when she has time to go to airport Early on, Anne-Marie Mitchell, a professor of communications studies in Chicago, plans to spend a few hours in an airport lounge using a free pass on her airline credit card or paying a daily fee.
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“Bars, clean bathrooms, snacks available and not crowded,” she said. “It makes traveling more fun.”
Airline lounges are bastions of civilization at airport terminals that are often filled with frustrated passengers due to flight delays and cancellations, serving frequent flyers such as elite and upper class ticket holders, and It was a haven for people with expensive credit cards.
Leisure travelers are now leading the economic recovery. aviation industry With business traffic slowing, some clubs made it easier for relatively rare flyers to claim some perks before departure, while others allowed users to arrive at the club more than three hours ahead of schedule. Adopted a new rule that you can’t go into flight—to tackle growing pains.
The expanding world of clubs
Historically, legacy carriers including America Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines of the United States operate lounges for first and business class passengers, as well as eligible frequent flyers. Their offerings sometimes include standard clubs (such as United’s United Club) and more exclusive clubs (United Polaris) for long-haul international forward class flyers.
Another class of clubs welcomes members on all airlines. These include Priority Pass, which gives access to her over 1,300 lounges in over 600 cities (membership plans include her 10 visits for $299 a year).
In this case, the lounge is the actual Airlines Clubs like Hawaiian Airlines’ Plumeria Lounge that Priority Pass members can access in Honolulu. Public airport restaurants that offer food credits, such as Stephanie’s Restaurant at Boston Logan International Airport. Other club brands such as Minute Suites, a private room at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Alternatively, at airport facilities such as Be Relax Spa at Los Angeles International Airport, members can earn chair-his-massage credits.
Lounge patrons are increasingly not airline fans and expensive credit card holders.
“Bundling lounge access with a premium credit card has become commonplace,” says Gary Leff, author of aviation blog View From The Wing. “This is how we sell cards and retain members.”
American Express Platinum Cardholders have access to many services Airlines The company has its own Centurion Lounges in 13 US cities, with new lounges opening in Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta and Reagan National, Washington in 2023, bringing the total to more than 1,400 lounges worldwide. The annual cost of this card is $695 and includes up to $400 in annual credit for hotel and airfare.
Other banks are now entering the lounge game. Capital One opened its first lounge in Dallas-Fort Worth in November. It features a stationary cycling room, showers and craft cocktails, with follow-ups planned in Denver and Washington Dulles. In 2023. Admission is restricted to holders and their guests of the annual $395 bank Venture X card. Card benefits include up to $300 in credit that can be used toward travel purchases.
JPMorgan Chase will open its own branded Chase Sapphire Lounges by the Club next year in six locations around the world, including Boston, Phoenix and LaGuardia Airports in New York, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card ($550 per year) will be available to owners. Benefits include $300 credit on travel purchases and Priority Pass membership).
What price sanity?
In these times of airline chaos, many travelers want to get out of the hell of sitting on the airport floor and approaching the only available outlet on the concourse.
Plaza Premium Group, which operates restaurants, lounges and hotels in more than 70 airports around the world, recently introduced PPL Pass America. This costs him $59 if he visits most lounges in North, Central and South America twice within a year. Your pass gives you access to standalone Plaza Premium lounges and airline lounges operated for Virgin Atlantic, Avianca, Air France and more. In the US, he has six eligible lounges, with a new location due to open in Orlando, Florida later this year.
Jonathan Song, director of global business development at the company, said: “The remaining 85% is economy class, and we are seeing the rise of airline agnostic affordability. luxuryPeople want to enjoy the VIP services they do in business in the first place, but they may not want to spend that amount on tickets. “
Escape Lounges (also called Centurion Studios), now affiliated with American Express, have 14 locations, including Minneapolis and Sacramento, Calif., for $40 per visit when booked online 24 hours in advance, We are offering a $45 pay-as-you-go plan on the day. The door (free entry for Platinum cardholders). Access offers standard perks like free internet access, food and beverages, and new locations are planned later this year at airports in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Columbus, Ohio.
Another option, clubs, are located in 16 locations across the US, including New Orleans and Seattle, and two in London. We do not sell memberships and operate strictly on a pay-as-you-go basis at $45 per visit (free for Priority Pass holders).
Websites and apps from Lounge Buddy for one-stop shopping airport Lounge passes start at $25. For example, among lounges in London Heathrow with similar facilities (such as Wi-Fi and complimentary food and beverages), the site offers a $39 pass to the Plaza Premium Lounge and a $74 pass to the Lufthansa Business Lounge. offers a path for In Barbados the pass is $27.
United offers a one-day pass to the United Club for $59 on the app. The annual fee is $650 or 85,000 miles for most frequent flyer members. American Airlines also sells his day pass to the Admirals Club for $59 or 5,900 miles. Delta does not offer paid access.
Given the high prices at airport kiosks (LaGuardia vendors were recently criticized for selling $27 beers), hungry travelers may find it worthwhile to enter.
“It’s a one-off, and if you have a long connection, you can get the math to work, depending on how much you spend otherwise,” Leff said. It may be less crowded and have a power port you can plug into.”
Beyond a free gin and tonic, fliers who are inundated with bookings may find it worthwhile to pay for an airline lounge and get prompt airline assistance.
“If your Flight Canceled, waiting two hours to speak to someone, paying a $50 club fee gives you access to agents who tend to be the most experienced and can do amazing things to get you where you need to be I can do it. ” Brian Kelly, founder of Points Guy, a website covering loyalty rewards.
there is no room in the club
Depending on when you fly, even buying one may be out of the question as passholders are being turned away due to overcrowding.
“The Centurion Lounge is like going to TGI Fridays. You check in and they let you know if there’s a space available,” says Kelly. “People are reluctant to travel and have been missing out on premium experiences over the last few years, as we saw with travel this summer, so they splurge while traveling.”
The problem of congestion is not necessarily new, but some new factors, such as airport shortages, are exacerbating the problem.
“It was crowded before many of the better lounges were crowded. pandemicsaid Lev. “With security lines uncertain, people are arriving earlier and finding extra time to kill time.”
“Now there is a line outside the lounge.COVID travel Harris Stavridis, owner of a public relations agency in London, wrote in an email. “The lounge is supposed to be a safe place, but now it’s a problem.”
Some clubs are responding to surges, such as Delta Sky Club, which introduced a new three-hour rule. While San Francisco’s Centurion Lounge nearly doubled in size and the Seattle club’s footprint tripled this year, American Express will allow guests (adults, 50 USD) to the cardholder. card.
The club can be a victim of its own success, but visiting the club might be the cheapest per-per-per-flight upgrade you’ll get on a flight today.
Patrick Rollo of Providence, Rhode Island, who travels frequently for real estate work, said: “Okay everyone, let’s go to the lounge.”
This article was originally published in The New York Times.
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