Lounges

United Airlines partners with that exclusive private lounge at LAX

You may remember stories about a private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport where passengers pay a premium fee to get special service before their flight, including private and personalized check-in and baggage handling, private security screening, a swank ride directly to the aircraft and a very upscale lounge to hang out in.

The cost? Fees are up there in the rarified “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it” categories:

Membership is $4500 a year, which gives a discount rate on individual visits of (only) $2700 when flying on a domestic flight and $3,000 when flying one-way internationally.

Not a member? Those one-time visits cost $3,500 for a domestic flight and $4,000 for someone traveling internationally.

Want a “cheaper” way in?

United Airlines and The Private Suite have partnered up to offer what it describes as “a highly preferential rate” that will be included in some business-class fares.

Exact pricing isn’t mentioned in the airlines’ release about the new partnership, but on the webpage for the United Private Suite, it says:

“With this service, you’ll save $4,500 on The Private Suite’s annual membership fee that’s normally required for travel with other airlines. In addition, you’ll enjoy favorable rates when compared to making separate bookings for travel and The Private Suite experience.”

Want to book it?

United says the The Private Suite experience is initially available only if you book through select corporate travel booking desks and travel agents, but that passengers will soon be able to purchase the perk  on united.com or through the United app as part of a premium-cabin ticket fare.

 

Alaska Airlines opens its first east coast lounge – at JFK

Alaska Airlines has opened it first airport lounge on the East Coast. This one is at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on the mezzanine level of Terminal 7.

I’m hoping to visit this lounge soon, but accordong to Alaska, this lounge features “a living room-esque design” with multiple seating areas, Starbucks-trained baristas, a nice variety of complimentary fresh foods including oatmeal and yogurtbars in the morning, salad and soup in the afternoon and evening, and a wide-selection of microbrews, West Coast wines and signature cocktails.

The Alaska Lounge on the mezzanine level of Terminal 7 at JFK is accessible to Alaska passengers traveling through or out of Terminal 7 who have purchased a day pass, have a lounge membership, or are flying First Class.

Travel Tidbits: from United and JetBlue

United Airlines will open its Polaris lounge at San Francisco International Airport (at Gate  G92) on April 30 to passengers traveling in the premium cabin travel.

The two-level, 28,000 square foot lounge has 440 seats, 492 power outlets and USB ports, 5 daybeds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, 8 shower suites, valets who will steam garments for you, a bistro-like buffet and a restaurant-style dining area.

At the bar, they’ll be serving cocktails inspired by the Bay Area including, says United, the Mai Tai, invented in Oakland in 1944, and the Pisco Punch, “featuring pisco which became all the rage during the California Gold Rush of 1849.”

Not flying through SFO? In addition to this new lounge and the existing one at Chicago O’Hare, United will open Polaris lounges at Newark Liberty International Airport in early June, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston this summer and at Los Angeles International Airport this fall.

United also introduced some food and beverage upgrades for passengers on board.

Starting May 1, pasengers can purchase egg and chicken chorizo tacos (breakfast/$8.99) and barbecue chicken sandwiches (lunch/dinner; $9.99) from the inflight menu and some interesting new beers and ales, including Lagunitas Sumpin’ Easy Ale, New Belgium’s Citradelic Tangerine IPA and, this summer,  Belgian pilsner Stella Artois ($7.99 each). 

For those flying on JetBlue’s Mint flights, be sure to open and take home the limited-edition amenity kit.

In addition to a keeper pair of SuperSoft socks from Basic Outfitters, the kit includes a toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, screen wipe, pen, earplugs and pillow pack, and a Hudson Made New York trio of lip salve, facial mist and hand cream – all tucked in a Hayward and Hopper collaboratively designed travel bag inspired by Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward’s Los Angeles home circa 1963.

 

Denver Int’l Airport will get an Amex Centurion Lounge

American Express is expanding the list of airports with swanky Centurion Lounge clubs with the announcement that a new lounge is set to open at Denver International Airport sometime in 2019.

This one will be located on the Mezzanine of Concourse C at Denver International and, at 14,000-square-feet, will be the second-largest Centurion lounge to be built. A 15,000-square foot, 2-story lounge set to open in early 2019 at JFK International Airport Terminal 4 will be the largest.

Entry will be open to all American Express Platinum Card holders traveling through DEN, regardless of the airline they are flying.

American Express says the Centurion Lounge at DEN will offer the amenities available in other lounge locations, including complimentary food and beverages, a family room, restrooms and shower suites, and high-speed Wi-Fi.

Amex promises that this Centurion Lounge at DEN will also offer “sweeping airfield views” as well as “special amenities and design elements unique to this location,” which they say will be announced closer to the lounge’s opening.

“We are thrilled to share our plans to bring one of our signature Centurion Lounges to the Denver International Airport, as Denver is one of the top airports our premium Card Members travel through,” said Josh McKay, vice president and general manager, Global Benefits and Services, American Express, in a statement.

Other airports with Centurion Lounges include: New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Miami International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Houston’s George Bush International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. The JFK lounge is set to open in early 2019.

Want in? (I do, after getting just a taste for the experience via a complimentary visit to the lounge in SEA.)

Access to The Centurion Lounge is complimentary and exclusive for Platinum Card Members and Centurion Members. Platinum Card Members can bring along up to two travel companions at no additional charge and both Platinum Card or Centurion Members may purchase access to The Centurion Lounge for additional guests for $50 each guest.

(Photos courtesy American Express) 

Virgin Atlantic’s ‘secret’ Clubhouse hotel room

I didn’t get to spend the night, but on Thursday morning I did get to peek into this pop-up hotel room tucked into the corner of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow Airport.

Put together by Onefinestay, the hotel room has unique views of the airfield and, for those lucky enough to have been chosen this past week to spend a night, came complete with all the amenities of the attached Clubhouse lounge, including a personal butler, spa treatments, food service and a cocktail bar.

This is defintely the “Airport Amenity of the Week”