For most people being stuck at the airport is a real drag. Even though I can easily be entertained for a few hours, if I am in one more than 4-5, I will start getting grumpy. Uncomfortable seats, expensive food and no one who seems to give a darn. Unless of course, you have access to an airline’s board room.
I have flown a lot in my life, yet I have had very little experience with airline board rooms. Either not racking up enough miles with one airline or constantly flying airlines that don’t even have a board room. I have always felt they were elite and out of reach for a middle class traveler. I wanted to check out the board room experience inside and out and luckily Alaska Airlines was more than happy to have me.
I learned that although being in the board room feels like an elite experience, you don’t need to be wealthy to experience it. I visited Alaska Airline’s Board Room at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport twice in one week: The first to see what it is like as a passenger and the second, to roll up my sleeves and go behind the scenes to see what it is like to work as a concierge.
This experience will be in a three part series with this first introduction looking at boardrooms in general, the second part showing what it is like as a passenger, and concluding with the experience as an employee.
Airport lounges allow passengers to have a first class experience at the airport. Most are airline-owned or shared through an alliance. Many larger and legacy airlines will have lounges all over the world, but most low cost carriers will not provide any.
For the most part the lounges provide a quieter environment for passengers to relax or work, free food and drinks and direct access to top notch customer service. Most airport lounges are restricted to people with yearly or lifetime memberships, elite frequent flyer members or those flying in first class. Some airlines will allow passengers to purchase one-day passes to enjoy all the amenities, but not with a long-term contract.
Now, you don’t need to go through an airline necessarily to access first-class airport service. A while back I took a look at reLAX at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which gives you board-room-like service, but it is not attached to any airline. You don’t need VIP mileage status or big bucks to be treated like a rockstar. You just need a few bucks and some extra time at LAX. I checked back in with them and things have been going well. They have seen 50,000 visitors since they opened in December 2008 and are planning to expand to other cities in the near future.
So what is it like to be a VIP and go to the exclusive airport lounge? You are going to have to wait until tomorrow to find out, when I blog about the passenger experience at Alaska Airline’s Board Room!
Privium by WytzeNL
ReLax by ReLax
Alaska by AirlineReporter.com