Top players in the airline lounge-scape

Business travelers spend a lot of time in the air, but a large part of the experience is spent waiting in airports. When connecting to your destination, amenities and comforts help pass the time, enable you to work remotely and make it easier to arrive fresh and ready to go. Carriers understand this, and many invest in their airport lounge facilities to gain an edge in the highly competitive air travel industry. Before your next take off, learn more about some of the top airline lounges around and the amenities they offer.

American Airlines flagship in Miami

American Airlines has created a series of lounges in major hubs around the country under the ‘Flagship’ brand. These are part of a $200 million investment by the carrier in lounges and facilities, aiming to attract travelers and improve retention in the high-end segment of the market. The ‘Flagship’ lounges are designed to be a retreat for busy travelers, with high-end dining, showers, quiet spaces, work facilities, digital flight-boards and lounge-style seating. The first Flagship opened at John F. Kennedy International in May 2017. The latest addition to the collection is Miami International’s 29,000 square foot, 475-seat lounge. Access is complimentary for travelers flying internationally in Business and First Class, as well as Elite-status members of the AAdvantage frequent flier program. Other analogous programs in the One World partnership traveling on an American Airlines flight may also access the space. Flagship lounges are currently open in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York, and will soon open in Dallas, London and Philadelphia.

Etihad opens lounge to economy class passengers

Gulf-based carrier Etihad has opened its luxurious and highly-regarded lounge facilities to all passengers, including those in Economy class, for a modest fee. In addition, business class passengers will now have the option to purchase access to the first-class lounges around the world.  This development is emblematic of the evolving industry, with carriers facing increased competition turning to high-touch facilities and services to differentiate themselves. Now Etihad passengers of every ticket class can access a host of luxurious amenities and comforts ranging from internet access and charging stations, to dinner and drinks.

Virgin Atlantic clubhouse, JFK

Widely regarded as one of the top airport lounges for its forward-looking, modern design and lively atmosphere. A chic cocktail bar and pool table help travelers pass the time until their next flight. The Clubhouse offers several food options, including a full breakfast menu, tapas, dim sum as well as more substantial meals like burgers and pizza. The space also features a Bumble & Bumble Salon as well as a complimentary spa.

Oneworld Lounge, LAX

One of the top lounges on the West Coast, the OneWorld space at Tom Bradley International, services passengers on airlines in the global OneWorld alliance. With sub-spaces inside carriers such as Qantas and British Airways, there are a variety of luxurious amenities available. The main area has seating for more than 400, centered around an open atrium providing natural light during the daytime and a view of the busy airport at night. There are a number of other seating areas, including a buffet with a menu created by Australian celebrity Chef Neil Perry, a bar serving craft cocktails and a selection of international wines around an indoor firepit. Weary travelers can also have their shirts pressed, shoes shined and take a shower in one of nine dedicated shower suites to refresh themselves.

Star Alliance Lounge, LAX

Also in the Tom Bradley terminal, the lounge for the Star Alliance group of airlines features both first-class and business lounges. The business section accommodates as many as 375 travelers, while the first-class lounge is limited to 40. An outdoor terrace with a built-in waterfall offers a breath of fresh air before your next departure, and the lounge seating features a balcony overlooking the main concourse. Also on offer is a large buffet serving snacks and drinks, a library where guests can loan iPads, a media room for watching sports and news, as well as free high-speed internet access and charging facilities.

Delta Skyclub

The SkyClub at JFK was Delta’s flagship lounge offering when it opened a few years ago. It features a large outdoor area overlooking the tarmac called the SkyDeck. Here travelers can order food and drinks, as well as access free wifi as they watch the planes come and go. Indoors, the lounge offers seating for 400, 50 workstations, shower suites and a bar with complimentary drinks as well as wine and premium spirits for sale.

United Airlines Polaris Lounges

United has opened the new and luxurious Polaris series of lounges, which will be available soon at the airline’s global hubs. The first to launch will be at Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal 1, offering specialty cocktails, private seating, high-end showers, rooms for quiet relaxation and some of the fastest wireless internet in the business. United is building Polaris lounges around the world, with nine currently planned in locations that will include Houston, Newark, San Francisco, Dulles, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London and Tokyo.

These are just some of the fantastic locations available for travelers in the ever-evolving lounge-scape. Ask your travel manager to ensure you are maximizing your access to these spaces.