Like many Australian Business Traveller readers, I appreciate the comforts of a good airport lounge – especially when there's a great Champagne to enjoy there before my flight.
For me, the presence (or absence) of Champagne can also be a reason to visit one lounge over another, particularly in airports where the right frequent flyer card or boarding pass provides a bonanza of lounge options for clued-in travellers.
Having flown almost 300,000 kilometres in the past year – that's circling the planet 7.5 times, or travelling three quarters of the way to the moon – here are some of the airport lounges with great Champagne that I've come to discover along the way.
Singapore Airlines' The Private Room, Singapore
Singapore Airlines' The Private Room caters exclusively for first class passengers, so it's no surprise that the Champagne on offer here is the same as in first class on board: Dom Pérignon 2009.
Even the shiniest of frequent flyer cards won't get you through the door, which is tucked away after walking through two other lounges: but if you're on the list, you'll be escorted through to your private setting to relax with a glass of Champagne.
Dom Pérignon is produced by the world's largest Champagne house, Moët & Chandon, with the 2009 vintage the current release.
AusBT review: Singapore Airlines' The Private Room lounge
Qatar Airways' Al Safwa first class lounge, Doha
Another lounge that only first class flyers will ever see is Qatar Airways' Al Safwa lounge in Doha – Qatar's 'real' first class lounge – where Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005 is the standard drop, and the non-vintage Billecart-Salmon is available too for a little variety.
Regular jetsetters may have experienced the vintage Taittinger on board in first class with Qantas or Malaysia Airlines (now Business Suites), or on the menus at some of the world's best restaurants like The Fat Duck in Bray, outside of London.
However, if you're flying during the Holy Islamic month of Ramadan – in 2019, that's expected to be from early May to early June – Qatar Airways generally refrains from serving alcohol in its Doha lounges during this period.
Singapore Airlines' SilverKris first class lounge, Singapore
Of course, you don't have to be flying first class to try some excellent vintage Champagne: Singapore Airlines' "first class lounge" in Singapore, which is really for the airline's Solitaire PPS Club members, pours the delightful Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millesime 2002.
That has to be a real treat for Singapore locals and regular travellers, who can visit this lounge whether taking a one-hour hop over to Kuala Lumpur, or jetting in business class further afield to places like London or Sydney: but Solitaire status isn't easy to come by.
To qualify and retain your membership, you'll need to accrue $50,000 in "PPS Club value" every year – being the amount in SGD spent on business class and first class travel with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir – which puts the pricey Champagne served in this lounge into context.
British Airways' The Concorde Room, London
When flying out of London Heathrow in British Airways first class (or as an Executive Club Premier or Concorde Room cardholder), make time before your flight for a visit to The Concorde Room, and a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle.
Although technically a non-vintage Champagne because it blends grapes harvested across multiple years rather than a single season, those grapes are drawn exclusively from the best Laurent-Perrier vintage years, so you're enjoying a premium Champagne blending the best the house has to offer.
You won't get into this lounge with a shiny Qantas Platinum, Platinum One or even Chairman's Lounge card, however, as Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers use a different first class lounge in London, separate to The Concorde Room.
Emirates' Concourse B business class lounge, Dubai
Believe it or not, the best Champagne at Dubai Airport isn't found in Emirates' first class lounges: it's in the airline's business class lounge in Concourse B, which houses a dedicated Moët & Chandon Champagne bar serving four different Champagnes, each with matching canapés.
Most iconic of the line-up is the Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2008 cuvée, with pleasing hints of florals and citrus, although on my last visit, my personal pick was instead the black-label Moët Nectar Impérial NV, which is just a little sweeter.
Even if you're flying first class, you can still 'downgrade' yourself to the business class lounge for a Champagne tasting – while Gold and Platinum members of Skywards and Qantas Frequent flyer are welcome too, as are Qantas Club members booked on a Qantas (QF) codeshare flight.
Lufthansa's First Class Terminal, Frankfurt
Why build a lounge for first class flyers when you can have an entire terminal instead?
That's the Lufthansa approach in Frankfurt, where high flyers can choose between Ruinart Blanc De Blancs and Bollinger Special Cuvée Champagne: the former, a lesser-known brand which is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes, and the latter, a popular blend of up to 245 wines: the bulk of which are either grand cru or premier cru varieties.
With two great Champagnes to choose from, there's every excuse to try both before your next Lufthansa or SWISS first class flight out of Frankfurt – or if you're a well-travelled member of the Miles & More program with top-tier HON Circle status.
The Emirates Lounge, Brisbane
Another Emirates lounge to visit for the Champagne is the airline's facility in Brisbane, where Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label is often available aside the more standard Moët & Chandon NV: so don't be surprised to find both waiting for you.
There's no doubt that Sydney is Australia's biggest travel hub, but there's a little trivia here on why Brisbane's lounge is a little more 'special' for the airline – back in 2004, it was the first lounge that Emirates ever opened outside of Dubai: ahead of places like Sydney, London and even New York.
Since its opening, Emirates has also expanded Brisbane's lounge with a private glass aerobridge for direct boarding to the aircraft below, which remains one of the very few lounges to offer this beyond Dubai: so the next time you're up here sipping your Champagne, you can toast to the history of the airport.
AusBT review: The Emirates Lounge, Brisbane
Etihad Airways' first class lounge, Abu Dhabi
Flying through Abu Dhabi with Etihad? A visit to the airline's first class lounge comes affords a glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne, whether you're a first class passenger or a top-tier frequent flyer.
Among those that make the cut for entry, Etihad Guest Platinum and Exclusive cardholders, and Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum and The Club members flying with Etihad.
For Velocity Platinum members in particular, it's a nice perk to enjoy when connecting between Australia and Europe, and while it's not quite the vintage Dom or Taittinger you'd get in some other airlines' first class lounge, Charles Heidsieck is still very drinkable.
Singapore Airlines' SilverKris business class lounge, Singapore
Along the same lines, Singapore Airlines' SilverKris business class lounge at Changi Airport is another place where Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve can be enjoyed – yes, a third top drop for Singapore Airlines, which keeps the Champagne flowing at its home hub.
Unfortunately, there's no access to this lounge for Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum members, or for most Star Alliance Gold cardholders: this lounge is reserved for Singapore Airlines and Star Alliance business class passengers, PPS Club members, and AirNZ Elite members before selected flights.
For that reason, some Velocity Platinum cardholders do prefer to jet through Abu Dhabi on European journeys – not least because there's also a dining room inside that lounge – but for those booking business class, it's nice to have a Champagne in the business lounge that other airlines reserve for first class territory.
Qantas first class lounges: Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles
Qantas' first class lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles generally provide travellers with three or four Champagnes to choose from, and while Taittinger Brut Réserve has long been the go-to for high flyers, its recent removal from the wine list leaves Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut the new pick of the bunch.
As regular travellers would know, the Qantas First Lounges cater not only to Qantas, Emirates and Oneworld first class passengers, but also for Qantas Platinum members and above, and their Oneworld and Skywards equivalents, whether flying to Christchurch or Copenhagen.
Personally speaking, in Sydney and Melbourne I usually try to snag a spa appointment not long after my arrival, saving the Champagne to enjoy after the treatment: but if the spa is fully-booked, Perrier-Jouët pairs wonderfully with the signature starter, salt and pepper squid.
Qantas international business class lounges: Brisbane, Singapore, Hong Kong, London
With first class flights yet no dedicated first class lounges in Hong Kong, Singapore and London – and no Qantas first class service from Brisbane at all – the Qantas international business class lounges in these airports keep a 'secret Champagne' under the counter.
Reserved for first class passengers, Qantas Platinum One frequent flyers and Chairman's Lounge members, Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut is the Champagne of choice here, but for everybody else, Champagne is off the menu: the best you'll find is a Seppelt Australian sparkling wine.
There's no secret handshake involved to get the good stuff: in Brisbane and Singapore, you'll generally be introduced to the bartender as you arrive, while in Hong Kong, you'll be seated at a table with a subtle black placemat (signifying you're on the 'Champagne list'), and in London, will receive a wine list which includes the Champagne.
Cathay Pacific's The Pier first class lounge, Hong Kong
Finally on our Champagne lounge list, Cathay Pacific's The Pier first class lounge in Hong Kong, which again serves Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut – but to all eligible passengers, not only first class flyers and the VIP set.
Yes, as a Qantas Platinum frequent flyer departing Hong Kong, heading to the Cathay Pacific lounge finds a glass of Champagne waiting for you, even before a Qantas-operated flight. Head to the Qantas lounge instead, and your Platinum card provides only the same sparkling wine served to everyone else, not the secret 'PJ'.
AusBT review: Cathay Pacific's The Pier first class lounge, Hong Kong
Even venturing to Cathay Pacific's range of Hong Kong business class lounges finds the very acceptable Mumm Cordon Rouge NV Champagne at the ready: a handy trick to remember for Gold-grade frequent flyers and Qantas business class passengers who enjoy their pre-flight bubbles.
Over to you, AusBT readers: which Champagnes do you enjoy drinking on your travels, and which lounges do you find them in? Share your favourites and any great finds via the comment box below!