In 2019, business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers will notice significant improvements to the airport lounge experience, with a variety of new lounges and revamps being carried out across the globe. The same innovative details airlines are making on their new aircraft are now being implemented in new airport lounge designs, demonstrating a commitment to a fully connected travel experience, both in the air and on the ground. Read on for an overview of what new business lounges travellers can look forward to experiencing this year.
Emirates’ business and first-class passengers, Skywards Platinum and Gold members, and Qantas Platinum and Qantas Gold frequent flyers are welcomed at EK’s new lounge at Rome's Fiumicino Airport. The lounge offers tarmac views with plenty of natural light, and capacity for 162 guests. Travellers have plenty of choice with the airline’s famous Mediterranean buffet and seasonal Italian dishes, with comfortable seating options and workspaces available. The lounge is located in Terminal 3, near gates E22-E24.
After months of renovations, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ Crown Lounge project at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport completed its first phase in December 2018. The new lounge has been designed in line with KLM’s strategy of providing an innovative hospitality experience while maintaining exceptional customer service, with self-service kiosks to enter the lounge and a personal lounge assistant on the door. Once the second and final phase reaches completion in summer 2019, the lounge will offer a total seating capacity of 1500 (compared to 800 previously) and increase the total surface area from 3600sqm to 6300sqm. The lounge is located between Piers E and F.
Arriving fashionably late after several months of delay, United Airlines Polaris Lounge in Los Angeles has officially opened its doors to United Polaris business class and Star Alliance first and business class passengers on 12 January 2019. On offer is a variety of locally-inspired Californian dishes including LA fish and chips, a street taco trio, churros and the famous Polaris burger. An abundance of AC and USB ports are available, with two sockets for every lounge and side table, and 12 Polaris workspaces for passengers that need to get down to business. Those with long stopovers can relax in one of the two ‘Quiet Suite’ rooms, fitted with a day bed and bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue. Now double the size of the previous lounge, and capacity for 140 travellers, it’s safe to say that the newest addition to Polaris’ portfolio was well worth the wait. The lounge is located in Terminal 7, near Gate 73.
The popular pay-in lounge, Plaza Premium, will open at Helsinki Airport in February 2019. The lounge will be located at the non-Schengen terminal as part of the new terminal expansion. Available for both departing and arriving flights, the lounge features comfortable seating, a live kitchen, computer workstations and free wi-fi.
Australian carrier, Qantas, has announced a refurbishment of its First and Business Lounges at Singapore’s Changi lounge from April 2019. The multimillion-dollar project aims to improve the travel experience by catering to transit travellers; offering shower facilities, cocktail bar, open kitchen and a vibrant Singapore-inspired menu. Predicted to reach completion by the end of 2019, the lounges will offer a combined capacity of 800 passengers, a much-needed improvement for Qantas’ largest hub outside of Australia. First and business class passengers, as well as top-tier frequent flyers can locate the lounges in Terminal 1, turn left after Immigration and continue up the escalators.
On the radar...
United Airlines Polaris Lounge – London Heathrow Mid-2019
Closer to home, an exciting new Polaris Lounge has been announced for London Heathrow, scheduled to open in mid-2019. While the lounge is expected to follow the same design as Polaris’ US portfolio, United has promised that it will offer a bespoke experience for its British customers as there’s no one-size-fits all.
British Airways - Geneva, Johannesburg, San Francisco
Since British Airways announced its all-new business class product will debut in July 2019, the push for new business lounges to align with the upgraded standards is stronger than ever. Most likely to receive a refurb in 2019 is BA’s Geneva, Johannesburg and San Francisco lounges, though no further information has been released. The debut the new business class seat has been timed with the launch of BA’s Airbus A350-1000 fleet, which will be the first to be fitted with the product.