Review: American Express Lounge By Pontus, (Stockholm Arlanda)

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READ MORE FROM THIS TRIP

Introduction: From Cold To Hot and Checking The #1 Country Off of My Bucketlist 
• Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (Toronto Airport)
• Review: Air France / KLM Lounge (Toronto Airport)
• Review: Air France A350 (Business Class); Toronto – Paris
• Review: Air France A320 (Business Class); Paris – Stockholm
• Review: The Generator Hostel (Stockholm)

• Review: Norrsken Lounge (Stockholm Arlanda)
• Review: Menzies Executive Lounge (Stockholm Arlanda)
• Review: American Express Lounge by Pontus (Stockholm Arlanda)

Typically, I write about my experience and then say “I would (or would not) recommend this lounge.”

(Spoiler Alert: This lounge was so amazing that I’m going to declare that if you have access to this lounge, forget all the other lounges! “Pontus in the Air!” lounge has EVERY lounge beat both in terms of quality and food selection.)

Ok, now that we’ve established how I feel, let’s start from the beginning…

Prior to arriving at the Stockholm Arlanda Airport, I had already completed some research ahead of time and knew I was in for a special treat. I attempted to spend time in THIS LOUNGE and THIS LOUNGE but you’ll see why I expedited the process below.

THE DETAILS

In Terminal 5 (Arlanda’s primary terminal), a special arrangement has been made between American Express and prominent Swedish restauranteur Pontus Frithiof.

Chef Frithiof operates numerous restaurants across Sweden including the largest dining area at Arlanda Airport (Pontus in the Air) and includes a special lounge for American Express members. The lounge is neither a member of Priority Pass nor a designated Centurion Lounge, but rather a specially branded American Express lounge. There are a handful of special Amex lounges around the world, including:

  • Stockholm, Sweden (ARN) — American Express Lounge by Pontus
  • Mumbai, India (BOM) — American Express Lounge
  • Delhi, India (DEL) — American Express Lounge
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE) — The Centurion Lounge
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU) — American Express Lounge
  • Melbourne, Australia (MEL) — American Express Lounge
  • Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) — three Centurion Clubs
  • Monterrey, Mexico (MTY) — two Centurion Clubs
  • Sydney, Australia (SYD) — American Express Lounge
  • Toluca, Mexico (TLC) — Centurion Club

LOUNGE LOCATION

The lounge is located airside in Terminal 5 (where most international flights depart from) and it’s extremely easy to find.

HOURS OF OPERATION

It is open daily from 5:00AM to 10:00PM except for Saturday when the lounge closes at 7:00PM.

WHO HAS ACCESS?

This lounge is operated as part of the American Express Global Lounge collection. It is only available to American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders (also known as the invitation-only “Black Card”). Priority Pass or Lounge Key members are out of luck here as you cannot purchase access.

Platinum cardholders are allowed one guest; Centurion cardholders are allowed two. Additional guests can be purchased for 500 Swedish Krona (~$53 USD). It cost half of that for children 12 and under.

With your Platinum card, you will receive access to the Pontus lounge with a same-day onward boarding pass on any airline.

I had access to the lounge thanks to my American Express Platinum Business Card (READ MORE). You can also access the lounge using the American Express Platinum card (READ MORE).

LOUNGE REVIEW

I knew ahead of time every lounge would pale in comparison to this lounge so I didn’t spend much time in the other lounges.

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.

When you arrive at the top of the stairs, you will turn to the right to enter “Pontus In The Air.” However, as I mentioned before, the lounge is a sectioned off area of the chefs larger restaurant.

As you approach the bar, you will walk alongside a wall. After arriving at the bar, this will be your view of “Pontus In The Air” restaurant.

However, you will find a small door behind you leading into the sectioned off “lounge.”

Guests to the “Pontus In The Air” American Express Lounge are efficiently checked in and able to choose seating throughout the lounge area.

I chose a seat on the distant wall that overlooked the concourse.

I found the lounge to be modern, simple and extremely clean.

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 wasn’t fairly busy, but I could see how it could get quite crowded with seating limited to restaurant-style booths and tables. Luckily, an overflow area is opened up at peak times to keep the lounge comfortable for flyers.

The lounge has an à la carte concept. Once you’re seated, a lounge attendant will bring you a menu of drinks and food to choose from and food is made to order from the Pontus Frithiof’s adjoining restaurant.

COMMUNICATION AND ENTERTAINMENT

The lounge does not have any TV’s but does have a good view of the terminal and aircraft in the distance (during the daytime hours).

DINING

What makes the Pontus lounge special compared with standard Priority Pass lounges in the same airport is that it serves complimentary, made-to-order, a la carte food designed by the renown chef. Here is the current menu for the lounge (offered in Swedish and English).

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.

I chose the Tortellini (sans the cheese) paired with the red wine as suggested by the attentive waiter.

The wine arrived almost immediately.

Anticipating a longer wait for my food, I picked a Kiwi from the fruit bowl and began working on my laptop.

To my surprise, the tortellini arrived very quickly (in less than 10 minutes) after I ordered. It was delicious! Unfortunately, I ate it so fast that I forgot to take pictures.

The waiter checked on my progress throughout the meal. We had a few lighthearted laughs. It is bit embarrassing but after my meal, the waiter said “I hope you enjoyed your meal. I see it went very fast. Would you like another one?” Again, this was in a lighthearted, non-judgemental way.

“Is there a charge if I get another meal?” I responded.

“Not at all. I recommend the Crisp Duck Confit duck leg with carrot and orange puree, braised lentils, and roasted pearl onions. What would you like?”

“I’ll have that!”

I glanced to my right and noticed that there was additional seating but the section was highlighted with a sign of the “black card.”

I stepped into the area and and took the following photo…

As I turned around, the waiter was already delivering my order. It had, literally, only been a few minutes since I ordered.

He explained that the area was for Centurion card holders but I was free to take photos of the area.

The experience was so great that I stayed in the lounge for another hour working on my laptop. Then I headed to the last lounge (review coming soon) before boarding my flight.

FINAL STAMP

The “Pontus in the Air!” lounge is quite cozy. Fortunately, it was not extremely busy so it never felt small.

Another downside to the lounge is they didn’t have many options for vegetarians/vegans. Today, there are enough people that consider themselves vegetarians/vegans that it’s imperative that you adapt and I hope the lounge takes notice to that.

However, this is a unique lounge with an à la carte menu featuring a delicious selection of food prepared by one of Sweden’s most prominent chef.

Again, if I find myself in the Stockholm Arlanda Airport, this lounge is definitely a great place to enjoy a meal before heading to your flight and will be my go-to lounge/restaurant.

PRO TIP: As I arrived at the the 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 three minutes on Fast Track, compared to 16 minutes in the primary line.

I LOVE MY AMERICAN EXPRESS BUSINESS PLATINUM CARD!

Have you ever visited the Pontus In The Air” Lounge? What was your experience?

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