|Features||Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge Highlights|
|Access||Business Class and First Class passengers on Star Alliance flights.|
|Ambience||Relatively new lounge with cramped seating.|
|Food and Beverage||Mainly Turkish food.|
|The GET.com Verdict||It beats waiting inside the departure gate.|
It had been a rainy afternoon, one of the rare days of rain during a prolonged and severe drought in Kenya. After more than a week in Masai Mara, Grace and I, together with our boys, took off in a Safarilink plane near our safari lodge, made a few stops to pick up more passengers from other airstrips, and landed in Wilson airport in Nairobi in the middle of a heavy downpour. We were glad to be off the plane despite getting drenched as it had been quite a choppy flight due to the rain and wind.
We were promptly picked up from Wilson airport for a 30-min car transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi where we were to catch a Swiss flight from Nairobi to Zurich on Business Class. By the time we arrived at the airport, the rain had stopped.
Most vehicles entering the vicinity of the airport were checked on entry.
At the entrance to the airport, the security checked our passports and tickets and our luggage had to pass through X-ray. The airport looked grim and old inside - it must have been the part of the airport that still hadn't been upgraded after a massive fire destroyed large parts of it in 2013.
After getting our boarding passes and checking in our luggage at the Swiss check-in counter, we went through security and proceeded to the 2nd floor to look for the Swiss airport lounge. Since Swiss is part of Star Alliance, premium passengers traveling on Swiss get to access the Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge.
Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge Review
From Gate 4, it was quite a long walk to reach the Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge, which is a relatively new lounge as it was inaugurated in July 2016.
Turkish Airlines has two lounges outside of Istanbul - the first one opened in Moscow in 2014 and the second one is the one here in Nairobi.
Turkish Airlines flies to more than 50 destinations in Africa, so having a lounge here in Kenya made sense for them.
Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge Access
The Turkish Airlines Lounge at Nairobi is open 24 hours daily to Business Class and First Class passengers flying on Star Alliance partner airlines (such as Swiss, United, Air Canada, etc) on a same-day international flight. Elite members of partner airlines can also access the lounge if they depart on a same-day Star Alliance flight. Priority Pass members are also welcome to use this lounge.
Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge Ambience
The Turkish Airlines lounge was just 6 months old when we were there. The lounge was done up in a stylish design, with sleek wood paneling fronting the entrance of the lounge and covering some of the walls as well.
The lounge is non-smoking and offers free wi-fi, which was pretty slow. Besides the main seating area, there is a dark TV room and also a shower room (we didn't try out the shower).
Maybe it's the low ceiling or the small windows, but the 440-square-meter lounge didn't feel that spacious to us.
The lounge is situated close to the runway, so you could look out the windows on one side of the lounge. It's a pity they made the windows quite small.
While the entrance of the lounge was more spacious, the sitting area felt very cramped as the armchairs were placed very close to one another. There were mainly two types of armchairs in the lounge, both of which weren't very comfortable and they were quite small in size. Because of that, we didn't feel like we had much personal space. Seating also seemed quite limited in the lounge.
The lounge expects 150-200 passengers a day, so I imagine it can get really crowded and noisy at peak times, but when we were there, the lounge wasn't that packed, but it still felt cramped.
Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge Food and Beverage
The Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge served mainly Turkish food, which to international travelers may seem to be quite limited in choice. There were a couple of warm dishes, such as beef stew, pasta and Turkish pies. There were also the usual salad and fruit bar, nuts and chips. Drinks include coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
We tried the food but didn't eat more than a few bites because the food was frankly just mediocre.
You could order hot beverages from a server behind the drinks counter.
Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge: The GET.com Verdict
The Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Lounge in Nairobi was a welcome respite for us after a long day of traveling. I liked that the lounge was relatively new and that it has a modern look and feel to it. The food selection could be more varied though and seating more comfortable.
Spending time here was definitely a much better option than being in the grim departure gates before take-off. If you came here with lower expectations, it would be an ok experience. For us, we were slightly disappointed with the offerings.
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Background info: In January 2017, Grace and I, together with our two toddlers Ramses and Ranefer, went on a round-the-world (RTW) trip to five continents for 6 months, using 4 free Business Class air tickets, worth US$54,000, which were redeemed using our one million air miles (which we earned through our air miles credit cards) on Star Alliance, a network consisting of many airlines including Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, Avianca and many more.