Refused Lounge entry at PHL

Old Jun 19, 16, 2:27 am
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Refused Lounge entry at PHL

Travelling home this week outbound flight was BA and return leg on AA but BA booking. A colleague (also gold) and I were was refused entry to the PHL lounge. We were bluntly told to use the AA lounge as they were expecting the lounge to be busy later! We did not want to use the AA lounge for obvious reasons.

Now I realise that there are fire and safety rules re capacity but surely would have thought this should be on a first come first served basis.

Complained to no avail and then went to the AA lounge where we paid for our drinks at $11 per G & T. Walking by around 2 hours later the BA lounge was still not busy with many free seats!!!

Called BA on my return to complain who stated whilst entry refusal was wrong they would not compensate me in any way. The whole episode has left me very disappointed as with travelling in Y lounge access was one of the only reasons we booked BA! :-(

Anyone else ever experienced anything similar?
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Old Jun 19, 16, 2:38 am
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Originally Posted by danboy767 View Post
Travelling home this week outbound flight was BA and return leg on AA but BA booking. A colleague (also gold) and I were was refused entry to the PHL lounge. We were bluntly told to use the AA lounge as they were expecting the lounge to be busy later! We did not want to use the AA lounge for obvious reasons.
Yes, you are not the first person to have seen this, here is an example from the AA forum, and there are other examples in the main BA lounge access thread:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...es-flyers.html

I haven't personally been denied entry, even on short AA domestic services, but it is a small lounge, particularly the First section. I spoke to BA's previous airport manager there about this and he said that they do need to deny entrance 2 hours before the BA services if they are full, particularly on Thursday and Friday evenings. People arrive in fairly sharp waves from 120 to 90 minutes before departure, and due to the pharmaceutical business a lot of AA passengers are Emeralds on AA or BA, or even corporate Emeralds (i.e. fly sufficient to get Sapphire but their deal gets them Emerald).

In the oneworld rules there is provision for asking people to use other lounges when it gets busy, and to be fair, you did have an alternative - several of them actually - with the Admirals Clubs. Had you been on BA metal then you would not have been refused entry, but I guess you would have been annoyed if Flounge was standing room only due to AA passengers being in there and taking all the seats before you arrived.
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Old Jun 19, 16, 2:41 am
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Having seen how busy the lounge gets it is reasonable to turn away passengers not travelling on BA. First come first served would be rather unfair on those actually flying BA metal.
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Old Jun 19, 16, 2:48 am
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I had heard that Golds flying with AA could get refused access but I have been to that lounge on 4 occasions flying with AA and never been refused. To be honest you aren't missing much, the only hot food laid out is soup. The First section is dire.

Surley if you are Gold then the AA lounge would have given you a couple of drinks vouchers? They gave me 2 each for me and my wife.

Btw I don't thing the BA lounge opens till 3pm, well it didn't once when I passed by which is why we ended up in the Admirals club
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Old Jun 19, 16, 3:04 am
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Originally Posted by danboy767 View Post

Complained to no avail ...... and then went to the AA lounge where we paid for our drinks at $11 per G & T.
Not sure you have grounds for complaint about being denied access to the BA lounge - it's small, and they worry about not being able to accommodate their own passengers.

But you surely need to protest about being charged for drinks in the AA facility. They've always seemed pretty good at handing out vouchers - though perhaps these don't cover premium brands (and at $11 you may well be a premium gin person ).

Last edited by Prospero; Jun 19, 16 at 3:24 am Reason: repair quotation frame
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Old Jun 19, 16, 3:16 am
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Hmmm had never visited the AA lounge before and was not given a voucher. But now everyone mentions it I should have gone back to the desk and asked for one.

I am a follow the rules person so don't normally question them, however if traveling on another one world carrier BA refuses to grant access on the basis that space is reserved for those traveling on a BA flight regardless of status, IMHO that should be clearly called out in the T's & C's on of the exec club.

I am not a premium Gin person but a Gin person for which in the AA lounge you must pay.
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Old Jun 19, 16, 3:44 am
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No need for it to be in the BAEC terms and conditions, as lounges aren't just for BAEC members but for passengers travelling in certain classes too.

"Subject to capacity restrictions" line here: http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/tiers-and-benefits/lounge-access
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Old Jun 19, 16, 3:51 am
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danboy767, at roughly what time did you try to enter the lounge? I had it in mind that between 6pm and 7pm (just after the 66 boards) is a sweet spot for non BA passengers
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Old Jun 19, 16, 4:15 am
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Does phl not have a bit of a jekyll and hide admirals situation with one being a dark dingy tiny basement box (a east i think, and the terminal f club is the same - tiny) and the other being a grand hall with arched ceilings and good viewa - terminal b/c club that was. I see A west is large and often totally empty as well.

Last edited by jcm9000; Jun 19, 16 at 4:36 am
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Old Jun 19, 16, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK View Post
Not sure you have grounds for complaint about being denied access to the BA lounge - it's small, and they worry about not being able to accommodate their own passengers.

But you surely need to protest about being charged for drinks in the AA facility. They've always seemed pretty good at handing out vouchers - though perhaps these don't cover premium brands (and at $11 you may well be a premium gin person ).
The vouchers are actually specifically for "premium" drinks. "Well" drinks are supposed to be complimentary in Admirals clubs.

My experience in many Admirals Clubs is that they don't proactively offer the vouchers. Whenever I'm entering on my BA Gold card, I politely ask them if BA still invites me for my drinks. That's enough to get them looking for the vouchers (last time it actually took awhile, as though they hadn't even handed any out that day), but I've never had to pay for a drink in an AA lounge.

Although they may only hand out one at first, if I'm stuck there for awhile and go back later to ask if I can have another, it's never a problem.

All that said, would have been better to avoid the whole matter and use the BA lounge, which as a Gold card holder with BA is not such an enormous thing to ask.
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Old Jun 19, 16, 4:37 am
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Originally Posted by jcm9000 View Post
Does phl not have a bit of a jekyll and hide admirals situation with one being a dark dingy tiny basement box (a east i think, and the f club is the same - tiny) and the other being a grand hall with arched ceilings and good views (a west, ah no it was the terminal b/c club but a west is large and often totally empty)?
The pre-merger US lounges (A west and the B/C) are large and open, whereas the pre-merger AA lounge on A east is tiny. This reflects PHL being a large US hub prior to the merger.

Ignoring alcohol, I find the two larger AA lounges to be the better options at PHL.
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Old Jun 19, 16, 4:44 am
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Originally Posted by jcm9000 View Post
Does phl not have a bit of a jekyll and hide admirals situation with one being a dark dingy tiny basement box (a east i think, and the terminal f club is the same - tiny) and the other being a grand hall with arched ceilings and good viewa - terminal b/c club that was. I see A west is large and often totally empty as well.
Hmm.... good to know about. I only once recently flew from PHL (and it was with AA), and I encountered the dingy basement box you describe. I didn't know there was another, but I do remember a few years ago that upon arrival in PHL on a domestic AA flight, I needed to stop in an Admirals Club to print something and use the facilities before going into the city. It was definitely above ground, and although not especially grand, nicer than my recent experience!
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Old Jun 19, 16, 5:14 am
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When I was gold BA, it happened to me on a few occasions. They seem to reserve room and for their big flights and not let BA golds flying aa have any priority.Most of the time I had gotten in with no problems. It was all timing and the agent at the front.
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Old Jun 19, 16, 5:47 am
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Having just returned from an AA trip around the USA, I was proactively offered premium drink vouchers in the Admiral Clubs. In fact I had so many at one stage I was giving them away.
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Old Jun 19, 16, 5:55 am
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What is this, Animal Farm? We are all equal but some are more equal than others? There should be no discrimination based on which metal one flies and which FFP one belongs to. The only restraint should be capacity based on safety and quality of service concerns. If one lounge is full, customers should be directed to alternatives. If a given lounge has spaces, there should be no question of admittance so long as one is eligible to enter.
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