Air­port Oases

Lounges are up­ping their game by pro­vid­ing stylish and re ned new spa­ces for pre­mium trav­el­ers pre- ight

Business Traveler (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Alisha Hari­dasani

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.

CATHAY PA­CIFIC

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.

EMI­RATES

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

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