Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information on lounge reopenings.
People are returning to the skies as lockdowns ease and vaccination rates tick upward. Still, the actual flying experience looks radically different, with airlines reducing and redesigning service flow to minimize passenger and crew interactions and reduce touchpoints.
Even on the ground, air travel may seem unfamiliar, as many airline lounges remaining closed due to a combination of low demand and social distancing requirements. If you’re flying soon, here’s what you need to know about which lounges are currently open.
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Of course, even for the lounges that are open, things are not business as usual. Buffets and self-serve bars have been replaced with prepackaged food and drink, which almost universally represents a decrease in both quality and selection.
Staffing levels have also been reduced, both to meet lowered demand and to minimize interactions between travelers and staff. So, if you’re traveling now, you may not want to get to the airport early to relax in a lounge. Still, if you’re flying on one of these airlines, you may still have access to a lounge before your flight.
Related: My experience flying across the country during the coronavirus pandemic
In This Post
Let’s start by taking a look at the North American airlines that account for most of the travel to, from and within the U.S. You’ll notice a few airlines missing from this list, such as Southwest and JetBlue, because they don’t operate lounges.
American Airlines offers three tiers of lounge experiences for its premium and elite passengers, including the more basic and prevalent Admirals Club, Flagship lounges in major international gateways and Flagship First dining facilities at a smaller number of key hubs.
Generally speaking, Flagship lounges are intended for international premium-cabin passengers (with those flying in three-cabin first-class aircraft being invited to Flagship First dining) and upper-level elites. Meanwhile, Admirals Clubs are for domestic road warriors and require a membership, upper-level elite status or the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® to access.
All four of AA’s Flagship First dining facilities remain closed, as do all Flagship lounges — with one exception. The Flagship lounge at New York-JFK has been converted to an Admirals Club, meaning that Flagship and Admirals Club guests may access the customer service desk, but some lounge services, including restrooms and shower facilities, are temporarily unavailable.
Here’s a list of the Admirals Clubs that have reopened:
- Austin (AUS) – Gate 22
- Boston (BOS) – Terminal B
- Charlotte (CLT) – Concourses B and C
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD) – Concourse H/K
- Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) – Terminals A, B, C and D
- Denver (DEN) – Concourse A
- Houston Intercontinental (IAH) – Terminal A
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Terminal 4
- Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
- Miami (MIA) – Gate D30
- Nashville (BNA) – Concourse C
- New York (JFK) – Gate 12 (Flagship Lounge with temporary Admirals Club service)
- New York LaGuardia (LGA) – Concourse D
- Orange County (SNA) – Gate 8
- Orlando (MCO) – Gate 55
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Terminals B/C
- Phoenix (PHX) – Gate A7
- Raleigh / Durham (RDU) – Terminal 2
- San Francisco (SFO) – Terminal 1
- Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU)
- Tampa (TPA) – Gate 85
- Washington Reagan (DCA) – Terminal C
Related: American Airlines extends lounge access to more passengers and streamlines rules
Once inside a club, you can expect complimentary hot food; signature dishes for sale; packaged snacks; disposable, single-use glassware; a full-service bar; touchless menus with signage and QR codes; foot-operated door openers; hand sanitizer stations and glass shields at service desks. Additionally, Admirals Clubs are once again serving avocado toast in the mornings and guacamole and chips in the afternoons. Self-serve areas remain closed. A face covering is required while you’re in the club, but you can remove it to eat or drink.
Related: 3 reasons why this is the best card for Admirals Club lounge access when travel returns
American recently began selling premium wines and Champagne by the bottle in select cities. Alternatively, customers are now able to sample wine flights, ranging from $11 to $13.
American has also reopened the following clubs as service centers to offer travel assistance (read: no seating or refreshments):
- Atlanta (ATL) – North Terminal, Concourse T
- Pittsburgh (PIT) – Main Lobby
Starting later in May, American will reopen its Phoenix (PHX) location at Gate B7, as well as the Miami (MIA) outpost at Gate D15. Additionally, the Atlanta lounge will reopen as a full club.
Related: Here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight
Delta Air Lines
Despite offering the best business-class product in the U.S. (for now, at least), Delta only has one type of lounge. This means you’ll find yourself in a Sky Club whether you’re traveling in international business class, have Delta elite status or gain entry through some popular credit cards.
While Delta initially closed a majority of its Sky Club locations, scaled back food and beverage service and closed showers in those that remained open, the following Sky Club locations have remained open throughout the pandemic offering reduced service:
- Atlanta (ATL – ACPT)
- Atlanta (ATL – C37)
- Atlanta (ATL – A17)
- Atlanta (ATL – B18)
- Atlanta (ATL – D12)
- Atlanta (ATL – D27)
- Atlanta (ATL – E)
- Atlanta (ATL – F)
- Atlanta (ATL – T)
- Austin (AUS – 4)
- Boston (BOS – A7)
- Chicago (ORD-T2)
- Cincinnati (CVG – B)
- Dallas (DFW-E)
- Denver (DEN – A)
- Detroit (DTW – A38)
- Detroit (DTW – A68)
- Detroit (DTW – C)
- Honolulu (HNL – F1)
- Indianapolis (IND – A)
- Jacksonville (JAX – A)
- LaGuardia (LGA – C)
- LaGuardia (LGA – D)
- Los Angeles (LAX – T2)
- Memphis (MEM – B/C) (coming soon)
- Miami (MIA – H/J)
- Milwaukee (MKE – D)
- Minneapolis – St. Paul (MSP – C)
- Minneapolis – St. Paul (MSP – F/G)
- Nashville (BNA – B3)
- Newark (EWR – B)
- New Orleans (MSY – C)
- New York (JFK – T4)
- Orlando (MCO – 4)
- Portland (PDX – D)
- Philadelphia (PHL – D/E) (coming soon)
- Phoenix (PHX – T3)
- Raleigh (RDU – T2)
- Seattle (SEA – A)
- San Diego (SAN – T2)
- San Francisco (SFO – C3)
- Salt Lake City (SLC)
- Tampa (TPA – E68)
- Washington D.C. (DCA – B15)
- West Palm Beach (PBI – 4)
Delta requires all travelers entering a Sky Club to wear a face mask, or appropriate face covering, over their nose and mouth. Food is grab-and-go style and full bar service is available.
Related: The best Delta Sky Club lounges in the US
United offers Polaris lounges for its premium long-haul international passengers and United Clubs for domestic travelers with a membership, upper-level elite status or an eligible cobranded card. United has temporarily closed all its Polaris and United Clubs, except for the following locations:
- Chicago location Terminal 1, Concourse B, near Gate B6
- Denver location Concourse B East, near Gate B32
- Denver location Concourse B East, near Gate B44
- Honolulu location Diamond Head Concourse, Level 3, above Gates G2 and G3 (opening Nov. 21)
- Houston location Terminal E, between Gates E11 and E12
- Houston location Terminal C, near gate C1
- Los Angeles location Terminal 7, next to Gate 71A
- New York-Newark (EWR) location Terminal C, Upper Level, near Gate C74
- San Francisco location Terminal 3, Boarding Area F, Rotunda, near Gate F11
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) location Midfield Terminal, Concourse C, near Gate C7
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) location Midfield Terminal, Concourse D, near Gate D8 (opening Nov. 18)
All customers are required to wear a face-covering except when eating and drinking. Clubs are serving prepackaged snacks and are offering full bar service.
Related: The ultimate guide to United Club access
Alaska Airlines offers a rather extensive lounge network for a primarily domestic and short-haul airline. And several of these lounges are accessible with a Priority Pass Select membership, so many travelers come to rely on them even if they aren’t flying Alaska.
The following locations are now open:
- Anchorage (ANC) — Concourse C, near gate C-1
- Los Angeles (LAX) — Terminal 6 on the mezzanine level, near Gate 64
- Portland Airport (PDX) — Concourse C, across from Gate C5
- Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) — Concourse D, just beyond the Central Security Checkpoint
- Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) — North Satellite on the mezzanine level, above Gates N13 to 18
This means that only two locations are expected to remain closed for now: Alaska’s New York-JFK lounge in Terminal 7 and the carrier’s second lounge in Seattle’s Concourse C. Alaska’s new lounge in San Francisco (SFO) is set to open by late summer 2021.
The lounges that have reopened have limited capacity, are using enhanced cleaning procedures and have adjusted food and beverage services. Prepackaged snack items include potato chips, pretzels, granola bars and cookies, as well as some healthier options such as whole fruit and string cheese.
Related: Here’s why Alaska Airlines miles are the most valuable
Air Canada initially took a more extreme step than its counterparts south of the border, closing all lounges worldwide. This includes all Maple Leaf lounges, as well as its relatively new Signature Suite lounges in Toronto and Vancouver.
As travel continues to pick up again, Air Canada started reopening its lounges with a revamped service flow. Currently open are the Toronto-Pearson lounge (D gates), the Vancouver lounge (C gates) and the Calgary lounge (Concourse C).
Meals can be ordered and delivered straight to your table through the new “Maple Leaf Lounge @ la table” service simply by scanning an NFC or QR code found at the table. Visitors can also select from two cold meal options, prepackaged and sealed in a snack bag. There’s also an assisted bar service with a full bar offering.
Related: Review of Air Canada’s 787 in Business Class From Shanghai to Montreal
Amex Centurion lounges
Back in March, American Express closed all Centurion lounges worldwide. However, all U.S. locations, including multiple brand-new ones, have reopened since then.
The following U.S. lounges are currently welcoming eligible cardmembers with The Platinum Card® from American Express or Centurion-branded cards:
- Charlotte (CLT)
- Dallas (DFW)
- Denver (DEN)
- Houston (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX) (grab-and-go food and beverage only; no in-lounge seating)
- Miami (MIA)
- New York (JFK)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Phoenix (PHX)
- Seattle (SEA)
- San Francisco (SFO) (wine-tasting area remains closed)
All lounges are operating under Amex’s new “Centurion Lounge Commitment” to ensure the health and safety of flyers and staff. It includes socially distant seating, reduced capacity, increased frequency of cleanings, hand-sanitizing stations and more. Food will be served in preportioned, individually wrapped plates. The bar will be open with a full wine list, but the cocktail menus are abridged. Masks will be required to enter the lounge and can only be removed when eating or drinking.
Related: A guide to Amex Centurion Lounges
The Club operates 24 lounges across the U.S. and U.K. with complimentary access to most locations for travelers with a Priority Pass membership. The following U.S. locations are open:
- The Club DFW (Terminal D near Gate 27)
- The Club MCO (Airside 1)
- The Club LAS (Terminal 1)
- The Club SEA (S Gates)
- The Club JAX (Concourse A past the Food Court)
- The Club ATL (Concourse F)
- The Club BWI (Concourse D, near Gate 10)
- The Club CVG (Main Terminal, Concourse A)
- The Club CHS (Main Terminal, on the second level toward Concourse B)
- The Club MSY (3rd floor of the Main Terminal adjacent to the entrance to Concourse C)
- The Club PIT (Concourse C)
There are several other Priority Pass lounges that have reopened as well, including the Wingtips Lounges at JFK and STL and Minute Suites locations.
Enrollment required for select benefits.
Of the 12 U.S. locations, only the Escape lounges in Phoenix and Palm Beach are currently open. You can gain complimentary access to these lounges with the Amex Platinum Card or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Enrollment required.
While many airlines are taking the blanket approach of closing all lounges, some have chosen to keep one or two open, primarily in their home airports or key international hubs. Nearly every foreign airline lounge in the U.S. is closed, including all locations operated by Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, Emirates, Qantas and more. There are, however, a handful of international lounges still operating in the U.S., albeit with reduced hours or reduced service offerings:
- Lufthansa’s Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), Detroit (DTW) and Washington, D.C. (IAD) lounges are open.
- Air France-KLM’s New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD) and San Francisco (SFO) lounges are open.
- Turkish Airlines Lounge at Washington, D.C. (IAD) is open.
- Korean Airlines’ lounge at New York (JFK) is open.
Note that some of these lounges are part of the Priority Pass network, but access may be restricted to members due to capacity limits.
Premium-cabin passengers with a Priority Pass membership used to have multiple lounges to choose from, especially at major airports such as New York-JFK and Los Angeles International. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many airport lounges around the world remain closed, and those that remain open offer a radically different experience from what customers might be used to.
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson and Ethan Steinberg.
Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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