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AIR TRAVEL

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Airport Lounge Clubs

Eight of the major airlines—Alaska, American, America West, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, and US Airways—have airline lounge clubs. Located at major airports, airline lounge clubs have standard comfort amenities such as complimentary beverages and snacks, newspapers, televisions, copiers and fax machines, and staff that will assist with ticketing and other services. Many also have computers and printers, as well as workstations with phones and dial-up Internet access. A new trend is the availability of Wi-Fi wireless Internet access; American, Delta, and United have all started rolling out this service (provided by T-Mobile) in their clubs.

Club memberships are typically offered for annual fees with discounts for spouse membership or multiple year commitments. Airlines also offer free club membership or discounted membership to elite frequent flyer members and sometimes allow you to pay for your membership using frequent flyer miles. Annual membership fees range from $225 (Alaska Airlines Board Room clubs) to $475 (Delta's Crown Room clubs). Many airline clubs also offer nonmember day passes. These one-day fees range from $35 to $50 and usually can be applied toward full-year membership. Some airport lounges also have conference rooms. Charges for use of these conference rooms run $35 to $55 per hour for members, or $45 to $65 per hour more for nonmembers.

The number of airport locations varies greatly among the clubs. For example, Alaska Airlines has 7 locations total, whereas Delta has clubs in 32 cities worldwide. (Delta also has reciprocal relationships for its members to use the Continental and Northwest clubs.)

If you tend to fly multiple airlines, you might want to think about joining a network of airport VIP lounges, such as that offered by Priority Pass. Priority Pass membership provides access to more than 400 airport lounges worldwide, regardless of airline flown or class of ticket. Members are welcome at all participating lounges, including more than 100 lounges in 46 U.S. airports. Participating airlines include American West, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways, as well as a number of independent lounges. Priority Pass is targeted primarily to international travelers and is often used as a complement to an existing airline airport lounge membership program.

Fast Facts: Priority Pass Membership Plans

972.735.0536 or 800.352.2834 http://www.prioritypass.com

Standard membership: $99/year plus $24/visit

Standard Plus membership: $249/year with 10 free visits, then $24/visit

Prestige membership: $399, unlimited visits

Guests are welcome under all plans at the current visit rate of $24 per person per visit.

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