, only to get to your overcrowded gate and see your flight has been delayed three hours. For good reason, it turns out, do we regard commercial air travel, a marvel of engineering and logistics, with the excitement of prepping a 1099 or getting a filling replaced.
But it doesn't have to be that way. We already told you how signing up for TSA PreCheck will make your traveling life literally 1 billion times simpler. But there's another way to make a trip to the airport less of a chore: airport lounges.
"What?" you say. "You mean those places reserved for first-class passengers, celebrities, and people who spend more time in airplanes than they do at home? Not happening."
And that, dear miserable traveler, is where you're wrong. Airport lounges, those gated oases from the airport masses, are, in fact, completely accessible if you're willing to shell out a little cash. Cash that's frequently less than you'd spend in an hour at the in-terminal Chili's, or at the faux-Irish joint that doesn't put prices on the beers, which turn out to be $13 a pour. Got a two-hour layover? At most mid-terminal watering holes, you're not getting away with a burger, two drinks, and a tip for less than $50. For just a little more scratch, though, you can get waved into a catered lounge.