Airport lounges

I have been through the Vienna airport recently. They built a very modern new terminal there. Respect goes for handling the airport security efficiently and having a sufficient number of screening posts to handle the current traffic (although I am not sure it will be enough if the number of flights increases). What kept me wondering for good five minutes is the lounge though.

See, ten years ago lounges were all over the place. You could not walk down any corridor at any airport without bumping into one or another airline’s lounge. Now, fast forward to this modern construction and… I spent literally five minutes looking for the lounge, then got my directions from the staff, and spent another five minutes looking for it again. The lounge is literally hidden away!

Why would they do it? Are we afraid to hurt the feelings of the economy class people? Are we interested in minimizing the number of visitors to the lounge? What is it? Why on Earth would you want to make the most profitable class of passengers – business traveler – despair in their search for the lounge?

And it is a tendency I notice in a lot of places. Many airports rebuild the lounges, decreasing their numbers and hiding them away. Airlines limit what the travelers can do with respect to a lounge. You know, one used to be able to simply walk into a lounge by flashing the card. Now you have to fulfill a myriad conditions before you get admitted.

I understand cost saving strategies. What I do not understand are the most profitable customer segment alienation strategies.

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