Minsk International Airport is the major airport in Belarus; however, it is one of the smallest major airports that I’ve been in. Don’t confuse it with the older Minsk Airport, mainly referred as Minsk-1 Airport, that serves mostly domestic and Russian flights. This newer Minsk International Airport (MSQ Airport) is 42 km east of Minsk. A bus or taxi ride takes roughly an hour. There is only one business lounge in the international terminal – the Airport Business Lounge Minsk.
After passing through security and Belarusian immigration, proceed to the left side of the airport hall where you can see a series of “Business Lounge” signs. You won’t miss it. You’ll pass rows of Duty Free items, including a few counters of strong-smelling perfumes. If you survived the perfume labyrinth, continue following the Business Lounge signs to a set of stairs. Proceed up to the second level of departures.
At the top of the stairs, turn right. You’ll see the entrance to the Business Lounge Minsk. Both of the International and Domestic Business Lounges are on the 4th floor of the Minsk Airport departure hall. And keep in mind that these two lounges are not connected to each other.
Opened in 2015, the Business Lounge Minsk accommodates a maximum of 80 guests.
Business Lounge Minsk Access
The Business Lounge Minsk caters to business class passengers who receive invitations from the airlines at check-in. A non-business class passenger may purchase admission to this airport lounge. At the time of writing , the cost for a 3-hour is $35. Additional hours cost $12.
Another way to get into this lounge is with a Priority Pass membership. Priority Pass gives you access to more than 1,000 business and first class lounges all around the world.
Unlike other Priority Pass lounges I’ve been in, the Business Lounge Minsk doesn’t indicate which memberships can access this lounge. You just have to know. There are no typical Priority Pass signs posted anywhere in the lounge. As a Priority Pass member, you can bring in up to three guests for free.
There is a tiny check in desk with a lady who speaks passable English. She checked me in fairly quickly, and asked me to sign a receipt. There is 2-hours maximum stay in the Business Lounge Minsk. Which was OK for me because I couldn’t do more hours anyway. Ukrainian International Airlines only allows passengers through security two hours prior to their departure times. It’s the same with any Belavia check in.
Layout of Business Lounge Minsk
The Business Lounge Minsk is basically one big L-shaped open room with several different areas. The overall feeling is cold and sort of futuristic. Grey marble floors and walls remind you of the Soviet-era cold architecture style. Yet, there are a few cool futuristic lighting elements thrown into the room.
The colorful pictures inside depict to the history of Belarus, and also commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
At the left side of the lounge immediately after the front desk, you can find the relaxing area of the lounge. It feels more organic, with artificial turf green carpet and brighter lighting to mimic a tropical paradise. Here, you can find day beds and massage chairs, as well as work stations and a conference area.
Food and Drink
The food is buffet style and set in two different long tables towards the back of the lounge. You’ll find a selection of Belarusian cafeteria style food, such as fried meat and vegetables, soup and sausages.. In addition to these, you may opt to have cold meat and small sandwiches.
There is an additional island table in the middle of the room for bottled water, small snacks, and sweets. Here, you can grab a small selection of fresh fruit, pastries and protein bars.
The hot beverage bar has a self-serve espresso machine for coffee, latte, and cappuccino. You can also get a cup of hot water and pick a tea from a small selection.
The only free alcoholic beverages is the local beer, Bobrov (similar to Heineken), as well as some local wine. The rest of the alcohol selection (i.e., anything with non-Belarusian origins) is kept behind a separate bar for a separate charge.
A row of coolers contains cold beverages and food, like yogurt, tarts and pastries. And of course, there is cold water, as well as sodas, juices, and local beer.
Amenities at the Business Lounge Minsk
It is free and password protected; however, you have to obtain a Belarusian phone number in order for the PIN code sent to you. That’s a real pain, because the majority of international visitors do not have a local number. You can ask nicely at the front desk though. They sometimes hand out access codes in the form of a scratch-off cards.
This was the highlight of my brief stay at the Business Lounge Minsk. There are two complimentary reclining massage chairs that can be programmed for twenty minutes at a time. They’re very decent and can be programmed in a variety of ways – from relaxation and pain relief to full body massage. My twenty minutes passed by too quickly.
The Priority Pass app mentioned that there are showers at the Business Lounge Minsk. However when I tried to find them, I couldn’t. I asked a lounge attendant who couldn’t understand English. She directed me to the main front desk lady to ask. I still couldn’t find it but I know there is a shower here somewhere.
Another highlight of the Business Lounge Minsk is the two daybeds. The cabana style day beds with canopies are in the greenery part of the lounge, which is a relaxing area for passengers to relieve stress. It is comfortable, and definitely a great thing to do to relax before your flight. And they have pool-style lounge chairs in the relaxing area.
There are two work stations here, as well as a laptop. There is also a printer if you need to print anything. Ask the front desk attendant if you need help setting it up.
You can reserve a business style desk and chair for $15 per hour. Although located inside the lounge, the “room” has a partition wall for privacy. You can reserve and pay at the front desk.
Right outside the Business Lounge Minsk, you can rent a cozy wooden sleeping cabin where you can take a nap. Each cabin has a single bed and plenty of space for luggage. They are offered in blocks of three hours, and additional hours can be requested at additional charge. Priority Pass does not include this service. At the time of writing, three hours in the sleeping cabin costs $20. Additional hours are $7 per departing passenger. The cabins are open 24/7.
Things to consider
- Reading materials: There are a selection of newspapers and magazines to choose from; however, none of them are in English.
- Overwhelmed staff: During my visit, I only saw two staff doing everything, including check-in, bartending, supplying food, and cleaning up. That’s way too understaffed for such a busy lounge. Several customers left, frustrated after waiting for their drinks at the unattended bar. Only one staff member spoke even basic English, while the other only speak Russian/Belarusian.
- No accessibility access: Since the Business Lounge Minsk is one level above the departure gates, you will have to climb up a set of stairs to get to the lounge. I saw no elevators or escalators. You will have to ask the airport staff if you need assistance.
- No pictures or photography inside. Obviously, I took pictures here. But you have to keep a low profile in order to do it. You’ll see the “No Photo or Video” signs in several places throughout the lounge, as well as everywhere in the airport. It is the official rule of the lounge; however, it is not strictly enforced. Be careful and don’t do anything to make them change their mind.
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