Review: US Airways Club Tampa

Introduction
US Airways Club Tampa
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My journey to the Middle East started in Tampa, after spending a couple of weeks visiting my parents. Having lived in Tampa for over a decade, I always have a bit of an odd feeling when I leave again. I don’t know, it’s tough to describe.

Back when I lived in Tampa I loved the US Airways Club because I could access it using my American Express Platinum Card and Priority Pass Select membership, even if flying American (at the time they weren’t partners). It’s convenient that they leave from the “F” concourse, and even more convenient now that they’re in oneworld, since it has essentially also become an American Airlines lounge.

The US Airways Club is located past the security checkpoint in the “F” concourse. Once you get through the security checkpoint you just stay left, and it’s located right next to the food court.

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Tampa International Airport terminal

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US Airways Club Tampa entrance

The entrance to the lounge is on the first floor, though the lounge itself is on the second floor. So there’s an elevator and staircase inside the entrance to take you to the second floor.

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US Airways Club Tampa entryway

There were three agents working the desk, and they were all extremely friendly. Since US Airways is in oneworld I really qualified for access in three ways:

  • Flying a oneworld product in longhaul business class same day
  • Flying a oneworld carrier internationally as a oneworld Emerald member same day
  • Having the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card

While this is now basically an Admirals Club for all practical purposes, it still takes the agents a while to “register” American guests. The friendly agent apologized for the wait, and within about a minute welcomed me into the club.

I’m kind of surprised US Airways has kept this club for so long given that it never seems to be full. At this point I think they’ll keep it, between the improved economy and the merger, but a few years back when the airlines were bleeding I’m surprised this lounge didn’t get the axe.

The lounge is basically one long room with lots of seats.

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US Airways Club Tampa seating

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US Airways Club Tampa seating

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US Airways Club Tampa seating

Along the “side” of the lounge is a separate TV room, as well as a business center.

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US Airways Club Tampa TV room

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US Airways Club Tampa business center

Then at the far end of the lounge is the bar. If you want the cushiest job in the world, apply to be the bartender working the morning shift in this lounge. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen them behind the bar – they just sit down and text for their whole shift.

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US Airways Club Tampa bar

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US Airways Club Tampa bar

The lounge food spread in the morning isn’t especially impressive, with oatmeal, yogurt, and mostly stale bagels. Then again, that’s about normal for a domestic airline lounge.

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US Airways Club Tampa buffet

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US Airways Club Tampa snacks and coffee

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US Airways Club Tampa snacks

They also have an interesting coffee machine. And when I say it’s “interesting,” I simply mean it’s smarter than me, since I can’t for the life of me figure out how to use it. They have all these coffee flavor packages you can somehow insert into the machine. Admittedly inserting things into machines isn’t my area of expertise, though you’d think there would be instructions or something. But nope.

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US Airways Club Tampa coffee machine

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US Airways Club Tampa magazines

Since the lounge is on the second floor it boasts some nice tarmac and runway views as well.

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US Airways Club Tampa view

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US Airways Club Tampa view

The only other thing I can note is that while the bathroom itself was fine physically, I think it was quite possibly the worst smelling bathroom I’ve ever been in. It smelled like someone just got off an American first class flight where they had the cheesy omelet, went number two, and then died… last year.

Anyway, I was in the lounge for about an hour before my flight to Miami, and it was a pleasant stay.

Bottom line on US Airways Club Tampa

The US Airways Club Tampa is a very pleasant “no frills” lounge and I’m just happy that they have it, since Tampa isn’t an airport where many airlines invest in a club lounge.

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Comments

  1. “It smelled like someone just got off an American first class flight where they had the cheesy omelet, went number two, and then died… last year.” I am loving the humor, Ben!

  2. Some of the furniture there is in serious need of update too. Many of those little round tables at the seating area that overlooks the tarmac have chunks of wood veneer missing.

    Finding the bartender in early afternoon is frequently a challenge as well.

    But all in all, it is a nice oasis at TPA and I hope it stays.

  3. Wow, is that an old photo, or is there still a plane in America West paint job at Tampa airport?

  4. Flavia coffee machine 101: you press the button next to the screen for what kind of thing you want to make, and the door pops open and you put the coffee packet in (the end of the packet with the little nub on it goes up). Then you close the door and it makes the coffee.

    🙂

  5. From your photos, the lounge looks great. Airy and spacious – something that is seriously missing from even the ‘best’ lounges nowadays that you read about or even visit.

  6. Ben – was departing on a US Airways flt from TPA-CLT LAX in F and was told that the lounge can only be accessed while flying Business or First internationally or if you have Citi Executive AA Card. Was told the exact same thing at the CLT lounge as well. Not sure if this is a change in policy or I just got bad agents at both club lounges.

  7. @ Macworld — That is indeed correct. With US Airways, transcon first class in and of itself doesn’t get you lounge access.

  8. Have to admit I never saw this type of coffee maker yet either but youtube is your friend (considering you probably will stop in Tampa now more often). Here is a sample video and there seem to be plenty more:

  9. bwahahaha at the Coffee Machine story.

    Lucky, have you had issues at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport? I couldn’t figure out the Tassimo machines they have in the rooms. A month after my last visit, I went to the local ” Media Markt” where they had one on display and asked an agent to show me how it works! 🙂

  10. @ wonkachocolat — Hah, can’t say I’ve ever used it. Have only used the machine in the club lounge, which is easy to use.

  11. yep, american domestic lounges only have sad food.
    have you ever tried the klm lounges in amsterdam?
    they have a great selection of real, fresh food!

  12. Have you ever been to Amsterdam or flown KLM flights?

    The Skyteam Lounge at LHR T4 is awesome in the food department. They normally have 3 choices of hot meals in the evening. Curries, Italian dishes, even Roast Beef and Potato Salad. Definitely the best Skyteam Lounge I’ve ever visited. (Taipei has awesome Dim Sum)

    Lounge 52 has good food in A’dam Schiphol. But Lounge 25 (Schengen) less so.

  13. “It smelled like someone just got off an American first class flight where they had the cheesy omelet, went number two, and then died… last year.”

    ^ Perfect description with great humor.

    “The lounge food spread in the morning isn’t especially impressive, with oatmeal, yogurt, and mostly stale bagels.”

    ^ It has become so rare to see fresh and tasty food in most airport lounges that I’m often left wondering why they bother having any food at all. Even the generic chain restaurants in the main terminal area are vastly more appealing, and that’s saying something.

  14. I am glad there’s a US Airways Club that’s better than a woeful tiny club in Phoenix. That place was so small, had terrible wi-fi (public wi-fi was faster!), and was overall so depressing I am still wondering how they have an audacity to charge $50 for a day-pass.

    @ Lucky – is there a domestic airline that has consistently good lounges or is it hit-or-miss? Enjoyed Delta’s lounge in Seattle but not sure if that’s an exception.

  15. I had a different question: I was at JFK last night (Wednesday) around 9pm and saw a small Qatar airlines plane (pretty sure it was an A320) on the tarmac. Does their government use them for VIP or what might be the story you think?

  16. @ Ronnie — Hmmm, Qatar only has 777 service to JFK. Are you sure it wasn’t just on the tarmac in a distance and possibly that plane? I know the Royal Family is known to take Qatar Airways planes on shopping trips, but only ever widebodies to the US…

  17. @ Ivan Y — I think Delta lounges are definitely a step up from American, United, and US Airways lounges, though not by that much. They they are slightly better, I think.

  18. @ Lucky – perhaps Delta’s Seattle lounges are nicer than average as part of their strategy to destroy Alaska.

  19. Ah Tampa my home airport. Nice to see the other side, I’m a Delta flyer out of E concourse. Never really visit the other ones often but I do have a flight scheduled in a coupe of weeks flying US Airways. Thanks for the lounge tour!

  20. @ Lucky: they keep the “food should taste good” tortilla chips & salsa by the bar (not with the rest of the snacks). works in a pinch…better then the bagels.

    Also, from what i’ve seen in the afternoons, the gal that works the bar also restocks the snacks and does some table busing as well. not sure if the morning bar tender has similar responsibilities…

  21. Ben, I’m so glad you mentioned the missing bartender. I thought it was just me being impatient and always having to hunt her down in the back. I’m dying to know what she is doing back there all day.

    They just need to have a little self service fridge with soft drinks by the food, and I’ll be happy.

  22. @lucky – I didn’t know they still had any planes in retro paint jobs – I’ll have to keep an eye out!

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