The Worst Thing About Airport Lounges Is The Passengers Who Visit Them

John LeFevre, the former investment banker who created the anonymous “Goldman Sachs Elevator” twitter account, laid out the case against airport lounges.

Lounges Are “Inconveniently Located And Overcrowded”

These are two separate issues. They are often inconveniently located on purpose. People will go out of their way to schlepp to the lounge, while prime real estate goes to retail.

Not all lounges are overcrowded. Where they are it’s a function of the democratization of lounges. Until the civil rights era lounges were generally invite-only. Pay-in access was a shift in large measure for non-discrimination reasons, something pushed by the Civil Aeronautics Board. And now many are accessible via credit card. People line up to get into Centurion lounges.

The better the lounge, the more that people want to visit them, showing up early for them rather than turning up as late as possible and heading to the gate. Add in good free food and the masses will come.

“The Food Sucks”

This is way too broad a generalization. The food does suck at American Airlines Admirals Clubs, even after the so-called increased investment in food alongside an increase in annual fee for their premium co-brand credit card. Food generally doesn’t suck at Delta clubs. It’s not as good as it used to be at Centurion lounges, but still often not bad. And the food is actually decent at Chase’s Boston lounge and quite good in Capital One lounges.

But it’s always compared to what? Food is bad in airports overall (except at Tortas Frontera) because of the constraints airports are under.

  • Restaurants have to bring everything in through security they can’t do just in time delivery of food. There are limits on when things can be brought in, they can’t generally bring supplies down the concourse at peak travel times.

  • They can’t work with the best vendors There are often rules about which companies can bring food through security.

  • Space is limited so you can’t do much storage. Tortas Frontera actually has a separate prep kitchen that customers can’t see, with ingredients run from that kitchen out to concourse locations.

  • Electric cook tops The airport may not permit gas ovens, so everything has to get re-created using electric.

  • Knives chained to the wall Security constrains your chefs, their knives frequently have to be tethered to a wall to prevent being taken (and inventoried every day).

  • Employees are hard to get they need to pass security checks, and that takes time, so hiring on the spot is difficult. You often get worse employees that can pass a background check but have few less cumbersome options that don’t involve commuting to the airport.

  • Lowest common denominator cooking Passengers usually choose a restaurant because it is there, they do not go to the airport because of the restaurant. People need to be served quickly, and tastes vary. The space has to be used to serve as many people as possible as quickly as possible, you even see brands that do not serve breakfast out of the airport offering breakfast items (Asian restaurants serving eggs or breakfast tacos).

  • Rents are high so you need high volume Despite high cost and hassle you can’t charge more many airports have street pricing rules that cap how much more items can cost in the airport (perhaps exceeding off-airport pricing by no more than 10%).

At the end of the day HMSHost, Delaware North, and OTG deliver a garbage airport restaurant product to a lot of people. It keeps people fed (when they staff their storefronts properly) but there’s little to look forward to.

Many of these same constraints apply to airport lounges, so offering food that’s even a little better than inside the terminal is a huge feat in itself.

“The Free Drinks Are Cheap”

The free drinks aren’t bad at American Express, Chase, and Capital One lounges. Buy up drinks are quite good in Delta lounges. You should probably be drinking more water when you fly, anyway.

Capital One lounges are well-designed with restrooms near the front, significant takeaway options for food and beverage, their food is good and so is the bar – even the free options, though there are premium buy up options as well.

The Chase lounge in Boston has a good bar on top of their buffet and made to order hot dishes.

They aren’t serving you Penfolds Grange or Petrus, but the Clos de Los Siete Malbec is a nice enough $25 bottle and even the $15 Ramsay Pinot Noir is drinkable.

Passengers In The Lounge Are “Losers”

This is where LeFevre really aims his guns, contending that lounges are “[f]illed with Willy Loman frequent flyers and credit card points losers scrolling Instagram” road warriors and those getting in by having a credit card with no sense of style (“Entry-level LV bags on Rimowa carry-ons”) or panache (“Using words like “bougie” as a compliment”).

In the lounge you meet “the haute bourgeoisie” who are “odious and vapid – veneers projecting the facade of status and substance over emptiness and self-delusion.”

I’ve documented many times the bad behavior of passengers in airport lounges, and this is a subset of the bad behavior that happens on planes. Air travel is highly small-d democratic. The rise of ultra-low cost carriers merely accelerated a process that began with deregulation, driving down fares and making flying more accessible.

Here’s a man sleeping on the furniture in a United Club.

And what about passengers taking extreme measures to ‘get their money’s worth’?

@meat.slut Delta executives hate this 1 money saving trick #meat #traveltiktok #travel #foryoupage #fyp #meatslut @delta ♬ Little Bitty Pretty One – Thurston Harris

Several years ago this incident perfectly captured why it’s just these sort of passengers who are the reason we can’t have nice things.

We noticed two persons grabbing a lot of beer and putting it in their bags. They had some round trips to the bar and even stopped to get more when leaving (all within 3-4 minutes) They noticed me filming, but looked like they couldn’t care less. Guess they nicked 20+ cans and 5 bags of crisps.

LeFevre’s complaint is that lounges aren’t exclusive. And the ones he’s visiting probably aren’t! He’s complaining that anyone can get into a lounge with a credit card, and sneers at those getting in because they’re on the road far more than he is. He’s not flying private, and he’s not flying international first class.

What The Best Lounges Have To Offer

The more people that have access to a lounge, the busier it is and therefore less of a haven from the terminal. It’s just a place that may have nicer bathrooms, and maybe takeaway snacks.

And the more people that have access to a lounge, the more expensive it is to feed and libate everyone. So low quality product is more costly because of sheer volume than high quality product at a quiet lounge.

Plus, margins tend to be lower. A Priority Pass lounge getting around $25 per guest can’t spend a lot on each passenger and the more passengers crammed into the lounge the more they earn.

On the other hand, the most exclusive lounges also operate on high margins. The Lufthansa First Class Terminal can cost hundreds of dollars per passenger, and so can the Air France La Premiere Lounge in Paris.

Those lounge are accessible only by passengers spending several thousand dollars on a one way ticket, by award travelers redeeming for those tickets, or by the airline’s most profitable customers overall. As a result they aren’t crowded, provide generous amenities, and highest quality food and beverage.

It’s a business class lounge but this was my Tomahawk steak in the Air Canada Signature Suite in Vnacouver.

The Pier first class lounge in Hong Kong is beautiful and uncrowded, even though it’s accessible even by economy passengers with top tier status in oneworld frequent flyer programs.

And is any lounge more of an architectural marvel than Qatar’s al Safwa lounge in Doha? LeFevre views lounges as for philistines yet this one features pieces on loan from the Museum of Islamic Art.

There are lounges and there are lounges. When you criticize the most mass market lounges you’re overgeneralizing. Indeed, if I’m honest, the American Airlines Admirals Club on the E concourse as National airport is gorgeous and generally not overcrowded, even if the food is weak. I could sit and work here in peace for hours.

Air travel has been democratized. So have lounges. And that means they aren’t really exclusive. If that’s the complaint, it’s true about many but not all of them. You need to decide whether the value proposition of a given lounge is worthwhile to you.

As for me, I’ll continue visiting the American Airlines lounge in Austin because the staff there are incredible at keeping me moving when weather or mechanical issues threaten to throw a wrench into my travel plans. They employees there are irreplaceable.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. He does pick up on one thing – I have seen a huge explosion of Rimowa bags past few years (really since Covid). I have a few Rimowa bags myself, so I guess I am part of the trend, but it is interesting that so many people now have the bucks to spend $700 to $1,000 on a hardsided bag,

  2. The world needs more former investment bankers to provide commentary on the mores of the social class one level down.

  3. The problem would be easily solved if the aristocracy was restored and the lower, chattering classes were relegated once again to poverty. They really do ruin everything.

  4. “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra

    As someone fairly new to the lounge game (2019 or so), all I can say is, I remember my non-lounge days and I still appreciate even the Admirals Club. There are a few Priority Pass lounges that are pretty awful, but there are a few that are top notch. The key is to know how to survive even low rent clubs, there’s almost always a way and there are always some decent enough options over the overpriced DelawareNorth crapfest. The salads and cookies are acceptable at the Admirals Club and if it’s guac time, that’s always good. Sometimes you’ll hit some better hot items, but the former are the reliables. And the coffee machines produce just about anything you want for cheaper and faster than standing in line for overpriced Starbucks.

    Always have a backup drink that no bartender or flight attendant can screw up – that’s the gin and tonic with lime. (Okay, one time during Covid, the Admirals Club in STL could only procure a gin so bottom shelf it was intolerable, but other than that.) There’s usually an acceptable bourbon, Scotch is hit and miss, and more obscure spirits are often a hidden bonus. Some rums are very good and Cognac, if available, is rarely bad. (I think those tend to be decent because so few people order them.) I don’t do vodka often, but Tito’s is good enough for mixing. If they carry a local microbrew, that’s pretty safe. It’s wine that is usually suspect because there’s so much cheap stuff out there, the purchasing department can’t resist buying cut-rate stuff for a high volume item.

  5. Gary,
    My lounge evaluation is pretty simple.

    As a road warrior for 25 years, the delta Sky Clubs (Crown Rooms) were a place to work between flights, get a coke, (I don’t drink the booze) and relax if I got out of a meeting early before flying. The new 3 hour limit ruined that. I’m likely the lowest cost per visit of any Delta flyer.

    Food, snack and I liked the tomato soup. But Popeyes in ATL was where I ate when I could.

    I still use the Sky Clubs and will see how that value proposition works once the dust settles. I have no clubs at origin. IAD is Priority Pass, no DL club and EK uses the AF lounge.

    I do get tired of the noise, kids, and no manners bottom feeders that I encounter more and more.

    I have access to the AMEX lounges, but with the scarcity and lines, I haven’t been in one.

    If your primary airport is a major hub, it is a different value proposition.

    I use EK lounges mostly when flying internationally and will try Qatar’s early next year for the first time.

    Complaining about lounges is silly. Vote with your feet or wallet. Most that complain aren’t willing to spend the $$ for exclusivity which just proves they aren’t in that group.

    I don’t fly FC internationally, not worth the added cost.

    Funny story: Several years ago I was talking with a CEO from Chicago, he had been commuting every couple months to Dubai flying EK FC. Due to a merger/buyout, he was then under the new company travel program and forced to fly United FC ORD-DXB, he said it was like flying a third world airline after EKs 380 First.

    Everyone has to determine what they value. Our friend you referred to values exclusively, but not enough to pay to play.

    Safe travels.

  6. Few lounges in the U.S. have a place where you lay flat and sleep for a couple of hours. When you get off an airplane after 12 hours and have to wait six more for the connecting flight, any port in the storm is a good place to sleep. Many non-U.S. clubs have a space just for that, which makes a difference in how one feels at the end of the trip.

  7. I enjoy visiting airport lounges. Sure some are better than others. They generally do the best they can with what they have to work with.
    The very negative comments from John LeFevre make it seem like he has total contempt for humanity. He’s like a male Debbie Downer. I wouldn’t want him as a neighbor or co-worker. Perhaps he would be happier dishing out big bucks for the ultra private lounges like Private Suite LAX that costs $4,500+ per year.

  8. The WIlly Loman comment is funny and spot on.
    The fact that so many call themselves “road warriors” speaks for itself. It glorifies a horrible lifestyle, especially if one just flies around domestically to present powerpoints ….
    You would be nothing without your corporate bossman paying for your flights. You do their bidding all week long, and pretend to yourself its all worth it because you can kick back with a drink on a Sunday night in an ‘exclusive’ lounge, while heading to work on the weekend

  9. I bring my own bottle of Louis XIII sometimes to shares. It’s not actually Louis XIII inside (I did buy it 10 years ago as actual Louis XIII when the local Kroger affiliate screwed up and sold it for $325 instead of $3250 because no alcohol costs that much).
    I wonder if this a-hole would know the difference between $4000 Louis and the $40 stuff. I doubt it.

    He hates himself.

  10. I’m a lounger now as work travel for me really increased in 2019 and picked up again in 2022 and 2023.

    The discomfort of the terminal and unreliable outlets and places you could work when sitting around is just too stressful.

    I now pop for the annual fees of the CSR, Amex Platinum, and United Club Card. Not because I’m rich, but because I get the annual fees back in usage or Perks.

    So yes, I guess I fall into the category of a credit card point counter, but I worked pretty hard to get to where I am and my behavior is about as desirable as it gets.

    I absolutely loathe people that are not respectful to others in the space.

    I wish lounges were closer to libraries than they are.

  11. Gary,

    Please stop enabling the status quo of the Admiral’s Club in Austin. Great employees or not that lounge is an embarrassment to American Airlines, the city of Austin, and indeed all of modern aviation.

    Signed,
    A weary AA Austin flyer increasingly yearning for the AUS Sky Club

  12. Several commenters have said kids in lounges are the worst. I agree/disagree. It’s the middle-aged, overweight, balding sales guy who thinks the entire lounge wants to hear his phone call talking sales. Loud and obnoxious!! Stop it fat white men!! Oh – don’t forget about MeMa face-timing with the son/daugher and grandkids telling them that they’ve made it to the lounge on their way to (somewhere dull and boring – fill in the blank) and the lounge is so nice and great drinks. Kiss MeMa bye-bye. UUUGGGGHHHHHH!!! Good ol Americuns!!

  13. As a transoceanic flyer for 60 years, I value lounges that have: #1 Showers, #2 recliners/beds for TPAC and TATL. Reasons I have the Ritz-Carlton card: restaurant, Minute Suites, Be Relax, and Sapphire lounge access. I don’t have to eat or drink at the lounges because RC gives me options. And I love massage chairs.

  14. As a guy who’s been a “lounger” (really this is a term now?) for many years I am happy to say I am still not jaded. And last Friday night in MSP is why…

    I had a 3-hour layover there and the first Sky Club I happened upon was the one at the F/G Connector. The app told me it was “Extremely Busy” but there was no line, so I gave it a shot. The app didn’t lie…I stayed 5 minutes and went to the new club at G18 and it was much less crowded and wonderful.

    But, while the first Sky Club was busy, just outside of it is a terminal restaurant which was absolutely mobbed. Three deep at the bar…people waiting for tables, bags everywhere, etc.

    So, I realized the one thing no one seems to actually realize. NOT EVERYONE has lounge access. Most actually don’t. And, as bad as some Sky Clubs can be (looking at you JFK T4, ATL B18) they are still and will always be better than cramming yourself into a terminal bar/restaurant.

    Just compare the bathrooms in the terminal to the Sky Club facilities and I win this point going away!

    But…you are all correct about the kids…lol!

  15. This article just seems pointless and snobby. I was a top-tier flyer, but also used a credit card (it was actually cheaper than just buying the membership outright and had other benefits). I’m a well-paid professional, and I generally fly first or business on my own nickel (or very large stack of nickels).

    The lounges are in a way victims of their own success. Same with the loyalty programs. But as someone who pays his own way first class even though I got my little green dot I couldn’t enjoy many of the benefits of status simply because I don’t fly economy. I also let lots of Business Extra and Systemwide Upgrades slide into the trash because the award space was too limited, and I wasn’t willing to risk a transatlantic trip in an economy seat.

    So I’m lucky, and I’m privileged, and I get it. But when a top-tier flyer is struggling to find award space, something’s wrong. And the industry’s solution was worse. Let’s make it harder to qualify and make it “more exclusive.” It’s a rare industry that takes the top tier and tries to split it.

    Well, it had the effect they may have intended….or not. I used my little green dot to status match and started flying Delta, though I suspected the good times wouldn’t last with them, either. I, like most frequent flyers, have gone on extra trips to get over the status threshold. Gone.

    They’re doing the same thing with lounge access. Ask your people to bear with it and build more lounges. Open a few more award seats. Show your customers loyalty matters. Because by any reasonable metric, the airlines and some of the hotel chains are actively pushing very loyal customers away.

  16. The traveling public is all the worst parts of humanity on display at the same time. It should all be canceled.

  17. To the Elites and Privilege,

    If you do not like traveling with lowly poor travelers, start flying private, charter your own flights!!!

  18. If this gentleman no longer goes to lounges, the quality of the people using them has improved!

  19. Odd how he considers $1000 bags a sign of a degenerating class structure. I get it, I fly with an ancient Filson bag. And my BB blazer is moth-eaten. However, one who has spent his life gouging customers (remember GS sold mortgage-based products to clients knowing they would go down), should not disparage people who actually work for a living. It’s un-American and Euro-trash think. Makes one wonder if it’s time for Robespierre.

  20. I recently had my 2018 era Lufthansa branded Rimowa carry on serviced and had to produce the receipt. €590 and I kinda felt I overpaid. These things now go for $1375 and they’re made in the people’s republic of Canada to boot. I should ditch mine because this guy is right about what it signals.

  21. People sell people worthless shit every day. It is in fact the American dream to collect the most worthless shit you can before you die.

    Anyway I thought the American Dream was canceled. Instead we all paid for pilots to sit at home doing nothing for 2 years.

    I’m a bit puzzled though. It seems American pilots are now being paid twice what they were. All to fly people around in circles acquiring the most worthless shit they can.

  22. We use the lounges to charge up our phones and get a soda/wine/beer for $0 not $10+tip. We do not need to hear the broadcast of every plane taking off and that a gate is closing. Or that Mr Smith needs to come to gage X to pick up his laptop. For a 2 hr lay over I want QUITE time. I want to check my emails call my office if i have to, take a bathroom break in a place that is not gross out.

    I am glad they got rid of the TVs showing the news and there are no more newspapers (we have cell phones now). A snack is fine. I do not need a full meal before i go on a 6 hr flight to the West Coast while the plane has air turbulance….. all that does is make use of barf bags.

    And when my connection has a problem I like it when that agent double books me on two flights out of the hub so I can get home that night.

  23. We were in Finland and like the lounges there, business class access for one and in another it was just general. BAs Boston international lounge was also good. AA lounges need to take it up a notch at PHL CLT and LAX………

  24. With a bougie name like LeFevre, I can understand why he finds the rest of us odious and vapid. What an archetypal, self delusional, clueless snob

  25. Spot on Admiral Austin! The AUS Admirals Club has to be the worst in the system. It makes the awful CLT lounges feel like the Emirates First Class Terminal DXB by comparison. It has all the charm and the layout of a Greyhound bus terminal. If you didn’t have claustrophobia before you entered you surely will two minutes later when you turn around and leave after navigating the bag-strewn narrow walk paths to discover no available seats.

    It doesn’t even cross my mind anymore to use it. I’m much more content with some Tacodeli or Amy’s and a seat by the gate.

  26. In my experience, when the lounge is crowded, the rest of the terminal is, too. And terminal restaurants are usually super slow. So I’m happy with the lounge. Incidentally, I think one of the reasons they are more crowded now is that security screening and connections have become less dependable since the pandemic, so more people are spending time at the airport. I know I rarely book an international connection less than 3 hours, because I want my luggage to make it with me.

    And I’m usually there to work, so the tables and outlets are handy. But the main usefulness of lounges is when there is an IRROPs. If you ever been stuck somewhere for 6 hours due to weather, the lounge pays for itself as far as I am concerned.

    Also, international lounges are another kettle of fish. Polaris, Concorde Room and La Premiere are all great. Overseas, even business lounges like AF at CDG, LH, Virgin, Iberia, are very nice. But few of those allow credit card access.

  27. I’ve been using lounges for a few decades and to me the issues didn’t begin with “democratization”- it began over the last few years when airlines and other lounge operators got greedy and started allowing access in so many ways that the lounges got overcrowded. Maybe that meant more of the rowdy kids and the travelers with backpacks full of Tupperware containers to carry out the food but that’s a lot harder to police when there are too few staff for too many people. I do NOT carry $700-$1,000 bags but I know how to behave. So do my granddaughters, ages 7 and 9, whom I tell repeatedly how glad I am that they know how to behave in places like that because it means I can take them there. (They enjoy the Rice Krispie treats, carry on quiet conversations and watch the flight monitors.)

  28. I agree with the tweet (now X) and all the other negative comments. Today all lounges suck and it only another income stream. Management doesn’t care as long as they are profitable. 20 years ago they were business lounge where you could work in comfort. Today everything sucks about all of them and yes I have been in all the major brands in the last three months. I would pay twice the price to get a better experience..

  29. He’s right though. The lounges I’ve been to have been pretty garbage. Like the breakfast buffett at the holiday inn.

    I have the Capital one card, so curious to see if that’s better.

    Most places you’d be better off spending $50 in the restaurant near your terminal.

    Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Why are expensive credit cards worth it when the lounges are garbage and it requires a miracle to get a “free” flight? All the credit card sites rate the points as 2 cents a mile or such. Yet the card companies rate them much lower… I tend to believe the card companies here.

    It seems like the cash back cards are really the way to go going forward

  30. I got the Dreadfully Expensive AA card because the sign-on bonus was about 1/3 of the miles for a RT in Business Class to London. I probably won’t renew.

  31. Face it. We missed the glamour days of flying. Once the bus terminal transferred to the airlines it was over! Too many people spoil everything. America is now 40% obese; common courtesy is not so common. I no longer enjoy flying. It’s like since Covid even the airlines forgot how to manage.

  32. He forgot another type/group of people in his post:

    – The pompous, haughty and supercilious investment banker type

    All joking aside, this guy really needs some counseling to help him overcome his anger and deep feeling of inferiority. It’s apparent his historical use of expensive carryon bags and lounge membership as a strategy/means to make himself feel superior no longer works. So in an attempt to make himself feel superior again, he’s now reverted to this public display of disdain towards those who, in his mind, took away his crutch. Unfortunately his actions will further fuel his inferiority complex as he receives comments on how distasteful his behavior and attitudes are.

  33. As one of those credit card bougouise without designer bags who is inhabiting LeVefre’s sacred space, I can tell you I’M not the one who had her dirty skanky sweaty bare feet propped up on the couch next to her Vouitton bag at the LV Amex lounge last week….
    I’m just sayin’….

  34. I suppose Mr. LeFevre is a snob, but then likely so am I since I tend to agree with much of what he proffers, if not all. But then, he has a ribbit, ribbit name, so what should I expect…??? 🙂 (You know how the English feel about their national neighbour, right???)
    That said: @Dave, @mark johnson, you are correct. Sadly, today’s children are largely a blot on the landscape of today’s lounges. However, @JS also has it right when he picks on customers.
    I fly mostly international these days. But WHO is in the lounge is very important and the cross-section isn’t even.
    Credit card lounges, esp. Centurion lounges seem to attract both a crowd and an unfortunate mix of large families and scruffy entitleds, let’s not talk about the grandparents…. I will not be renewing my Plat Amex next year, the lounges aren’t worth $700 a year.
    Regular airline lounges in the US are a dice roll. Some OK, some crowded, some to be avoided.
    Where you see a big step up, as @Gary has noted is in the premium class airline lounges. He is correct about the HKG CP lounges; the Mid-East airline lounges work just because they are yuge and blinged up. You just seem to get a more cultured and courteous crowd in those lounges. And I use the term crowd advisedly. It is hard to find a seat in the so-called “First Class Lounge” of AA’s at LHR if you show up between 0900 and 1000. I like it though, because the breakfast buffet is decent and quick. Best plan there is to eat up and then move down to the CP lounge if you have a few hours.
    The Munich Lufthansa BC lounge is also heaving in the mornings but one can generally find a seat.
    The credit cards aside, you do get what you pay for in lounges, bearing in mind they’re priced into your premium ticket.

  35. “It’s apparent his historical use of expensive carryon bags and lounge membership as a strategy/means to make himself feel superior no longer works. So in an attempt to make himself feel superior again, he’s now reverted to this public display of disdain towards those who, in his mind, took away his crutch.”

    I’m reminded of audiophiles who went berserk during the vinyl to CD revolution. People who had invested thousands if not tens of thousands in their audio systems were now being blown out by people buying basic CD systems and decent speakers. Maybe there was a small advantage to vinyl, but you couldn’t justify the cost to get that small advantage. And these people became marks to every stereo salesman in the country. I remember going with a friend to a stereo store who had the latest thing to improve your sound – silver wire. You think Monster Cable (another scam) was expensive, try silver stereo cables in 1985. I know the theory, and he rolled them out so we could hear them side-by-side against copper. And they sounded terrible, much too bright, but they couldn’t admit that copper was what the system expected and what worked far better. A $300 CD player and solid state amp could blow away all but the very top end turntable and tube amp, for 10% of the price. (And I say this as someone who still has his B&O turntable from that era who worked all summer doing manual labor to pay for it and a Yamaha tape deck.)

    Elitists HATE democratization. I’m all for an elite who gets there through merit and hard work, and I generally can’t stand people crapping up what was once nice, but sniffing at people finding a way into the lounge through smart moves and carrying ordinary suitcases? Welcome to America, pal.

  36. I was going to ditch the AA Executive card because I don’t visit their lounges that much – but then they changed to spend- based status. That gets me OW status to select free business class seats on BA. That is with over a thousand dollars or so for me. And AA has a good award chart for BA saver awards.

  37. Sorry, I had to Google Rimowa to find out what it was. Maybe because it’s been more than a few years since I’ve flown LH? Anyway, it’s now owned by LVMH, so probably would be as welcome on my usual AF as my usual Delsey, (for loyalty flyers excited about luxury labels more than bespoke and private jet.)

    Very good analysis of domestic lounges.

    My only problem with the lounges (apart from one time that a long line at JFK dissuaded me from entering) is the frequent daycare encampment in what should be a liquor imbibing bar nook and also in the laptop counter with power outlets nook.

    DCA AA UA and DL all are good lounges. Other domestic lounges are okay. DOH, DXB, DEL, KTM EK and QR lounges are excellent. CDG and AMS lounges are quite good..

  38. Re Lounge critiques:

    I mean compared to what? Waiting by the gate?

    I find the Admirals Clubs fine for what I want – I don’t expect fine dining (although the Flagship Lounges are decent) just a place to chill, nibble on something, and relax.

    Some of the oneworld Lounges are very nice and I really appreciate being able to take a shower on arriva in London.

    I manage my expectations and have no complaints.

  39. Sunday. Coming back from vacation today. 10th week this year.

    So many Willy Lomans at the United Club. So sad. It appears tho the I m going talk loudly on my phone competition is happening to see who is more important.

  40. @joe4stage: At least you get it!

    I’m drawing back in here…I’m not really sure what you people expect? Lobster, caviar, a red carpet? It’s an airline lounge. It is and will always be far superior to the terminal, the gate, or a ridiculously overpriced terminal restaurant/bar.

    It is not an elite one-of-a-kind experience. Level set…please!

    And, as I have consistently said…next time you leave the lounge…look around…you’ll be amazed how many of your fellow travelers DON’T have access! So, isn’t that at least a little bit “elite”?

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