As traveller numbers rise, what strategies do airlines employ re increasing the size or number of lounges? | Australian Frequent Flyer
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As traveller numbers rise, what strategies do airlines employ re increasing the size or number of lounges?

Melburnian1

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Real estate at airports is valuable because of high income and high fare paying travellers.

In the last few years, airlines seem to have adopted three strategies to deal with increased numbers of travellers who are eligible to use coveted airline lounges prior to, or less frequently after, travel.

Number one is to increase the footprint of existing lounges. Qantas for instance has often done this.

Strategy two is to open additional lounges. Cathay Pacific at Hong Kong may be a case in point.

The third option may be to introduce harsher restrictions on who can enter the lounges, limit or abolish guesting, or place time limits on visits. Priority Pass, for instance, often has time limits at its lounges (that from memory aren't actually operated by it but by associates or franchisees).

There may be a fourth option: not opening an 'own metal' lounge but allowing an airline's passengers to use another airline's or lounge operator's facility.

It strikes me that airport building space is finite. Sometimes it's not possible, or very difficult, to expand upwards. Melbourne, for instance, has offices above its landside international terminal.

Expanding outwards may be impossible due to the area being required for trolleys trundling baggage, or aerobridges, and airlines often want their lounges to include windows for light and the appeal of watching operations.

In the future, what strategies do you perceive airports and airlines may adopt if passenger numbers (including in those eligible) continue to rise as the world's travelling population increases?
 

Pushka

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I’m thinking Number 3. Limit guests. They could also restrict status and class people from lounges unless they are flying on that particular airlines planes, unless there are no other alternative lounges available. ie the death of the Lounge Crawl.
 

Pushka

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Qantas' approach appears to be Strategy Five: Degrade the overall lounge experience by cramming more people into the same space and hope people don't notice/care.
Which in turn means that people don’t think it’s worth the effort of going there.
 

RooFlyer

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Qantas' approach appears to be Strategy Five: Degrade the overall lounge experience by cramming more people into the same space and hope people don't notice/care.
Which in turn means that people don’t think it’s worth the effort of going there.
Such as Hobart. I've reported frequently that the HBA lounge was so crowded ( and hardly a great lounge anyway) that I've slummed it in the terminal. In this case it is, I think, also the fault of the airport, not investing capital to expand the terminal footprint ( even though there is heaps of space).
 

Pushka

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Such as Hobart. I've reported frequently that the HBA lounge was so crowded ( and hardly a great lounge anyway) that I've slummed it in the terminal. In this case it is, I think, also the fault of the airport, not investing capital to expand the terminal footprint ( even though there is heaps of space).
Winning strategy then. :(
 

Kiwi_Flyer

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NZ's strategy at AKL international terminal is to divert some lounge-eligible passengers to the airport-run Strata lounge. The result is the Strata lounge is also crowded (at the moment a number of people wandering around in vain trying to find a spare seat), to the detriment of lounge-eligible passengers on other airlines which contract to Strata :(
 

Melburnian1

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Hmmm ... That's why I fly Virgin without loss of benefits. No VA lounge at HBA, but cheaper flights and better schedule.
So, not si much a winning strategy (I appreciate the sense you used) as one that loses a customer.
You may do this because as a local you well know the tradeoffs.

But do airlines perceive (like our habits of largely NOT changing banks or telco/electricity/gas providers) that often passengers can't be bothered (or are unable to in the case of corporates or government departments) changing airlines?

Is there also the 'hunger' of passengers to 'get into the lounge' as a way of showing that 'they've made it in life' (however specious one might think this is) and hence while they may find overcrowding annoying, they nonetheless tolerate it because it means they're still better than the unfortunates outside in the general waiting area? With the HBA example, is there also a thought process by which passengers rationalise as in 'well, I'm booked on QF, it has a lounge and even if it's very busy it's better than VA that lacks a lounge?' In other words, a form of snobbishness.
 

RooFlyer

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But do airlines perceive (like our habits of largely NOT changing banks or telco/electricity/gas providers) that often passengers can't be bothered (or are unable to in the case of corporates or government departments) changing airlines?
There are certainly a lot of rusted on QF flyers. More fool them, I reckon - paying more for the same, if not poorer experience (overall).

Is there also the 'hunger' of passengers to 'get into the lounge' as a way of showing that 'they've made it in life' (however specious one might think this is) and hence while they may find overcrowding annoying, they nonetheless tolerate it because it means they're still better than the unfortunates outside in the general waiting area? With the HBA example, is there also a thought process by which passengers rationalise as in 'well, I'm booked on QF, it has a lounge and even if it's very busy it's better than VA that lacks a lounge?' In other words, a form of snobbishness.
Oh, definitely. Departures out of HBA tend to get bunched - QF and Jetstar can have a large number of QFF Golds and above and that lounge regularly gets over-chokkers. If there is a delayed departure, its a zoo - and like I said, its not that great a lounge. If you are taking any of the last 10 or so seats, it will be uncomfortable, so anyone who stays under those conditions is not using the lounge as a 'retreat' from a busy concourse.

Thankfully HBA is finally going to spend some capital and expand the terminal footprint, and have specifically mentioned extra space for lounges. Now, they may decide to charge too much for the lounge space, so Virgin may make do without :mad: but hard to see QF resisting, with their polly and corporate contracts.

As to the OP's question .. i think lounges will go through 5 year or so cycles. Upgrade, expansion, fanfare, good experience ... plateau ... cost cutting, squeezing of admission, making do ... etc.
 

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