Lounges are upping their game by providing stylish and re ned new spaces for premium travelers pre- ight
Lounges are upping their game by providing stylish and refined new spaces for premium travelers pre-flight
Atraveler’s journey begins on the ground, and the airport experience is part and parcel of that vital first impression of his or her chosen carrier. Realizing this, airlines are picking up on the need to offer premium services right from the very start with state-of-the-art and efficient ground services.
Thus airlines have transformed their lounges almost beyond recognition. Gone are the simple pit stops of the past with little more than a seating area with basic food and beverages – today’s lounges represent a microcosm experience of the carrier brand itself, with the help of new technologies, graceful interiors and a wider range of services.
NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT: The Wing, Hong Kong International Airport LOCATION: In between Gates 2 and 3 on 6/F Departure level DATE OF LAST RENOVATION/ OPENING: The carrier’s signature lounge, which first opened in 1998, has recently completed a major refurbishment, unveiled in February of this year, and designed by London-based architects Foster + Partners to maintain the classic Wing feel while introducing some refreshing elements. THE FEEL: The First Class lounge features natural materials in black, white and warm wood tones that maintain the minimalist design and Cathay Pacific’s specially designed pod-like Solus chairs, which provide individual travelers with a convenient space of their own. FOOD AND DRINKS: Catering services at all of Cathay Pacific’s HKIA lounges are provided by The Peninsula hotel, thus ensuring high quality and consistency. The First Class Lounge features a newlyintroduced Champagne Bar, while the popular dining area called the Haven has been more than doubled in size.
The Noodle Bar, Coffee Loft and the signature Long Bar with its fantastic views of the runway, have been retained. Plus, there are self-serve buffets on both Level 6 and 7. TECHNOLOGY: All six of the workstations on Level 6 are equipped with iMacs, printers and fax machines and throughout the lounges, Wifi Internet access is complimentary.
STANDOUT FEATURES: The dining outlets and the Solus chairs. ACCESS: In addition to business and first class passengers, this lounge is available to Marco Polo members of silver tier and above, as well as oneworld alliance members of sapphire tier and above.
DELTA AIR LINES
NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT: SkyClub, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport LOCATION: International Terminal F, level 2
Delta Sky Clubs were winners of the Best Airport Clubs and Lounges in the Business Traveler Magazine 2012 Best in Business Travel Awards.
Over the last 24 months, Delta has opened or renovated 13 clubs across the Delta system, featuring elements of the new Delta Sky Club design. Needless to say, Delta has a passle of SkyClubs at the Atlanta Airport, at least one or two on every concourse.
However the spacious new SkyClub in the state-of-the-art international terminal on Concourse F that opened last May is of special note for a couple of reasons.
It has a main entrance and a second one that takes you directly to the shower section. The bar area has plenty of seating and offers complimentary beverages or a premium menu with signature cocktails.
Most notable, however, is the Concourse F SkyClub, along with the new lounge in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, are to be the debut venues for the airline’s first-ever outdoor airport terraces, called The Sky Deck at Delta Sky Club.
The new space in Atlanta will be adjacent to the Sky Club in Concourse F and will open this summer. At JFK, the space is a rooftop terrace at the club in the airline’s new $1.2 billion expansion of Terminal 4, scheduled to open May 24. TECHNOLOGY: WiFi access is complimentary.
NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT: First Class Lounge, Dubai International Airport LOCATION: Terminal 3, Concourse 1 DATE OF LAST RENOVATION/ OPENING: This lounge, opened in 2011, is the airline’s second first class facility at Dubai airport. THE FEEL: To maintain consistency with the renowned first lounge, this new facility features a similar design, Italian marble flooring, plush leather armchairs and, of course, the gold-plated Rolex wall clocks.
Measuring over 11,000 square feet, the lounge offers a quiet zone with eight
recliner chairs, shower facilities, a business center with 10 workstations, a spa and a complimentary shoe-shine service. FOOD AND DRINKS: There is a 24-hour buffet section as well as an à la carte dining option available all day serving gourmet meals and a selection of fine wines, in addition to a separate bar. TECHNOLOGY: Free WiFi access throughout. STANDOUT FEATURE: The recliner chairs. ACCESS: First and business class passengers and Skywards Gold members.
QATAR AIRWAYS NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT:
Qatar Airways Premium Lounge, Heathrow Airport LOCATION: Terminal 4 DATE OF LAST RENOVATION/ OPENING: This lounge, which opened in January 2012, is the carrier’s first outside its Doha hub. THE FEEL: The facility exudes a contemporary and luxurious charm yet still feels distinctly Arabic. Although it deliberately resembles a“boutique hotel or private members’club,”the lounge also draws inspiration from the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. In order to ensure high-quality service, the carrier has recruited staff from five-star hotels and restaurants. Other amenities include private showers, a business center and power sockets for every seat. FOOD AND DRINKS: The Global Brasserie kitchen, which features a live open kitchen, and a delicatessen and signature martini bar. TECHNOLOGY: WiFi is available, and the shower facilities consist of heated floors and mirrors. STANDOUT FEATURES: The décor and the martini bar. ACCESS: Exclusively for business and first class passengers of Qatar Airways.
SWISS NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT:
Swiss Arrival Lounge, Zürich Airport LOCATION: Arrival Hall 2, next to customs THE FEEL: The lounge, measuring 8,300 square feet, maintains the carrier’s elegant minimalist feel with simple black and white tones and a distinctive limestone wall. Its greatest draws are the services and amenities rather than its look and feel. The facility consists of 20 shower suites, three hotel-style bedrooms (including one with a private bathroom) for those who cannot check in to a hotel yet, 10 workstations, free Internet access and private telephone cubicles. FOOD AND DRINKS: A spacious bistrostyle area serves hot and cold dishes and a range of fresh juices, coffees and other beverages. TECHNOLOGY: There is a discreet and efficient ironing service offered to the shower suites; passengers can place their clothes in a cabinet, close the door and press a button for the clothes to be ironed. Within minutes, the crisp clothing returns and an indicator in the shower informs the passengers that their items are ready. STANDOUT FEATURE: The private bedrooms. ACCESS: First and business class passengers, frequent flyer members with Frequent Traveler status or above, and Star Alliance Gold members.
UNITED AIRLINES NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT:
United Club, Chicago O’Hare International Airport LOCATION: Terminal 2, just across from Gate F4.
United unveiled its new lounge model with the renovated United Club at Chicago O’Hare. The 13,300-square-foot lounge’s design is the prototype for future openings and renovations. The lounge features a spacious bar area, redesigned furniture with more workstations and power outlets. The space has seating for 300 guests, and the design incorporates elements of the company brand and the world of aviation.
Members will continue to get complimentary snacks, beverages and WiFi. The lounge is the first of the new facilities United will be introducing worldwide. The airline will spend more than $50 million this year to renovate 51 United Club lounges.
VIRGIN AMERICA NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT:
The Virgin America Loft, LAX LOCATION: Past security in Terminal 3 The Virgin America Loft is the airline’s first lounge in the US. It offers such amenities as a cocktail bar and dining experience, power outlets and complimentary WiFi. The lounge’s design reflects the Virgin America cabin with mood lighting and contemporary furnishings.
Virgin America’s Elevate program’s Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members get a few complimentary passes each year. Passes may be bought when checking in online or at the airport at check-in for $40. Passengers traveling on Virgin America’s partners may also purchase passes.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC NAME OF LOUNGE AND AIRPORT:
JFK Clubhouse, JFK International Airport LOCATION: In the A-Concourse, above gates A4 and A5. DATE OF LAST RENOVATION/ OPENING: The lounge opened in March 2012, replacing the previous landside offering. THE FEEL: Officially described as “Understatedly Uptown, Unmistakably NewYork,”the JFK Clubhouse lounge features flashy golden cylinders hanging from the ceiling, a cloud-shaped cocktail bar, a red ball sofa and a curtain of steel rods within an area called“Central Park.”
In addition to the jazzy seating in Central Park,Virgin has introduced “person-sized round cavities”lined with wool that allow individual travelers to relax. To step up the game a little more, the lounge also houses a hair salon and spa with hairstylists from the famous NewYork brand Bumble and Bumble. FOOD AND DRINKS: Guests can order food or beverages from anywhere in the lounge, or choose to eat in the more formal brasserie dining area that offers à la carte meals, desserts and fine wines. TECHNOLOGY: The concierge team at the lounge offer phone-charging services. STANDOUT FEATURE: The hair salon and spa. ACCESS: The lounge is for Upper Class passengers and Flying Club Gold members.
Cathay Pacific’s Solus chairs