The race to offer better perks to high-end customers continues and has expanded to more airports.
Airlines aren’t all the same, though you’d be forgiven for thinking that way.
Every airline prides itself on its unique corporate philosophy and values, and many of them emphasize certain traits. The oft-criticized Spirit is all about rock-bottom prices (and not much else), while Southwest has a culture built around first-rate customer service (though employees allege that reputation is currently being undermined by the management).
Of course, like with credit cards, many consumers don’t really notice or care much about the corporate philosophy of any business. They mainly want to get where they want to get to at the cheapest rate possible.
So in order to get potential customers to favor them over a competitor, airlines will constantly offer perks that will help them stand out in a customer’s mind. The ultimate goal is to get people to sign up for a customer loyalty program, thus ensuring repeat business, as it’s always more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to spend money to get a new one.
Bonus miles are the most common perk for members of loyalty programs, and flight upgrades are also popular. But lately airport lounges, which are often a perk that comes from signing up for a loyalty program or getting a co-branded credit card, have been having a bit of a moment, and not always a positive one.
Earlier this year, a tweet about the Sky Club went viral in which a woman complained that she and her husband were allowed in Sky Club, but their four-year-old child had to wait outside or pay a fee, as the child was “not a card holder.”
The resulting online debate crystallized the gripe many people have about airport lounges; that they feel elitist and exclusionary and a symbol of how the airline industry tries to get every last dollar out of its customers.
But there are two sides to this debate, and the argument for lounges is that they can make life easier for people whose jobs require constant travel and therefore constantly find themselves at airports. For these frequent flyers, lounge perks such as showers, fresh food, free Wi-Fi, and flight assistance are worth the extra money.
But regardless of how you feel about them, lounges aren’t going away anytime soon. No airline can afford to fall behind in the race to secure customers who are willing to shell out a little extra for comfort, which is why a variety of companies have introduced new lounges lately.
American Airlines, Delta Adding New Lounges
Delta (DAL) – Get Free Report opened four new SkyMiles clubs this year and recently made some changes to the way people can access them by introducing priority access lanes. Additionally, the airline has announced a number of new clubs set to open in 2023 and 2024.
April 2023 will see the debut of the G concourse Club at the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport. It will measure 21,000 square feet, nearly twice the size of the current F/G Club, and will include seating for 450 guests, as well as an indoor/outdoor bar that extends to a year-round Sky Deck.
In June 2023, Delta will open a nearly 14,000-square-foot Club in Terminal 4, with planned seating for over 200 guests. In September of 2023, Delta will add 2,200 square feet and 90 seats to the Sky Club’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.In the summer of 2023, the lounge at the Boston Logan International’s E Concourse will add nearly 21,000 square feet, with planned seating for over 400 guests.In the fall/winter of 2023, the Delta Sky Club at Terminal B of Newark Liberty international Airport will relocate to Terminal A.In December of 2023, the lounge at Miami International Airport will get an expansion to measure over 12,000 square feet with planned seating for 320 guests. In the winter of 2023, the lounge at the Hartsfield-Jackson International’s E Concourse Club will be renovated to measure over 18,000 square feet and hold 353 guests, and will include self-serve check-in kiosks.
Not to be outdone, American Airlines (AAL) – Get Free Report and British Airways recently unveiled the newly renovated Terminal 8 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Starting on December 1, the $400 million investment includes five new widebody gates, four new widebody parking positions, an expanded, upgraded baggage handling system, and approximately 130,000 square feet of additional and refurbished space.
Image source: Daniel Kline/TheStreet.
American Express Also Has New Lounges
American Express isn’t an airline, but they often partner with them, because credit card companies are just as competitive for new customers as airlines are.
The company has announced details of its upcoming American Express Centurion Lounges, and as reported by CNBC, they will include shower suites, high-speed Wi-Fi, spa services, semi-private work stations, and “gourmet seasonal food and craft cocktails curated by popular local chefs.”
But to enter, you have to have either The Platinum Card from American Express, The Business Platinum Card from American Express, the Centurion® Card from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card.
Here’s where the lounges are currently located:
Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Between Concourses D and E.Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Terminal D across from Gate D12.Denver International Airport, Concourse C (post-security), near gate C46.Houston – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Terminal D, take the elevator from the Duty-Free Shop near Gate D6.Las Vegas – Harry Reid International Airport, Concourse D, across from Gate D1.Los Angeles International Airport, Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), on the left after security.Miami International Airport, Concourse D, on the fourth floor near Gate D12.New York City – LaGuardia Airport, Terminal B (post-security) on the fourth floor just before the pedestrian bridge.New York City – John F. Kennedy International Airport, Terminal 4, just past security, to the left of the escalators.Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal A West near Gate A14.Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Terminal 4 across from Gate B22.San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 3 next to Gates F1 and F2.Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Concourse B across from Gate B3.
But that’s not all, as a number of lounges are set to open by the end of this year or in 2023.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, near Terminal B, post-security; opening late 2022.Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in Concourse E between the domestic and international terminals; opening 2023.Newark Liberty International Airport, on the third floor of the new Terminal A building; opening 2023.
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