Is Delhi T3 Airport Lounge the most crowded lounge in the world?

By | February 25, 2021
Delhi Airport Lounge - Queue
Delhi Airport Lounge – Queue

The Plaza Premium lounge at Delhi T3 airport is one of the busiest lounge in the country – no doubt. But is it the busiest in the world? I don’t know but “I think so” after my recent visit to the lounge in Early Feb 2021!

As far as I know and what I hear from others, the lounge is almost always crowded since 2018 or so. I’ve personally not seen occupancy less than 80% in recent times and so I used to access other lounges, especially the Vistara Lounge (before 2020).

Even Amex Lounge was having 100% occupancy (for more than a hour) during my last visit, an year ago.

But now as both Amex & Vistara lounges are no longer operational, the plaza premium lounge has got to a whole new level of crowd

Note: You still have access to business class section of the lounge if you fly Biz or CV Gold/Plat, Priority Pass & likely premium Amex cards too (as heard from some).

I recently visited the lounge in early Feb 2021 while I was flying out of Delhi T3 and I noticed that there were about 40+ passengers in queue waiting to access the lounge.

What’s the cause?

I could spot 3 major causes:

  1. So many new card with complimentary access: As you can see from the list of best credit cards for 2021, there are so many new entry level cards that’s giving complimentary access to lounges. That’s good for cardholders but it affects the lounge experience.
  2. Peak hours: While I was entering I saw 5+ in queue (lounge was full even then) but while leaving it was 40+. So too much crowd is usually seen during peak hours but I’ve never heard from anyone since 2018 saying this lounge is free during non-peak hours”.
  3. Ignorance: While above 2 reasons add up to an extent, the sheer Ignorance by the airport operator to give better customer experience is the major reason I could possibly think of. 

Whatsoever the reason be, I still don’t find what’s stopping the airport from adding a new lounge given the fact that the existing lounge is said to be running on grand revenue.

Queues like this in Delhi airport not only gives bad experience to the travellers, but also prevents the flow of money at various levels and of-course poor utilisation of the massive airport space in T3.

Delhi T3 Plaza Premium Airport Lounge - Entrance
Delhi T3 Plaza Premium Airport Lounge – Entrance

I still wonder how this is still not sorted out since 2018. Maybe the decision makers are using the Air India lounge comfortably? Could be!

What Can be done?

  • Open a new lounge altogether, likely somewhere at the other side of terminal.
  • Re-opening the Vistara and Amex lounge (with more capacity) would help too.

Forget about the capacity issues, at-least considering the size of the airport we should be having a 2nd lounge at other end of the airport if customer experience is a priority for the Airport. 

Speaking of 2nd lounge, most airports in metro cities (MAA, BOM, BLR) have 2 lounges and its a surprise to see Delhi have just one (excluding the Airline & Amex lounges).

Maybe Delhi Airport need to learn a thing or two from Bangkok Airport (BKK) where you can see about 4 lounges right next to each other in the same area – most accessible by cards. They seem to care for the travellers!

For those who’re not aware of how big the Delhi T3 terminal is, it took me well over 10 mins of continuous walk to go from the plaza premium lounge to the Vistara gate.

Bottomline

While the queue numbers are hitting 40+ easily during COVID times, I wonder where the numbers would be when travel gets back to normal. I couldn’t even imagine!

For now though, if you’re visiting the lounge and if you see the crowd, consider leaving the lounge and take seat in the common area or better spare some time doing window shopping.

Of-course you do deserve more time at the lounge, but it’s worth thinking about the hungry passengers who’re eagerly waiting outside primarily for a quick snack before the flight. 

And with that let’s hope the airport comes up with a new lounge soon!

Have you been to the Plaza premium lounge at Delhi T3 recently? Feel free to share your lounge experience in the comments below.

Author: Siddharth

Helping Indians to choose right credit cards, pick right offers and enjoy luxury vacations for less. Day & night exploring the spiritual reality of our human existence.

47 thoughts on “Is Delhi T3 Airport Lounge the most crowded lounge in the world?

  1. Abin

    Can anyone access the business class lounge using priority pass even though flying economy?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yes, someone said this recently. But better go with whatever they say at the front desk, as this policy keeps changing from time to time to keep that section roomy.

      Reply
      1. Pranav Sharma

        I also heard pp users are allowed anyone using priority pass please do share .

        Reply
      2. KK

        This info is correct. The other side of the lounge, supposedly business class area; can be accessed by amex, diners, and PP holders besides of course business class passengers. The common area is mainly for mastercard/visa/rupay card holders.

        Reply
    2. Mayank

      I recently got access to BC lounge with Amex. Priority pass too was also mentioned for that section.

      Reply
    3. Varun

      Initially they will say that not allowed. Just request them and they will allow. They earn good margins on PP.

      Reply
  2. Sri

    Priority pass provides a restaurant credit in the US. They should bring that concept to India too.
    Basically, you can eat/drink for X $ at some of the selected airport restaurants. Most people waiting in line for the lounge are waiting for the food. If I’m in the situation where there is a queue to enter the lounge, I’ll happily make use of the restaurant credit.

    Reply
  3. Satish Kumar Agarwal

    Maybe lounge operators are FAR SIGHTED enough to wait a little and have a go at JEVAR airport likely to open in 2023 as biggest airport of Asia.

    Reply
    1. Rohan Varshnei

      Jewar airport is not opening as the ‘biggest airport of asia’. They will open with a passenger capacity of 5 MPA in 2023-24 and ultimate reach 60 MPA in 30 years. Not even close to Beijing, DWC, IST, DEL etc.

      Reply
  4. Abhi

    Used this lounge 5yrs back, it was quite full even then. I had a 5hr stop, and the staff insisted that I must swipe my card every 2hrs.

    Reply
    1. Sayantan Banerjee

      This rule is there. Basically 1 entry is for 3 hours at max. So no lounge will allow you to access before 3 hours. This is not a problem since security checkin opens 2-3 hours before flight departure. However, in case of long layover, the customers face a problem.
      I use multiple cards to solve this issue.

      Reply
  5. Arnab Chaudhuri

    Both Diners Club and Amex gives access to the business class lounge in plaza premium delhi T3. That includes ICICI Amex too.

    Reply
  6. Kunal

    I dont think amex’s delhi lounge is going to get more space . Ive been waiting for it to reopen and no one has a date to it .

    Reply
  7. Prashant Gupta

    During covid only this plaza premium lounge is operational. I had a early morning flight and thought of having breakfast in lounge. Reached airport early but was disappointed. The lounge was full queued outside for 20 minutes and them left. Something needs to be done at delhi airport.

    Reply
    1. Rohit

      If there is queue people also should be sensible enough to walk out after they finish their food. Luckily most of the international lounges were deserted and no one questioned me to leave after 2 or 3 hours.

      Reply
  8. deva

    this sunday my wife and kids came frm coimbatore via delihi..and with infinia card they have given seperate area (spacious,less crowded may be business class i guess) and there was another area for general low end card holders and.pay and use commuters…

    And 2 kids were allowed ( both less than 5 years old) and hospitality was really nice..

    however last november when i visited the same lounge ,things were different…

    anyway, a welcome change

    Reply
  9. Ramesh Kumar

    Last week, I had exactly similar experience. Where have to wait for 10-15 mins to get in and also service is terrible have asked more than 5 times to get single tea but still not served because they didn’t support self service. Finally have to settle for some water and left.

    Reply
  10. Arjun Jayasimha

    Is there a separate shorter queue at the entrance for business class/priority pass holders or do they also have to queue up in the general queue?

    Reply
  11. Card Expert

    Sid, I think it is high time you stopped using clickbaity headlines to justify your article. How much world travel have you done to say this lounge is crowded. The lounge has reduced capacity due to covid, and hence there is lesser space in the lounge these days. There are 8 lounges that are operated by Premium Plaza at Delhi airport across T3 domestic, international and T1/T2. Also, BLR and BOM only have one lounge operational at this time as well. Loved it when you claimed it was the Plaza Premium Lounge still, without keeping track of what was the history of the change at Bangalore. There is no point operating multiple lounges with reduced footfall and all airlines and airports and related businesses are in money-saving mode.

    Delhi Airport has no more space to give out to lounges, and they took the space back from Vistara as well. The Amex lounge is under renovation for now. Point is, this is a temporary situation, once the Amex lounge comes online, crowds will reduce. Also, no one has the money at the moment to put in a few crores in a lounge when airlines are not making money in India.

    Next time, please write factually not basis your feeling.

    Reply
    1. Loungegazer

      Not sure if you are the owner of Plaza premium whatever? “The lounge has reduced capacity due to covid, and hence there is lesser space in the lounge these days” HaHa. Great maths. Why do have to be so offensive? In your opinion, how much world travel is needed before one can write such an article? And nothing that you wrote contradicts what Sid has written. Infact, you seem to agree on the facts.

      There are lots and lots of readers here who benefit from the articles including this one. If you don’t like it, say so, preferably in a gentler fashion.

      Before you attack again, disclosure: I have never met/spoken to/communicated with Sid.

      Reply
      1. Siddharth Post author

        One interesting point to note from that comment is “Delhi Airport has no more space to give out to lounges, and they took the space back from Vistara as well.”

        Anyone here aware of this statement in reality? I thought they’ve lot of space, assuming from the time it takes to go from/to the gates from the major shops/lounge area.

        Reply
        1. RAHUL

          T3 doesn’t seem to have an anymore space till something else is shut down or moved or better use of space is instituted. If everything remains same than yes T3 is out of any space, if some experts are given the task obviously quite a lot of space can be created out of thin air. Just need some imagination and willingness to accept a mountain of challenge.

          Reply
  12. Amit

    I have visited this lounge this month early morning….around 7.00 AM and it was not that much crowded…But the way lounge access is being provided by banks to even entry level cards, it’s no surprise.. on top of that, buffet menu is no longer available due to COVID which makes these lounge useless…also washrooms provided in this lounge is small…GVK lounge is Mumbai is far better than this…I hope T3 in Delhi will build something equivalent to GVK lounge in Mumbai

    Reply
  13. Prakash

    The premium or business class portion of the lounge (the one on the right hand side) was earlier accessible via priority pass and Amex cards also. It was properly mentioned at the welcome desk. I had used my Amex plat travel for the same in 2019.

    Ever since it is being used for Vistara business class, I believe this is no longer the case, as the signboard now mentions that its exclusive for CV members/business class only.

    And yes, I have also found the regular lounge nearly full, everytime I visited, ranging between 2 AM to 8 AM!

    Reply
  14. Basant Motlani

    With so many cards offering lounge, very difficult to imagine conditions post covid.

    Reply
  15. Rathi

    Hey Sid, I believe you were talking about Chennai when you mentioned airports with two lounges. A small edit – Chennai’s code is MAA ( as opposed to MMA ).`

    Reply
  16. Arisht Jain

    I have been to this lounge around 1.5 years back when it was fairly empty. It was during non-peak hours. 2 hours layover in a red-eye flight.

    Reply
  17. Varun

    I am from Delhi and a frequent traveler. Even I have seen huge rush in my last 3-4 visit at premium plaza domestic departure lounge. I had to use priority pass to bypass the queue on 2 occasions. They only allowed my family since we had the infant baby with us.

    Delhi T3 international departure sections have more lounge options like 2 Premium plaza, ITC Green, Air India lounge, etc. so usually the rush is less there. Right now as international flights are less due to covid so not much rush out there.

    Domestic section of T3 is bearing all the heat with only just one premium plaza lounge being operational. Things will go worse as most of cards now provide complementary lounge access.

    Reply
  18. Balpreet Singh

    Eveen Hyderabad airport I felt was the same. I visted in peak evening hours, it had people standing and eating inside the lounge.

    Apart from that 30-40 waiting outside.

    Reply
  19. Priyansh

    Just visited today. You are right. The queue and wait was insane.

    Unfortunately, wasn’t aware about business section access via PP. Would have tried my luck. As had 1+ hour to kill, waited in the queue. Else would have left in most cases with 20-30 mins before flight.

    P.S- a major positive, the lounge was giving packed take aways to those who were interested instead of waiting in the queue. This definitely helped big time. Kudos to them for that. Haven’t seen takeaway from lounges before tbh.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Wow. Take aways are good. Next time I’m going to swipe all my cards and do some charity 😉

      Reply
  20. Venkatesh Gupta

    Can anyone please tell me if complementary lounge access is allowed on a Supplementary Amex Platinum Reserve card?

    Reply
  21. Harshit

    They have opened new lounge area for super premium card holders, but after covid it is not operational, and other lounges are also not operational thus leading to huge crowd.

    Reply
  22. Abhay Singh

    So true. I think the Air Vistara cards now make much more sense to retain Gold status and breeze through check-in and lounge queues. Plus if you utilize Biz class tickets, can breeze through security as well. I recently did even on Premium Economy. Would have taken 1.5 hours if not for the status which I will lose shortly because of no flying in 2020.

    Reply
  23. Vishal

    Yup , quite a few cards give access to lounges in India. The crowds of the unwashed seem to be creating some resentment here. Since i like to travel comfortably, i bet my slippers were offputting to a lot of the gentry here. Hehe. And people suggesting the use of PP in India, its chargeable, not free. Free outside India.

    Reply
    1. Rohit

      For infinia card holders I guess priority pass could be used in India too

      Reply
    1. Captain Bishuddha Bharatiya

      I went to Srinagar on Jan 2021 and let me tell you bro they have no lounge, no stores, restaurant nothing. If you don’t want to die of hunger than you should bring your own food. I was only able to buy food once I was inside the flight.

      Reply
  24. Sanjay

    I visited the Plaza Lounge couple of weeks back. The Visa/Mastercard/Rupay side had a long line, while I could go straight to the counter with my Diners card. Also the lounge had had hardly 15-20 people and lot of space. One of the best experiences I had at Delhi lounge. I don’t recall having a separate section for Diners the last time I was there.

    Reply
  25. mrids

    Hey Sid , I have Axis Bank Burgundy Private CC .
    This CC also gives me unlimited access to lounges using Priority Pass complementary with the Card.
    My Q : Can I use PP to access lounges within India or PP can be used only outside India ?

    Reply
  26. Pranab

    Hi Sid,
    Yesterday I visited Bhubaneswar Airport and was in a mess! Priority Pass mentioned the location ‘Landside – Domestic Departures. The lounge is located near Gate 2’. After security check-in I found no lounges near Gate 2 (rather nowhere). The lounge is actually ‘Before Security Check-in’ and doesn’t mention ‘Bird Lounge’, it only mentioned ‘Reserved lounge’.
    It’ll be helpful for us if such odd positioned (or any other special notes) lounges are compiled in a topic.

    Reply
    1. Rohit

      @pranab
      Always ask help desk regarding the lounge before security check. Few airports I guess in hyderabad too have it outside the airport and also at kuala lumpur airport. Is the lounge fully opened or it’s only packed food? After pandemic never took a flight.

      Reply

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