The first VIP airport lounge was launched in 1936 to reward the best customers of American Airlines by then Chairman – C.R Smith. Back then membership was exclusive and was under the discretion of the airline. This is an However, it has changed since. Anyone with enough money can join some of the best airport lounges. This is in fact a bonus other than flying some of the safest airlines today. I have been to few airport lounges during my travels and I must say you definitely get what you pay for. You can be at a comfortable workstation or relax on a cushy reclining chair with your feet up while sipping a drink. This is way better than sitting on the floor or looking for a power outlet to plug your laptop, especially when chaos happens upon flight delays or cancellations.
Airport Lounges For Travelers
Here are few things to consider before you pick up that VIP airport lounge pass.
Day Passes And Airport Lounge Deals
If you don’t fly often, and when you do, you prefer to wait comfortably and work productively, the best lounge option is a day pass. The day pass costs about $50 per person for Delta Sky Club, American Admirals Club, United Club and Continental’s Presidents Club.
- Delta Airlines offer discounted passes for $25 for those who have a Delta branded Gold or Platinum American Express card. If you are a company who purchase large volume of passes, you can receive a further discount. Also, a 30-day membership is available for $90 as a trial offer
- United Airlines offer day passes for $35, if you buy it online. The benefit of United Airlines day pass is that it can be used either at United Red Carpet Club or Continental Presidents Club
- Continental Airlines sell day passes at a discount offering 10 passes for the price of 9
- US Airways offer a discounted one day pass, if you buy it online for the price of $40
If you are a traveler who flies all year round, you can buy an annual club membership. You can use your frequent flier miles to buy it. Membership can also be purchased for a spouse at a discounted rate. An added bonus with annual membership is that you get admission to other airline lounges with it.
- Continental Airlines and United Airlines – $475
- Delta Airlines, US Airways and Alaska – $450
- American Airlines – $500
Benefits of Airline Lounges
For starters, you get an open bar (most of the lounges), snacks, free wireless Internet, comfortable chairs and you can bring two other guests along. Another huge perk is, when you need to rebook a flight due to flight cancellation or delay, the receptionists at airport lounges can rebook the flight for you. What’s more, the receptionist can even assign a seat for you. Imagine having to stand in a line with grumpy fellow travelers to do the same. At airport lounges, there are enough power outlets to recharge your laptops and phones, unlike outside the lounge. However, airline lounges vary in quality. One location might be brand new and spacious while the other might be a bit old.
Non-Airline Airport Club Passes
If you just want to stay comfortably at the airport until your flight, there are non-airline airport club passes.
Priority Pass is one such pass that offers entry to 600 lounges worldwide. Many of these lounges are not airline affiliated. Membership costs $99 annually plus a $27 a visit or $399 annually for unlimited visits. Guests have to pay $27. This type of a pass is great for travelers who travel a lot in many different airlines.
Diners Club is another pass that provide access to over 130 lounges worldwide for only $95 annually. This however covers only four USA airports (Miami, Nashville, New York JFK and Newark) but say you are in Macedonia, then you are covered.
The bottom line is, if you fly just one airline and fly a lot on it, join the airline club. On the other hand, if you fly multiple airlines frequently, a non-airline pass would be of benefit for you. Which ever you choose, you will have less stress during your travels.
What are your favorite airport lounges?