Does it makes sense to travel with someone with enough frequent flyer miles to enter airport lounges, if you don't have that required FF card status?
Some programs allow their members to bring a guest into the lounge for free, others for a small fee. Air Canada, for example, allows any number of your immediate family free, and one guest free, other guests for $25 or $50 depending on the time of day. (Later in the day the free alcohol is out.) As well, they have always allowed my traveling companions to line up with me in the super-duper-fast checkin line, the right-this-way-why-should-you-line-up security line, and the priority boarding line. Lufthansa has done the same, but doesn't allow me to bring a guest into their lounges using my Air Canada status (back when I had it.)
Your frequent flyer program may vary, and one qualified flyer in a group of 20 might not be able to bring all 19 of the others "under your wing".
It's also possible to make a new friend fairly quickly outside a lounge. I once sat down outside a lounge on the floor - there was a power plug there, it was quiet compared to the rest of the airport, and the free wifi leaked through the wall so I was happy - but someone came along and offered to guest me in. Since I was traveling on the same airline (but not the same flight) there was no problem.