A few weeks ago, I had the chance to check out the American Express Lounge Stockholm before a short intra-Schengen hop. The lounge, located in Terminal 5 (Arlanda’s primary terminal), is a partnership between American Express and Swedish restauranteur Pontus Frithiof. Interestingly, while AMEX calls this a “lounge,” it’s definitely more of a restaurant than a place to spend a significant amount of time relaxing pre-flight.
This was my first time flying out of Stockholm and I was excited to check out the lounge. I was flying Norwegian, a low-cost carrier, and opted not to purchase lounge access through them knowing whatever lounge they could provide would likely pale in comparison to the American Express lounge.
Accessing “Pontus In the Air,” An American Express Lounge
This lounge is operated as part of the American Express Global Lounge collection. It is only available to American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders. Priority Pass or Lounge Key members are out of luck here, and you cannot purchase access.
Platinum cardholders are allowed one guest; Centurion cardholders are allowed two. Additional guests can be purchased for 500 Swedish Krona ($50 USD) and half that for children 12 and under.
What Is The “Pontus In The Air” Lounge?
Opened in 2007, the American Express lounge is operated in conjunction in a partnership with one of Sweden’s most prominent restauranteurs, Chef Pontus Frithiof. Chef Frithiof operates numerous restaurants across Sweden and the lounge is actually a sectioned off area of his larger restaurant complex in Arlanda airport.
Interestingly, it is one of only a few American Express lounges located outside the United States. Other international American Express-branded lounges include the Centurion lounge in Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), and other locations in Argentina, Australia, India, and Mexico. It’s the only American Express Lounge in Europe.
Fast Track Security, Thanks To The AMEX Platinum
After arriving to Arlanda Airport, I was greeted by a large banner informing me that thanks to my American Express card, I could access the Fast Track lane at security.
Monitors at security informed me I could expect clearing security to take four minutes on Fast Track, compared to 18 minutes in the primary line. My boarding pass was not coded for Fast Track, but I showed the attendant my Platinum card and was granted access.
Thanks to the Fast Track, I was through security in no time. I headed straight through the duty-free labyrinth common in European airports directly to the lounge.
Where Is The Lounge Located And What Are The Hours?
The lounge is located airside in terminal 5, between the A and F piers. It’s quite easy to find and the signage is visible. Hours are 5:00am to 10:00pm everyday except for Saturday, when the lounge closes at 7:00pm.
Guests to the American Express Lounge Stockholm are efficiently checked in and able to choose seating throughout the lounge area.
The lounge itself is quite small, as it’s just a dedicated area of the larger “Pontus in the Air!” restaurant. During my visit, it was pretty empty, but I could see how it could get quite crowded. Luckily, an overflow area is opened up at peak times to keep the lounge comfortable for flyers.
Food And Drink: American Express Lounge Stockholm
The lounge has an à la carte concept. Once you’re seated, a lounge attendant will bring you a (regularly updated) menu of drinks and food to choose from. Food is made to order from the Pontus Frithiof’s adjoining restaurant.
If you don’t fancy any of the options on the lounge menu, you are able to order from the larger restaurant’s food and drink menus.
As a vegetarian, I chose the Tortellini paired with the red wine. The wine arrived almost immediately.
Anticipating a longer wait for my food, I got some cookies from the counter and settled down with my laptop to get some work done. But to my surprise, the tortellini arrived very quickly as well about 10 minutes after I ordered. It was delicious.
After my meal, I asked for my favorite coffee drink—a flat white—and stayed at the lounge for about 30 minutes working on my laptop. Then I headed out of the lounge to check out two Priority Pass lounges to see how they compared.
(Spoiler alert: although the other lounges are more spacious, the “Pontus in the Air!” American Express lounge has them beat both in terms of quality and food selection.)
The “Pontus in the Air!” lounge is quite small, and the seating is limited to restaurant-style booths and tables. Therefore, it is more of a restaurant than lounge. Funny enough, this will be one of the remaining restaurant-style lounge concepts in the AMEX network, since American Express-issued Priority Pass memberships lose the airport restaurant benefit on August 1, 2019.
Another downside is that Pontus in the Air does not feature any complimentary hard liquors. But it is a unique lounge with an à la carte menu featuring a delicious selection of food prepared by Sweden’s most prominent chef.
While I wouldn’t recommend this lounge as a place to pass a significant amount of time, it’s definitely a great place to enjoy a meal before heading to your flight — or heading to another Priority Pass lounge in the airport to enjoy a bloody mary or pre-flight drink.
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