Lufthansa solves the ‘can I bring my whole family into the lounge?’ problem (or does it?)

In airport lounges around the world over the Summer, the same scenario plays out time and time again.  Road Warrior Dad (or Mum) finally hopes to show the rest of the family that there is some upside to his constant travelling and time away from home.  He pitches up to the lounge, shows his Silver or Gold card, and asks if he can bring in his kids as extra guests.

In general, unfortunately, the answer is ‘No’.  Road Warrior Dad is humiliated, and he suddenly hates the airline very much indeed – so much for so-called ‘loyalty’ ….

(I am fully sympathetic, by the way.  We are a ‘two Silver card’ family, but in reality there are not that many of those about.  And if you’ve got three kids then you’re totally stuffed!)

Lufthansa has now launched its answer to the problem, although it is not one I would recommend.

Lufthansa lounge Frankfurt

When I log in to Miles & More, as a Silver / Frequent Traveller member, I get this message:

There is no better start to your holiday: with Lufthansa relaxation for the whole family begins even before your flight.

Because as a Frequent Traveller you have the opportunity of purchasing lounge access for the whole family to lounges in Germany, the USA and at Paris Charles de Gaulle until 31 August 2013.

Frequent Travellers and their families can buy a voucher before their lounge visit at the Lufthansa ticket counter at their departure airport, or at the business lounge reception desk at Duesseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich airports, for 40 euros or 50 US dollars.

This voucher will give them access to the relevant Lufthansa Business Lounge. The Frankfurt Business Lounge in Departure Area B, right next to Gate B46, is especially exciting for families with younger children.

Here the little ones can spend their time in a play corner in the ‘JetFriends’ area – which means the whole family can enjoy a relaxed start to the best time of the year.

(The Frequent Traveller’s family (wife or partner as well as an unlimited number of children under 18 years of age) are entitled to enter the lounge provided that they are flying with the Frequent Traveller on a Lufthansa-operated flight.)

Now, Euro 40 may – on first reading – not sound too great.  However, you need to remember that (unlike British Airways Executive Club) a Lufthansa Silver / Frequent Traveller member cannot take a guest into the lounge.  The Euro 40 therefore covers your partner and your children.

Is there Euro 40 of fun to be had in a Lufthansa Business Lounge?!  They are usually pretty awful, soulless places.  However, at least Lufthansa now has a response to everyone who tries to sneak in their family.

Is there a similar offer for Gold / Senator members which would let you bring your kids in?  (A Senator can already bring one guest in.)  Do let me know.

My review of the InterContinental Boston hotel
Last chance to convert Amex points to Jumeirah Sirius (and a look at other Amex hotel partners)
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  1. Have exactly this problem on Friday as travelling alone with two kids and single gold card.

    The solution for me would be abandoning the current any guest access rights which simply encourage blind dates and provide every card holder with a specific number of guest access passes linked electronically to your membership card.

    If I have 6 kids and a wife I can then choose to either allow them all in or 6 individuals of my choice.

    The LH solution is not one i would use.

  2. Graeme says:

    Just back from Cyprus with BA via LHR with wife and two kids, and no chance of getting all in with my BA Gold card (tried and failed on way out). Our way round it was my wife and daughter went shopping, and my (plane-mad) son and I went to the lounge and watched over everything landing on the north runway – the LH solution would have saved me a fortune!

    Paul – I like your idea of a small number of guest passes.

  3. Heading out of Southampton today which my husband commutes through regularly, he’s suggesting the (poor Flybe) lounge for him and Costa for us.

  4. Sir Stamford says:

    I must admit that the idea of paying extra for family member access isn’t exactly new. In fact, the €40 charge is rather steep.

    Austrian (LH’s sister company) has a similar offer at a better price – €17.50 in July and August in respect of the Austrian Business Lounge in Vienna. Clearly, this is of no use if you are not travelling via Vienna but it does illustrate just how over priced the LH offer is.

    Elite and Elite Plus members of Turkish Airlines can bring their family members to their Turkish based lounge.

    “Elite card holders may benefit from the CIP lounges with their family members (spouse and children) or one of their guests while traveling on THY domestic flights and international flights departing from Turkey.”

    I am not sure how strict they are with their definition of family members as my extended family (including parents and sister) were able to join me in using TK’s excellent but crowded (I wonder why?!) lounge in IST recently during a stopover.

    Sir Stamford

    • Brian Taylor says:

      The Austrian offer is presumably per person, not per family. If you want to take in more than 2 guests, it is more expensive.

      • Sir Stamford says:

        Yes, the charge is by person. But don’t forget that your first guest is covered without charge by your *G card. So, this will work out more expensive only if it is more than 4 people.

        Sir Stamford

  5. Susan says:

    If that is verbatim Lufty’s words then they ought to be called out on the everyday sexist assumption that the Frequent Traveller has a “wife or partner” .

    Could even be worth taking out Amex Plat for a couple of months to get Priority Pass entry for 4 people on one account – cardholder, supplementary and a guest each with further guests at £15 per head. The lounges may not always be great but one is also likely to find one at the return departure point as well.

    • Brian Taylor says:

      Perhaps they know that Raffles is a man…

    • keiths says:

      Don’t hold out too much store by the Amex Platinum / Priority Pass.

      Flying last weekend to MCO on VS I trooped up to the No1 Lounge at LGW South and was not admitted – they said the lounge was full.

  6. “6 kids and a wife”
    Not directly aimed at the poster, but those sort of ratios would quickly turn the lounges into a playground over the summer months. People still work over the summer ( we are not all teachers) and it would result in a terrible degraded experience during the traditional holiday season.

    • No it would not degrade the lounges one bit. In the summer months BA and other airlines upgrade hundreds of people a day as business traffic dwindles and they overbook WT and WT+ on many routes and then offer upgrades via Avios, payment at the airport – and when all else fails via op ups. So the lounges will be full no matter what.

      Last easter I counted 26 kids enter the Concorde Room between 08.30 and 09.00 and it did not become a playground. Most passengers who have the access know how they and their offsrping should behave which, is more han can be said for some adultsin lounges.

      It would also be prudent that in the main summer months that airlines provide appropriate facilities for children in their lounges and as a father of two who regularly pays for First and Club it is infuriating the way childrens needs are ignored by many carriers both on the ground and in the air.

      The current system is dysfunctional and result in overcrowding daily. Whole websites are dedicated to getting complete starngers into lounges who would otherwise not be allowed and yet when I have the temerity to Fly to Edinburgh for the weekend with my two kids I am expected to remian outside or just take one in…whilst the two complete strangers behind sail through.

      • flyforfun says:

        Re OpUp’s – these are likely to be at the gate so not likely to be in a position to use the lounge. Not sure if it happens at the ticket counter though?

  7. Mr Bridge says:

    there are many reasons why I like to fly BC, one is the lounge access.
    This Idea must be a relief for all of those parents, who will see the lounge as a nice safe environment for their kids to run wild, and not give a stuff about those who have paid for BC to avoid exactly this scenario.

    • Sir Stamford says:

      You don’t have to fly BC for lounge access if you hold a frequent flyer (or other equivalent) status.

      Sir Stamford

    • In 30 years of travel I have never once had my experience degraded due to the behavir of a child or children on the ground or in the air.

      Adults are another matter altogether ranging from the drunks, the mad, the bad, those who are strangers to soap, those who snore and those who share their flatulance with everyone around them. Oh and dont let me forget the DYKWIA brigade………..

      Kids are generally kids. its the adults who are harmful to travel.

  8. Katherine Nuttall says:

    Have been in that situation with BA at Heathrow, husband has Gold Card and the rest of us were Blue, what is annoying is that all BA Lounges are not operated the same way, for instance Greece, no problem, bring the whole family.

    Flying tomorrow and thankfully for the first time we have managed to have 1 Gold & 2 Silvers so 2 adults & 3 kids all get in at LHR tomorrow. Managed to get the silver for myself & son by flying one business class to Asia & 1 discounted segment from LHR to Athens. But never perfect as my son is under 18 so when he shows up at LHR he can not access the lounge unless he enters with an adult.

  9. BritBronco says:

    I find it unlikely that BA would start allowing paid lounge access, as it would undermine their ability to persuade people to upgrade to CE, which is the real solution to getting everyone in the lounge.

    If they did though, I hope they would also offer a mileage option at an extortionate ate to try to mop up some Avios from the system. However I would really like to see them offer seat selection paid for with Avios.

    • Sir Stamford says:

      Lounge access is obviously a perk which comes with premium class (Business & First) class travels. However as lounge access isn’t exclusive to these passengers, I am not sure if it a sufficiently strong incentive to persuade people to upgrade simply to gain access.

      You can get a CX Marco Polo Gold membership (equivalent to BA Silver) with your AMEX Platinum card and gain access to these lounges without travelling in these cabins.

      Similarly, you buy an outright Preferred status with US Airways for a fee and gain access to business lounges. US Airways is likely to exit Star Alliance and join Oneworld on 1 November 2013.

      Some of the third party lounges in other smaller outposts can be accessed using your Priority Pass or other equivalent programmes. For example, BA uses the Hugo Junkers lounge in DUS which you gain access with your Lounge Club membership as part of your AMEX Gold card package.

      Sir Stamford

  10. Chris C says:

    I do believe part of the problem is the ‘blind date’ situation. I look on a number of airline fora and there are regular requests ‘to guest me in’ and many of these boards have dedicated threads to this.

    There are also regular threads along the lines of ‘ The lounge guardian wouldn’t let me have more guests – is there a way around this?’ Followed by a few weeks later by complaints that the lounge was so very, very busy and full of guests!. Many of these posts are from status passengers who should know the rules.

    I’ve also seen an increasing number of threads asking the question ‘once my guest leaves can I invite another one in?’

    Different airlines have different policies that cause confusion too, Fly Club World on BA with no status and no guests allowed but Upper Class on VS means I can guest one person in.

    Indeed Virgin Atlantic has recently changed its CH guest policy to more clearly state that the guest must be on the same flight as the host. I am sure this is down to the ‘blind date’ scenario and I think that VS specifically mentioned the use of social networks in this when they announced the change.

    Imagine the cries of anguish if BA changed it’s policy to that !

  11. Sideysid says:

    Would anyone be able to clear up BA’s lounge access stance on infants?

    I am due to fly soon for the first time with our 1 year old, and previously my partner would enter as my guest. I am now wondering if we will be able to get in?

  12. Olybeast says:

    Whether its a blind date or a partner, a guest is a guest. It will be crowded or not crowded no matter who the guest is.

  13. creampuff says:

    I don’t know if I am in the minority here, but I just cannot get excited about lounges. I mean, they just aren’t that good. The sofa is ok, but it is less comfortable than my sofa at home. The food is so-so. The showers are good if you need a shower but otherwise lounges are “meh”. There is no way I’d pay 40 $/eur/£ to get into one. I’d rather walk around the airport and apply a couple of euros worth of face creme from the tester bottle at the Sisley stand 😉