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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information on lounge reopenings.
After months of virtually no travel, people are slowly beginning to return to the skies as lockdowns ease and airlines continue to maintain their onboard safety measures. Still, the actual flying experience looks radically different, with airlines reducing and redesigning service flow to minimize passenger-crew interactions and reduce touch points.
Even on the ground, things are different, with many airline lounges remaining closed due to a combination of low demand and social distancing requirements. Today we’re going to walk through which airport lounges are open to help you prepare if you’re flying soon.
Of course, even for the lounges that are open, things are not business as usual. Buffets and self-serve bars have been replaced with pre-packaged food and drink, which almost universally represents a decrease in both quality and available selection.
Staffing levels have also been reduced, both to meet lowered demand and to minimize passenger-staff interactions. What this means is that if you’re traveling now, you may not want to get to the airport early to relax in a lounge. Still, if you’re flying on one of these airlines, you may still have access to a lounge before your flight.
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In This Post
Let’s start by taking a look at the North American airlines that account for most of the travel to, from and within the U.S. You’ll notice a few airlines missing from this list, such as Southwest and JetBlue, because they don’t operate lounges.
Further reading: My experience flying across the country during the coronavirus pandemic
American Airlines offers three tiers of lounge experiences for its premium and elite passengers, including the more basic and prevalent Admirals Clubs, Flagship lounges in major international gateways and Flagship First dining facilities at a smaller number of key hubs. Generally speaking, Flagship lounges are intended for international premium-cabin passengers (with those flying in three-cabin first-class aircraft being invited to Flagship First dining) and upper-level elites. Meanwhile, Admirals Clubs are for domestic road warriors and require a membership, upper-level elite status or the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to access.
All four of AA’s Flagship First dining facilities remain closed, as do all Flagship lounges — with one exception. The Flagship lounge at New York-JFK has been converted to an Admirals Club, meaning that Flagship and Admirals Club guests may access the customer service desk, but lounge services, including food and beverage, restrooms and shower facilities, are temporarily discontinued.
All Admirals Club locations are suspending normal lounge services such as food and beverage, restrooms and showers, and many of the physical spaces are closed. AA is keeping open customer service desks in the following Admirals Clubs locations:
- Charlotte (CLT) – Concourses B and C
- Chicago (ORD) – Concourse H/K
- Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) – Terminals A,B,C and D
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Terminal 4
- Miami (MIA) – Gate D30
- New York (JFK) – Gate 12 (Flagship Lounge with temporary Admirals Club service)
- New York (LGA) – Concourse D**
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Terminal B and C
- Phoenix (PHX) – Gate A7
- Washington (DCA) – Terminal B
**Only pre-packaged food and bottled water will be available, per local restrictions.
Once inside a club, here’s what you can expect: complimentary hot food, signature dishes for sale, packaged snacks, disposable, single-use glassware, a full-service bar, touchless menus with signage and QR codes. Self-serve areas remain closed. A face covering is required while you’re in the club, but you can remove it to eat or drink.
Related: 3 reasons why this is the best card for Admirals Club lounge access when travel returns
American has also reopened other clubs as service centers:
- Atlanta (ATL) — North Terminal, Concourse T
- Austin (AUS) – Gate 22
- Boston (BOS) – Terminal B
- Houston Intercontinental (IAH) – Terminal A
- Nashville (BNA) – Concourse C
- Orange County (SNA) – Gate 8
- Orlando (MCO) – Gate 55
- Pittsburgh (PIT) – Main Lobby
- Raleigh / Durham (RDU) – Terminal 2
- San Francisco (SFO) – Terminal 1
- St. Louis (STL) – Concourse C
- Tampa (TPA) – Gate 85
Admirals Club, San Francisco (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)
Despite offering the best business class product in the U.S. (for now, at least), Delta only has one type of lounge. This means that you’ll find yourself in a SkyClub whether you’re traveling in international business class, have Delta elite status, or gain entry through some popular credit cards.
While Delta initially closed a majority of its SkyClub locations, and scaled back food and beverage service and closed showers in those that remained open, the following SkyClub locations have remained open throughout the pandemic offering reduced service:
- Atlanta (ATL – ACPT)
- Atlanta (ATL – A17)
- Atlanta (ATL – B18)
- Atlanta (ATL – D27)
- Atlanta (ATL – F)
- Atlanta (ATL – T)
- Boston (BOS – A7)
- Chicago (ORD-T2)
- Cincinnati (CVG – B)
- Dallas (DFW-E)
- Denver (DEN – A)
- Detroit (DTW – A38)
- LaGuardia (LGA – C)
- LaGuardia (LGA – D)
- Los Angeles (LAX – T2)
- Minneapolis – St. Paul (MSP – F/G)
- Nashville (BNA – B3)
- New York (JFK – T4)
- Orlando (MCO – 4)
- Phoenix (PHX – T3)
- Raleigh (RDU – T2)
- Seattle (SEA – A)
- San Francisco (SFO – C3)
- Salt Lake City (SLC)
- Tampa (TPA – E68)
- Washington D.C. (DCA – B15)
Delta has required all entering a Sky Club will be required to wear a face mask, or appropriate face covering, over their nose and mouth. And it has discontinued shower service and scaled back food and beverage options.
Related: The best Delta Sky Club lounges in the U.S.
United is still in the process of replacing its old business-class product (both in the air and on the ground) with the much more competitive Polaris experience. United has temporarily closed all of its Polaris and United clubs, except for the following locations:
- Chicago location Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B6
- Denver location Concourse B East, near Gate B44
- Houston location Terminal E, between Gates E11 and E12
- Los Angeles location Terminal 7, next to Gate 71A
- Newark location Terminal C, Upper Level, near Gate C74
- San Francisco location Terminal 3, Boarding Area F, Rotunda, near Gate F11
- Washington D.C. (IAD) location Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C7
All customers are required to wear a face covering except when eating and drinking. Clubs are serving what United calls “elevated pre-packaged food offerings.”
Related: The ultimate guide to United Club access
Alaska Airlines offers a rather extensive lounge network for a primarily domestic and short-haul airline. Better yet, many of these lounges are accessible with a Priority Pass Select membership, so many travelers come to rely on them even if they aren’t flying Alaska.
The following locations are now open:
- Anchorage (ANC) — Concourse C, near gate C-1
- Los Angeles (LAX) — Terminal 6 on the mezzanine level, near gate 64
- Portland Airport (PDX) — Concourse C, across from gate C5
- Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) — Concourse D, just beyond the Central Security Checkpoint
- Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) — North Satellite on the mezzanine level, above gates N13-18
This means that only two locations are slated to remain closed for now: Alaska’s New York-JFK lounge in Terminal 7, and the carrier’s second lounge in Seattle’s Concourse C. The rest have limited capacity, are using enhanced cleaning procedures and have adjusted food and beverage services.
Related: Here’s why Alaska Airlines miles are the most valuable
Air Canada initially took a more extreme step than its counterparts south of the border, closing all lounges worldwide. This includes all Maple Leaf lounges, as well as its relatively new Signature Suite lounges in Toronto and Vancouver, which TPG’s Zach Griff called “the best lounge in North America.”
As travel continues to pick up again, Air Canada started reopening its lounges with a revamped service flow. Currently open are the Toronto-Pearson lounge, D gates and Vancouver lounge, C gates.
Meals can be ordered and delivered straight to your table through the new Maple Leaf Lounge @ la table service simply by scanning an NFC or QR code found at the table. Visitors can also select from two cold meal options, pre-packaged and sealed in a snack bag. There’s also an assisted bar service with a full bar offering.
Related: Upping the Ante: Air Canada’s 787 in Business Class From Shanghai to Montreal
Over the last few years, American Express has been working tirelessly to expand its global collection of Centurion lounges, with new locations opening in Los Angeles and Charlotte. In addition, Amex has several lounges under development both in the U.S. and internationally, but since March 21, 2020, all Centurion lounges worldwide have been closed.
However, the Philadelphia and Seattle locations will once again welcome eligible The Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cardmembers starting on Oct. 5. As they open, all lounges will operate under Amex’s new “Centurion Lounge Commitment,” to ensure the health and safety of flyers and staff. It includes socially distant seating, reduced capacity, increased frequency of cleanings, hand sanitizing stations and more. Masks will be required to enter the lounge and can only be removed when eating or drinking.
Related: A guide to Amex Centurion Lounges
The Club operates 24 lounges across the US and UK with complimentary access to most locations for travelers with Priority Pass membership. The following locations are open:
- The Club DFW (Terminal D near Gate 27)
- The Club MCO (Airside 1)
- The Club LAS (Terminal 1)
- The Club SEA (S Gates)
- The Club JAX (Concourse A past the Food Court)
- The Club ATL (Concourse F)
- The Club BWI (Concourse D, near Gate 10)
- The Club CVG (Main Terminal, Concourse A)
- The Club CHS (Main Terminal, on the second level toward Concourse B)
- The Club MSY ( 3rd floor of the Main Terminal adjacent to the entrance to Concourse C)
Of the 12 U.S. locations, on the Escape Lounge Cincinnati is currently open.
While many airlines are taking the blanket approach of closing all lounges, some have chosen to keep one or two open, primarily in their home airports or key international hubs. Nearly every foreign airline lounge in the U.S. is closed, including all locations operated by Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, Emirates and more. However, there are a handful of international lounges still operating in the U.S., albeit with reduced hours or reduced service offerings:
- Lufthansa’s Newark (EWR), Boston (BOS), New York (JFK) and Washington, D.C. (IAD) lounges remain open
- Air France-KLM’s New York (JFK) and Chicago (ORD) lounges remain open
- Turkish Airlines Lounge at IAD is open
Premium-cabin passengers with a Priority Pass membership used to have multiple different lounges to choose from, especially at major airports like JFK or LAX. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, an overwhelming majority of airport lounges around the world are closed, and those that remain open offer a radically different experience from what customers might be used to. However, signs of hope continue to pop up.
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson
Featured photo of the Escape Lounge at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Video: Delta suspends flights at small airports in 11 U.S. cities (FOX News)