Travel with Baby

Turkish Airlines Lounge – Washington, D.C.

July 16, 2017

Turkish Airlines Lounge – Washington D.C.

Obligatory “This post isn’t sponsored by Turkish Airlines, Washington Dulles Airport, Star Alliance, or any entity mentioned.” disclaimer.

With a layover of just under 5 hours, I decided to use Turkish Airlines Lounge in Washington, D.C. to pass time with baby. I don’t have any Star Alliance status anymore but can access some lounges with my credit card (some being the operative word. I’m limited to lounges in Japan, Incheon, and Honolulu).

But, you don’t need a Business class ticket, alliance status, or special credit cards for lounge access, especially if you’re not a frequent flyer. Day use for airport lounges can go from $30 to $50. Our time at Turkish Airlines’ lounge set me back only $45 and gave me access to a quiet, comfy space, relaxed atmosphere, friendly and attentive staff, breakfast and lunch buffet, and a great selection of soft drinks and snacks that made me forget that I was in an airport.

My initial choice was not Turkish Airlines’ Lounge, but rather United. For all the negative press that United has been getting regarding their service in the airplane, I haven’t had a bad experience with their lounges.

But why go to a lounge, especially when you have to pay?

 

To begin, our journey back to Tokyo begins at 4 a.m. For as long as I’ve been doing these SC <>Tokyo flights, I have always ended up traveling on a 6-something a.m. flights out with a transfer in Houston or Washington Dulles Airport. I normally give myself a transfer window of 2 hours or less. I’m not a fan of either airport so the less time I spend on the premises the better. I don’t have time to stop by a lounge which is fine as long as I can try out the latest Frappuccino at Starbucks.

 

 

However, this time, with a baby in tow, I wanted all the extra time I could get, especially since we had to wake up super early in order to make it to the airport in time. With a baby and two large bags, I felt that the quiet relaxed atmosphere of a lounge would be perfect for spending the next 5 hours. And the food. While I was no longer able to drink, I’d just make it up in wonderful lounge food. I’m familiar with United lounges and decided to head there once we made it to DC.

Once arriving in DC at Terminal A, we were greeted by United staff who directed us to Terminal C, Gate 8 for Tokyo.

Now in DC there are no trolleys available for use inside the terminals so I had to carry all of our things across the airport. The reason why I had so much stuff is because I wanted to be prepared in the event of a delayed or canceled flight. I only needed a spare nursing tank and underwear for myself, but for baby I needed spare diapers, extra sets of clothing, bibs for her drool, water bottle, rash medication, and gas drops.

 

With baby in her Ergo Baby and while carrying our large bags, I made my way to Terminal C and the United Lounge, which was conveniently located across from C8. Awesome, right?

When I tried to check in the receptionist said that I couldn’t use the lounge. Why? Because my Tokyo bound flight was departing from Terminal B Gate 41. It turns out the helpful United staff directed me to the United Tokyo flight instead of the ANA Tokyo bound flight. Apparently you can only use lounges in your own terminal – I have no idea how that works.

However, the receptionist was very sympathetic and kind enough to flag a supervisor escorting a vendor dropping off supplies to the lounge. The supervisor was able to get me one of those wheelchair guides to help me make it to Terminal B.

I didn’t sit in the wheelchair but just used it for my bags, and the staff and I made our way to Terminal B via the train, taking the scenic route through Terminal A. I enjoyed talking with her. She told me she’d just dropped off a older Japanese gentleman who came to the US to visit his son in Houston before heading on to Canada. Next time my mother-in-law tells me, “外国怖い” (Being abroad is so dangerous) I’ll pull this episode out, making sure to highlight this man’s use of a wheelchair.

After being personally escorted, baby and I headed to Turkish Airlines Lounge, located near Gate 43 in Terminal B.

The Lounge

The receptionist at the lounge explained that day use passes are booked through LoungeBuddy and to use the iPad on the counter. After booking was confirmed, I made my way to the box leather chairs, unpacked, sanitized everything, then made my way to the buffet bar for breakfast

The lounge was compact and cozy, with warm lighting and a relaxed atmosphere. Apparently, it’s only been open for a year or so. I liked the design of marble on the walls and the table tops, while the wall to wall mirror made the place seem wider than it was. 6 TVs with different channels were on one wall and there was also a business center. The cubed seating areas were equipped with consents for charging.

 

 

 

 

Along a long glass corridor that gave amazing views of the tarmac, was a space that had the toilets, shower room,and prayer room. Further along was the bar and quiet space separated from the bar by heavy, but tasteful curtains. I wasn’t sure if the upstairs area was open but, I didn’t bother to navigate the stairs with baby. I did enough stair climbing back in South Carolina.

As I had a four hour stay, I was able to try both the breakfast and lunch menus and both were delicious.Breakfast was an assortment of freshly cut fruits, vegetables, and cheeses, plus yogurt and jams, breads, English muffins, bagels, pastries, cereals. There were scrambled eggs as well as a wonderful dish with eggs and tomatoes.Bowls of bananas, apples, and pears were available, too. Drinks included a coffee/espresso machine, hot Turkish tea and a selection of assorted tea bags, orange juice and a mini fridge with soft drinks and another mini fridge just for bottled water.

I gorged on the soft cheeses. I had to skip out on soft cheese when pregnant and (real) cheese is expensive in Japan, so I ate until I was full.

After doing a bit of freelance work and playing with baby, it was time for lunch! The menu included grilled chicken, pita bread and several types of hummus, beef with eggplant (that strangely had no eggplant – I guess someone took it all?), a vegetarian pasta dish, and mini onigiri. To top it off, there was freshly made baklava,too!


When I arrived at 9 a.m. the lounge was sparsely filled, but the lounge started to fill up with Japanese passengers around 10:30. (The lounge is shared by other airlines, including ANA, the source of the Japanese passengers). Still, the lounge didn’t feel crowded at all.

 

 

The manager came out to greet passengers and fussed over baby. She told me to feel free to use the quiet space to lay down if I needed to nurse- how sweet is that? I have no problem nursing in the Ergo Baby and would have loved to lay down. But for baby and I, laying down to nurse equals nap time and I was worried that I would have fallen asleep on the sofa!

 

 

The grande finale of my lounge experience was boarding. ANA staff came to the lounge to collect passengers. Plus, there was no need to exit the lounge- using a door next to the bar, we were able have our documents checked and head to the airplane seamlessly and without being seen by others. Now I see how VIP customers are able to board undetected. ANA Airport Support, lounge relaxation and secret boarding… I could get used to this kind of life!

 

Overall, my experience at Turkish Airlines Lounge in Washington DC was fantastic and I couldn’t ask for more. Years ago I went to the Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul and while the DC branch (?) doesn’t compare at all in terms of size and amenities, I had a great experience at this lounge and will definitely go back on another trip to the US.

I don’t know what our next journey will be, but our September trip Down Under is finalized. I will be flying with Qantas, my first time with the airline. My travel experience with ANA was awesome, as well as my time in the Turkish Airline Lounge. Show me what you got, Quantas and Brisbane Airport!

Turkish Airlines Lounge – Washington, D.C.

Check out my other travel posts with baby:

ANA Airport Service & ANA Flight NH2

First Long Haul Flight with Baby – Buying Tickets, What to Pack

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