Of the many airport lounges at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Blue Sky just might be the worst.
The airport lounges in Indonesia can be a little hit and miss, as any regular visitor will testify. This is especially the case at Jakarta’s Soekarno–Hatta International, the country’s largest and busiest aviation gateway. In the international departures hall the Plaza Premium Lounge is one of that dubious brand’s better spaces, while the Garuda Indonesia lounge is on par with business class lounges across the region. However, in the airport’s terminal 3, its newest and most modern, the Blue Sky Lounge at gate 18 leaves a lot to be desired.
The lounge is located near gate 18, just before the concourse takes a left turn on to its final gates. The initial impression is that of a normal pay-in lounge, with the counter packed with notices for all the loyalty programmes and credit card affiliations – and there are a lot! These include Priority Pass, which is how I gained entry.
Once inside, the biggest challenge was finding a seat. While the lounge features more than 80 seats set across two spaces, every single seat was occupied and we needed to wait a while until a pair became vacant. It’s apparent that all those access affiliations means this is one of the busiest pay-in lounges I’ve ever visited and staff were clearly struggling to keep up with demand as guests arrived and others departed for their gates.
Despite our 1pm arrival, most snacks, dishes, and drinks in the place were running out or depleted; at the far end of the lounge, at a cooking station, a chef was whipping up a storm sating appetites with packets of instant noodles.
The lounge’s seating consists of clutches of armchairs as well as a communal workspace table that caters to 10. There is also seating in a dedicated smoking lounge, which curiously had both of its doors wedged open. The lounge was very hot, with the air conditioning in the airport terminal struggling as much to keep the space cool as the Blue Sky staff were to keep the lounge clean. Everywhere, used dishes were piled up while new arrivals searched in vain for a seat.
The lounge features hot dishes at a self-service buffet style counter, as well as a drinks station that serves specialty coffees and a range of fresh juices (but unfortunately, they didn’t have any fruit or vegetables for juice during our visit). Beyond, the chef at the noodle stand prepares both soup noodles and curry mie, which can be complemented with tofu, tempe and vegetables from an additional display.
The coffee at the drinks stand is great (like the rest of the domestic terminal the lounge is a dry space) but the food was running out at both buffets and all that was left was cold remaining morsels and Indomie.
After several attempts I finally connected to the lounge’s wifi network, which was relatively speedy. Guests looking to converse will have to compete with very regular boarding announcements.
Although I’m sure the lounge is a peaceful space during the airport’s quieter periods (which seem few and far between) the Sky Blue Lounge isn’t one we would spend additional money to visit (we used our unlimited Priority Pass access). Staff are lacklustre, food is below average, and the affiliation access means the lounge is far busier, hotter and messier than the many excellent restaurants throughout the terminal
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