As a newly registered Priority Pass member (acquired via Amex Platinum) who fully intends to get as much value out of the portfolio as possible, I’m currently on a journey of discovery into the good and bad. So far, I’ve been satisfied enough with the offering as a collective, but individually it’s been a mixed-bag. I’m fine with that, as there’s enough lounges available to where you can usually find a decent option in most major airports. With that theory in mind, I was therefore intrigued to see what the Carlsberg Aviator Lounge at Copenhagen Airport had to offer.
My expectations were heightened by my experience elsewhere in Terminal 2. Upon my arrival from London a few days earlier, I was struck by the stunning departures area which is unmistakably Scandinavian in its design aesthetic and features extensive use of Danish woods and other materials which help the space feel light, airy and relaxing. Elsewhere in the terminal, there’s food and retail options aplenty, and it’s generally just a pleasant environment to be in. So, can the Carlsberg Aviator Lounge justify its place, and is it worth a visit?
Where is the lounge?
After exiting the obligatory duty free section, I glance around for signage to guide me to the lounge. Alas, I have to resort to the Priority Pass app, which directs me to take an immediate right. Seems like it should be obvious enough from there, but the complete lack of signage, right up to the entrance itself, is slightly disconcerting and leaves you wondering whether that right you took was the right right. A case of Scandinavian minimalism gone too far, perhaps? Anyways, while an uncharacteristic misstep on the part of the airport designers, it’s not a long walk.
Once you do find your way, it’s a quick elevator ride up to the 2nd floor before you reach the reception. I’d arrived shortly after the lounge opened for the day and as the airport was quiet, check-in was uneventful. No virtual queue, or “try again in 30 minutes”, fortunately. With a quick scan of my Priority Pass, I was invited to enter the attractive and well-appointed lounge.
The aesthetic very much resembles the rest of the terminal, bumped up a notch. Lots of natural and environmentally-friendly materials, including tables made of recycled beer kegs — a fun nod to the lounge’s sponsor. There’s two distinct areas: the food and drinks section with communal bar tables, and the neighbouring L-shaped seating area which is flanked by benches with side tables for each guest. Both areas are surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, with views down to the terminal below. No runways views to be had here, unfortunately.
Now while this isn’t Club Aspire Heathrow Terminal 5 levels of compact (seriously, that lounge is absurd), it’s still quite cramped. While it’s nicely arranged and is relatively efficient in its use of space, there’s no doubt that during busier hours, it would quickly become overcrowded and reach capacity. Indeed it did take a few minutes for me to locate one of lovely (and very expensive) Fritz Hansen Ro chairs — most were occupied or blocked by luggage.
First impressions were also hampered slightly by the fact that many tables were littered with stacks of used dishes. It was quite evident that the staff weren’t keeping up with the volume of food and drink consumption. This was later rectified and from then onwards seemed to be more under control, but in general there’s very few staff around — probably too few.
Food & drink
What about the all-important dining options? Well I’ll begin with drinks, as it’s only appropriate in this instance. Naturally, there’s three different Carlsberg drinks available on tap (self-service), along with an assortment of soft drinks, fruit juices and coffee. Wine is the only other alcohol (no liquors). The coffee machine loses points in my mind for not having the option for mocha, but rather mochachino. Most won’t care. In all honesty, even I forget what the difference is.
Food is somewhat more limited, and is really quite sparse. It’s also unlabelled, which could make it tricky for those with allergies. For breakfast, there was a small selection of pastries, rice cakes, fruit, yogurt and jams. The main attraction was the selection of the traditional Danish ‘smørrebrød’. Initially I thought this would be quite bland, but the rye bread itself was delicious and was complimented perfectly by the quality cold cut meats and cheese. Beyond this though, you’ve exhausted all of the options. According to Copenhagen Airport’s website, a simple sandwich selection is available for lunch, so this is no fine dining.
Sidenote, the lounge features an authentic Danish rotary cheese slicer, which is an attraction in itself. Reportedly costing 4,725 Danish Kroner ($771), it’s incredibly satisfying to watch the cheese table rise as you rotate the handle, cutting slices to the perfect thickness. Maybe this is a common fixture in Danish hospitality, but it was certainly a novelty to me. A beautiful example of over-engineering.
Anything else to note?
In terms of what else the lounge has to offer, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi, magazines printing facilities and a departures board. The biggest let down is the lack of power sockets, which are almost non-existent, barring a few random wall outlets.
Although not something I experienced, many reviewers have complained of the air in the lounge being uncomfortably warm and stagnant — not ideal for an extended visit. The reviews aren’t very complimentary about the bathrooms either.
For more information, including opening times, see the Carlsberg Aviator Lounge website.
In conclusion, if you’re like me and the main draw of a lounge is a free meal and some peace and quiet, this lounge falls short in both regards. The food options are too limited to suffice as a meal, and the compact space means you’re not likely to get much tranquilly.
As Terminal 2 is a great space in itself, if you don’t have Priority Pass and your only option is paid entry, consider whether it’s worth it. Personally, I’ll probably check out the Aspire Lounge next time around (also based in Terminal 2) — that one seems to draw slightly more favourable reviews.
Overall I’d score the Carlsberg Aviator Lounge at Copenhagen Airport 5 out of 10.