No More Waiting In Line For Capital One Lounges! Now Join The Queue Before Reaching The Airport

Bank lounges were a real step up in U.S. airports. American Express elevated the domestic lounge game with their Centurion lounges over a decade ago. But better food and drink, complimentary for eligible cardmembers, led to crowding.

Airline passengers will show up earlier, and stay longer (and eat more) at airport lounges than you expect when there’s a great lounge option at no added cost. And that’s true even when you expect that they’ll show up earlier, stay longer, and eat more.

So even as these lounges have expanded, and Capital One and Chase have both gotten into the airport lounge game, there’s just not enough space for the passengers who want to use these lounges.

Here’s the line to get into the American Express Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas at 1:45 p.m. on a Monday.

Credit: TravelZork)

I really like the way that Capital One has handled lounge queueing to date:

  1. You don’t stand in line. Instead you show up, get added to the queue virtually, and they text you when it’s your turn to enter.

  2. They manage capacity inside the lounge so that it still doesn’t feel full, instead of cramming as many people in as possible. So once you get inside there’s plenty of seating available and you aren’t dodging people as you walk through the lounge. It’s possible to get a drink at the bar!

Capital One Lounge Dallas – Fort Worth

Now they’ve really improved things even more, doing exactly what I’ve been hoping for: add yourself to the wait list without having to walk to the lounge first.

I don’t like standing in line, and I don’t like wasting time. So having to go to the lounge to find out how busy it is, and then go away and come back later, still isn’t a great experience.

  • The Capital One mobile app now lets Venture X and Venture X Business cardmembers view current lounge capacity
  • And virtually join the waitlist, whether enroute to the airport or just touching down in your connecting city.

Capital One Lounge, Washington Dulles

Capital One Lounge, Washington Dulles

Capital One says this is live “for a majority of eligible cardholders” and that it will roll out to all customers “in the coming weeks.”

To add yourself to a lounge waitlist, select travel and then lounges in the Capital One mobile app and then pick the lounge you want to enter. It shows the current lounge capacity, and lets you join the wait list if it is full. You’ll see your estimated wait time, and they text you when it’s your turn to enter.

You still have 15 minutes to make it to the lounge once you’ve been texted, so you don’t need to wait nearby. You might even wait at another lounge in the meantime – drop into an American or United club, and then eat and drink at Capital One once it’s your turn.

So far there are Capital One lounges at Washington Dulles, Dallas – Fort Worth, and Denver. They’ve announced dining concept spaces coming to Washington National and New York LaGuardia.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is great.

    These are, for my money, the best lounges I’ve been to in the US (I haven’t been to the Qantas F lounge in LAX, which is probably an exception).

    In DFW flying international, I have the choice between the Flagship lounge or Capital One, and I always turn left toward Capital One when I get out of those elevators.

  2. Will be interesting to see how this works for them, both in terms of how much longer it can make the wait (when you can join a wait with a few button pushes, everyone will add themselves compared to the 15 minutes I waited at the CL Denver escalator 6 months ago and saw a couple dozen people walk up, see the line, and walk off) and how well C1 can manage that capacity change (there will be way more no-shows and people running late than a restaurant with people throwing themselves on the list earlier than they should and getting delayed with the security/jetway/train).

    This feels like the type of thing a lot of people feel should be a thing, but is then an absolute nightmare to manage and makes wait times exponentially longer.

  3. Why hasn’t AMEX done this? I find it incredibly time wasting to queue up @ a Centurion lounge, provide my mobile and then come back and have to show my text message that I am OK to enter, my boarding pass, my amex and my photo id. Surely this can be made to be done faster.
    I hope with all the new lounge openings and competition, overcrowding will be a thing of the past, very soon.

  4. Great feature! I’ve been fortunate, never had to wait on any of my visits so far. IAD being the smallest has been the closest calls, when I was there earlier this week I found probably one of the last open seats. A lot of my flights have been at off peak times though to be fair.

    Excited for the landings especially at DCA — I heard rumors the one at DCA is opening soon-ish? Please keep us posted on any updates!

    PSA to regular Cap 1 lounge visitors — icymi they changed the Wi-Fi password at IAD and DFW (and probably DEN too then?) last week in case you get confused why the usual password isn’t working

  5. I’m not seeing the ability to join a waitlist even when a lounge is showing as very busy.

    How do you know whether that means there is no waitlist rather than there’s a problem that is preventing you from getting on it?

  6. Baron says, “Why hasn’t AMEX done this? I find it incredibly time wasting to queue up @ a Centurion lounge, provide my mobile and then come back and have to show my text message that I am OK to enter, my boarding pass, my amex and my photo id. Surely this can be made to be done faster.”

    I agree. After spending 15 minutes trekking to the DFW Centurion Lounge from Terminal A more than a dozen times, I am disappointed to discover a 20–45-minute wait to enter. Fortunately, some passengers who just visited the Capitol One lounge were walking to the E terminal for their next flight. We learned there was no wait to enter the DFW Capitol One lounge and that you could get grab-and-go food if your connection time were short due to the wasted time trying to enter the Centurion Lounge. Eight of us left the Centurion Lounge waiting line by the elevator and walked over to the Capitol One Lounge. We got in immediately, and the excellent food was abundant.

  7. Unfortunately for me, hitting “Join Waitlist” on my Android phone fails to do anything. Good idea in theory, since the lounges are quite nice in comparison to other domestic lounges.

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