Waking up with Airport Dimensions
Among the predictable industry headlines throughout the pandemic about grounded flights, suspended dining programs and supply chain interruptions, there has been lately a glimpse of recovery in the lounge market.
Airport Dimensions reported in March 2021 that survey figures indicated that lounge revenue streams would be significant in the post-COVID era. A month later, it reported that the US lounge market had seen the first substantial increase since the start of COVID, indicating strong growth in domestic travel and increasing passenger confidence. And the market has continued to recover at a rapid pace since then, Nancy Knipp, President (Americas) at Airport Dimensions, tells PAX International in September.
“Visitor rates at our The Club lounges in the US are trending positively with over 65 percent of our locations experiencing week-on-week growth,” she says. “Growing demand for lounges is positive news for the wider travel industry, indicating that more passengers are returning to the skies and are also willing to pay for enhanced services that improve their overall travel experience.”
Lounges at Charleston International Airport, Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport and Boston Logan International Airport have also continued to see double digit week-on-week volume growth. On the US Labor Day weekend, several lounges reached pre-pandemic levels. The Charleston S.C., The Club CHS lounge exceeded 2019 Labor Day volumes by more than 16 percent.
In addition, Knipp says, prospects for the global lounge network are also trending positive.
During the first twelve months, Airport Dimensions’ sleep ‘n fly Sleep Lounge at Hamad International Airport in Doha recorded nearly half a million hours of sleep, relaxation or socially distanced relaxation time from travelers in transit at the Qatar airport.
Airport Dimensions acquired the sleep ’n fly brand last year and opened its first non-traditional lounge featuring the sleep concept at Doha last September, joining a network of three sleep lounges in the Gulf. The 50-bed Sleep Lounge offers single, couple and family pod options to suit all passenger needs, giving travelers the opportunity to relax and rest during their journey.
Airport Dimensions lounge access varies, but they are open to those who pay for entry or members of a qualifying program.
Privacy, hygiene, and relaxation
With growing concerns over hygiene and social distancing because of the pandemic, lounges offer a clean, private space away from the busyness of the airport.
“The current trends driving passengers to airport lounges – such as the desire to socially distance in private, hygienic spaces – look set to remain in the post-pandemic environment as more travelers return to airports and terminals become busier,” Knipp says.
To keep up with the demand, she says Airport Dimensions has been inviting feedback from passengers and has deployed updated disinfection and hygiene procedures and contactless check-in at its lounges. At Hamad International, for example, the lounge uses high-tech nanotechnology disinfectants that neutralize viruses and germs for extended periods of time.
Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club
The lounge company is also partnering with JPMorgan Chase to unveil a new concept Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club. The first three locations that will eventually feature the lounges, including New York’s LaGuardia Airport in Terminal B, Boston Logan International Airport Terminal B to C Connector, and an international location in Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1. More will be announced in select locations over time.
No1 Lounges and Connecta to come
Airport Dimensions announced in June an agreement with joint venture partner Swissport to acquire No1 Lounges business through SwissportALD. Under the agreement, the partners will operate nine No1 lounge and Clubrooms spaces at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Birmingham airports. The Clubrooms brand offers guests a First Class luxury lounge experience in a private and intimate setting.
In response to traveler expectations for contactless and digital services, Airport Dimensions has launched Connecta. The e-commerce platform drives revenue by knitting together the physical and digital traveler experience through the airport space.
The company also works with F&B marketplace partner Servy and duty free ordering with digital platform Inflyter to cater to passengers’ digital expectations.
“These commercial services provide additional opportunities to add value to a passenger’s journey, as well as creating important new revenue streams that are helping airports to recover from the after-effects of the pandemic.”
BA continues lounge openings
In September, British Airways announced that it would transition to the next phase of its lounge reopening plan, another move indicative of a lounge market recovery. The airline opened the doors to its Concorde Room (specifically for those in First) at JFK and Heathrow on September 1, on the heels of the airline’s flagship US lounge reopening at the start of August.
To coincide with both Concorde Rooms opening, British Airways will be introducing a new cocktail menu, created exclusively for the airline, with two special cocktails. The ‘Barton’ and ‘Lawford,’ after Lynne Barton, the first female British Airways pilot, and Bill Lawford, the first ever British Airways pilot in 1919.