Airport lounge

Airport lounge

An airport lounge is a lounge owned by a particular airline (or jointly operated in the case of an alliance). Many offer private meeting rooms, phone, fax, wireless and Internet access and other business services, along with provisions to enhance comfort such as free drinks and snacks. At lounges, passengers will also find more comfortable seating, quieter environments and better access to customer service representatives than in the airport terminal.

Access to lounges

Access to airport lounges may be obtained in several ways. In the United States, the most common is by purchasing an annual or a lifetime membership. Membership fees are sometimes discounted for elite members of an airline's frequent flyer program, and may often be paid using miles. Travellers flying internationally in first class or business class are often offered free access on their days of travel.

Lounge access can also be attained with an airline status card. The top levels often offer access to any of an airline's lounges or partner airlines' lounges, when travelling in any class of travel on any of the partner airlines (usually it is required for the cardholder to be booked on one of the carrier's flights within the next 24 hours).

Generic lounges provided by an airport operator also exist. A fee is paid, which ranges from a daily fee to yearly fees or lifetime memberships. Independent lounge programs such as Priority Pass offer lounge access for an annual fee. Premium credit and charge cards such as Diners Club International, American Express Platinum and Centurion charge cards, and the Morgan Stanley i24 Card, offer lounge programs for members. As of 2008 the American Express Platinum (in some countries) and Centurion charge cards, Morgan Stanley i24 card and the RBS Black Card include Priority Pass membership. American Express also offers access to lounges belonging to partner airlines when flying with those airlines.

What lounges offer

Besides offering more comfortable seating, lounges usually provide beverages like coffee, water, soft drinks, juices, beer and other alcoholic beverages. Domestic US lounges such as the Alaska Board Room, Continental Presidents Club, Delta Crown Room and Northwest WorldClub offer free alcoholic beverages, the American Admirals Club and United Red Carpet Club notably do not. Lounges also provide snacks like fruit, pastries and cheese. They generally offer television, usually a sports or news channel, newspapers, and magazines. Phones are spread out through the lounge, allowing members to make calls or access a dial-up internet service. Free Wireless internet access is becoming more and more common, some airlines offer wi-fi operated by contract providers for a nominal daily or monthly fee.

Some lounges, such as the Emirates Lounge can offer extensive luxuries such as full buffet meals, massage services and even swimming pools.

Lounges also provide a more comfortable, stress-free wait for the aircraft, and sometimes offer luxury services such as massages, gyms and spas.

Further information

Most major carriers have one or more lounges in their hubs and additionally in major airports they serve. Major US airlines such as American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United operate dozens of clubs, smaller airlines like Alaska tend to only operate clubs in their hub cities. Outside the United States, most full service airlines operate clubs at most destinations.

Certain ground handling companies also operate lounges and invite passengers from the airlines which they handle.

Some airlines in the USA may also offer a "First-class lounge" or a "Business-class lounge" in some airports that can be different from their regular lounges, more in line with the European/Asian concept of an airport lounge as outlined above. In most cases, airlines will offer first class passengers a free pass to their standard airport club. They may also offer "Arrival lounges" for passengers to shower and rest after coming out of a long-haul international flight.

A quick comparison of various paid lounge programs worldwide is located at [ Andrew's Frequent Flyer resources] many airlines outside North America and Australia do not sell lounge membership, reserving lounge access for elite frequent flyers. Due to alliances between airlines, many of these airlines lounges can be accessed through the paid programs of their North American and Australian partners - for instance Qantas Club membership provides access to British Airways lounges.

The American Airlines' "Admirals Club" was the first airport lounge when it opened at New York's La Guardia airport in 1939. Then AA President C.R. Smith thought that it would be a great tool for VIP passengers.

Lounge systems and locations

External links

* [ - airport lounge review wiki]


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