Flying the Cycle: A Tale of Many Airport Lounges

You may remember my first attempt to fly the Cycle, back in March, that was thwarted by an equipment change from Rio de Janeiro to Miami. Alas, I had received my first ever double upgrade. My wife and I were flying home on an economy ticket, used a Systemwide Upgrade (SWU), to get up to business, and then an aircraft swap put my wife and I in First Class on a 777-200 (pre-refit).

Some background info: A “Cycle” is baseball terminology for hitting a Single, Double, Triple, and Home Run. I figured it was a reasonable simile for flying Economy, Business, and First class. I suppose I could throw Premium Economy in there too, however it is not as prevalent yet. My substitution? Euro Business, which is less than Premium Economy, but more than regular Economy.

Lounges – A variety to say the least

We visited 7 lounges in total.

We started out at the Lufthansa Business Class Lounge at Washington’s Dulles Airport. It was entirely sufficient for its purpose.

Of course, our next lounge was much nicer, the Lufthansa Business Class Lounge at Frankfurt’s Terminal A, which was the nicest Lufthansa Business lounge I’ve been to.

The Sala VIP lounge at Milan’s Malpensa Airport felt like it was very new, and it had some cool technology for their business center area, with Samsung touch screen computers (no keyboards!).




In Miami, we did a little lounge hopping with our friend Geoff, visiting the American Airlines’ Premium Lounge, and then the American Express Centurion Lounge. I think the Premium Lounge was nice and quiet, but the Centurion Lounge, while small, had better food, and I enjoyed the Islamorada on tap. The service was enjoyable too.

Airport Lounges

Yes, we brought the bottle to the table, because, well, why not?

The only airport we didn’t get to visit a lounge, was in Rio de Janeiro. Flying TAM, in theory, we would have access, but we didn’t see a TAM one on the domestic side. And really, despite the expansion that the airport is undergoing, it is still a pretty small airport for being such an important city in Brazil (something about the Olympics?).

At Sao Paulo, Brazil’s GRU airport, we landed at Terminal 2 (and grabbed the obligatory photo of Red Lobster),


and made our way to Terminal 3 (the newer and much nicer terminal), which was about a 10-15 minute walk, checked in, traversed security and immigration, and visited the Admirals Club lounge. It’s a nice lounge–not amazing–but, one of the nicer American Airlines’ lounges.









We also made a brief detour to grab a drink at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. It was nice being incommunicado for a little bit, searching for my lost shaker of salt. Of course, it was all fun and games until my wife blew out her flip flop (don’t worry, no flip flops were harmed)!


Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Sao Paulo

Incommunicado and Margarita

In Dallas-Fort Worth, we stopped at the American Express Centurion Lounge long enough to have a beverage.

The winning lounge

Perhaps the Coup de grace, was our final stop, at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. Where we got the obligatory ducks:


And the Schnitzel which, well, I’ve flown halfway around the world for. Its just that good!


And don’t forget the bubble bath!


Wrapping Up

We definitely had a bunch of fun experiences lounge hopping over the weekend. I think the best experience was with friends, but the Lufthansa First Class Terminal comes in as a reasonably close second. The lounge in Milan was a nice experience from the hustle and bustle of Malpensa’s airport, and Sao Paulo’s lounges really help Terminal 3 shine.


3 thoughts on “Flying the Cycle: A Tale of Many Airport Lounges

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