Paid Access Airport Lounges

Scenario: You travel regularly for business meetings, conferences, or corporate events. The flights are usually long and your employer or client doesn't have the budget for business class. What's the alternative to arriving exhausted at your destination?

Scenario: As event, meeting and conference planners, what can you offer clients who are committed to offering corporate events and special events despite their tight budget.

Scenario: As a Corporate Travel Manager, you are always on the look-out for ways to stretch your company's travel budget and still deliver value.

Passengers are discovering that taking the time to relax or nap in an airport lounge before their flight and while waiting for connections can make all the difference.

What's a Paid Access Airport Lounge?

Airport LoungeFor starters, they are a lot less expensive that airport hotels. Paid access lounges come very close to offering the same services as you get by flying business class....but at a fraction of the price. They are accessible regardless of the fare class on which you are traveling. You'll pay about $30 - $40, that's it. Compare this to thousands of dollars for a business class fare.

What Services do Paid Access Airport Lounges Provide?

Hot meals. With domestic North American airlines scaling back their meal services, it's a good idea for passengers to have something hearty before boarding.

You'll also find computer terminals, large desks for laptop use, wireless Internet access, TVs, comfortable chairs (sometimes massage chairs), newspapers, and magazines. All have adequate washroom facilities so you won't have to face the long line-up. Some even have showers. Some (e.g. Dubai) have loungers so that you can get a good rest during layovers.....just bring a blanket and an alarm clock.

One of the best kept secrets is that the lounges are free to holders of certain credit and top tier frequent flier cards. For certain fare categories, some airlines give will even give you the option of paying to reserve lounge access when you purchase your ticket on-line (e.g. Air Canada).

Where can you find Paid Access Airport Lounges

Plaza Network

This network has lounges in over 50 destinations including:

  • Toronto
  • Edmonton
  • Vancouver
  • Dubai
  • Singapore
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Hong Kong
  • Beijing

VIP Attractions

  • Montego Bay
  • Kingston

Marhaba Lounge

  • Dubai

Annual Lounge Access

If you or your clients travel frequently on certain airlines, it may be worth paying an annual fee to access their business class lounge. (This is not the same as the paid access lounges we were just discussing.) Air Canada, Qantas, Continental, American Airlines, and Delta are just a few of the airlines that have this program. You can use the lounges in their system while waiting for the first leg of your journey or while you are in transit. It's a lot cheaper than springing for business class for each trip. This is an option worth exploring by meeting planners and travel managers. Here is where you can find out more about:

Photo Credit: Ces't June

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