In this review, we will check out the MasterCard Business Lounge at Bucharest Otopeni Airport (OTP).
Bucharest Otopeni Airport
My trip to Dubrovnik would start this time again from Otopeni Airport, Bucharest’s sole airport for scheduled flights after the closure of Baneasa Airport in 2012.
I have departed from Otopeni Airport numerous times before. When having lounge access, I would usually visit the TAROM Business Lounge, which I reviewed before.
This time, I however decided to check out the MasterCard Business Lounge, the only other lounge option at Bucharest Airport.
MasterCard Business Lounge
The MasterCard Business Lounge is easy to find, as Otopeni Airport basically exists out of a single concourse. You walk all the way to the end of the airport concourse into the more modern annex by basically following the signs towards gate 4 to 11.
At one point, you will reach some stairs and an elevator at your right hand side which says ‘viewpoint’ and ‘lounge. This is the way up towards the MasterCard Lounge, which is located one floor above the main terminal concourse.
MasterCard Lounge entrance requirements
The MasterCard Business Lounge has the same general entry requirements as the TAROM Business Lounge. You need a same-day business class ticket, or hold elite status with an affiliated frequent flyer programme of the airline you fly with.
The only difference between the lounges is that some holders of premium credit cards (mostly Romanian-issued cards) can also gain access depending on their card’s benefits.
Priority Pass and similar lounge membership programmes are currently not accepted at both the TAROM and MasterCard lounge.
As I was flying on Aegean Airlines to Athens, I was granted access courtesy of my Star Alliance gold status with the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles frequent flyer programme.
If you have to check-in luggage or want a check-in agent to print a proper boarding pass, you will automatically receive a lounge voucher if you qualify, which can be used either at the TAROM Lounge or the MasterCard Lounge.
If you don’t have time to stop by a check-in desk there is no need to worry. Just present your boarding pass to the lounge agent at the reception desk, who will write down your frequent flyer number and ticket number and will then let you in.
Lounge seating and decor
The MasterCard Business Lounge has a colourful but slightly weird decor which perhaps best resembles a box of LEGO bricks in all kinds of colours thrown upside down.
The carpet and chairs all come in an similar array of different colours, although somehow it does blend together.
One aspect which you will immediately notice at this lounge is how bright and airy it feels thanks to the large windows overlooking the tarmac. Although the TAROM Lounge has tarmac views too, the MasterCard Lounge has the advantage that it overlooks a busier part of the apron as well as one of the two runways of Otopeni Airport, making it a better location for planespotting.
Most of the seats in the lounge are dining tables close to the buffet area, which are also the best places to grab if you need to do some work. There are also a few comfortable sofas, as well as large couches.
Even though the MasterCard Lounge is much smaller in size compared to the TAROM Lounge, it is usually less crowded or even rather empty, which was the case during my visit this time around.
Internet and electricity
About half of the seats have access to power sockets, which are often hidden in the floor underneath some panels which you must remove first.
The lounge WiFi was functioning well and had decent speeds, making the lounge a good location to sit down and get some work done. There is however no business centre with public computers or laptops which you can use. If this is important to you, head over to the TAROM Lounge instead.
The MasterCard Business Lounge is exactly the same as the TAROM Business Lounge when it comes to the food and drinks buffet, as both lounges are catered and run by the same company.
Unfortunately, that means that the food and beverages at the MasterCard Lounge are as dismal as those in the TAROM Lounge. Don’t visit the lounge expecting you will be fed well, as all there is are some basic sandwiches, nuts and crisps. If lucky, you might be able to get a cup of yoghurt or a piece of fruit as well.
Although from a quantitative point of view the drinks in the lounge are a bit better than the food, it is also not something in which the MasterCard Lounge stands out.
There is a coffee machine making an acceptable enough brew, hot water to make tea, and fridges which are stocked with several soft drinks.
The alcohol selection is somewhat limited and does not stand out in quality either. The few bottles of booze are all low to mid-shelf brands and doesn’t extend much further than vodka, gin, Campari and whiskey (Ballentine’s).
There is one brand of white wine and one red available, both of them unimpressive lower-shelf choices. If you fancy a drink, you are perhaps best off sticking to the cans of Ursus beer from the fridge.
There are no restrooms inside the lounge. If you need to go to the toilet, you have no choice but to head out to the main terminal and use the toilets there, which is a minor inconvenience.
There are no showers at the MasterCard Business Lounge, nor can you find them at the TAROM Lounge or anywhere else at the airport.
The MasterCard Business Lounge isn’t anything to get excited about. Just like the TAROM Lounge at Bucharest Airport, it has a sub-par food buffet and a mediocre drinks selection at best.
As both lounges are catered and run by the same company, it doesn’t matter much at all whether you visit this lounge or head over to the larger TAROM Lounge instead. The only differences between the lounges are basically the decor and location.
One aspect in which the MasterCard Lounge is however better than the TAROM Lounge is that it has a better tarmac view, which could be a deciding factor for avid plane spotters, and is usually less crowded.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘An Adriatic Adventure: Off-Season Travel to Dubrovnik, Montenegro and a Bit of Bavaria‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: MasterCard Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport (current chapter)
2. Review: Aegean Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Athens (Airbus A320)
3. Review: Aegean Business Lounge Athens Airport Hall A (Non-Schengen)
4. Review: Olympic Air Economy Class Athens to Dubrovnik (Bombardier Dash 8-400)
5. Review: Apartments Festa, Old Town of Dubrovnik
6. A Dubrovnik Winter Trip: Off-Season Travel Away from the Tourist Crowds
7. Review: Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Kotor (Montenegro) by Bus
8. Review: Palazzo Drusko Deluxe Rooms, Kotor, Montenegro
9. Kotor, Montenegro: Old Town Charm in Europe’s Most Spectacular Scenery
10. Cetinje – The Old Royal Capital of Montenegro
11. Review: Ramada by Wyndham Podgorica, Montenegro
12. Podgorica: Is the Capital of Montenegro Worth a Visit?
13. Review: Wizz Air Podgorica to Memmingen (Airbus A320)
14. Memmingen: More Than Just a Low-Cost Airport Close to Munich
15. The Bavaria Ticket: Unlimited Train Travel Across the German State of Bayern
16. Review: Michel Hotel Landshut, Bavaria, Germany
17. Landshut: Bavaria Off The Beaten Track
18. Review: Air France/KLM Lounge Munich Airport
** rest of the chapters to follow soon **