LISBON AIRPORT - When in a crowded airport, it is always a relief to chill-out in a nice lounge. That is what I am doing now, sitting before one of the six free PCs in the Star Alliance lounge operated by TAP Portugal, as I await my flight on TAP to London.
It is a nice lounge, designed to the max, operating on split-levels. The downstairs level has good food on offer, including little veal pies, a selection of wines and spirits, a good coffee-making machine, bits of fruit and assorted pastries. Upstairs, TV channels projected onto the walls show Eurosport, fashionista updates and news. Bamboo grows along one side. The whole place has mood lighting like you would expect to see in a club. Upstairs, elegant leather chairs and couches provide comfort; downstairs are cherry red and lime green modular furniture out of `The Jetsons.´
The business-class VIP lounge is found past security but before Customs and passport control, so it is good to leave it a bit early for flights, especially if you have a far-away gate. Finding the lounge can be a challenge. I squiggled around through terminal 1, up a flight of stairs, down hallways, around corners. It took a while, but the signage is good, and I soon settled in.
Next stop, London, destination number eight on my round-the-world trip. London is my favorite city in the Western world, so I am more than ready to get back there.
Incidently, a TAP Portugal (http://www.flytap.com/) check-in worker graciously checked me in, even though I arrived four hours before my flight, the designated check-in desk for that flight was not yet open, and he was manning another station. It was a nice gesture that helped a weary traveler get access to the lounge, and with plenty of time to enjoy it.