As a teen, I’ve had my fair share of lounge rejections due to age. Most of the time I understand why, but there are times where I just shake my head and wonder why. A few days ago I decided to reach out to 5 airlines, Etihad, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Australia and Emirates to see how the rules vary between them all. Most of the time I’ll guest people In but I wanted to see what rules are like for me to enter on my own.

I sent each airline the following message – Hi …. what is the age limit to enter your lounges, I’m 16 and will be traveling in either first or business alone (not as an unaccompanied minor) thanks.

  • Etihad 

I fly Etihad quite regularly and have never had an issue accessing their lounges. I asked the airline to clarify their rules and this was the response:

Hi Zac, don’t worry you will be able to access the lounge as far as it’s within the terms and conditions of your ticket. 

This is one of the reasons I love Etihad. The staff will be informed if a young passenger will be in the lounge. Therefore, they will not be able to access any liquor. I love this policy and think all airlines should follow.

  • Qantas 

I fly Qantas the most out of all the airlines I fly and sadly they are the airline I have the most problems with when it comes to lounges. Their response:

Hi Zac, as there is alcohol available in our lounges there is an age limit of 18 and over unless accompanied by an adult. Although lounge access won’t be available, we do hope you enjoy all the other benefits of traveling in first class. 

It’s quite annoying that more than 50% of the time I’m rejected from lounges, It would be nice if they could follow what Etihad do with their policy.

  • Cathay Pacific

I’ve been in quite a few Cathay lounges and always found them to be great, so I was interested to hear their response:

Hi Zac, I received a reply from the relevant team and advise that there is no age limitation for eligible passengers for lounge access. Hope this helps.

 What’s very interesting about this is that I can enter a Cathay lounge as a Qantas Platinum but can’t access a Qantas lounge on my own, even though QF lounges have alcohol behind the bar and Cathay have it freely in the first lounges, go figure.

  • Virgin Australia

I also fly Virgin quite a lot and was interested to hear their response:

Hi Zac, children under 18 years of age are welcome in the Virgin Australia Lounge, but must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian. Don’t hesitate to approach the team at the Lounge reception to discuss if you wish. Thanks.

  • Emirates

Emirates is an interesting one, on the website they say under 18’s may be able to access lounges on their own but don’t state where. Here is their response:

Hi Zac, As per the rules, only 18+ are allowed into our Lounges Regards,

It’s quite interesting to see the variation in rules between all five airlines. If I can’t review some lounges, this is why. It’s a little disappointing missing out on lounge access as an elite and flying a premium cabin on some airlines, but rules are rules I guess.

Where do you stand on the rules?