For a long time, Priority Pass members were reporting issues accessing Alaska Lounges. While Alaska Lounges were still technically part of Priority Pass, many members were turned away due to capacity constraints.
I can appreciate the challenge here. More people have access to Priority Pass lounges than ever before due to how widespread premium credit cards are becoming, and on top of that, guesting privileges on these cards have become more generous. So suddenly you have this huge influx of people who have access to these lounges, while the actual lounge capacity hasn’t increased. The thing is, Alaska wants to let Priority Pass members into their lounges, as they get paid by entrance.
In late April a new policy was put in place regarding this issue. As of late April, Priority Pass members could no longer bring guests into Alaska Lounges. However, this didn’t completely solve the problem, because there are still instances of people being denied entry into the lounges. Well, it looks like they’ve backtracked on this policy.
Priority Pass members can once again bring up to two guests into Alaska Lounges. I suppose more accurately, this policy changes at the Alaska Lounges in Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle — the Anchorage lounge was never subjected to the reduced access requirements.
Now, does this mean that suddenly Priority Pass members and two guests will always have access to Alaska Lounges? I doubt it. Instead, I suspect for the past few months they’ve been denying guests even when the lounge was empty, which is a big lost revenue opportunity for them. For example, I used the Alaska Lounge Los Angeles last week, and it was pretty empty.
But something has also changed in both Portland and Seattle:
- In Portland, a house spirits distillery has joined Priority Pass, as well as two restaurants, which I’m sure many will visit in place of the Alaska Lounge; I’d much rather do a cocktail tasting and have real food than sit in an Alaska Lounge
- In Seattle, a third Alaska Lounge opened, which hopefully alleviates crowding somewhat
Priority Pass members can once again bring two guests into Alaska Lounges. However, I suspect we’ll still see them put some capacity constraints in place during peak hours. This development is good news for most people, though I imagine those actually paying to be members of the Alaska Lounge appreciated that it was a bit quieter for a while.
Did you notice reduced crowding in Alaska Lounges during the period of limited Priority Pass access?
(Tip of the hat to Doctor of Credit)