Main sign, Skanderberg VIP Lounge, Tirana Airport, Albania

Review of Scanderbeg VIP Lounge at Tirana International Airport

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Whilst it is no shock that I love Albania, what I am shocked by is how quickly it has changed in the two years between my two visits.

No change is quick as big as the upgrade that has happened to the (so far only) international airport in Albania: Nene Teresa International Airport.

As with many Eastern European airports that are mostly supplied by budget airlines, the lounge when I first visited Albania wasn’t much to write home about. So I didn’t.

But now I have visited in 2024 and the lounge (as well as the rest of the airport) has had a major upgrade.

I’ve searched online as as there are no reviews of the Scanderbeg Lounge at Tirana airport online, this may be the first one of its kind since it reopened.

Where is the Scanderbeg VIP Lounge

The lounge is in a totally different place to where it was when I visited a few years previously.

After going through security and passport control, you’ll be on the upper level and have to walk through the restaurants, all the way to the end of the terminal, down the stairs or escalators, then back along the terminal to the far end near Gate 3.

There are few signs in the airport until you get to the downstairs section.

Once you see the signage for the lounge (as the image at the top shows), it is then up some stairs to the lounge entrance where your boarding pass is scanned.

Signage, Skanderberg VIP Lounge, Tirana Airport, Albania
Sign on the stairs leading up to the lounge

Entry requirements

There are a few ways to access the Scanderbeg VIP Lounge. Business class passengers on legacy airlines have lounge access included in their ticket. Carriers such as British Airways, Lufthansa, LOT and Alitalia all fly into Tirana airport.

Being a high level frequent flyer with one of these carriers will also allow you into the lounge. I am British Airways Silver or OneWorld Sapphire which also allows lounge access when flying a OneWorld Airline. Other frequent flyer schemes have similar rules.

The lounge is also a Priority Pass lounge and can be access with a Priority Pass which is purchased or having been gained by a credit card. Click here to find out how to get Priority Pass membership.

Alternatively, if you have none of the above, it is possible to purchase lounge access for €25 per person for a one time access. It is up to you whether you deem this to be a suitable deal. I would consider it a fair price if you were to spend 2 hours in the lounge and were particularly hungry.

The space

Despite being in the centre of the airport and having no natural light, the lounge felt very modern and airy. The soft lighting, wood panelling and rock effects on the left hand wall near the entrance gave a premium vibe.

I have to say that when I walked in I was immediately blown away but how modern this lounge felt. Most lounges I have visited in the Balkans have been drab affairs, but this lounge wouldn’t feel out of place in a newly renovated western European or Asian terminal.

Just inside the door are three desk areas for coworking with comfy chairs (although they had no arms to lean on). The rest of the area had lounge style chairs with small tables for couple. The toilets are on the left had rock styled wall and look clean and modern.

The rest of the lounge has a mix of bench and table seating with some booths at the far end. All in all, it is a very comfy lounge to sit and enjoy before your flight.

Communal seating, Skanderberg VIP Lounge, Tirana Airport, Albania

Food and drinks in the Scanderbeg VIP Lounge

I was in the lounge at lunchtime and there was a good selection of food available. Hot dishes include and Albanian bean stew, fergese (another Albanian dish), rice, grilled vegetables and another veg selection.

There were also pastries (with a mix of croissants but also local burek), soups, a selection of salads and olives and some cakes for dessert. I was very impressed with the food selection and it puts some other lounges to shame.

Pastry, Skanderberg VIP Lounge, Tirana Airport, Albania

hot food, Skanderberg VIP Lounge, Tirana Airport, Albania

It all looked and tasted fresh and I saw the staff replenish the food frequently.

There was also a coffee machine and selection of teas, as well as fridges full of water, soft drinks and Peja beer. The Albanian wine was very tasty and was free pour, although the white could have been colder for my liking, the ice machine next to the wine vanished that issue.

Finally, there was a small selection of spirits available although none that would be considered Premium.

One thing I have to note, I was impressed by the size of the glassware in this lounge. Normally you find yourself having very tiny glasses that need refilling often in smaller contract lounges but that wasn’t the case in this one.

Albanian wine, Skanderberg VIP Lounge, Tirana Airport, Albania
Red and white Albanian whites which were surprisingly good

Small work space inside the Scanderbeg VIP Lounge

I spent most of my time in the small coworking space area. Being right next to the entrance meant it wasn’t the most private area but it did the job and I got roughly two hours of work done.

Hot desk, Skanderberg VIP Lounge, Tirana Airport, Albania
Coworking/ hot desk area

Other notes about the lounge

There are only two screen in the lounge that show the departure boards so you may have to move to actually be able to see when your flight is boarding as there are no announcements.

Despite a British Airways flight (who normally grant access to a lot of customers due to their large frequent flyer scheme), a LOT flight and plenty of other budget airlines leaving around the same time, the lounge had plenty of people in but never felt busy. The proverbial zoo, that lounges sometimes have the reputation for, was not in evidence here.

Summing up the Scanderbeg VIP Lounge

I was pleasantly surprised at how good the new lounge is at Tirana International Airport. It is a massive improvement on the old lounge and feels modern and premium. It is one of the best lounges that I have been to in the region and it makes me feel like the experience of departing Tirana airport is a good way to end your holiday.

 

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