Review: Amex Restaurant Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN)

Before flying in the new Finnair Business Class from Stockholm to New York, I visited the American Express restaurant at Arlanda Airport (ARN), having been curious about the concept for some time.

Huh, Amex has a restaurant in Stockholm Airport?!

This may seem strange on the surface, so let me explain. Amex is of course famous for its Centurion lounges, on top of that many premium Amex cards offer Priority Pass membership, giving access to more than 1,300 lounges worldwide.

However, at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Amex has a unique concept. The credit card issuer has partnered with a prestigious airport restaurant, to offer free food and drinks to those with Amex Platinum and Amex Centurion.

Specifically, the Amex Restaurant is located inside Pontus in the Air, an airport restaurant from Swedish chef Pontus Frithiof (which has some of the most prestigious non-airport restaurants). So, while anyone can dine at Pontus in the Air, eligible Amex cardholders can sit in a private section and get complimentary food and drinks.

This is probably very similar to the concept of Priority Pass restaurants. The difference is that Priority Pass restaurants give you a certain dollar limit, while at this restaurant Amex Card members can order anything from a dedicated menu.

Pontus at Air Stockholm Arlanda website and hours

It is very difficult to find Pontus in the air. Even with reading directions online, I had to ask someone for help before I found it. So let me try to explain the site in a way that makes sense to me.

Pontus in the Air is located in Terminal 5 toward gates F26-69. The layout of Terminal 5 can be confusing, since the first wing has gates 11-24, the second wing has gates 1-10, and the third wing has gates F26-69. Nothing in that makes sense to me, but anyway…

Map of Stockholm Arlanda airport

After clearing security, follow the signs toward gates F26-F69. This will take you to a long lane with a range of shops and restaurants.

Stockholm Arlanda Airport Station
Stockholm Arlanda Airport Station

A short walk down this hall and to the right you will see the stairs leading to Pontus in the Air. It’s hard to miss when you’re walking past it, given the bright green signs.

Pontus at the entrance to Stockholm Arlanda Airport

On the stairs you’ll see signs reflecting the three dining options out there—there’s Standard Air Pontos (which was waiting), there’s Monstro Burgers & Pasta, and then there’s the American Express Lounge (which is the section “Air Cardmembers Pontos Only).”

Pontus at Stockholm Arlanda Airport signs

At the top of the stairs, turn right, and you’ll see the American Express section of Pontus in the air.

Pontus at the entrance to Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Pontus at Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Pontus at Stockholm Arlanda Airport

The restaurant is currently open daily from 5am-6pm (except on Saturdays, when it closes at 5pm).

Which Amex cardholders can dine at Pontus in the Air?

The American Express Lounge from Pontus is open to:

  • Amex Platinum card holders; They can bring up to one guest
  • Amex Centurion card holders; They can bring up to two guests

You register your card when you check in with the host. In theory there is a section dedicated to the Amex Lounge, although it seems to be constantly crowded so they have blocked an extra portion of the restaurant for card members, where I sat.

Pontus in the seats of Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Pontus in the seats of Stockholm Arlanda Airport

Food and drinks at Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda Airport

Soon after settling in, I received a list. There are a few things to note:

  • Breakfast is served from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m., while lunch and dinner are served from 10 a.m. until closing
  • All food options included, plus wine (red, white and rose), beer, soft drinks and juice, and you can refill
  • There is also a cafe with free coffee, and there are also cookies and other snacks
  • Centurion card holders get additional benefits – at breakfast they can have a “quick” breakfast, and at lunch and dinner they can get a glass of champagne, digestive or gin and tonic
  • Platinum card holders can order a digestive, mimosa or gin and tonic for 50 SEK (about 5 USD)
Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda menu

I didn’t feel like consuming any alcohol, so I ordered a Diet Coke.

Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda Airport

To eat I ordered salmon with dill stewed potatoes. This was served within 10 minutes of ordering, and it was very tasty.

Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda

I was on my own, but Ford and his mom were passing by the next day, so I asked for pictures of their food, so I could share them here. They had meatballs with linguine, tomato and basil sauce, and Cajun marinated chicken on rye with mozzarella, roasted peppers, and grape salad. They also enjoyed their meals.

Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda
Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda

After the meal, I ordered a cappuccino, and was also invited to help myself prepare cakes and other sweets by the coffee machine.

Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Snacks at Amex Lounge Stockholm Arlanda Airport

I appreciate that they don’t push you out of the restaurant but instead you can stay for as long as you wish. I probably spent about an hour there, and had shorter stays, as the tables around me kept ordering more and more drinks.

While the restaurant was crowded, it was quite quiet compared to the Priority Pass lounge I would have been able to access otherwise, so I found this a great place to sit and wait for my flight.

Amex cardholders also get fast security at Arlanda Airport

Since we’re talking about Amex privileges at Arlanda Airport, I think it’s worth noting that Amex Platinum and Centurion card holders receive express security at Terminal 5 as well. You just have to present your card, and then you will be able to access the fast track. This can come in especially handy this summer, given how crowded the airport is.

Of course this is a moot point if you are traveling in a luxury cabin or are an elite member who can access these aisles anyway.

Fast lane security at Arlanda Airport

Pontus in Air Arlanda is closing?!

I’ve only noticed this now while going to the restaurant’s website, but it looks like Pontus in the Air may close later this year. For each message on the restaurant’s website:

Unfortunately, Pontus in the Air is permanently closing its operations and buildings will be grounded. The closing date has not yet been set, but is set for the end of 2022.

Pontus in the Air has been a very successful business, going from strength to strength, battling an epidemic, and growing as other players lost and also won trophies and awards. A restaurant that undoubtedly put Arlanda on the map like never before.

Why then are we closing Pontus in the Air, a business we’ve been happy to pursue? The background is that Sweden has chosen to interpret procurement legislation to mean that we are not tenants but that we conduct restaurant operations in the form of a service which must therefore be acquired as a franchise according to LUK. We do not share this interpretation. This means that we do not extend the lease, but it ends with eviction as a result. The completion date is unclear at the time of writing, but it will be around the beginning of 2022/2023.

This is of course a shame, and I haven’t heard anything from Amex yet about this, or if the issuer comes up with an alternative concept.

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The Amex Lounge by Pontus is a unique concept and I really like it. Amex Platinum and Centurion card holders can dine at Pontus in the Air at Arlanda Airport for free. A meal and most drinks are included, and the selection is much better than what you would normally find in the lounge.

Given the lack of lounges at Arlanda Airport and how crowded it is, this is a great place to spend some time before your flight. Unfortunately, there may not be much longer.

If you visited the Amex Lounge by Pontus, how was your experience?

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