All of Europe’s scattershot approaches to handling the Coronavirus are on display at the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. Whether you came to see the Swedes blithely unmasked, their square glasses framing a muted contempt for the weak and fearful, or fastidious Germans, carefully disinfecting the deep recesses of their leather seats, you’ll get a bit of it all. And yet the balkanized loungescape churns as it always has– waves of travelers break along the open bar leaving behind a jetsam of crusted dishes and crinkled napkins, banal yet menacing reminders that even as the world is upended, nothing changes. Anyway, on to the review.
We landed in Frankfurt fearful of the border for the first time since I lost track of my Schengen days in college. The EU continues to ban travelers from non-EU countries, including the US, with few exceptions. We were on our way to see close family, which required proof of relationship and a little nervous and unappreciated humor. Each country enforces its own Covid border restrictions, which means that onward flyers won’t be able to un-pucker until they’re admitted into their final destination. Be sure to bring extra documentation for everything: visas, certificates, your dog’s dental records, photocopies of yesterday’s paper and a letter of recommendation from your high school guidance counselor.
Our flight was met by two police officers who escorted one American passenger to the border and then back onto a plane to the US after he was denied entry. All of this happened in the time it took me to use the bathroom, so be aware that they are taking this very seriously.
We got into the Senator lounge by using our American Express Business Platinum card and a Lufthansa ticket. The lounges are all found outside of the Z terminal, which now serves as a sort of leper colony for undesirables transiting, ironically, to less infected parts of the world. If you arrive as we did, from the US or another non-EU origin, you’ll likely arrive here.
The Senator lounge is a mid-tier offering for first-class passengers, a level between the business and first-class lounges, and can be found in terminal A. If you have trouble following signs in Western Germany, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Lufthansa Senator Lounge is a beaut’. A cavernous main room contains a well-stocked buffet, bathrooms, showers, copious seating and several other rare amenities. There is a relaxation room, with lounge chairs, low lighting and an illuminated forest scene. If that isn’t chill enough for you, there is also a room for napping, toward the rear of the main hall, with no lights and about a half-dozen quasi-beds. I was tempted to stop there, but it seemed like a coronavirus hotbox when I poked my head in, so I opted for bleary eyes and a clean bill of health.
The lounge WiFi is strong and more than adequate for work, and the lounge itself includes lots of workspaces. A few of the desks even offer 110V outlets for the voltage-challenged.
In normal times, the buffet is generous and includes cold and hot dishes, usually with a full entree served by a gracious staff member. Pretzels and beer on tap give local character to the affair and the wine and liquor are plentiful. Feel free to arrive hungry and be much better fed than you would buying Europe’s favorite airport food: a 7-euro baguette with a micron-thin piece of prosciutto buried somewhere inside of it.
The Lufthansa Senator Lounge offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking to relax, nap, shower or work. The only notable missing space is a play area for kids, which honestly was also a plus in my book, but makes the space less family-friendly.