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Let's say I was traveling with a friend. My friend is flying economy whilst I'm flying first class. Could I visit the lounge, get the food and all that jazz, then exit the lounge, give my boarding pass to my friend and let them check the lounge out to see what the lounge life is all about?

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    “Can you” in what sense? Are you asking whether if it’s within the rules of airline lounge use (any airline or a specific one? They all have slightly different rules). Or are you asking do you will get away with breaking the rules? – MJeffryes Jan 28 at 14:39
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    @MJeffryes - the former, altho a good answer would probably address both interpretations. I did include the airline in question as a tag but if an answer discussed other airlines as well that might make for an even better answer! – neubert Jan 28 at 14:58
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    Given the security stance surrounding air travel nowadays, I'm not sure if I'd even let anyone else look at my boarding pass. – Robert Harvey Jan 29 at 15:56
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    Also, "the lounge life"... There are a few notable exceptions, but most lounges are just terrible. – jcaron Jan 29 at 17:23
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    Have you considered that they might call security if they detect an unauthorized person inside the lounge or trying to enter? – Quora Feans Jan 29 at 17:56
33

In some cases, your status may allow you to bring in one or more guests. This is very specific to each airline/program and the various levels, though, so you'll have to check the details for your own loyalty program.

This page gives some general rules. They say that access via your travel class (business, first...) usually doesn't allow you to bring in a guest. On the other hand, most programs (but not all) allow you to bring a guest if you get access through your frequent flyer status, with a few conditions and exceptions, though. So, again, check the specifics for your combination of frequent flyer program / status / airline / type of flight (domestic or international) / class of travel.

Note that the number of guests is usually limited. Even as a Flying Blue Platinum member, I can't (or couldn't the last time I tried) bring more than one person in a lounge, for instance.

However, giving your boarding pass to someone else so they can enter without you is most probably a breach of the terms and conditions of the program.

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    +1 I frequently am brought into airline lounges as a guest of one of my friends who travels constantly for work so has all the perks on lock. You should ask before coming up with weird schemes. They definitely won't want you handing your pass to someone, and if you go in and out and then send someone in with the same pass they're quite likely to notice. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jan 28 at 19:58
9

In recent years, I have encountered with all major airlines that they want to see your boarding pass and a valid ID.
As a consequence, you can of course walk out and in as often as you like, but someone else with your boarding pass (and ID!) will have trouble if he doesn't look a lot like you.

It is also a clear violation, and if caught, you will not only lose your access right, but also potentially be disqualified from their frequent flier club, losing any miles already collected.

As others mentioned, depending on airline and status you might be allowed to bring a guest, but they have started to be a lot less generous there too - just because you are Platinum Select member with an international business class flight doesn't mean you can bring your wife (with an economy boarding ticket) for free

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    Really? Which lounge? I don't think I have ever in my life been requested to show ID at a lounge, they just ask for the boarding pass. – lambshaanxy Jan 29 at 5:51
  • @lambshaanxy FRA, MUC, DXB, BOM, PTY (all in 2019) – Aganju Jan 29 at 14:53
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    I don't think any airport lounge has ever asked for my ID, so I'd say this is definitely a YMMV situation. On the other hand, I'd definitely not recommend attempting to let someone else 'borrow' your boarding pass to access a lounge. Agreed completely with the second paragraph. This is a good way to lose your status and miles and be banned from a frequent flyer program. – reirab Jan 29 at 19:41
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    @Aganju I've been using the Lufthansa MUC lounge quite a lot and I've never been asked for an ID. This is a bit surprising for me too. – LaintalAy Jan 30 at 10:15
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    Maybe I look too terroristic? I typically don't travel in business attire (as I travel farther, not just within the country) – Aganju Jan 30 at 15:06
5

Legally no, but often there is just a check of the ticket (and a scan of ticket, so that you may enter only once).

You might be able to pay an entry fee (maybe with a discount because of your eligibility). It is said that it is cheaper than staying in the "normal areas": you have less time to wait near boutiques and restaurants, so possibly less expenses.

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    "Legally" is probably a bit too strong (unless you classify that as "fraud"). Probably more like "Contractually". – jcaron Jan 28 at 16:50
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    And I've actually often wondered if one was able to enter/exit lounges several times. I've never had the opportunity to try, and this may depend on the actual lounge and/or program, but this is probably a topic for a new question... – jcaron Jan 28 at 16:52
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    @jcaron I’ve done that under several programs at different locations - left to shop and reentered, or moved to a different lounge location. Had no issues with British Airways, Cathay, Emirates or a number of others. – Moo Jan 28 at 18:49
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    @jcaron - I've been able to do to the same thing with United. Enter the lounge, leave and re-enter (I had to buy a replacement power cable) – neubert Jan 28 at 20:44
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    @GiacomoCatenazzi Median spend may be more meaningful than average spend. – gerrit Jan 29 at 9:53
4

Could you? Yes. Should you? No.

Better for you to load up on snacks in your bag, get a drink in a red cup/fill a bottle, and leave.

I flew 100k a year until recently and regularly brought doggie bags out. I also got to take guests, and would grab total strangers for fun. Sometimes it was good, sometimes they thought I was a creep. To each their own.

Edit: I'm just going to leave this here: If you hand your ticket to your friend, they go into the lounge- what ticket do you have? Your friends? If the TSA stop and decide to search you or your friend, what ID are you going to show? Is it reasonable to explain you traded tickets so your buddy can get into a lounge? Sure- TSA or the police might not blink, but they are going to pull them out to look and be sure. Just not worth it for a cheap brownie. However the Sushi in Japan on the other hand...

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3

SAS doesn't check IDs, they use automated gates where you scan your boarding pass or passport and you can enter and exit how many times you like.

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    Did you mean boarding pass, not passport? – lambshaanxy Jan 29 at 5:50
  • @lambshaanxy they support biometric passports too. – Mikael Dúi Bolinder Feb 4 at 14:51

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