Lounge accessBack to Forum
Anonymous10 Jul 2013
So, before joining this forum I have to say that I’ve not really paid that much attention to lounges, for me they are a perk one is enrolled in a frequent flyer programme, or if one has chosen an expensive ticket to fly up the front of the plane.
Given how much people on here care about lounges, I do wonder if airlines aught to look at only giving access to those on either business class fares, or only their top tier of reward scheme?
I’ve made this point before but if I am headed EDI – LHR on a £100.00 ticket, I am taking valuable space, food etc from the business travelling customer who has paid twenty times more for his/her seat on the plane, I am stressing the staff further and in effect, using only my status to gain access.
Should the airlines take this position, I am sure there could be alternative perks airlines could offer to still make their lower tier card holders happy, this could solve the overcrowding and poor service which is often reported back on forums such as this. If there were considerably less people in the lounge, almost all of whom were on an expensive ticket, then the lounge would indeed be a worthy part of the journey, as it is now it rather appears giving access to the lounges only offers customers more opportunity to complain – even if they are on a £100.00 ticket.
AOTG.10 Jul 2013
The situation as it stands has evolved to where it is and probably for a good reason. Since all of what you consume in the lounge is acquired at cost price by the carrier rather than retail, I am sure the total cost of my food and beverage consumption to say BA for my 30-40 lounge visits per year would be less than £200 but the value to them of the marginal extra flights I take with them because of the lounge access is well in excess of this. Cost of extra Floor space may be more of an issue but since they have to have a lounge for the C/J pax, then the marginal extra space may also be minimal
Getting rid of my access would certainly cost them my extra marginal business.10 Jul 2013
AOTG: Lounge access is given to CW passengers whether they are flying LHR/EDI or LHR/SYD. The cost of the flights may differ enormously, but the benefits are the same.
If BA were to allow only Gold BAEC members access when flying economy, I suspect many Silver flyers would seek other airlines! I certainly would10 Jul 2013
But surely the lounge access reflects the value of your overall business and loyalty to the airline. I can remember occasions where I have paid £100 for a ticket and used the lounge and others where I have paid £3,000 plus and used the lounge, consuming the same amount of food each time. I suppose in the airline’s view it must average out, otherwise the people would not have reached appropriate status.
If you are a really high value client then presumably you have access to CCR room or equivalent anyway. In any case why would I be “taking food from the business travelling customer” – surely you order enough food for both?
I do take your point though, with current levels of profitability I can see the point coming where costs have to be cut.10 Jul 2013
I agree with cloud 9…….
I’ve got used to lounges, since my promotion and business re-structure i find myself travelling less and as a result it won’t be long before I lose my status.
And with my companies flying policy it now is unlikely for me to be on a ticket that allows me access to the EDI lounge….
Add into the mix the amount of flights’ you have to take to achieve status I’m more likely not to be loyal to any brand….Lounge access is also really only handy if I’m travelling by myself or I can bring 1 guest in…
I do miss the BD lounge because the Lounge dragons weren’t ehhmm dragons …..Recognising me by name on almost every visit they allowed me access with friends even if I was flying another carrier!!
AF/KL lost my 1st choice carrier to HKG status; simply because their points disappear…their loss is someone else’s gain….i.e. EK, CX & THY10 Jul 2013
Clearly the airlines feel it is worth the investment. After all, if you think about it, the First Class lounges at LHR T5 are *only* for people with top tier status – the people actually flying First are in the Concorde Room. The reality is that to get this access you have to fly one helluva lot – for my top tier membership with Cathay I need to clock up 120,000 miles a year (after factoring in class bonuses, of course)
Having said all that, I think the current qualification system is illogical. It would be far more sensible – rather than looking at miles or tier points – to award elite status on the basis of money spent, rather than distance travelled, and I am at a loss to understand why airlines don’t do this
I would also add that the model prevailing in much of the world, which gives lounge access as one of the first “major” benefits of tier status, but not just restricted to the top tier, is indeed not the only way of rewarding frequent fliers. Most will be aware that in the US, lounge access does not come with tier status or even, on domestic flights, as a bonus of the cabin flown (transcontinental flights excepted) – rather, the primary perk within the US system is upgrades. Both approaches are viable, but when you think about it, for most passengers upgrades and/or lounge access are the main perks that frequent fliers seem to be looking for. Given this, how would you really reward middle-tier frequent fliers in the European context without lounge access? The main alternative would be an upgrade, in the American style, but since (in contrast to the US) one of the main perks of premium cabins in Europe and Asia is lounge access, you end up giving them double.10 Jul 2013
For me, the lounge access is the single most important benefit of the gold card(s). Space, quiet, a free wireless network, and food and drink all really help. Upgrades are now very rare (for me!), and the “free” flights (avios, sky miles and so on) I give to my children.
After the lounge, the other item of greatest use is the fast track, when it is available – whether check in, security, or boarding (preferably all three).10 Jul 2013
You said “rather than looking at miles or tier points – to award elite status on the basis of money spent, rather than distance travelled”
I would like to add that although that might at first seem logical, I think you need to factor into the equation the following…
My vast wealth of DC points was accumulated on the EDI-LHR route….I must have become one of BD’s best customers, if not their no. 1A customer…as my commute was almost weekly….
It took me quite a while to attain “Gold” and once I attained it I had to maintain my almost weekly flights just to hold onto that status……
The primary benefit being the better quality of whisky in the upstairs lounge in T1 : )
A colleague who only made 3 visits to India quickly attained “Silver” because of the distance, class and cost…. who is the more loyal customer..
Also, consider that my BD business class fares were cheaper than the “y” fares because of the amount of travel my company booked between EDI & LHR, so a colleague occasionally travelling down to the big smoke would fly on cheaper than “Y” ticket in business and still had access to the “ not quite as good whisky” lounge…..when BD lost the plot and ditched the cabin in favour of fully flexible mumbo jumbo it also merged the lounges …so why bother joining diamond club, unless like me you use the points for personal use !
To summarise I would like a system that rewards loyalty not just in the here and now but also allows flexibility in future loyalty…..so redemption points that don’t disappear and importantly once you’ve SACRIFICED a huge part of you’re life to be a customer, a FFF plan that doesn’t expect you to continue that level of sacrifice week in week out…10 Jul 2013
Some very interesting posts raised by members of the forum.
The way I’ve always perceived it is that the cost of lounge access for F/J pax is covered by the fare, whereas lounge access for card holders is considered a marketing expense for maintaining customer loyalty.
Some airlines like Qantas also pay for their lounges by charging for membership to the Qantas Club. These can generate profit given that they encourage loyalty more so than just being a frequent flyer and the cost of the membership (around AUD400 per annum) usually covers the cost of the food/alcohol consumed by members (unless they’re alcoholics like many Qantas Club members I’ve seen hitting the bar on a Friday night).10 Jul 2013
Personally, I find it interesting that the airlines give away lounge access to frequent flyers and often provide even nicer lounges to those flyers than those flying in Business Class. The lounge concept seems to have morphed from a perk for those paying for Business Class to a perk for those with the highest frequent flyer status. While that builds loyalty, it does also take away from one of the reasons to purchase a Business Class ticket (at least on short flights). I have never really understood why the frequent flyer lounge is often nicer on many airlines than the business class lounge. I would have thought airlines would want to entice frequent flyers to pay the higher fare. I note Singapore Airlines has a much nicer Business Class lounge in Singapore than the Gold Card lounge which is the lounge they send Gold card holders traveling in economy class to.10 Jul 2013
canucklad, I do take your point – and of course many airlines recognise this issue now by looking at sectors flown as an alternative qualification method. I remember when CX introduced this – driven by pressure from people doing the Taiwan-China route (in those days there were no direct flights due to the political tension between them, so flights had to touch down in HK) who did not accrue the miles but were nonetheless frequent fliers on very short-haul trips.
Given that this structure already exists, I can quite see that the airlines might want to offer two alternative routes to qualification. However, at the end of the day, airlines naturally want to encourage loyalty in order to earn higher profits – and revenue is of course a key element of that. To use your example, which of you generates more profit for BA? Notwithstanding your frequent flights, it may well be that your colleague contributed more to the airline’s bottom line (especially taking into account the number of times you are hitting the bottle of expensive stuff!!)11 Jul 2013
I fly frequently from MXP via (whenever possible) Zurich with Swiss. If the lounge were taken from me then I’d look to fly direct as I don’t relish traipsing round ZRH, as nice as it may be, for an hour or more!11 Jul 2013
LuganoPirate – 11/07/2013 06:53 GMT
Lounge access is also a way to encourage higher tier FF to fly with airlines via their hubs rather than direct options with other airlines.
Before I moved to Europe I would always fly Sydney to Athens via Singapore and London with BA. It was slightly more expensive or en par with airlines like TG and SQ that offered 1 stop options, added about 7 hours onto the trip, but the attraction of spending quality time in the QF/BA lounges in SIN and LHR was enough to entice me to take the ‘long route’.
Given that these were holiday flights and I was in economy, had I not had lounge access due to FF status I would for certain have flown direct.11 Jul 2013
I’m with Canuklad, I maintained BA gold last year without making any long haul flights and the majority of my flights were domestic or short northern europe. In most cases there was an alternative option, but loyalty is the fact that I like Canucklad, remainded loyal to our chosen airlines.
If you turned it on its head and said it was by flight sector then possibly some travelling long haul would not reach higher status.11 Jul 2013