Lounges

Snaps from United’s new Polaris Lounge at LAX

Photo by Harriet Baskas

United Airlines has opened its newest Polaris lounge. This one is at Los Angeles International Airport.

The new 12,000-square-foot lounge is open to passengers traveling on international flights in the United Polaris business class cabin and to customers in first or business class on long-haul international flights with a Star Alliance member airline may access the lounge as well.

Located on the upper level, between gates 73 and 75A in Terminal 7 at LAX and accessible via elevator and stairs, the new lounge has 140 seats, 272 power outlets and 120 USB ports, and a dozen semi-private work spaces with oversized chairs, AC and USB power, work or dining table, privacy dividers and a lamp.

Here are some snaps of the lounge:

United CEO Oscar Munoz helps with ribbon cutting of new Polaris lounge at LAX. Photo by Harriet Baskas

(Photos courtesy United Airlines, except where noted)

Touring the (still new) Air France business lounge at CDG

It was officially completed in July (2018), but Air France’s business class lounge in Hall L of Terminal 2 E at Paris-Charles deGaulle Airport, still looks (and smells) brand new.

Here are some snaps from a recent tour of the 540-seat lounge capping off a fast four-day visit to London and Paris that included a ride on the Eurostar as part of the #LondonParisNow campaign.

The bar – called “Le Balcon” –  was designed by Mathieu Lehanneur and is self-serve much of the day, but from 6:30 p.m. to about 10 p.m. there’s a bartender on duty mixing up a menu of specialty-created cocktails.

Photo _ Harriet Baskas

The wellness area include restrooms with saunas, 20-minute complimentary Clarins spa services, a ‘detox’ bar with healthy potions and a quiet rest area with day beds.

 

Detox bar at CDG Air France lounge . Photo _Harriet Baskas

 

Detox potions at Air France CDG lounge. Photo Harriet Baskas

There’s also a special play for kids and a ‘Petit Salon’ area offering extra privacy for special guests:

Air France lounge at CDG – Kids area. Photo-Harriet Baskas

And then, of course, there’s food.  In addition to a self-serve buffet, there’s a “Gourmet Table” where a chef prepares a ‘dish of the day’:

 

 

Photo_Harriet Baskas

Air France says this is what passengers can look forward to in other cities where the lounges are scheduled to be upgraded as well.

Snaps from British Airways’ lounges at JFK Airport

On my way to London via British Airways from Terminal 7 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday, I was invited to tour the newly refurbished British Airways  First lounge, look inside the exclusive Concorde Room and spend time in the Galleries lounge.

Here are a few snaps from the day:

 

The new First lounge is now 60 percent bigger than the previous lounge – and includes a pre-flight dining area (shared with the Galleries /business lounge), a pleasant quiet work area and this lovely large bar area.

When I passed through it seemed to be both self-serve, with bartenders nearby.

Around the corner from the bar is a Wine Room with an enomatic dispenser serving 1-ounce tasting pours of a variety of specially chosen wine. Right now “Chardonnays of the World” are featured.

In addition to a quite bountiful buffet in the dining area, there was this dim sum bar nearby.

And (my favorite, after the complimentary 15-minute facial offered in the Elemis spa) –  a roving Gin and Tonic cart that was visiting both the First and Galleries loung areas.

Have you visited these lounges? Let us know what you think of the new and improved (and almost finished…) spaces.

Now open at DFW Airport: Gameway gaming zones

Today is the grand opening of the Gameway video game entertainment lounge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

There are two locations: E16 with 22 stations and B42 with 14 stations. Each station has it’s own Xbox with 19 games predownloaded, a 4K TV, noise cancelling headphones and a place to charge your phone and tablet.

It is not free: the charge is $.42/minute or, for this summer, $20 for unlimited gaming, which seems like a great deal if you’re a gamer and you have a long layover. Or don’t mind if you miss a flight….

If you’re in DFW Monday July 2 from 10-11:30am, swing by Terminal E, Gate 16 where Gameway will be celebrating its opening with several gaming characters dressed up like the iconic Halo, the 8 foot metal giant “Reinhardt” and more.

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.