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Wines on the Wing

Airport Lounges: Another Reason to Upgrade for Family Travel

by Barbara Rogers

Sep 24, 2019

Stillman Rogers


Our family was sitting in Iberia’s Velasquez Premium Lounge at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport during a five-hour layover between our recent Iberia flights from Lyon, France, to Boston. My husband was snoozing in a tall cushy chair, the girls were taking advantage of the WiFi service and I was sipping cappuccino and munching on Marcona almonds.


I was also thinking what a difference it made to spend those hours in well-fed comfort instead of having breakfast in an airport café, keeping tabs on everyone’s carry-on baggage and trying to stay awake perched on a seat under the Departures board as we waited for our gate to be announced.


We’d left Lyon, France, at 7 a.m. and wouldn’t be home until late afternoon — which was after midnight by the clock we’d been living on for the past two weeks. This relaxing respite was just what we all needed.

T4, Barajas Airport, Madrid. Photo: Stillman Rogers


When we decided to fly Iberia’s business class, we were thinking about those two long trans-Atlantic flights, and how much more comfortable we would be in the wider seats with more leg room. Access to the lounges for the long layovers in each direction hadn’t been our primary concern, but now that I was relaxing there, I realized the five hours of comfort between flights in each direction were just as important.


And as I watched young children laughing at movies and playing with toys in the play area — a separate section, secluded but within easy watch from comfortable adult seating pods in the lounge — I wished I’d chosen business class when our kids were that age and those long layovers seemed even longer. Parents of younger children will find adult-sized seating in the kids’ area as well, and the foods offered throughout the day include many healthy, child-friendly options (and premium ice creams).

T4 at the Barajas Airport, Madrid. Photo: Stillman Rogers


The early morning buffet was filled with hot and cold breakfast dishes, including Spanish tortilla (an omelet-like dish with potatoes), and as lunchtime approached, the buffet offered sandwiches and salads. A bowl of fresh whole fruit, cookies and a selection of cold and hot drinks were available all the time. As were packets of almonds, one of Spain’s gifts to the world.


The area is divided into several different spaces: Along with the children’s play area, there was a cocktail lounge with a bar, tables and booths, and the spaces around the buffet had café tables and chairs. Always restless, the girls enjoyed the option of moving around (and no hand luggage to move with them — it was all in a locker in the baggage room). Even as it filled later in the morning, the Velázquez Premium Lounge seemed spacious and was never noisy.


On our way to France we had used Iberia’s Dali Lounge, overlooking the concourse in the main terminal, and it was much the same. The Velázquez Lounge is in the Satellite terminal, close to the gates for international departures.


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