Redoing Airport Lounges Business for Post-Covid – Skift
For some passengers, there is no safer sign that the world is returning to normal than the reopening of airline airport lounges. Most lounges closed at the start of the pandemic, but airlines around the world are taking interim measures to reopen just in time for the expected summer surge in leisure travel.
The challenge, of course, is to protect public health while maintaining the level of service to which their premium passengers have long been accustomed.
Lounges are powerful marketing tools, if not loss leaders, for airlines, making them more important than ever as flyers unleash pent-up demand on bookings.
At one of the busiest international airports in the world, Heathrow in London, British Airways offers passengers traveling in Club World the opportunity to take a nap before their flight in the Heathrow First Lounge. The facility is currently open to all eligible lounge passengers, the airline’s website said.
To ensure customer safety, British Airways provides contactless entry, hand sanitizing stations, social distancing with screens between seats, pre-ordered food and drink via ‘Your Menu’ delivered direct to passengers, using antibacterial wipes to clean sleeping cabins between passengers; and improved cleaning in common areas, says its website.
British Airways has a limited number of open lounges at Heathrow Airport, in Terminal Five, as global travel restrictions simplify and more lounges open, the airline plans to set up nap lounges at John Airport F.
But if taking a nap on the go is on your bucket list, keep in mind that once all lounges reopen, access to the Concorde room and the First lounge will be exclusively available to customers traveling in First, as well as for Executive Club Gold and oneworld Emerald card holders. members.
In Germany, the pandemic has led to permanent closures of Lufthansa lounges in Bremen, Cologne, Dresden, Nuremberg, Leipzig / Halle and Delhi, India, the airline said. his website. However, passengers in Delhi can use the Air India lounge, he added.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa said the timeline to reopen lounges is flexible and fluid, with more lounges open as more people start to travel internationally and more countries open up. . And although the airline’s lounges are not fully staffed due to travel restrictions, Lufthansa said finding staff to run the lounges was not a problem.
âThere are various measures to reopen Lufthansa lounges safely. Some measures include the continued requirement to wear masks in the salon, the ability to monitor to ensure a safe distance is maintained between visitors to the salon, as well as the provision of take-out food and drink at the salon. instead of an open buffet, âa Lufthansa spokesman said.
Lufthansa has also installed Plexiglas dividers in areas where passengers and staff interact, he said.
Back in the United States, American Airlines is gearing up for Memorial Day weekend with the reopening of 27 of its lounges across 21 national cities and two international reopenings at Mexico City and SÃ£o Paulo / Guarulhos international airports, a US spokesperson said.
American is reopening additional lounges in locations where it sees increased numbers of travelers and may limit offerings and capacity based on local restrictions or orders, US spokesperson Leah Rubertino said.
Recently, it reopened several lounges at airports in Charlotte, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami, she said.
the Admiral Club Lounges will continue to reopen in stages and American is continuing the recruiting process at these locations as the lounges reopen, Rubertino said.
While American continues to offer free hot meals, self-serve areas remain closed. It now uses disposable single-use glassware and contactless menus using QR codes or scans. Travelers also have options of prepackaged snacks or signature dishes for sale, which, depending on local restrictions, cannot be consumed in the lounge, the airline said on its website.
Admiral Club lounges are operating at 50% capacity, with foot operated door openers for touchless entry, plexiglass at service desks and reception, hand sanitizers, increased table cleaning and chairs and social distancing signage.
United currently has 11 lounges open at hubs and plans to reopen eight more lounges by Labor Day, while continuing to monitor international travel with its international network planning team, a company spokesperson said. Aerial. Due to the unsustainable level of international travel, United Polaris lounges and international lounges remain temporarily closed, the spokesperson said.
âOver the next two months, United will have 21 United Club locations open, with at least one in each of United’s US hubs, as well as in Honolulu, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas,â the spokesperson said.
Visitors to United lounges will see a rollout of dietary improvements that will roll out to all United Club lounges by the end of May. United is partnering with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to improve cleaning techniques and deploy electrostatic sanitizing spray, its website mentionned.
As Delta is removing some social distancing signs to allow for increased capacity, the airline said hand sanitizers and plexiglass screens will remain in place throughout its terminal and at Sky Clubs.
âAs we make more seats available on board, [Delta Sky] Clubs will also provide additional seating based on capacity requirements and following local occupancy guidelines, âsaid Bill Lentsch, head of Delta’s customer experience office.
Starting this month and throughout the summer, hot and cold food service will resume at Delta lounges, he said.
The 45 Delta Sky Clubs currently open are continuously cleaned throughout the day and disinfected at night using electrostatic spray sanitation in accordance with CDC guidelines, Lenstch said. Sky Clubs offer contactless check-ins, Plexiglass displays and hand sanitizing stations, the airline said.
Fort Lauderdale Airport in South Florida will open a new Sky Club in June and Tokyo will also land a new Sky Club this summer, the airline said. his website.