Mumbai had a lousy airport for the longest time, but things changed since 2014, with the launch of the new Terminal 2. While it was initially an international terminal, since last year we have had Vistara, Air India and now Jet Airways move their domestic operations to the new terminal building as well.
The lounges at Terminal 2 are classy and shiny, and operated by the airport rather than farming out space to individual airlines to build their own lounges. Till March this year, GVK Lounge was only available to eligible travellers flying International Business or First from the airport. However, in March 2016, a new lounge popped up at Mumbai Airport’s domestic pier on level 3. And it is fabulous!
The new airport lounge came up in March 2016, roughly to coincide with the new Jet Airways transition, and now serves all the three airlines using the domestic pier, including Vistara and Air India. The TFS Travel Club lounge down the way, which was earlier being used for Air India and Vistara customers, has now moved to become a cash lounge, also accessible via Priority Pass.
I had the chance of visiting the new lounge a couple of times over the past month, and I am pretty much awed by the stuff that has been put out. In terms of look and feel, the domestic section of the lounge is no less than the Business class section of the International lounge, and has the same spacious yet shiny hues as the international lounge.
You are issued a lounge invitation by the airline to be able to access the lounge, and this needs to be presented at the reception to gain access to the lounge. Internet at the lounge is sort of slow, however you need your seat number and last name to be able to access the wifi. If you miss your lounge access card, Jet Airways has an agent stationed at the lounge entrance to help you. However, no such luck with Vistara or Air India.
Seating has been fanned out in different configurations. At the entrance, you will notice a large lounge area with lots of leather couches, behind which there are high tables overlooking the apron. There are ample of powerports for everyone around.
Going around, there are comfortable high tables lining up the corners, with power ports fitted into the tables. These could make good dining tables, as well as very nice work desks. I used them for my conference calls all the time now a days when I’m at the airport. The view is nice as well, overlooking the airport operations on the tarmac.
Further down, there is a bar with a big screen television. The lounge has not sorted out the paper work to serve alcohol at the moment, but they will start serving alcohol shortly, and it will be paid by the customers, not included in the access sold to the airlines.
Further down, there is the restaurant area, which has ample seating for about 70 people. Hot dishes served are changed 6 times a day depending on the time of day. There is breakfast, snack, lunch, evening snacks, dinner and midnight snacks. I’ve sampled from their lunch menu, dinner menu and the evening snacks, and I found all of them to be delicious. There are tonnes of hot dishes coming through all the time, and the cold food served includes all sorts of desserts, sandwiches and fruits. You’ll see a chef coming over to take stock every hour or so.
Here is the afternoon snack service, which carries on till early evening.
Here is the dinner service from the day I was there.
To wash down all the food, there is ample water and soft beverage stocked across the lounge area.
There are tonnes of tables for single visitors as well (the number of people, not the relationship status!), which line up the apron side view of the restaurant area.
There is also a dry spa in one enclosure of the lounge, which I’ve not accessed. Unlike the international lounge area where some spa treatments are offered complimentary for guests, this one however, is a paid spa.
Overall, this one is one of my favourite lounges across the world now, and I can say with certainty that most of the essential check boxes here are filled up on the better side. Good food, massive seating space, lots of power ports, natural lighting and a courteous staff. What’s not to look forward to? I’m happy Mumbai is home.