When Your Airport Lounge Is An Active Construction Zone

I’m all for airport lounges being improved, and I realize that requires construction. For example, the Admirals Club at LAX has been under construction for a long time, and you can hear the noise when you’re a guest there, even though construction only happens in the areas not in use.

Well, yesterday I used an airline lounge that had construction to a degree I’ve never seen before (well, at least not while remaining open).

I was flying Uzbekistan Airways out of JFK, and got a lounge invitation for the Wingtips Lounge, which a lot of airlines use in Terminal 4 (it’s also a Priority Pass lounge).

As I entered the lounge, I had the following conversation:

“Hi.”
“Sorry, we’re closed.”
“Hmmm, is there another lounge I can use then?”
“No, there’s not another option.”
“But I have a lounge invitation for this lounge, so there’s not a replacement lounge I can use instead?”
“Oh, if you have an airline invitation we’re open.”

It was an odd exchange, though it quickly became apparent that perhaps the lounge should actually be closed. Here’s what the lounge looked like:

There was a small section in the back with maybe 15 chairs that wasn’t actively under construction.

However, the food buffet was being used as normal. You just had to avoid the hammers, ladders, drills, and nails to get there.

I asked the lounge attendant if there was any coffee available, given that the coffee machine was covered in plastic wrapping due to the construction. “Sure honey, you can still use the machine” (which is pictured below).

Alrighty then…

There are airline lounges under construction, and then there are airline lounges really under construction… this was my first time experiencing the latter.

Has anyone seen a lounge remain open while undergoing this level of construction?

Comments

  1. I tried to drop by Wingtips on Tuesday and was turned away by the construction. Glad to see I didn’t miss much. I’m hoping it greatly improves the lounge, which has really nose-dived in recent years.

  2. @Henry Z – I believe that’s an American practice that isn’t as lucrative in Europe. Healthcare policy may have something to do with it.

  3. Sounds like there is more going on than just the construction. So say it wasn’t under construction and you had the same conversation. Was it because you’re a Priority Club member or because you had an actual invitation from the airline? Just wondering.

  4. @Emirates4Ever : strictly speaking, any lounge inside ICN qualifies as that since they never signed a peace treaty

  5. Nothing like trying to relax and hearing jack hammers and the full construction zone sound effects like the Admiral’s Club at T4 in LAX, let alone trying to find a seat. They should have closed this lounge down from the get go to get the construction done.

  6. @henry LAX, by that definition, all lounges in all airports in Russia and Japan qualify since the USSR (nor Russia) and Japan never signed a peace treaty either at the end of World War 2.
    But I was specifically talking about active war zones, i.e., you hear small arms fire punctuated grenades and/or mortar explosions, bombs and rockets going off near or even on the airports. It’s quite scary than anything I ever experienced at ICN – or Tokyo.

  7. I used this lounge (have PP) back in March and it was a big time joke. The woman checking in wasn’t friendly nor was she angry – just content. I was able to get a table and help myself to the buffet – very lunchroom cafeteria-like. From what I remember it was fried fish, rice, mixed peas and carrots, and a salad bar. It was okay but nothing to rave about. The funny thing was the same girl who checked me in helped herself to the buffet and asked the server to get more plates to save more food…ok something you don’t really expect to see in lounges…

    Kinda gets crowded in the evenings also.

    Maybe they should also change their staffing as well!

  8. at least Priority Pass notes the lounge as closed on their website “Please note the lounge will close for refurbishment works from 08AUG17 until 14AUG17.”

  9. There is a potentially much more serious issue here. Airside construction sites are supposed to be off-limits to passengers precisely because they (obviously) include things like drills, scissors (each included in one of Ben’s photos), hammers, saws etc.

    Usually (certainly here in the UK, as I understand it – and I can’t imagine the US is any different), the construction area becomes a kind of airside sterile zone, in which the contractors have to keep careful records of what tools end up where. I’m not sure that it’s a great idea to let people have access to a lounge with those things just laying around…. I appreciate the risk is low, but still.

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