I travel. Are the lounges crowded?
When the states lifted indoor capacity restrictions, the lounges followed suit and customers began to pour in again. According to these airlines, the number of passengers in the clubs of Alaska, Delta and United is close to or equal to the figures before Covid.
This leads, in some cases, to the return of a prepandemic lounge problem: overcrowding. Jenn Taylor, 58, an executive at software company Nexus, traveled once a week before the pandemic and found lounges “an absolute haven”. She recently left on a business trip from her hometown of Atlanta and stopped at the Delta Sky Club prior to her flight. After looking inside, she decided to grab a cookie and wait in the boarding area. “When all the seats are full, there is no social distance,” she said of the lounge.
What should I know in the long term?
The popularity of lounges has spurred construction. American Express recently opened clubs at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Denver International Airport. Delta opened one at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in June and will open more at Los Angeles International and New York’s LaGuardia in 2022. Alaska opens a lounge at San Francisco International Airport.
New companies are entering the market. Capital One, whose cardholders have not yet received lounge access as a benefit, is building its own lounges with care rooms, showers and peloton bicycles. The clubs will open at Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and DC in Dulles by the end of 2022. Chase is building its very first Sapphire Lounges by The Club in Boston’s Logan, LaGuardia and Hong Kong International, but has not released details of what it will contain.
I’m flying soon. Do I have to know anything else?
Travelers should check online to see if their local lounge is open before leaving for the airport and bring extra snacks just in case, as the company websites don’t list what they offer.
Many fliers are just happy to be back, no matter what’s on the menu. Nathan Love, 38, a Seattle-based business development manager at T-Mobile who has accumulated 60,000 airline miles since being vaccinated five months ago, recently spent time in the Alaska, Delta and Centurion lounges. He said his favorite aspect was reconnecting with bartenders, check-in staff, and other crew members he knew before the shutdown and chatting with fellow travelers. “It’s great to take a deep breath and relax and share stories,” he said.