Most people in the world think traveling Business Class or First Class automatically means instant access to the club lounge but within the USA this is not always the case. If you are traveling in a premium cabin on an international sector then you are allowed access the lounge or if you are connecting after one, but not necessarily if you are just flying domestically, even in a premium cabin. Yep it sucks!
All U.S. carriers sell yearly access to their club lounge for about $400 a year or one time passes for $50 a day. They’re trying to make this perk which the rest of the world enjoys yet another source of revenue.
So the question is, is it worth it for the yearly fee?
My opinion is a no. For many reasons.
Now airports have far better dining facilities like Minneapolis with outlets like Japanese, all ordered from an iPad. It’s frankly more modern and chic than any of the lounges in the terminal. Newark has brilliant French restaurant where I had fabulous wine and steak tartar. Frankly I could not wait to leave the United Club that served foul wine that tasted like vinegar along with their plastic cheese and crackers!
American, Delta and United offer free drinks and snacks but airline budgets have been so roundly cut that the wine is the cheapest you can imagine. It’s awful and snacks are unhealthy and pre-packaged. They’re simply carbs with salt.
To make up for this complete lack of quality they have started selling premium wines and food. I think this defeats the entire point of having a lounge pass. At Delta’s JFK lounge you can have a brilliant Chardonnay with an edamame and sushi meal. But it costs the same as going to a restaurant so it’s just not worth it.
One final thing, it used to be that airlines had really well trained lounge staff that were there to help with flights. In today’s world, their computer system is the same as calling reservations so they tend not to be that big of a big help. If you have elite status, call the elite line, you’ll get faster, better service.
What do you think? Do you pay to have lounge access while traveling domestically? Hit us up on Twitter @goingglobaltv and let me know.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.