The Escape Lounge at Oakland Airport (OAK) is located behind security, just opposite Gate 9 – often Norwegian’s favorite gate for their flight to Stockholm. I arrived at Oakland Airport at 10 AM for my Boutique Air flight and it was deserted, with nobody waiting at security.
There were several attendants busy serving drinks and replenishing the food buffet when I entered, though nobody was at the entrance. I was waved in and one look at my American Express Platinum card was all that was needed. My boarding pass and the validity of my card weren’t even checked on the computer.
This Escape Lounge (like others in Europe) is part of the The American Express Global Lounge Collection network. The attendants mentioned that the lounge gets busy at 2 PM with the three Norwegian departures (not daily) and much less so with the British Airways departures (no wonder BA’s flight to Oakland does not do so well).
The lounge has some great seats with a look toward the apron, though nothing much was going on that day.
I went to the bar and asked for sparkling wine and to my surprise was served an excellent rose that would do well in Qatar Airways Business Class.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the food but found the hot and cold menus to be excellent. It wasn’t as healthy and fresh as in many American Express Centurion Lounges but the items were of high quality and presented very well.
I loved the Acme Walnut Bread (I buy it at the farmers market usually) and the cheese and salad items were all very edible – some outright yummy.
I also liked the fresh pastries that were on offer.
The lounge attendants seemed genuinely friendly – there was a lot of entrepreneurial energy there – something that the AMEX lounges have lost.
With just a few guests there, the Internet was blazingly fast; I’m not sure if it would keep up with demand when the lounge is at capacity, though. However, the Boingo network at Oakland Airport is typically fast (few passengers have a Boingo subscription from their American Express Platinum card).
All in all, this was a wonderful surprise. I had low expectations but liked the lounge a lot!