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CO's Lounge Policy Draws Attention in Stockholm

CO's Lounge Policy Draws Attention in Stockholm

 
Old Apr 5, 07, 9:15 pm
  #1  
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CO's Lounge Policy Draws Attention in Stockholm

Apparently CO had so many issues with coach-flying SkyTeam ElitePlus members getting into or trying to get into the Stockholm (ARN) Novia Lounge that Continental's given the lounge operator a laminated sign indicating that entry is ONLY for CO BF passengers. Amusingly the sign is right on the front desk, nearly full time as of late.

I heard a bunch of Scandinavian ElitePlus say things akin to "yet another reason not to fly CO out of here". Apparently I'm not alone in minimizing my use of CO when it comes to departures from the Scandinavian market -- significantly related to CO's cheapskate lounge cut-off. [Note: CO limits lounge access there to CO BF passengers yet every other SkyTeam airline I've flown out of there -- and that they've flown too -- provides departing SkyTeam ElitePlus members in coach lounge access to those contracted lounges too.]
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Old Apr 6, 07, 2:04 pm
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I take it that the Novia lounge is a contracted third party lounge.

The ST EP lounge access privileges apply only to a ST-member-owned lounge. Contracted lounges are not obliged to accept ST members. This is the case in virtually all "contracted lounge" situations on all three airline alliances.

If other ST airlines offer OTHER AIRLINES' ST EP members lounge access to their lounges, that is nice of them, but they are doing something they are not obliged to do.

There are some non-US-based programs (say AF/KL's FlyingBlue) program where lounge access is a feature of the program. So if you're traveling on AF/KL and have a FlyingBlue Platinum, you should have access to the contracted lounge. But if you are using a Continental, then they would not be so obliged.
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Old Apr 6, 07, 2:08 pm
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I have to say this is understandable given it's not a CO lounge. It's really just something CO does for their BF passengers since they don't have a lounge there.

That said, Europeans definitely tend to handle it differently -- for example, I've flown OK from SOF and got a lounge invite based on my ST+, even though that too was a contract lounge and I was flying in coach. But I considered it a bonus and wouldn't have been upset if I didn't get it.

Steve
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Old Apr 6, 07, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by vsevolod4 View Post
If other ST airlines offer OTHER AIRLINES' ST EP members lounge access to their lounges, that is nice of them, but they are doing something they are not obliged to do.
Not correct. It's not "nice of them", it's a published EP benefit. I presume by "their lounges" you mean actual lounges of the Skyteam airline in question - like a CO plat using an AF lounge.

See this page:
http://www.skyteam.com/EN/benefits/s...liteplus.jsp#1

Sure, there can be exceptions but it's definitely not down to a particular agent being in a good mood or anything like that.
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Old Apr 6, 07, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
I presume by "their lounges" you mean actual lounges of the Skyteam airline in question - like a CO plat using an AF lounge.
Given the preceding paragraph of vsevolod4's post, it's pretty doubtful that he meant that. It begins:
Originally Posted by vsevolod4
The ST EP lounge access privileges apply only to a ST-member-owned lounge.
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Old Apr 6, 07, 5:01 pm
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A couple of thoughts:

1) What is all this talk about "they are not obligated" to provide contracted lounge access? I mean, they aren't obligated, but I feel that if CO is going to serve the market, they should provide the service their passengers expect. This includes lounge access for Elite Plus passengers.

2) I think that CO has to do more to justify flying them from places like Stockholm. Otherwise, why would you take CO? If they don't want to cede the market to United/SAS/*A, then they have to provide a compelling reason to fly them.

3) It is not just the Elite Plus passengers that get little from CO in many of these markets. President's club memberships are also not honored. My wife and I spent way too long trying to cajole our way into the CPH lounge (Novia, as well), despite both Elite Plus and PC membership. At the end of the day, the Elite Plus worked, but the PC membership remains as useful as teets on a bull. And then the lounge sucks. Compare this to AA, where your elite status gets you access to the consistently nice BA lounges (seemingly at every airport in Europe), and CO/Skyteam really starts to look weak if you aren't flying from AMS/CDG. Similarly, Star Alliance has oodles of options at most airports, as well.

Ah, I guess I am just grumpy today...
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Old Apr 6, 07, 5:45 pm
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President's club membership and ST+ are irrelevant in places that don't have a CO lounge.

Would it be nice? sure. but I understand why they don't.

You can get into any lounge if the ST airlines have one there. In this case they don't.
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Old Apr 6, 07, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by pbarnette View Post
1) What is all this talk about "they are not obligated" to provide contracted lounge access? I mean, they aren't obligated, but I feel that if CO is going to serve the market, they should provide the service their passengers expect. This includes lounge access for Elite Plus passengers.
I'm not sure I understand your point. CO serves the Las Vegas market -- is it then reasonable for CO President's Club members to "expect" lounge access there? Now all of a sudden CO has to have a lounge in every market they serve?

They do provide lounge access to BusinessFirst passengers in every market, but that's not what we're talking about. The SkyTeam Elite Plus lounge access benefit is very specific:

International First and Business Class passengers as well as SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling in Economy Class enjoy complimentary access to most SkyTeam partner lounges worldwide.

If there happen to be fewer "SkyTeam partner lounges" than BA Terraces lounges, well, then it is what it is. Nobody's claiming SkyTeam is better than OneWorld. But if you are AA Platinum/Exec Plat flying BA out of an airport where they don't have a BA lounge, then you ain't getting access either.
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Old Apr 6, 07, 11:05 pm
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Originally Posted by entropy View Post
President's club membership and ST+ are irrelevant in places that don't have a CO lounge.

Would it be nice? sure. but I understand why they don't.

You can get into any lounge if the ST airlines have one there. In this case they don't.
I understand in part why CO doesn't provide access -- CO is too cheap to pay for something that the other SkyTeam carriers operating to/from there are not too cheap to offer.

I also don't understand entirely why CO doesn't provide access to ElitePlus members flying on CO out of there -- CO policy (in laminated form presented in plain sight ) invites coach-flying business travellers to fly on another carrier, including other SkyTeam carriers which provide all other SkyTeam ElitePlus members lounge access there when flying on a SkyTeam carrier regardless of COS indicated on the boarding pass.
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Old Apr 6, 07, 11:10 pm
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
But if you are AA Platinum/Exec Plat flying BA out of an airport where they don't have a BA lounge, then you ain't getting access either.
Not true of a number of airports -- that is, there are a number of airports where OW Elites flying BA get lounge access even where BA does not have a lounge. (Not to say BA is a saint.)
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Old Apr 6, 07, 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Not true of a number of airports -- that is, there are a number of airports where OW Elites flying BA get lounge access even where BA does not have a lounge. (Not to say BA is a saint.)
Where? Whose lounge?
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Old Apr 7, 07, 4:15 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
I'm not sure I understand your point. CO serves the Las Vegas market -- is it then reasonable for CO President's Club members to "expect" lounge access there? Now all of a sudden CO has to have a lounge in every market they serve?
I am not saying that CO HAS to do anything. I just feel that, if CO's strategy is to provide service to a substantial number of International destinations (and they do make a big deal over the # of markets they serve), then they should think about how best to provide a product that can compete in that space. Now, if both OW and *A offer lounge access in places like Stockholm and CPH, then doesn't that put CO (and the rest of ST) at a disadvantage in trying to attract customers?

And, if they can strike a deal to provide access for BF, then I don't see why they can't strike a deal to provide it for Elite Plus pax. And PC members, while they are at it.

They do provide lounge access to BusinessFirst passengers in every market, but that's not what we're talking about.
Actually, the OP was all about how Elite Plus passengers don't get access, and the anecdotal evidence that Scandinavian Elite Plus passengers were questioning whether to abandon CO. I was just trying to elaborate on that point.

But if you are AA Platinum/Exec Plat flying BA out of an airport where they don't have a BA lounge, then you ain't getting access either.
But that is sort of my point. BA does seem to have a lounge in every city in Europe. I know there are some where they don't, but I am always amazed that BA has lounges in places like CPH and ATH and MXP, that seem to sit empty for much of the day. Sure, it isn't a deal-breaker, but if you are Elite on OW and ST, then it has to play into your calculus about which airline to fly TATL.

I guess my main point is just that, if you are not going to get lounge access in a place like Stockholm, then why should a CO Plat choose to fly CO over another carrier? At that point, the only reward for your loyalty is bonus miles, but I feel like they kind of only make up for the reduced availability of rewards. I guess you get lounge access in EWR, as well, and I don't want to minimize that, but I just think CO should look at ways to provide a high level of service at both ends of the trip.
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Old Apr 7, 07, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Where? Whose lounge?
A number in Asia operated by contractors (i.e., non-airline-operated lounges). Here's a start: India.
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Old Apr 7, 07, 8:33 am
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For departure lounges, this is my take on it too:

Originally Posted by pbarnette
And, if they can strike a deal to provide access for BF, then I don't see why they can't strike a deal to provide it for Elite Plus pax. And PC members, while they are at it.
... or sooner or later, some cheapskate, will peddle only/increased use of contract lounges, that is in order to avoid paying for lounge access for SkyTeam ElitePlus members (i.e., those flying coach that time).

This policy of CO's really does come down to CO being a cheapskate that doesn't value the business of ElitePlus coach flyers as much as other SkyTeam airlines. The laminated sign in plain sight, supplied by CO, highlights that approach to the visitors of those contracted lounges.
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Old Apr 7, 07, 8:37 am
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Just who are these Scandinavian ET+ passengers and how many of them flying EWR-ARN on CO in coach regularly anyways? Why would one subject himself or herself to 10-hour flights in 757 coach many times a year?

In my opinion, CO is not getting many of these flyers anyways with the 757 coach product, lounge access or not.
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