Can you access a Lufthansa or SWISS First Class lounge with a double connection? Depends upon whom you ask.
I was traveling on a Lufthansa First Class ticket (LAX-MUC-ZRH-FCO) and had reached Zurich. Per Lufthansa’s lounge access guidelines, first class lounge access is granted for travelers with a:
First Class boarding pass for an arriving/departing LH/LX flight on the same day.
On the SWISS website, access is simply reserved for:
SWISS First, First Class Lufthansa, HON Circle
Easy enough, right? But I had connected from Munich in business class and would be connecting to Rome in business class. Did that give me access to the SWISS First Class Lounge in Zurich?
The way I read the access requirements, the one from Lufthansa at least, yes. I arrived earlier that day in Munich in Lufthansa First Class, therefore held a “first class boarding pass for an arriving LH flight on the same day”.
Nope. A lounge matron politely told me I did not have access because my previous flight and onward flight were in business class. However, before I could even question the policy a supervisor stepped over and said I could access the lounge as an “exception”.
I was happy to save that battle for another day and simply said thank you and entered the lounge.
Incident Two + Three
This wasn’t the first time something like this happened, though. In fact, I went through the same issue last year in Zurich as well and was forced to pushback.
Same story–I was traveling from Los Angeles to Frankfurt to Zurich to Rome. I was initially denied access but asked them to check again the rules. After a quick consultation, I was granted access. It seems to me most agents are just not used to situations like this. Why connect in Zurich as well when you can fly nonstop from Frankfurt to Rome?
A third reference point occurred later that year. This time, I had met my business partner John in Frankfurt. He had flown from LAX-FRA in Lufthansa First and then we were connecting together from Frankfurt to Zurich to Nice (this time it was not deliberate, but an issue of award space).
Would I have access as a guest? Once again, the rules seemed to indicate YES:
To access the First Class Terminal and the First Class Lounges travelling companions must present a valid boarding pass for the same flight as the passenger who invited them. Life partners, spouses and children under 18 years must present a valid boarding pass for a flight departing on the same day as the passenger who invited them.
Again, I was initially denied access. I cited these rules and was told to hold on. One agent carefully checked her own system. Finally, after a few minutes, she opened a Swissport profile and said that John could have access but I would not. I looked at the profile and that is exactly what it said. I did not know if this Swissport (a ground handling company) profile was even correct, but chose not to fight it.
This was just a month after my previous visit.
While it may be only a handful of odd people like me who deliberately schedule in extra layovers, it may require some pushback in order to gain access. As near as I can tell based upon the access rules, you have access in connecting cities as long as you hold a same-day arriving or departing first class boarding pass. Be polite, but stand your ground if you are denied.