Airport terminals can be a stressful place. With crowds of travelers lugging suitcases all around you, a constant hum of noise, and long lines for everything from breakfast to a stop in the bathroom, it can be pretty easy to feel overwhelmed. Whether you’re trying to get work done before a big trip, or relax and recover while on your way home from one, airport lounge access can give you that much-needed escape while you wait for your flight.

For many travelers, airline lounges are just a place that one walks by in the terminal and wonders just what’s behind those closed doors. But airport lounge access isn’t just for the VIPs. Here are a few things you may be missing out on when you don’t take advantage of airport lounge access.

Peace and quiet

Even if you’ve invested in noise-cancelling headphones to use during your travels, there are times that you just can’t fully escape the noise and distractions of a terminal. Luckily, airline lounges offer you the solace you crave.
Recognizing the importance of this R&R time for busy travelers, many airline lounges have upped the ante—allowing you to rest in more than just a comfy chair. For example, Vancouver International Airport’s Plaza Premium Lounge, which was renovated in early 2014, now boasts multiple private nap rooms that look like small hotel rooms. Likewise, Minute Suites, which has locations in major airports in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Dallas-Fort Worth, offers private, noise-controlled suites with a daybed where you can get some much-needed shut-eye.

Clean up nicely

We’ve all been there: the plane touches down on the tarmac and you’ve worked up a mean case of bed head during your in-flight nap. Or, you didn’t quite get those 5 hours of needed sleep on the red eye. This is another scenario where airport lounge access comes in to improve your trip. While it’s not a universal perk, many airline lounges offer showers where you can clean up and be on your way. It’s a perfect perk for those times that you don’t have time to stop off at the hotel before the big meeting.

For those who might need more to feel back up to their best, there is a growing number of airline lounges that offer spa services—and sometimes they’re complimentary. For instance, the American Express® Centurion Lounge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport offers a free 15-minute massage or express manicure to visitors, while the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK International Airport in New York City offers, in addition to its spa service, complimentary haircuts for those in need of a fresh look for their trip.

Get down to business early

The sometimes hostile environment of a high-traffic airport is often far from the ideal venue to focus on your work. When you need to spruce up your presentation, review your notes, or catch up on emails, head to the airline lounge, where you’ll typically find free Wi-Fi access and a comfortable space to get down to business. Most lounges will also provide print services, so you can print extra copies of the documents in no time.

Eat, drink, and be merry

If you’re on your way home and looking to celebrate a big win or a job well done with your colleagues, airline lounges can provide a less crowded space to do so. Whether you’re seeking a watering hole or looking to enjoy a bite to eat, you can find both at most airline lounges.

At some you’ll even find menus full of food and drink created by world-renowned chefs. At the QantasTM First Lounges found at the international airports in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, travelers can enjoy a range of fare from Chef Neil Perry. And when stopping in the American Express® Centurion Lounge in Dallas, guests can enjoy cuisine crafted by James Beard Award-winning chef Dean Fearing. No matter which lounge you end up at, you’ll likely beat the long and winding lines in the food court.

Get help

Speaking of lines, one way you’ll be able to avoid them is by asking your questions at the lounge. Whenever you have a quick question about your reservation, need to track baggage, or grab a better seat, airline lounges can provide the help you need without the long lines. In the lounge you’ll find airline staff members who are equipped to handle your every need, and quickly at that, so you can go back to enjoying all the other perks that come with your airport lounge access.