IN­DE­PEN­DENT LOUNGES

Business Traveler (USA) - - COVER STORY -

PLAZA PRE­MIUM LOUNGE

This in­de­pen­dent lounge op­er­a­tor had its rst open­ing at ong ong In­ter­na­tional Air­port back in 1998. To­day, the net­work con­sists of 60 lo­ca­tions at 17 in­ter­na­tional air­ports in China, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, In­dia, the Mal­dives, Oman, Canada and, of course, Hong Kong.

All of its lounges of­fer food and bev­er­age buf­fets with à la carte menus for the more pre­mium cus­tomers. All lounges also have shower fa­cil­i­ties, pri­vate rest ar­eas, free WiFi ac­cess, work­sta­tions with com­put­ers and print­ers and spas (al­though treat­ments cost ex­tra).

To ac­cess th­ese lounges most guests pay for each visit, with rates vary­ing for each lounge. How­ever, the group now also of­fers an­nual passes in Canada and Malaysia. Some air­lines that do not have lounges at a given air­port part­ner with Plaza Pre­mium to of­fer com­pli­men­tary ac­cess.

AIRSPACE LOUNGE

Airspace Lounges can be found at Bal­ti­more/Wash­ing­ton In­ter­na­tional Thur­good Mar­shall Air­port and Cleve­land Hop­kins In­ter­na­tional Air­port with a third sched­uled to open soon in JFK Air­port’s Ter­mi­nal 5. The JFK lounge will be near Gate 24 and air­lines such as JetBlue Air­ways, Hawai­ian Air­lines and Aer Lin­gus.

Airspace Lounge al­lows any air­line pas­sen­ger to en­ter with the pur­chase of a daily en­try pass, which starts at $20. Mem­ber­ship is not re­quired. Once in­side, cus­tomers can en­joy com­pli­men­tary food and bev­er­ages, com­pli­men­tary wire­less In­ter­net, power out­lets at ev­ery seat and workspaces.

Th­ese lounges have part­ner­ships with Amer­i­can Ex­press to of­fer cer­tain card­hold­ers free ac­cess.

THE CLUB

PRI­OR­ITY PASS

The Trav­el­ers’ Lounge at HKIA Cur­rently avail­able at four air­ports, “The Club at…” con­cept is open to all pas­sen­gers with­out an an­nual mem­ber­ship fee. Just pur­chase a one day pass at the re­cep­tion desk. En­try in­cludes free snacks and drinks, news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines, TV, tele­phones, com­puter work sta­tions, and In­ter­net / Dat­a­ports and WiF ac­cess.

So far, The Club is avail­able at DFW, Raleigh-Durham In­ter­na­tional, McCar­ran In­ter­na­tional in Las Vegas and Mineta San José In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The Club part­ners with Pri­or­ity Pass and Din­ers Club In­ter­na­tional. Launched in 1992, Pri­or­ity Pass to­day has an ex­pan­sive net­work of 600 lounges in 300 cities around the world. The lounges of­fer all the ba­sic ameni­ties, in­clud­ing WiFi, food and bev­er­age buf­fets, shower fa­cil­i­ties, beds and work­sta­tions.

Un­like Plaza Pre­mium, Pri­or­ity Pass only works on a mem­ber­ship ba­sis, and to make use of their lounges trav­el­ers have to sign up be­fore­hand. There are three types of mem­ber­ship: stan­dard, which costs $99 a year and al­lows guests into lounges for an ad­di­tional cost of $27 per use; stan­dard plus mem­ber­ship ($249), which of­fers mem­bers 10 free uses of any lounge within a year, with mem­bers charged at the stan­dard rate of $27 from the 11th visit on­wards; and pres­tige mem­ber­ship, which costs $399 an­nu­ally and gives guests un­lim­ited use of all lounges for a year.

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