In this review we will check out the TAROM business lounge at Bucharest Otopeni Airport (OTP) in Bucharest, Romania.
To the airport
After a few days in Bucharest it was time to hit the road again for the second part of my great journey. The airport is located 11 miles north of the centre of Bucharest. In fact, the actual location is just north of the town of Otopeni (hence the IATA airport code of OTP).
Although there is a bus connection to the city centre it is by far the best option to use a rideshare app such as Uber to reach the airport, which will set you back around 8 EUR in normal traffic conditions.
Although morning rush hours queues at the airport can be brutal, which was the case during the start of my long journey when I took a Wizz Air flight to Oslo. When your flight departs during the 6-9am morning peak, queues can be long and remember that the airport has no priority lines for business class passengers and frequent flyers.
Fortunately I had a 1pm departure and with no queues at the check-in desk, security and passport control, I was airside within minutes after my Uber dropped me off at the terminal entrance.
Just like many other airports throughout the world, you are force to walk through a duty free shop before you enter the actual international departures terminal with all the gates.
Bucharest Airport lounges
There are two lounges at Bucharest Airport. The TAROM lounge of Romanian national carrier TAROM, and a MasterCard lounge further down the terminal.
Both lounges are exactly the same when it comes to the food & beverage selection and amenities, although they differ slightly when it comes to the layout and design.
If you have a business class ticket or hold elite status with an airline frequent flyer programme you can get access to both lounges. Some premium credit cards (mostly Romanian-issued cards) also gain entry into the lounges. Priority Pass is currently not accepted at both the TAROM and MasterCard lounge.
If you do not have the time to pick up a lounge voucher at the check-in desk, you can simply show your boarding pass at the lounge reception desk. The receptionist will write down your details and you will be let into the lounge.
TAROM lounge location
This time, I opted for the TAROM business class lounge, which is located halfway the departures terminal. You simply walk straight ahead until you see an escalator going up to the second level on your left side.
The entrance to the TAROM lounge is located immediately on your right side once you have taken the escalator up.
TAROM lounge seating
The lounge reception is located immediately behind an automatic sliding door. On the left of the reception desk is a small smoking area, while the main lounge area is located to the right.
If you turn right, you will first pass along the lounge buffet before reaching a large seating area. There are table seats on the left side facing large windows with views over the tarmac, as well as some circular couches and other seats to the right. Some of the couches in the far corner of the lounge can also be used as daybeds for those who need a quick nap.
There are plenty of electricity sockets in the lounge – although you do need to look carefully for them. Most are hidden in panels in the floor which must be opened first.
Although the design of the lounge is fairly basic, it isn’t necessarily ugly and looks like your average European lounge.
The lounge buffet is located at the lounge entrance and can best be described as absolutely basic. When it comes to food, there are a few plastic-wrapped sandwiches, pastries, some nuts and crisps, packaged yoghurt and some fruit. The food offer does not change during the day. If you plan to have a meal in the lounge think twice, as it is by no means a substitute for a proper meal.
The drinks in the lounge can be described as an average assortment too. There are two coffee machines making low-quality caffeinated drinks and there is a fridge with soft drinks and cans of beer.
On the buffet counter there are several jars with different juices, as well as a few bottles of lower-shelf wine (one red, one white) and a few bottles of liqueur (gin, vodka, Campari, Metaxa, Ballentine’s whiskey).
Although for a good coffee you are better off in one of the terminal cafes, the lounge isn’t a bad place to grab an (alcoholic) drink.
Other lounge amenities
In one corner of the lounge you can find a table on which two laptops are placed for those who need to print something or access the internet. WiFi in the lounge is normally pretty fast and good, making the lounge a decent place to get some work done, especially when you visit outside of the morning rush hour when the lounge is at capacity.
If you need to go to the toilet, you need to head out of the lounge and use the public restrooms located immediately to the right from the lounge entrance. Even though this is a bit inconvenient, at least the toilets are kept clean and are even at peak hours barely used at all as most other passengers without lounge access are unaware of the location of these particular restrooms.
There are no showers at all in the lounge, nor anywhere else at the airport.
Best of the lounge is in my opinion the views over the tarmac. Even though due the lounge location you only look out over a tiny part of tarmac (basically four gates only) it still gives some good plane spotting opportunities throughout the day.
The TAROM business lounge is downright average at best so set your expectations straight. Especially the paltry food offer is a real let-down in both quantity and quality.
However, if you need a quiet place to sit with a drink or to do some work, the lounge isn’t necessarily a bad place. It is a comfortable enough place to await your flight.
Doing some plane spotting with a beer in your hand surely beats hanging out in the overcrowded gate areas of Otopeni Airport – which is currently way over its originally planned capacity and is in dire need for expansion and renovation.
It is however certainly not something I would plan to arrive early for!
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Siberian Shuffle – A Crazy Winter Trip Around Eurasia‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Oslo Sandefjord Torp (Airbus A321)
2. A Day in the Norwegian Capital of Oslo
3. Review: Norwegian Railways Night Train Oslo-Stavanger in a Private Sleeper
4. Review: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Stavanger
5. Stavanger – A Great Norwegian City Trip Surprise
6. Review: North Sea Lounge Stavanger Airport
7. Review: KLM Cityhopper Business Class Stavanger to Amsterdam (Embraer RJ-175)
8. Guide to the Carnival Celebrations in the Netherlands
9. Review: KLM Crown Lounge (Schengen) Amsterdam Airport
10. Review: Air France Business Class Amsterdam to Paris (Airbus A319)
11. Review: ‘Salon Paris’ Business Class Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2C
12. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Paris to Moscow (Airbus A320)
13. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Lounge Moscow Sheremetyevo
14. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Moscow to Irkutsk (Boeing 737-800)
15. Review: Matreshka Hotel, Irkutsk
16. Irkutsk Trip Report: Exploring the ‘Paris of Siberia’ in Winter
17. Review: Mayak Hotel, Listvyanka (Lake Baikal)
18. A Winter Trip to the Frozen Wonderland of Lake Baikal
19. Review: Ibis Irkutsk Center Hotel, Irkutsk
20. Review: Domestic Business Class Lounge Irkutsk Airport
21. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Irkutsk to Moscow (Boeing 737-800)
22. Review: Pushkin Hotel, Moscow
23. A 24 Hour Stopover in the Russian Capital of Moscow
24. Review: ‘Moscow’ and ‘Jazz’ Business Lounges Moscow Sheremetyevo Terminal D
25. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Moscow to Paris (Airbus A320)
26. Review: TAROM Business Class Paris to Bucharest (Airbus A318)
27. Review: TAROM Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport (current chapter)
28. Review: Air France Business Class Bucharest to Paris (Airbus A320)
29. A Short Overnight Stopover in Paris
30. Review: Sheltair Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2D
31. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Paris to Baku (Airbus A320)
32. Review: Old City Hotel and Apartments, Baku, Azerbaijan
33. Destination Baku: An Intriguing Mix Between Old and New
34. Guide: Train Travel in Azerbaijan
35. Sheki: Azerbaijan’s Most Lovely Town and Springboard to the Caucasus
36. Must Be the Ganja! A Visit to the City of Ganja in Azerbaijan
37. Review: Shah Palace Hotel, Baku, Azerbaijan
38. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Lounge Baku Airport
39. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Baku to Paris (Airbus A320)
40. Review: Air France Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2F
41. Review: KLM Business Class Paris to Amsterdam (Boeing 737)
42. Review: KLM Business Class Amsterdam to Bergen (Boeing 737)
43. Blissful Bergen – Is It Really Norway’s Most Beautiful City?
44. Review: Bergen to Oslo on a Norwegian Intercity Train (Bergensbanen Railway)
45. The Flamsbana Railway – From the Myrdal Mountains to the Fjord at Flam
46. Review: SAS Economy Class Oslo to Brussels (Boeing 737-600)
47. Review: Diamond Lounge Brussels Airport Pier B Non-Schengen
48. Review: TAROM Economy Class Brussels to Bucharest (Boeing 737-800)