The Air Algérie Lounge in Algiers (ALG) was one of the oddest lounges I have ever visited, not so much because of the lounge itself but because of how eerily quiet it was.
Air Algérie Lounge Algiers (ALG) Review
No mention was made of lounge access when I checked in for my Air Algérie flight from Algiers to Doha, but I figured the hub airport in the capital of Algeria for the flag carrier of Algeria would have a lounge…and it did. But it was not quite what I was expecting.
The signage was poor, but I found it up an escalator pointing up to the lounge in the massive but empty Houari Boumediene Airport.
At the entrance (down a hall, around the corner, and down another hall), a man took a look at my boarding pass and welcomed me in. He was genuinely friendly, though spoke little English.
The lounge was large, looked brand new (the airport is only two years old), and was empty, with the exception of one man talking on his mobile phone. I figured it would soon fill up (there were several late-evening departures) and within an hour there were four other travelers in the lounge. But soon enough the entire lounge cleared out and I found myself alone in the lounge for nearly an hour (even the guy at the check-in desk disappeared for an extended period).
The main seating area did not have power ports, but the long table that divided the lounge into two sections had plugs and USB-A ports.
I wish I was joking, but I had another photo incident in the lounge. Upon entry, I figured it would fill up quickly and began taking pictures. This must have weirded the one other guy on his cell phone out, because he scooted over to the front desk, beckoned the agent in, and began pointing to me and loudly speaking in Arabic.
I quickly backed up the photos to the cloud, preparing for the worst, but the lounge agent did not approach me. Instead, he shrugged at the angry passenger and went back to his desk. The passenger, meanwhile, gave me the evilest stare, which I responded to by taking even more pictures…but avoiding further eye contact.
Food + Drink
On one side of the lounge was a buffet, with pastries, sandwiches, coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, and water. That’s it. That’s really it. I had a coffee, which wasn’t bad at all (I used the manual press, not the Nestle machine), and it was not bad. I was a bit hungry at this point and had a croissant, which I really should have passed on, not just because it was unhealthy, but because it was stale.
Algeria has a rich national cuisine. It is a shame that there were really no specialty dishes offered…or even simple staples like salad, soup, cheese, and mezze.
Restroom + Shower
The restroom included a shower stall and was reasonably maintained, though I do not understand why toilet paper instead of thicker paper towels are used to dry hands.
Incredibly slow (0.2 up and down) wi-fi internet was available. Access was controlled by an individualized access code, which I received from the front desk.
When I left, I was still all alone in the lounge. Figure the lounge is open an hour before the first departure until the last departure…there were no posted hours anywhere.
I think if I wanted to I could have made a totally clickbait Josh Cahill-style “scariest lounge ever” post…and maybe I will. In fact, I think I will.
But the takeaway was not how deserted it was, but how sad it was for a flagship lounge at the hub of that carrier. Great seats, decent coffee, even showers…but worthless internet and a very poor food selection unbecoming of a hub airport for a flag carrier. Then again, with little competition perhaps it simply isn’t a big deal.