For my onward journey, I had reserved a seat on a shared shuttle with Ötztaler Transport for arrival at the airport by 12:30 as that would ensure I need not rush for my flight. The return shuttle was booked with a departure at 10am from my ski hotel, and I was picked up promptly but little did I know that I was made to wait with the driver by the village as they pooled passengers, eventually only leaving at nearly noon time. The poor communication and terrible experience with their shuttle service meant I cannot recommend this service in good faith.
Arriving at the airport past 1pm, I made my way straight to the empty check-in counter for Austrian Airlines. The staff made a check on my passport and visa before issuing my boarding passes all the way to Oslo.
After that I made a stop at the customs counter to conduct my tax refund. There is a small office here that seems closed but as I approached it, a customs officer came out to open the door to the small room. Fortunately there does not seem to be anyone else so I was left with plenty of time that allowed me to return back to the ibis Hotel in the city centre to retrieve my pair of glasses that I left in my last stay. As a small town, the airport is just 20 minutes away by public bus and I was able to head there and return to the airport with still 45 minutes before departure.
Back at the departure hall, I head for the security queue that was not crowded. This is expected for a small regional airport and works in my favour. Past the security counters, travellers will see the duty free shops straight in front. Again, it wasn’t large by any means but the shop was stocked with Tyrolean souvenirs, chocolates, toys and wines.
Since I still had time to spare, I checked out the Tyrol lounge located on the second floor and there was a staircase or elevators that I could take. The rest of the airport was quite noisy and crowded, which made me feel the large space outside the lounge would be a great spot to relax before the flight.
Upon checking my boarding pass, I was waved inside and for a third party lounge, this was very nice and much better than what I expected. The decor of the place was impeccable for a start, and it has a boutique space feel which makes it comfortable upon entry. Right by the corner is the buffet area and adjacent to it, there is a long communal table.
For a small lounge, the food served was average. There was an assortment of pastries, a sampling of hams and cheeses inside a covered tray and a selection of bread and sliced cakes. Fresh fruits was also provided on a large bowl by the counter.
There was a selection of liquors and one bottle of wine provided by the bar counter for self-service. Other beverages served here includes tea and an espresso machine. While there was several lounge staff, most of the guests help themselves to the drink inside the lounge.
Inside the fridge, there was a choice of beers, soft drinks, and bottled mineral water.
Beside the dining tables, there was a ledge that acted as storage space for newspapers and cutleries. There was a variety of magazines left on the ledge as well.
Across from the buffet area is the large dining space. There was adequate space to sit down for lunch when I visited though the food was definitely not enough for lunch. Aside from the restaurant style seats, there was a couple of taller bar style tables with tall stools and a ledge by the window that faces an interior courtyard. I believe the interior courtyard functions as a smoking room as well.
Moving further inside the lounge, guests can find a reading corner with one side of the wall decorated like a library. I never got to know if those were real books since the space was occupied by people engrossed on their mobile phones. It does look like books are going the dinosaur route.
A highlight of this lounge space was that there was full ceiling-to-floor windows that opens out to the tarmac. This allows light into the lounge and allows guests to marvel at the scenery outside. This also made the small lounge seems larger and that made me happy as a guest. The comfortable seating spaces here seems to have a Scandinavian design but yet manages to make it feel more premium than the average Ikea.
Beside the numerous sofa configurations, there was single armchairs and plenty of coat racks scattered around the seating space. This created more space as most travellers might bring a coat with them half of the year in the Tyrolean Alps and hanging the coats on the racks means less space taken up on the lounge chairs.
There was even some lounge chairs that have been set up with a small table so guests can snack and sit down comfortably while waiting for their flight. This was where I ended up for the next 15 minutes or so before I went down to the boarding gates as there is no announcement inside the lounge.
For a regional airport with lounge services handled by a third party, I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the lounge. It was one of the most beautiful Business Class lounges I have been to and I would not mind spending time here. There was complimentary wifi in the lounge with adequate food and drinks since I expect there would not be much delays in a small airport like Innsbruck so most guests are unlikely to spend a lot of time here. Now, if all ski destinations have airport lounges as nice as this, it would certainly be close to perfect!