Airport lounges: 7 questions about getting back to business

I travel. Are the lounges crowded? As states have lifted domestic capacity restrictions, lounges have followed suit and customers are r...


As states have lifted domestic capacity restrictions, lounges have followed suit and customers are returning. Passenger volumes at Alaska, Delta and United clubs are close to or equal to pre-Covid figures, according to these airlines.

This leads in some cases to the return of a pre-pandemic situation salon problem: overcrowding. Jenn Taylor, 58, an executive with software company Nexus, traveled once a week before the pandemic and found lounges to be “an absolute oasis.” Departing for a recent business trip from her hometown of Atlanta, she stopped at the Delta Sky Club before her flight. After a peek inside, she decided to grab a cookie and wait in the boarding area. “When every seat is full, there is no social distancing,” she said of the show.

The popularity of salons has spurred construction. American Express recently opened clubs at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and at Denver International Airport. Delta opened one at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in June and will open more at Los Angeles International and New York LaGuardia in 2022. Alaska is opening a lounge at San Francisco International Airport.

New companies are entering the market. Capital One, whose owners had not yet benefited from lounge access as an advantage, is creating its own lounges equipped with breastfeeding rooms, showers and Peloton bikes. By the end of 2022, its clubs will be open at airports in Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and DC Dulles. Chase is building his very first “Sapphire Lounges by The Club,” at Boston’s Logan, LaGuardia and Hong Kong International, but has not disclosed any details of what will be inside.

Travelers should look online before heading to the airport to see if their local lounge is open and bring extra snacks just in case, as company websites don’t list what they serve.

Many travelers are just happy to be back, no matter what is on the menu. Nathan Love, 38, Seattle-based director of business development at T-Mobile who has already racked up 60,000 airline miles since being vaccinated five months ago, recently spent time in the Alaska, Delta and Centurion. He said his favorite aspect was reconnecting with the bartenders, check-in staff and other crew members he recognized before closing, and chatting with other travelers. “It’s great to breathe, relax and share stories,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Airport lounges: 7 questions about getting back to business
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