Lounge Entry Rules For Teens

by Zac George
a bar with shelves and chairs in a room with a window

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?


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Harrison mendes January 12, 2017 - 6:26 am

Flew VA Syd to Melbourne in july, business. Staff let me into the lounge no questions asked, morning flight. I later read the conditions and it said the place is licensed from 11am. Coming back was different – evening flight, refused entry. I think it depends with the person at the gate.

Max Adams January 13, 2017 - 10:44 am

Well just returned from my trip to Europe flying a mixture of QF F and EK J. I am currently 16 but am very tall. Was let in to every lounge without anyone blinking, even received a personal escort in the Qantas First lounge. Dubai was the same minus the escort! Perhaps being tall has its benefits, as I was also offered alcohol on numerous flights. Glad to hear the airline industry position on it.

Tikiri January 15, 2017 - 3:36 pm

Emirates has listed their lounge policy in a little tiny corner of their website. I feel the same rage you do as I booked a business class ticket CMB-DXB-ORD and in DXB when I went to the business class lounge they didn’t allow me to go in. Any idea about Qatar airways policy? Flying that pretty soon

Dubai June 30, 2017 - 9:34 am

Good point of view.

Tauseef October 7, 2017 - 10:31 pm

Im 17 and had a good laugh flying AA from AKL-LAX-JFK-MAD, had access to the Qantas Business Lounge in AKL with take-what-you-want alcohol (Had a beer or two, nothing overboard). Boarded the flight, and was refused champagne because of some “airline policies”. Flying from LAX-JFK the attendants gave me champagne…on American soil…weird haha

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