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Forums Other Airport lounges No alcohol/paid alcohol lounge concept

  • Blair Waldorf Salad 1,160 posts

    Reading the comments yesterday on the Priority Pass article and on the Centurion lounge arricle today reminded me of a conversation I had with a colleague on Thursday. Basically, when did lounges become so unrelaxing and an unhelpful place to try working.

    We were musing solutions and neither of us thought raising the entry fee is going to solve matters – a certain cohort simply drink the bar spend equivalent of their entry fee. Different levels like Newcastle? Well, same issue – drink your entry fee in the form of your bar bill, but with an expectation of more premium spirits getting you to that spend faster. Might be less crowded, but it’ll still get noisy.

    The only option we alighted on with legs was alcohol-free lounges. Or paid bars in lounges. Our thinking was that would create clear water between those using lounges as a proxy for a main terminal bar, and those who want to have a bit of food at their own self-serve pace (esp. on short connections) in an environment that’s less crowded and noisy.

    We did wonder if noise of bantz ladz would simply be replaced by performative work chatter to impress the boss in a given travelling work party. I suggested that’s a far easier problem to overcome, as a single comment to such a group regarding client confidentiality or data protection and their (lack of) awareness of it creates a serene silence.

    Are we out on our own with this view? We’re both regular work travellers where lounge time is an opportunity to clear the to do list before a long flight or a few days away at a European event.

    Richie 1,039 posts

    I’ve seen many getting on with their work in lounges wearing noise-cancelling headphones, oblivious to others and what they are drinking.

    executiveclubber 307 posts

    I think the issue is that the lounge monopoly and high rents make it hard for startups to break the mould of the complacent priority pass lounges — they just need guests, and they have lots, so there’s little incentive to do anything for the minority who want quieter working spaces, or good food…

    I have a hunch Amex will roll out more Centurion lounges in key destinations globally but they haven’t got decent workspaces either 🤷

    TooPoorToBeHere 267 posts

    I’d love booze-free spaces but realistically we are a booze culture and it’s just not going to happen.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    Don’t they have work spaces in the LHR lounges?

    I would think that outside LHR the vast majority of travel is for leisure or family visits and therefore alcohol is an integral part of it for many!

    It was interesting to see just how much alcohol there was in the lounge at DXB (can’t remember which one it was, whichever being OW Sapphire would get us in), even to the extent of having a separate spirits and cocktail bar, even though most pax seemed to be ME or Asian.

    can2 575 posts

    I’m very much perplexed to see that there is some hope to fix the Priority Pass lounges. Even the award winning Vienna lounge is a joke.
    The only way they can financially survive is to increase the intake. Cutting alcohol would diminish the value of PPass significantly in long term, as no one would pay for it for bad curry and pasta dish. Most people I know travel peak on school holidays and they consider lounges as a cheap Turkish resort buffet. It makes financial sense, of course. But that’s about it. You can’t beat the crowds.

    AJA 1,128 posts

    @BWS doesn’t AA already do the concept you suggest of a paid bar in their lounges? Effectively they offer 2 not-premium alcoholic drinks vouchers and anything further or more expensive you pay.

    Personally I don’t see what the problem is with alcohol in lounges. I suppose I am lucky or perhaps I don’t travel enough but I don’t remember seeing drunk people in lounges causing a nuisance.

    I also think I’ve seen plenty of under-utilised work spaces in lounges for those that need to work but also I think with businesses tightening travel belts I think the balance has tipped towards leisure passengers travelling in premium cabins. And they are less likely to want to work but far more likely to drink alcohol.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,160 posts

    @BWS doesn’t AA already do the concept you suggest of a paid bar in their lounges? Effectively they offer 2 not-premium alcoholic drinks vouchers and anything further or more expensive you pay.

    Personally I don’t see what the problem is with alcohol in lounges. I suppose I am lucky or perhaps I don’t travel enough but I don’t remember seeing drunk people in lounges causing a nuisance.

    I also think I’ve seen plenty of under-utilised work spaces in lounges for those that need to work but also I think with businesses tightening travel belts I think the balance has tipped towards leisure passengers travelling in premium cabins. And they are less likely to want to work but far more likely to drink alcohol.

    Perhaps I should have framed this as the problem with non-airline lounges. Ones you can routinely buy your way into for sub-£40. The problem arises when that is the only game in town, e.g. MAN T1 where the Aspire lounge is accommodating both Lufthansa business travellers on the early flights to FRA and MUC, alongside the Easyjet and (some) Jet2 early departures to the Canaries.

    The problem is not the presence of alcohol. The problem is its cost-free (once inside) abundance and who that inevitably attracts.

    SteveJ 1,004 posts

    It was interesting to see just how much alcohol there was in the lounge at DXB (can’t remember which one it was, whichever being OW Sapphire would get us in), even to the extent of having a separate spirits and cocktail bar, even though most pax seemed to be ME or Asian.

    Dubai long ago lost it’s Middle Easternness, not sure why the alcohol availability would be of any surprise, its exactly inline with their target market. Strange comment re Asians, drinking isn’t exclusive to the West.

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    I found that even in the hotels in Dubai and Doha, alcohol and non-halal food were kept apart from the main part of the public areas, in the DXB lounge it seemed almost in your face. I didn’t say that drinking is exclusive to the West, but certainly in Islamic cultures it’s nothing like as integral to the notion of refreshment as we see it.

    TGLoyalty 649 posts

    I found that even in the hotels in Dubai and Doha, alcohol and non-halal food were kept apart from the main part of the public areas, in the DXB lounge it seemed almost in your face. I didn’t say that drinking is exclusive to the West, but certainly in Islamic cultures it’s nothing like as integral to the notion of refreshment as we see it.

    Seperate clearly labelled pork section for sure but bars are just bars everywhere in Dubai. It’s just rules around where alcohol can be served are tighter ie hotel or certain hotel quarters only.

    Aston100 1,451 posts

    Dubai is barely Islamic.
    I was getting approached by hookers in hotel bars back in 2003 before the place had even registered on many peoples radar.

    The real Swiss Tony 700 posts

    The problem is not the presence of alcohol. The problem is its cost-free (once inside) abundance and who that inevitably attracts.

    A few years back, the Aspire lounge at BHX flipped from a self serve bar to an attended one. I haven’t used it that often, but from limited observation, I don’t think that change has improved the ambience – the problem is either a single individual who thinks it’s reasonable to use their phone on speaker, either to watch some asinine video or brag to their mate about being “in the lounge”, or a dull group of two couples who fit the eleven-erife model to a tee.

    I also had the pleasure of the Aspire lounge at EDI and despite the staffed bar, a group of lads were paralytic. Whilst they were told no more drinks, it was way too late for that.

    So I don’t think it’s the abundance of booze that’s the problem. It’s just people having zero respect for others. Free gin might see that threshold being met faster, but it’s not the only problem.

    Aston100 1,451 posts

    It’s just people having zero respect for others

    I think this definitely applies in many other situations too.
    Seems to be a first world problem. Or perhaps, a western world problem.

    Number of times I’ve been out late somewhere abroad and thought to myself that I feel completely safe and that if I was in the UK I’d be concerned about anti social behaviour.

    davefl 1,413 posts

    @Swiss Tony Couldn’t agree more.

    Was in the “quiet area” of one of the cafes in Vienna airport, doors closed signs saying no smoking and no phones. Only 3 other people in there.

    Woman with her phone on speaker for half an hour carying on a business conversation, and a guy took a used paper cup from the bin, lit up and used it as an ashtray.

    Basically a lot of people act like inconsiderate pigs whether or not alcohol is involved.

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    @Swiss Tony Couldn’t agree more.

    Was in the “quiet area” of one of the cafes in Vienna airport, doors closed signs saying no smoking and no phones. Only 3 other people in there.

    Woman with her phone on speaker for half an hour carying on a business conversation, and a guy took a used paper cup from the bin, lit up and used it as an ashtray.

    Basically a lot of people act like inconsiderate pigs whether or not alcohol is involved.

    And you said nothing to the individuals nor to staff?

    davefl 1,413 posts

    @Lady London, I did mention it to the barman on the way out and I’ve never seen anyone move so fast in a cafe as he ran around the bar to confront the guy.

    Aston100 1,451 posts

    @Lady London, I did mention it to the barman on the way out and I’ve never seen anyone move so fast in a cafe as he ran around the bar to confront the guy.

    Plot twist: he asked him for a fag.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,160 posts

    It’s just people having zero respect for others

    I think this definitely applies in many other situations too.
    Seems to be a first world problem. Or perhaps, a western world problem.

    Number of times I’ve been out late somewhere abroad and thought to myself that I feel completely safe and that if I was in the UK I’d be concerned about anti social behaviour.

    This is so true. Beyond guarding a palace/No.10 I can’t recall the last time I saw a bobby on the beat. Budapest and Rome are full of on-street policing and full of on-street late night life of a non-threatening variety. Not sure which is cause v effect.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,160 posts

    The problem is not the presence of alcohol. The problem is its cost-free (once inside) abundance and who that inevitably attracts.

    A few years back, the Aspire lounge at BHX flipped from a self serve bar to an attended one. I haven’t used it that often, but from limited observation, I don’t think that change has improved the ambience – the problem is either a single individual who thinks it’s reasonable to use their phone on speaker, either to watch some asinine video or brag to their mate about being “in the lounge”, or a dull group of two couples who fit the eleven-erife model to a tee.

    I also had the pleasure of the Aspire lounge at EDI and despite the staffed bar, a group of lads were paralytic. Whilst they were told no more drinks, it was way too late for that.

    So I don’t think it’s the abundance of booze that’s the problem. It’s just people having zero respect for others. Free gin might see that threshold being met faster, but it’s not the only problem.

    I said cost-free abundance though. If those EDI lads were paying per pint pulled I doubt they’d have been paralytic.

    Joe G 82 posts

    Have you seen the Wetherspoons at Edinburgh airport at 5am? They would have been paralytic regardless

    CJD 75 posts

    They would have just got drunk at the Spoons instead. The attraction of the lounge is the free booze once you’re inside, and people will want to get their money’s worth from whatever price they’ve paid for entry.

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