Review: Sala VIP Lounge In Pisa (Qatar Airways & Priority Pass)

a room with a couch and tables

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Qatar Airways has very few lounges of its own around the world so, most of the time I fly with the airline, I find myself using 3rd party lounges while I wait for my flight – on this trip and in Pisa things were no different.

Pisa airport is incredibly small so the Sala VIP lounge is a very short walk away from where you’ll find yourself after you clear airport security.

Lounge Location

Once you’ve cleared airport security you should see a large sign pointing the way to the lounge:

people walking in a mallSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

Just past that sign is a doorway leading to an elevator and an escalator that will both take you up one level to where the lounge is located:

a sign on the wallSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

a poster on the wallSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

As far as I can tell this is the only lounge at Pisa Airport (yes, it’s that small) so it wasn’t overly surprising to see a large list of airlines that use this facility posted outside:

a sign with many logosSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

As well as being the lounge for airlines like BA, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa the Sala VIP Lounge is also part of the Priority Pass network, Lounge Club and Lounge Key.

The Lounge

Just inside the main door to the lounge is the reception desk which, from my experience, may or may not be manned – there don’t appear to be all that many lounge staff (possibly even only one).

a reception desk in a hotelSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

If you do encounter a member of lounge staff at any point during your stay, he/she will almost certainly be very amenable and helpful – at least they have been on all my visits – they do seem to be genuinely friendly.

The problem with the lounge (yes, there’s a problem) is pretty apparent as soon as you start taking a look around.

Immediatley past the reception desk is a seating area that could be straight out of the 1980’s:

a room with a couch and tablesSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

With old-fashioned wood everywhere and very basic chairs around equally basic tables this doesn’t exactly scream “Business Class”.

a room with a table and a couchSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

Parallel to this seating area is another 1980’s throwback area that’s very similar…..

a room with green couches and tablesSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

a room with a couch and a tableSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

…and you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that the pictures are making it all look a lot nicer than it actually is.

There’s an annex next to the main part of the lounge which is very different in design….but still not in any way modern or up to date:

a room with white chairs and a rugSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

The seats here are comfortable enough but a shortage of power sockets in an issue (the main lounge area shares the same issue).

If you are fortunate enough to find yourself near a power port you’ll need an adapter to use the European-style 2-pin sockets:

a white outlet with a keyholeSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

The refreshments the lounge offers (such as they are) are laid out in the main lounge area just to the right of the lounge entrance.

a counter with food and drinks on itSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

There’s a coffee machine that works with capsules…..

a silver coffee machine on a counterSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

…and that’s not too bad as the capsules on offer are by illy (regular and decaffeinated are both available):

several baskets of condimentsSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

The “food” on offer is essentially junk food which ranges from chips and nuts…..

a group of bags of chips and nuts on a counterSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

….to pre-packaged cookies and very dry pastries:

a large pile of bags of cookiesSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

A tall upright refrigerator houses a couple of types of soda, some water bottles and the smallest collection of alcoholic beverages I’ve ever seen in a lounge:

a refrigerator full of drinks and beveragesSala VIP Lounge – Pisa

The all around F&B offering is terrible – it almost makes US domestic lounges look fairly ok.

The final thing you need to know about the lounge itself is that it offers free wifi (with pretty good speed) for 4 hours. I’ve no idea what happens after 4 hours but, presumably, it can’t be all that hard to just log back in again with no one being the wiser.

One word of warning: 

Italian immigration (which you’ll need to clear to get to the gates) starts right next to the lounge and these guys aren’t the speediest. A sizeable line can (and does) form very quickly…..

a group of people in a terminalLine for Italian Immigration at Pisa

….so don’t cut things too fine by “enjoying” the lounge for too long.

Thoughts

Being polite I’ll just say that this is probably the least impressive lounge I’ve ever visited…..and this is going to be an issue for Qatar Airways.

I mentioned this when I reviewed the AviaPartner Lounge Le Anfore in Rome – this type of lounge does not go well with the type of Business Class product Qatar Airways offers and the type of image it clearly wishes to present.

There is absolutely nothing “premium” about a lounge like this and it will certainly cheapen the experience for most passengers who, unlike I, probably didn’t score a fantastic deal on the airfare.

if you’re paying thousands of dollars for a Business Class experience you don’t expect to find yourself in a lounge that time forgot…and that’s exactly what you’ll get in Pisa.


 

2 COMMENTS

  1. If the Sala Lounge in PSA is the least impressive lounge you have ever come across, you need to do more travelling! 😀

    • I think the problem is that I normally know if I’ve got a bad lounge ahead of me and I use my status or Priority Pass membership to get myself in to less bad lounges – that’s not an option in Pisa 🙂

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