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I will have to wait at Copenhagen airport for almost three hours for a connecting train, after arriving on SAS. Fortunately, I am a frequent traveller, and I normally have access to the lounge.

Would it be possible for me to use those perks, even when I land and don't have a connecting flight?

Technically, it would be possible to exit the plane and walk back towards the terminal, as if I had a connecting flight – however, my baggage would be unclaimed on the belt, and I am unsure about that situation. I don't believe it is possible to go back to the lounge area after you have entered the baggage claim.

  • Are you arriving on a domestic, schengen, or other international flight? That is, will you need to go through customs? – mkennedy Aug 30 '15 at 9:44
  • This is a flight within Schengen, and I am flying home. They will simply wave me through passport control. I will eventually need to pass through customs with my checked luggage, after I leave the terminal. – Nix Aug 30 '15 at 10:12
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    Copenhagen Airport does not segregate arriving and departing passengers -- upon arrival, the walk to the baggage carousels goes through the very same concourse departing passengers use. So getting to the lounge would not be a problem. However, it is indeed not allowed to exit "backwards" from the baggage claim to the concourse (since checked baggage may contain items that are not allowed in the cabin). – Henning Makholm Aug 30 '15 at 14:42
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    What frequent flier program are you on and which status do you hold in it? – Calchas Aug 30 '15 at 21:12
  • @Calchas EuroBonus Gold. This is in Copenhagen. – Nix Aug 30 '15 at 21:16
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The answer is "Yes" but only if you are arriving from an intercontinental flight.

EuroBonus Gold & Diamond members can also access SAS lounges if arriving from a SAS-operated intercontinental flight (except at Newark due to airport authority regulations).

https://www.flysas.com/en/travel-info/at-the-airport/lounges/lounge-access/

I would presume from the phrasing that access would not be granted on arriving from a shorthaul flight.

Since CPH is SAS's hub, it is likely that the "Lounge Dragons" (or "Lounge Angels" if we are to be kind) know the regulations better than most. I suppose it could not hurt to ask if you can enter.

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The answer is unfortunately "it depends". It depends on the airport layout, the specific flight route, and the rules and regulations of the frequent flyer program and your specific access tool.

It's a lot easier when you can stay airside. If you are flying domestic in the US you do arrive airside and you can chose when to leave the secure area and pick up your bags. In this case you can just walk to the local lounge and check whether they will let you in.

If you have to go ground side it's more difficult. Some airlines have a lounge ground side but this is rare and typically not easy to get in. You can ask for a "gate pass". That's equivalent to a boarding pass and will get you through security even if you have no flight booked. Some United Club members actually do this: ask for a gate to access the lounge and have a few free drinks and then leave again. See http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/1353861-gate-pass-united-club-access.html

Whether they will grant you access and/or give you a gate pass depends on a large number of factors: if you bought a full fare first class ticket directly from the air line and you are also a high status member the answer will most likely be "yes". If you are trying to get in with an Economy ticket and a status match from a partner airlines, the answer is more likely to be "no".

There are quite a few qualification for access (fare class, airline of booking, credit card, paid membership, partner match, frequent flyer status, etc.) and the rules will all be different which makes it hard to predict

  • The airlines no longer give this sort of deference to first class ticket holders. You get what you paid for. If that includes arrival lounge access so be it, but if it doesn't then you are out of luck. – Calchas Aug 30 '15 at 21:16
  • I guess that depends. There is a huge difference between domestic first class and international first class. Domestic first class is a significant step down from international business and it's just marketing hype to call it "First". And yes, these come only with significantly reduced perks – Hilmar Aug 31 '15 at 15:25
  • When you say "domestic" do you mean within the USA? [I believe this is the only country that retains a domestic "First" class except Japan.] I am talking about intercontinental first class. A domestic F ticket in the US doesn't even give you lounge access except on special routes. – Calchas Aug 31 '15 at 21:20

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