This piece in the USA Today raises interesting possibilities. Soon, private lounge operator Airspace Lounge, will open a non-airline affiliated lounge at BWI Airport in May. BWI has been without an airline lounge since US Airways and United closed their clubs in 2008. The new Airspace Lounge will open in the space formerly occupied by the United Red Carpet Club on Concourse D.
With its dearth of airline lounges, BWI seems like a good place to test a business idea like this one. BWI is closely associated with Southwest Airlines and its leisure traveler oriented stereotype, but I think many would be surprised to know the number of business travelers that also use the airport as a lower-fare gateway to the national capital region. I remember well the last time I flew United from BWI, and at least two customers specifically mentioned to the gate agent how much they miss having the Red Carpet Club in BWI. Granted, those 2 customers won’t make this new lounge option profitable, but I expect many, many more customers feel the same way. There is demand for a semi-private spot away from the riff-raff that offers basic business services, a comfortable chair, a drink, and some snacks. I can promise that if I’m ever stuck at BWI waiting for a flight, I’d gladly pay a reasonable fee for access to a lounge like this.
I’m anxious to see how this new concept performs, and wonder if they might consider affiliating with Priority Pass or some other access program to increase business? You can count on me to drop by the lounge on my first flight out of BWI after it opens in May. I’ll be sure to share the scoop here, and snap a few pictures with my new Canon! 🙂