Monday, April 4, 2011

Cheap Airport Lounge Access in the Near Future?

Groucho Marx once famously said that he'd never want to be in a club that would have him as a member.

You have to wonder if he'd feel the same if he were at the airport today. On a day when necessary mechanical maintenance has forced Southwest Airlines to cancel up to 70 flights, sending hundreds of disgruntled passengers back into the terminal to wait for a way home.

I think even Groucho would be glad to be the holder of a business class ticket; or a member of an elite flying program, just so that he could escape the masses.

But Southwest doesn't have airline lounges, as its a "classless" airline. So Groucho would have been out of luck, right? Not necessarily.

A start-up called Airspace Lounge is hoping to open lounges in 40 airports across the globe this year, open to anyone willing to pay a $17.50,  about a third of what the airlines charge for day passes to their lounges. (That price may fluctuate if the lounge becomes overcrowded).

Singapore Airlines lounge, Changi Airport (photo by R. Moross)
The lounges won't be associated with any particular airline; the first is scheduled to open in May at Baltimore/Washington, DC International Airport.

As in most airline lounges, admission will include complimentary Wifi, access to a business center with computers and the ability to print (for an additional fee), lots of nibbles (though just how much food will be supplied isn't spelled out on the website), access to a full bar (for an additional fee) and the promise of an outlet at every seat, even those at the bar. That last amenity, in particular, may get Airspace a lot of takers.

Would I pay the $17.50 fee to use a lounge? Probably not, but then I don't get that bothered by the hustle and bustle of the terminal. I'm probably in the minority, though. It will be interesting to see whether these new airport facilities "take off". 


  1. Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.
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  2. The journey is part of the experience - an expression of the seriousness of one's intent. One doesn't take the A train to Mecca.
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