MilesBuzz - "club rooms" at airports... are they worth it ??
I am considering joining a club this year - perhaps Delta or United, but I am not sure I will use it much.
I travel a great deal, but in all honesty, I try not to stay in the airport that long. Short of a shower facility for overnight red-eye/European trips, or perhaps lounging/sleeping facilities to stretch out between very long connections (like in ATL coming back from West coast, and having a 3hr layover between 5am and 8am), I am not sure that I would use the facility that much.
What benefits do "YOU" see in a club membership, and what amenities are offered / used that make it worthwile. Also, between UA, US, AA and DL, is there much difference ??
If you travel on business-fare to Europe, you will get (just show your ticket) free entrance to the club(s) and as long as you are in the States on connecting-segments, ask for free vouchers for alcoholic drinks.
Jan 4, 99, 12:57 pm
If you are travelling mainly long-haul, I wouldn't bother.
Most of the European airports have Amex or Diners Club lounges you could use.
[If you don't have an Amex card, 'phone them and they will happily issue you with a temp (3 month) "lounge pass". They will of course mail you trying to get you to apply for a card for years after!!]
You could also try one of the lounge-access programs, such as the one IAPA offers, which are not linked to only one airline.
If you are mainly hoping around the US, then it may be more worthwhile?
Jan 4, 99, 12:58 pm
If you were in EWR last night, ORD today, or SFO with me last week, you wouldn't doubt it.
What happens is you get to the airport, you can't even see the ticket counter beyond the sea of people...you can't get past the family of twelve with 30 cardboard boxes tied with twine and leaking something in order to ask what's going on....so you take a deep breath and lunge for the club. You show your card, they check you in, upgrade your seats if available, offer you coffee or drinks, cookies, fruit, pastries (OK, sometimes just mustard pretzels), a place to check voice-mail and e-mail, etc. The point is that it turns an insane, uncomfortable experience into a sane, comfortable one.
It's a gamble that you'll be stuck like that once in a year...but if you travel a lot, it's a god bet.
Okay, the club checks you in. Now, I have seen the entrances to a fair number of clubs, but they are almost always on the concourse, and not at the curb. So, to check-in with baggage, that would mean getting your bags through security, no ?
Also, how many clubs have shower or psudo-sleeping facilities ?
again - on international-flights the big carriers offer you (in business-class, after e red-eye-flight trough the night) arrival-services which include full breakfast and shower (in reasonable luxury at the airport, or sometimes at nearby airport-hotels). You don't need a lounge-membership for that, nor for normal lounges (IN BUSINESS ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS).
And if you fly eco, ask your travel agent for some complimentary one-time-lounge-access-vouchers and you can try oaut free for yourself.
(there are some international lounges with sleeping facilities, f.e. Frankfurt's LH-lounges offer seperated dark rooms with very comfortable Miller-chairs).
Jan 4, 99, 1:13 pm
JGill ~ If you're checking baggage, you'll have to do that curbside or at the ticket counters, but if not then you can check in at the club (at least for Delta's CRC).
One thing I wrote about just today in another thread somewhere about the big advantage of the CRC is that if something goes wrong (cancellation, delay, etc.), the CRC's make things much easier, for example:
* Cancelled flight to San Diego (award ticket), go straight to CRC, agent tells me I've been rerouted through SLC but won't arrive until late afternoon, I glance over at monitor and ask to be put on direct flight to Orange County leaving in thirty minutes and getting in before noon, he does, gives me boarding pass with Y class fare (so I even got miles, segment, status bonus for the segment *grin*) and I'm on my way!
* Delayed flight at DCA to ATL, get off plane and go to CRC (gate counter is swamped and check in is much further beyond security) ask about other options, agent there calls USAirways to check on direct flight to MSY (just left gate), rebooks us on first morning flight, agent goes down to gate to retrieve our tickets while we enjoy a drink and we spend another night in Crystal City and leave in the morning.
* Get to Atlanta and miss connection, go to CRC, agent rebooks me on next flight with complimentry first class upgrade.
These are just some examples, and this prompt and courteous service really makes the difference and is a big part of why the CRC membership is worthwhile, even if you don't tend to arrive at the airport early, like me!
The CRC is also nice because of the free drinks ... but that may be going away come June ... we'll see.
YES - WE (ff) are worth it (the lounges)! sometimes although the lounges are not with it (us).
I'm a huge advocate of airport club rooms; belong to both United (Red Carpet Club) and American (Admiral's Club). Here's why:
1. Delays are inevitable. Delays make airports very unpleasant places. Club rooms, even crowded ones are MUCH more pleasant. Seating is actually comfortable.
2. I like doing check-in at the club rooms. It might be my imagination, but I think the most competent and most pleasant agents are posted to the club rooms where I've uniformly noted superior service to that which I receive at the main counters (especially if I'm not flying first and there is no premier line). I check my luggage at the curb, then check in for my flight and my boarding pass at the club lounge.
3. Easy access to phones and business services.
4. Again, perhaps my imagination but I've noted a higher rate of upgrade success when checking in at the club rooms.
5. Bathrooms are more comfortable.
6. Fewer children and almost no babies.
Tips: FFs usually receive discounted membership. I've heard tell those lofty 100K folk get free membership! I belonged even when I wasn't entitled to any discount whatsoever and received every penny's worth of value and more.
>>> 4. Again, perhaps my imagination but I've noted a higher rate of upgrade success when checking in at the club rooms.
Upgrades for the sake of upgrades, or full fare coach to first or based upon FF elite status?
I've been trying to scheme my way into one for several months now -- CO had a $30/30 day pass; I found the ability to store things, to catch a breather from many 4am flights (I was in Micronesia at the time and got to know the President's Club staff at GUM well), and to regain sanity was quite worth the $30 for my vacation, but now I'm hooked and they charge $300 :(
Anyone have any ideas? I heard American Express has several programs to get you in (Platinum; Corporate Smart Card?), but I don't think I qualify. Where are the AmEx lounges? I called AmEx and they have no idea what I'm talking about; a Web search implies that you need a Gold card to get in, but I've never seen an AmEx lounge in real life.
Thanks for any info,
JGill -- Uncertain what is meant by "upgrades for the sake of upgrades" so herewith clarification.
I've noted higher success rate in gaining these types of upgrades when using club-room check-in:
-- Upgrades from discounted coach class to first class using FF and purchased coupons.
-- Upgrades from full business to first ('complimentary' -- FF miles or coupons used).
that's what has been posted in July-98 about American Express Lounges:
Rudi posted 07-17-98 02:41 PM MST (US) By chance I found at San Juan Int Airport (Puerto Rico) an American Express Lounge (free entrance with my Gold card). Here in Switzerland Amexco has no information/knowledge of Lounges. Do you have any information of such a list (on the Internet?). I know that Diners Club runs Lounges (most of them in Europe).
alb posted 07-25-98 08:53 PM MST (US) I don't know if this applies across the board, but I've got a list of AmX Clubs available for Platinum cardholders:
Consul Club, Frankfurt
Grand Danube, Vienna
First Class Lounge,Abu Dhabi, & Dubai, UAE
Sala Centurion, Buenos Aires Centurion Club,
Mexico City VIP Escort Lounge, S
San Juan Salon Centurion,
Beckles posted 07-26-98 09:37 AM MST (US) alb ~ I'm not sure, but I don't believe those are "American Express" clubs per se, they are private clubs that AmEx has made arrangements with to let Platinum Members in. The list in my 1998 calendar that AmEx sent me however is different than yours, I wonder if mine is older than yours. My list does not show the San Juan club and the Sao Paulo club, but does show clubs in Bahrain, Jeddah, and Beirut. Note that Platinum Members (at least here in the US) also can use NW and CO clubs when they are flying on those airlines.
Rudi posted 07-26-98 01:51 PM MST (US) Thank you Beckles and alb - the San Juan (PR) club "sells" himself as American Express Lounge, it is located just after the gate UA uses normally for its ORD-flights. I had a UA-voucher to use it - but asked the lady about American Express member access - and she replied, anybody with agold-card like mine (there are no AEx platinums in Switzerland) could use it free - but she didn'tknow anything about other locations.
Catman posted 07-26-98 02:49 PM MST (US)Rudi... I never knew that AMEX had special lounges that if you're a Gold card member (like I am) you could get into. I guess they Don't have them in the U-S because I have several dozen friends, all gold or platnium members and flyers and the clubs would be packs with everyone trying to get in. My only experience with lounges were with Air France in Europe and British in London. I had long layovers to enjoy them. But with my schedule and delayed flights and short connections I'm lucky tomake the plane on time. One recent flight I was waving at the gate and screaming "HOLD THE
PLANE." The United people copied the wave.
Jan 4, 99, 9:26 pm
When I was stuck in SFO last week, you should have seen the parade of irate flyers trying to bargian their way in to the President's club.
"...with all of the money I spend on this airline...call my office...I don't have a credit card with me...$30 for a one day pass!..."
Two options to consider that you might not be aware of:
1)As mentioned (for US residents), the $300 that CO charges you for the President's club can get you an American express Platinum card. Many benefits here including (from AMEX site http://www6.americanexpress.com/apply/platinum/card/docs/page1b0.asp):
"Plus enjoy a wide range of other travel privileges. You'll get additional Car Rental Privileges upon premium program enrollment with Hertz #1 Club Gold®, the Emerald Club® from National Car Rental®, and Budget Expresssm... free access to Continental Airlines' Presidents Clubsm and Northwest WorldClubssm when you travel on those airlines... and Travel Emergency Assistance, reserved just for Platinum Card members, which you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to address your medical, legal and business needs while traveling."
2) As someone on the Flyertalk Boards said a few months ago, you can join America West's Phoenix club for less money and get HP bonus miles, and it gets you into the CO President's Clubs. For a while there was a $50 off promotion that brought the cost to $150.
Jan 4, 99, 9:33 pm
I'll hafta admit I was a skeptic on airline clubs until I had a chance to visit the Continental President's Club in IAH (the North one -- they have three in IAH). Talk about plush... here I am, coming off a red-eye from LAS to IAH at 6:30 and facing about an hour's layover in IAH. So... armed with one of the Prestige Pack passes I walk in. The counter attendants were very helpful in pointing out the amenities of the club, and I had a chance to munch on a danish and coffee before schlepping to the gate for the IAH-SAT leg of my flight.
Best news of all... CO is planning on opening a President's Club in SAT this year. When? I don't know. Where? Probably over in Terminal 2 (where CO's flights arrive). Hmmm... I might just buy a year's membership (I don't have enough miles on CO (yet!) to buy one with miles). I fly DL mostly for business (not by choice), but balk at the steep price for membership in the CRC (in cash and miles - especially after February 1) for a year's membership. I know about the $25 day-pass, I might take advantage of them whenever possible.
Another benefit of the clubs is if you frequent one (or more) enough, you can get on a first name basis with the club staff (which are smaller in number when compared with the airline counter service). That kind of good will can get you squeezed onto full flights, upgraded when there isn't room, etc.
It's also lot easier to convince someone you have seen once or twice a month for the last year that you're angry and need results to your travel problem. The potential loss of your business is much more obvious, too, since these same agents see you on a regular basis and know you're a loyal customer.
Jan 5, 99, 2:12 pm
This may be cheating but I have successfully used lounges internationally simply by showing my United P.E. card. By being a Gold member on the Star Alliance network, you are entitled to use the partner's lounges.
I have frequently used Varig's lounges in Brazil (even when flying American). I have not tried it in the States, as the card itself would not get me into United's Red Carpet Club. But if you try going to Lufthansa, Air Canada, SAS, Thai, or Varig ANYWHERE in the world, you might have a chance.
I only had a problem once in Sao Paulo, when the lady at the counter didn't want to let me in, saying that I had to be flying one of the partner's flights (I was on an AA flight). But my true argument was that I tried to get a United flight for those dates and destination, but couldn't get them. She looked a little confused and asked me to come on in.
But coming back to the topic, I think spending almost $300 for club room access is not worth it. Sure, the seats are nice, the staff is nicer and the chances of upgrades are always better. But in reality you want to spent the least amount of time at airports. And if you do, perhaps they can sell you a day pass?
If you are in Canada, and you are invited to apply for the American Express Platinum Card, APPLY. Hertz Club Gold, Canadian Airlines Empress Membership and Canadian Airlines President's Club status is automatically included with your Platinum Card membership. This lets can get into all AA, British Airways, Quantas, Canadian and Cathay Pacific Lounges worldwide. Besides, there is a long list of other benefits which are, definitely, worth the annual fee.
I agree one would want to spend the least amount of time in an airport... I'm one of those, too. But if you have a weather delay or a layover and you need to conduct business over the phone, the clubs are the only reliable place where you can spread out your paperwork and laptop to get the job done.
I've tried the airport sitting-on-the-floor routine or leaning up against the wall in such a fashion to keep the laptop from falling off the sloped "desk area" (that was designed so no one had to ever clean the public pay phones).
Plus, I haven't seen too many public phone areas that are conveniently equipped with AC power. It's been my experience that the clubs are fairly quiet, comfortable, and I don't worry about someone in the next booth trying to steal my phone card numbers over my shoulder.
It's also interesting that one of the latest craze's in airport terminal design is these "internet kiosks" and "business cubicles". These are rented out for $10 an hour or so depending upon the amount of time and services you desire... some even have ISDN or T1 hook-ups. Maybe that will be the alternative to to the "club day pass".
One kiosk advertised that you can sleep in it "since you're paying for it and you can do anything you want to do". I thought they better be careful with that because someone might take them up on "do anything" part.
An article that may shed some more light:
NY Times, August 24, 1997
"Airline Clubs: Worth the Cost?"
Just use the search function at nytimes.com to find it...
Jan 6, 99, 12:36 pm
My good friend on FlyerTalk PhilForest (You all know him!) alerted me to International Airline Passengers Association where one benefit is a complementary membership in Priority Pass. While you'll have to pay 21 dollars when you use a club, I think it's worth it for the times that I am on long delay and can go somewhere away from the screaming children and couples and tipsy
Travelers. Thanks Phil, I signed up!
So I guess I'm a full pledged FF now! CATMAN
unfortunatly for CatMan those lounges are (in the US) far away from your favorite UA-gates - but your IAPA deal (as long as you don't sign for there unnecesarry insurances) is still ok as you pay (beside the annual IAPA-membership) "only" per lounge-visit (no annual fee)
(IAPA = International Airline Passagner's Association)
Jan 6, 99, 1:52 pm
I think they are worth it i am delta crown room meber my self. you van yous the club to relax or to have a drink before or after the flight. you can also what for friends or clients and what for delay flights in the club rather by the gates with other people.
Jgill go with delta
Jan 6, 99, 4:19 pm
"Way back (in the 60's, probably) I was coming back to DC from Chicago when there was a storm that closed O'Hare. I was in the Red Carpet Room, and we got an announcement. Staff got me a room at the Hilton (at the airport) and rescheduled me on the first flight out - on another airline - the next morning. As I left to go to the hotel, there was no sign that people in the regular waiting areas knew yet that the airport was closed. I checked in at the hotel and came down about a half hour later for dinner (UA had also given me a freebie for that). The hotel lobby was jammed. That one experience paid for everything I've spent on club memberships over the years.
Jan 7, 99, 2:45 pm
I have to agree. If you are a regular flyer and connect through a hub (especially in winter), a club is a must for all of the benefits mentioned above.
Jan 17, 99, 1:11 am
Unfortunately it's too late for others to do this now, but - - -
I think one of the best "investments" I've made was back in the early 1970s, when I had to go to New York on business in the winter, and while waiting for my return flight (delayed, of course) finally got fed up with the hard plastic seats, the crying infants, and the cold breeze coming from somewhere. The gate agent suggested that I join the Red Carpet Club, and I promptly handed over my credit card and paid the $35 for the annual membership.
During the next year, I used it a lot - a great place to wait for flights, or to meet people, and to relax with coffee (and juice in the mornings) and a newspaper. Many RCCs (e.g., HNL) still had complimentary booze (now only overseas) for relaxation before the evening flights. Surely got my money's worth!
When the year ran out, I received a note asking if I wanted to renew. They also offered to give me a life membership for ten times the annual fee, and (here's the kicker) they would even credit the $35 I had paid for the annual membership now expiring! In other words, a lifetime Red Carpet membership for $315.
I opted in, and have never looked back. United quit offering RCC Gold some years back, and now annual memberships go for around $400, I'm told.
Ah, the good old days . . .
Jan 17, 99, 7:47 pm
I was a PE for United for 2 years and did not get a Red Carpet membership--and I really did not need it since my waits were not that bad--mostly international flights in business class, so I could get into the clubs for free.
This year, I bought an Admiral's Club membership. I live in Dallas and travel domestically about 2-3 flights per week. Although there were several weeks when I was racing through the airport and could care less about the club, there were a couple of times when I was glad to wait in the club. Free internet access (or a free local call for my modem), a quiet place to work, a copier (in case I forgot something at Kinko's), and free juice (don't drink and fly) are just about everything I could want. Also the check in has saved me from living in a line a couple of times.
Another nice thing is that I have met friends at the airport (who have the interminable layovers), and it was nice to "host" them for a couple of hours somewhere other than at the gate.
Jan 22, 99, 12:42 pm
From the comments in this thread, it seems that people would recommend taking advantage of lifetime membership in airline clubs. However, what would be the implication if the airline went bankrupt and folded its operation? Would they arrange to have another airline honor your lifetime membership, give you a prorated (and if so how would they calculate it) refund or something else?
I believe Continental and Northwest are the only airlines that offer lifetime memberships at about ~$2500-$3500.
[This message has been edited by kyklin (edited 01-22-99).]
Jan 22, 99, 3:08 pm
I seem to remember that when Eastern was having its death throes that they separately incorporated the "Ionosphere Clubs" to keep them out of the bankruptcy. I can only assume that CO took them over.
Jan 23, 99, 12:16 am
kyklin: When Panam went under in the early 90's, UA & Delta bought most if its routes. I had a lifetime Panam Clipper Club membership and Delta replaced it with a lifetime Crown Croom Club membership. UA also gave me a 3 year Red Carpet Club membership valid from 8/92 -8/95. Unfortunately, I found out about these only in '95, close to its expiration. My Panam miles were also sent to my Delta Account. Philforest just went through getting his lifetime membership with Delta. He should have more info.
Jan 23, 99, 10:55 am
I plan to try out my Priority Club membership in the next few weeks and will post a review
of the service/benefits/ease of use on a BUZZ topic. CATMAN
Resurrecting this thread to recount my latest example of club-room benefits.
I don't know how many of you were privileged to fly over the Valentine weekend which coincided not only with the (U.S.) Presidents holiday (domestically) but with the AA pilot sick-in.
The Thursday prior, I received word of a family emergency in Tampa. Had a heck-of-a-time getting flights out that day but finally manage something complicated on US Air via Pittsburgh. Jim and I hustle our bustles to SFO, finally get to the front of the check-in line (no privileges on UAAir) to discover the PIT flight is delayed due to weather, we will miss our Tampa connection and they can only put us on standby status anyway (meaning, we could be stuck in Pittsburgh for days). The next flights with seats available out of SFO were SATURDAY afternoon which might (with luck, hah!) get us into Tampa by midnight or so. Please to remember this is an emergency situation.
Huddled conference with Jim with attendant nail-biting and just a bit of whining. Inspiration strikes -- Ahah! I say to beloved Jim, let's run over to the United Red Carpet Club and see how we fare. Jim protests, United said they couldn't get us out until Saturday or Sunday. Let's try, I say.
Modest eight-minute (more nail biting) wait in the club before I get to an agent. I recount our sad story, Jim pats my shoulder and says 'there, there,' we look hopefully at the United agent who is shaking her head very slowly, almost uncertainly. Clearly this agent does not want to let us down. Much button punching, a bit of telephoning . . . after 10 (anxious) minutes she gives her head a final shake and says, "Ma'am, I'm so sorry, there's nothing until Saturday. I've checked all the airlines, not just United, and there's nothing available, not even in first. A small whimper escapes my pursed lips . . . the agent hesitates, then says . . . You know, there's one more thing I can try, hold on. More telephoning, 5 minutes on hold, a terse 'ok,' I'll wait. We're asked to step aside so the agent can help the next person in line (who, by now, is fairly out of his mind). I figure this is it; Jim and I step aside as our hearts and hopes plunge. After 10 minutes, the agent's phone rings. It's the United 'scheduler' and she has found TWO seats for us in the exit row (if you please) on Friday's 2pm United flight that will get us into Orlando (Ok, so it's not Tampa, it's only a hour's extra drive) by 9pm or so.
I am willing to bet chocolate we'd not have gotten to Tampa environs before midnight Saturday at the earliest had it not been for the doggedly superb efforts of that UA agent in the Red Carpet Club.
Here endeth The Lesson.
Feb 22, 99, 5:20 pm
Hope you gave her some chocolates or one of those employee "thanks for doing a good job" certificates (if you had any).
Sure beats standing in line and getting nowhere.
Feb 22, 99, 5:20 pm
I too feel the Clubs are almost worth their dues. So much better than standing in line at ORD to check in. Even the FC lines can be long, especially on a Sunday night.
The counter agents at ORD recognize my face. And the staff in Denver shouts out a "Norm-like Cheers" greeting when I enter. I know I am there too much when they know my drink order too. Diet Coke. Sorry Catman. Coke, not Pepsi.
They have rescheduled my flight in a moment. My noon departure was delayed until 2pm or so. But the 10:00 was leaving at 11:30. As I walked in the door, the staff was changing my ticket to get me home on time.
I do find it odd that ORD has 4 at the desk at prime time, and Denver always seems to have at least 2. ORD must be 10x busier.
In the end, with my travel schedule, if my employer did not pick up the fees, I would. (Shhh, don't tell the boss.)
Feb 22, 99, 5:56 pm
KatW... sounds like an opportune moment for one of those employee appreciation vouchers I have seen discussed on the UA thread...
(how to make the service staff happy)
Yo, BB & bb, you're right on about the chocs . . . and, to make Rudi happy, I guess they shall have to be Swiss . . . . So be it!
Feb 22, 99, 6:23 pm
KatW - my apologies for the echo effect in my post.
I honestly didn't see BB's post, and - since he clearly posted his response well before mine - can only blame it on (possibly) failing to refresh my browser, or (more likely) the pint of cider I was imbibing at the time...
PS - if you show up on my doorstep within the next week I shall offer you some of Rudi's Jungfrau chocolates... sheer bliss.
[This message has been edited by baobab (edited 02-22-99).]
Feb 22, 99, 11:39 pm
I have recently found myself flying alot to IAH on CO, so I joined the Presidents Club. I received a discount through my purchase of the Prestige Pack. I bought a three year membership.
This last weekend, my flight from IAH to BOS was cancelled. The club attendant gave me a lunch voucher and a free long distance call.
Then I call a few business friends there in Houston, who came over to the airport and had a few drinks with me while I waited out my layover until the next flight out.
I have used all 3 clubs in IAH and recently used the club in BOS. Talk to Tonya the bartender, she is a trip.
Feb 23, 99, 1:35 pm
KatW... I echo other suggestions that you should send a copy of your experiences and excellent help from the Red Carpet Lounge to UA customer service. That agent deserves some kind of reward for doing all that phone work.
These clubs seem well worth it. With my Priority Pass club (plus the IAPA membership)
I hope I can get the same emergency flight service if a situation like KatW's arises.
Although on a personal note: PLEASE ADD PEPSI. I can live with Sam Adams but can't drink on the business trips!!! CATMAN
Feb 23, 99, 1:47 pm
All I can say is, YES, YES, YES.
Having been delayed (weather, no standby room etcc....) a few times this year -- it is a great place to relax and unwind. Even if I had to work, I can put my feet up, relax, have an inexpensive beer ($2.75 beats the airport prices), watch TV and have a conference call.
No complaints here.
Feb 26, 99, 8:41 am
The answer is yes, yes, yes!
On a recent trip on AA/NWA/EVA to Manila and Taipei, I arrived in the morning of 2/11 at Boston Logan and found the check-in line to be a mile long. As soon as the AA Admiral's Club opened at 5:30 AM, I ducked into it and bought a membership and got boarding passes for my brother and myself all the way to Tokyo.
I subsequently used the club during layovers in Dallas (has computers with internet access), Seattle (has a weird and not so effective water-powered massage chair), and Tokyo (excellent club, enjoyed a hot shower in a 5 hour layover). Overall, a very good experience and an alternative to standing in line and sitting at the gates.
I also convinced the Admiral's Club agent that I will make Platinum after the trip (which was true) and got him to give me the membership at the Platinum price of $275!
Feb 26, 99, 9:01 am
I wholeheartedly agree...anyone stuck at an airport during bad weather can attest to the convenience of these clubs.
I especially like them for their continental breakfasts...since airlines are getting stingy with their meal services on short haul flights.
Make sure you purchase a membership for your most frequently used airlines.....
Feb 26, 99, 9:36 am
I've just started my frequent flyer career and have already joined United's Red Carpet Club. It paid for itself (spiritually, at least http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/wink.gif ) when I had a nine hour weather layover in ORD.
Also, as a not-yet-elite level flyer, upgrades are still hard to come by. Getting an ailse seat is the only comfort I can usually expect. When I can't get a seat assignment at reservation I show up early at the airport to request an aisle seat. It's a lot more comfortable waiting around in the RCC.
Check the Brancatelli File for another voice on the subject
Mar 19, 99, 10:36 pm
Have to give another example -- got up at 5:00 AM (nothing unusual about that) to get to airport at 6:30 for early flight. Don't really have time for breakfast and don't want breakfast that early.
By the time I get to the airport I feel hungry. There is nothing else open on the gate side of security besides the Maple Leaf Lounge. I pass security and go to the lounge which at that time is relatively unpopulated (I have never seen it really busy). I get my boarding pass from the lounge agent (don't have to stand in line back at check in).
There is cold cereal (Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes etc.), cinnamon rolls, danish pastries, yogurt, fresh fruit, good juice, coffee that I can choose something from, and I can plunk away on the Internet (Flyer Talk, what else) for free and wait for my boarding at 6:50 (lounge is half a minute from the gate).
The flight is less than 45 minutes so no meal is served -- I am glad I had the snack in the lounge (actually not much different from a breakfast I might have had at home). I feel good for the rest of the morning!
[This message has been edited by BlondeBomber (edited 03-19-99).]
Mar 21, 99, 9:54 am
I notice some of you are saying your clubs have internet access. None of the CO Presidents clubs I have been in have them, (or at least that I have noticed) Am I wrong on this?
Mar 21, 99, 10:40 am
I have only been in 2 President's Clubs (SFO and IAH) and did not notice any free computers for internet use. Air Canada's Business Centres (in most Canadian Maple Leaf Lounges) have several work stations in each plus copiers, fax etc. that you can use for free.
re presidents clubs, no internet terminals but analogue phones (the innocuous looking black phones) are available to make free local calls -- if your ISP is national and you have a laptop this is the way to go, but the best bet I've found is to keep the ISP's 1800 number in memory in case you need to dial from a payphone (as I've done from pretty much every hub airport in the US) the desk AT&T phones are absolute junk, even though they look high-tech; they will often block data calls.
a NW worldclub in DTW once had internet terminals, I don't remember if it was a temporary experiment or not. etc.
Mar 24, 99, 6:40 pm
I bought lifetime memberships to a bunch of clubs several years ago, based primarily on the fact that they offered free booze: America West, Continental, Northwest, Pan Am (which Delta just agreed to honor). I also joined a few other clubs because I flew their lines regularly. United is the best example. I've dropped my annual memberships because I can almost always find a club in one of my lifetime memberships wherever I am.
The clubs have been very good to me over the years. Join!!
Mar 25, 99, 7:23 am
I am a Continental Platinum Elite and lifetime Presidents club member, and posted the following yesterday in the Continental forum:
On Monday I was traveling from TUS to LAX with my wife on an overnight trip. We went to the America West club in PHX to wait for the connecting flight. At the club I asked the agent if he could find us any better seats then the row 25 seats we were assigned on the return LAX-PHX flight the next evening. The agent gave us 2C and 2D, he said that since both tickets were on the same reservation record and that since I was Platinum he could upgrade the entire reservation in advance of the "two hours" stated in the Elite literature. Cool!
In the past I have been able to obtain Gold "Two hour" space available upgrades at Presidents clubs at Newark and LAX a day in advance. I have always felt that the club membership was a worthwhile investment, these unpublished benefits are consistant with my experiences over the years.
Apr 9, 99, 5:53 am
Just another note on club benefits. The free use of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (for Aeroplan Super Elite members) even when not flying has come in handy a couple of times now. There are no charges for Maple Leaf Lounge membership as Super Elite and drinks, snack, internet access etc are still free.
I just used it to see my brother off to London. He had to check in about 1.5 hr before departure so we got to visit in a relaxed, quiet, smoke-free atmosphere, split a free micro-brew beer and watch the planes come and go. Getting a gate pass (Maple Leaf lounge is past security) is easy in Calgary although I think on one of the Canadian threads, it said they couldn't get gate passes.
I might use this feature in the future to visit with some friends that occasionally are just passing through from one flight to another.
So even if you are not flying, club access can have its benefits.
Apr 9, 99, 10:08 am
I just noticed vgrove's post from back in January. I only found out about DL honoring PA Lifetime memberships by getting into a conversation with the attendant at a Crown Room. It seems that Delta did the conversions automatically, but I got left out, probably because I was a Flying Colonel and already had free access to the CRCs. When DL took away that perk, they didn't go back to find the Flying Colonels they had missed earlier. It took me three E-mails from three different CRC's, but they finally came through. The moral: If you were a Lifetime Clipper Club member and you haven't heard from Delta, ASK!
Apr 16, 99, 11:19 pm
Bringing this forward again...
I'm quickly learning just how VERY worth it my RCC membership is! BOS was a ZOO today because most of the natives are skipping town & top that off weather delays in ORD and new radar computer software in Cleaveland (does not make for a good mix! http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif )
With an extremely long regular check-in line & a fairly long Premier line, was 2nd person in line at RCC, check-in took approx. 3 mins!
It was kind of crowded & couldn't get a phone w/ data jack (got one w/o) but they made the announcement when they had more info. Also a note to Catman, they serve PEPSI in the RCC in BOS. I'm SO very glad that I joined! It's turned me into a convert! http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif
Apr 19, 99, 3:37 am
I just got few passes to continental's club
from their executive pack. Can anyone tell me
if they require a ticket from continental to
get in? I don't know if I will fly with them
this year, but I like to see the club before the
Apr 19, 99, 3:38 am
I just got few passes to continental's club
from their executive pack. Can anyone tell me
if they require a ticket from continental to
get in? I don't know if I will fly with them
this year, but I like to see the club before the
After reading these posts, I decided to do a trial membership to Worldclub International. I signed up Tuesday on my way home from Porland, and as luck would have it had a 3 hour delay in Detroit on Thursday. That experience alone made the 60 day trial fee worth it.
Also, my son (22) who smokes (YIKES)appeared to find some pleasure in the little smoking closet in the club next to F-1. I don't even think you need to light up in there to get a nicotine hit.
The only problem I had was with the hours of operation. Seems like 6:00 am 'til 10:00 pm. We hit Detroit at 5:30 am Friday and then again at 10:00 pm on Sunday?? Boy there were sure a lot of folks hanging out who could have enjoyed the club (or even a drink in the concourse bar, which also closed down at 10:00 pm). A little longer hours of operation would be greatly appreciated.
Are the international clubs open 24/7?
Apr 19, 99, 8:44 am
Purely speculation here, but I think one issue is airport "curfews" which are common in North America. If you don't have [m]any flights taking off or landing in the middle of the night, it may not make a lot of sense to have the lounge open then.
On the other hand, a lot of place I have been have flights arriving/leaving at all hours of the night. (I tend to think of them as 3rd world countries like India, but it's common in the Middle East as well.) I've had flights from Bombay (Mumbai) and Bahrain, both leaving at about 2am. In each case the airport authority operated lounges were open, but the airline owned lounges were closed (CX and BA, in these cases.)
Apr 19, 99, 8:52 am
I get a lot of use out of airport lounges but would like it if they stayed open at least until their last flight leaves.
This has been a problem in some cities (e.g. Air Canada lounge in Edmonton when they were doing their post-midnight flight to Toronto--the lounge closed at 11 PM). There have been other times when snow has delayed things until after normal flight times and it would have been nice to have "emergency" access at a time when you REALLY would have appreciated it.
Apr 19, 99, 8:53 am
They should also be open at least a half hour (probably an hour for non shuttle flights) before the first flight departure of the day.
Oct 25, 99, 2:21 pm
Note: AC lounge is now open (has been for a few months) until the midnight flight leaves in Calgary http://talk.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif