Today’s savvy travelers know that being in a comfortable and relaxed environment before their flight is just as important as what facilities are offered on the plane. Lookeast takes a look at some of the top airline business lounges and their design ideas.
As consumer demands and expectations increase across many commercial and business sectors, the airline industry too is responding with improved amenities at airports around the globe. Gone are the days of stuffy, crowded lounges with sparse refreshment and inadequate retail outlets.
Airlines are aware that creating the right mood for their passengers before departure, be they economy or first class, is crucial in developing lasting relationships and converting many of those into loyal and regular flyers with their particular company. Check out these airport lounges:
Bangkok Airways, which proudly proclaims itself as Asia’s boutique airline offers travelers the opportunity to enjoy a top class environment and services in its Blue Ribbon Lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport, located at Concourse A. The décor is a subtle blend of blue with grey and beige, as well as gold accents and a vibrant striped carpet. The extra interior accessorizing of crystal hanging chandeliers and country-style floral wallpaper combine to give the whole area a feeling of an elegant home, while the silk and velvet upholstery of the sofas provide that additional touch of class.
The food selection is good with a mix of hot dishes, cakes, and sandwiches. The library room is also used as a meeting room and there is a personal shower room and a massage room. There is an overall positive ambience of space and calm away from the bustle of the general airport.
Thai Airways operates four distinctive business lounges at Suvarnabhumi Airport: the Royal First Lounge, Royal Silk Lounge, Royal Orchid Lounge, and the Royal Orchid Spa. The lounges have been named after precious silks from leading royal households from different countries. The overall concept is to provide a relaxing environment in the lounges, allied to beauty, elegance, and the charm of the complete staff service. Each has its own individual design theme, colors, and furnishings. Some other major international airlines in Bangkok make use of the TG lounges, especially if they have a “gold” status.
Oman Air opened its new business class lounge at Suvarnabhumi in December 2011. Located on the second floor junction between Concourses G and E of the international terminal, it serves the airlines’ passengers in both first and business class and has a capacity of up to 40 people. The style is focused on comfort and modern elegance with beige cushioned sofas and armchairs the subdued blue lighting and twin blue central pillars are gentle on the eye and help to create a feeling of warmth and calm. Premium passengers can take advantage of a well, equipped business center with private workstations, which include free broadband and wi-fi. A range of hot and cold snacks an interesting mix of traditional Arabic and Asian dishes are available and passengers can also order hot beverages, juices and drinks from a bar.
Winner of the Best ‘Airline Europe’ award for 2011, Turkish Airlines’ renovated and expanded its CIP lounge at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, opened in July 2011. It covers an area of 3,000sqm, in International Departures, and is able to hold 2,000 passengers a day. It is a visual feast with wonderfully intricate shell designs built inside the airport hall, There are arcades and round skylights – some complemented with giant lights to create a brilliant stunning effect. The plain spheres create fascinating combinations by dividing the area into sections, allowing transitions between them.
The shells have different functions- restaurant, tea garden, or rest rooms. It is a really bold and innovative design. Aside from the usual excellent dining facilities, children’s play area and toilet amenities, there is a billiard hall, library and movie theater, to make staying in the lounge a travel experience in itself!
At the vast connecting hub aka Dubai International Airport, Emirates Airlines’ Business Class Lounge at Emirates Terminal 3 has been created acknowledging the rising demands of its discerning and experienced customers. There is an elemental theme to the design and seating areas, with the concepts of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. The aim is to provide a soothing and enjoyable ambience. There is a gourmet selection of hot and cold global delicacies and a wide range of beverages available.
For an extra treat, the Timeless Spa in the Business Class Lounge offers a broad variety of signature treatments, including massage and hairstyling, available to guests at a nominal fee. Designed in a contemporary style, with matching artwork, the lounge measures 1058sqm and includes a quiet zone with recliners and choices of formal/relaxed seating. “The company recognizes the importance of top quality lounge accommodation,” said Mohammed H. Mattar, divisional senior vice president, Emirates Airport Services. “Lounges are an integral part of the Emirates experience, and reaffirm our dedication to offering the very best to our customers.”
Australian airline Qantas has an international business lounge, which is shared with British Airways at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, where the aim is for its customers to enjoy the company’s services on the ground as well as in the skies. There is a dining area, bar service, a supply of tea, coffee and other beverages, wireless and Internet access, newspapers and magazines and shower and rest room facilities. The lounge itself is airy, pleasant and comfortable and the showers get high marks too.
The food and beverages are self-service and there is a constantly fresh and varied selection to choose from. There is also a highly respectable wine and spirit menu available too. The staff is pleasant and attentive. The interior design is sleek, clean and efficient, with the glass-fronted exteriors, offering great views of the arriving runway.
Of course there are still many other great airline lounges such as that of Singapore Airlines in their Changi hub and Lufthansa Airlines in Munich.
There have been vast changes since the launch of the American Airlines’ Admirals Club at New York’s La Guardia as the world’s first airport lounge in 1939. Now, there are hundreds of airport lounges around the world, operated by airports, specialist providers and airlines. In an industry sourced survey earlier this year, the airport experience was thought to be the favorite part of the journey by some 47 percent of those questioned.
Jonathan French, head of brand at lounge access provider Priority Pass, stressed the importance of market awareness: “Airport lounge operators need to understand their customers, to stay ahead of their competitors.” What is clear is that airlines must continue to be proactive and innovative in developing their lounges to meet the evolving needs of their clients!