In February 2020, in the days when most of us still had little idea what lay ahead, rumors began to circulate that American Airlines was considering allowing flyers to pay to access the Flagship Dining facilities that it operates at a number of its US hubs. The pandemic put all those plans on hold but now that the airline is starting to reopen its Flagship Lounges around the country, the airline has confirmed that, in part, those rumors had substance.
As has been the case with most airport lounge networks around the world, British Airways has been operating a skeleton lounge network since the pandemic first took hold. Recent weeks have seen the airline opening a number of its Business Class lounges at London Heathrow and now BA is ready to take things further by reopening the lounges it dedicates to First Class travelers.
Alaska Airlines has today opened its new lounge in San Francisco (more on that in a separate post) and the airline has used this as an opportunity to remind flyers that it is introducing a new two-tier lounge membership program in October which will see it (mostly) increasing the cost of membership.
Plaza Premium seems to be on a little bit of a roll. Recently, Capital One announced that its new lounge in Denver will be operated in partnership with Plaza Premium, and now we’re hearing that Plaza Premium has just taken over the running of all Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses outside of the UK. For holders of the Platinum Card® from American Express, and the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, this may turn out to be good news.
Capital One has already committed to opening airport lounges at Dallas Fort Worth and at Washington’s Dulles International Airport, now it has confirmed that it will be opening a new lounge at Denver International Airport too.
The Plaza Premium Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2 is currently one of the more important lounges in the airport because as far as I can tell, it's the only lounge open in Terminal 2. Virgin Atlantic and Delta are currently directing their premium passengers to the Plaza Premium Lounge while they wait to return to their home in T3, and with none of the Star Alliance lounges open, the Plaza Premium Lounge is the fallback option for just about everyone else traveling out of T2.
American Express is now operating all but two of its domestic lounges so on a recent layover in San Francisco, I dropped into the Amex Centurion Lounge at SFO to take a look at how things are shaping up in the current environment and to see what Amex is offering travelers fortunate enough to have access.
One of the nicer benefits that are offered by the Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card from American Express is entry into the Centurion Lounges that Amex has been opening up around the United States and in select countries around the world. Covid-19 has seen all of these lounges closed for much of this year but a few lounges have now reopened and, with a bit of luck, more reopenings may be on the way.
Chase has issued a press release to say that it plans to open a series of lounges at airports around the United States and that each lounge will be branded as a "Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club". Not much detail has been given about what the lounges will offer or where the lounges will be located but there are one or two things that we do know.
The British Airways First Lounge is the only British Airways lounge currently open at Heathrow Terminal 5 and so until that situation changes, it's open to all travelers passing through T5 whose fare or airline status gives them lounge access as one of their benefits. With American Airlines and Qatar Airways now operating out of T5, this is currently a lounge for more than just British Airways passengers.