How will airport lounges operate in the future? A real life example from the Aspire lounge in Zurich
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There has been much speculation about how airport lounges will operate in the future, especially with social distancing measures in place.
(I am beginning to think that the reason British Airways is not rolling over elite status is to dramatically cut the amount of people who would be eligible for lounge access. We couldn’t blame them if they took that option.)
Here is a real life example. Aspire re-opened its Zurich Airport lounge on Friday, following the lifting of restrictions in Switzerland.
This is what Aspire is doing:
“The Zurich Airport Lounge will reopen with a reduced capacity to ensure at least a 2-meter physical distance in-between all tables and seating areas throughout this lounge.”
“There will also be a maximum limit of 2 guests per table upon re-opening.”
“All employees working at the lounge will be provided with and will wear personal protective equipment including gloves and face masks. Staff levels within the lounge will be reduced at opening to avoid crowding as much as possible.”
“A new and more frequent cleaning schedule has been introduced at this lounge using effective disinfectants. This includes surfaces, especially high contact services being cleaned even more rigorously and frequently.”
“No buffet service will be provided at the Zurich Aspire Lounge upon reopening. All food and beverages will be served by a waiter via an aircraft meal trolley until further notice.”
The only food available will be cold snacks. Your options are:
- A selection of “mini” sandwiches
- Mini appetizers (glas)
- Vegetable dip
- A selection of sweets
It doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, but at least airport lounges are now opening again and are serving some food and drink. One upside of the reduced service is that the cost of access is reduced to CHF 20.
You can find out more about the Aspire Zurich lounge policy on the Aspire website here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges. Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.