With more and more attention being afforded to traveller friction, airports have started to recognise the need to cater to a weary traveller if they want to be the first choice for frequent flyers. Where they can, airlines and airports are creating beautiful spaces with natural light and unique touches. These destination lounges are making travel smoother and more comfortable for road warriors and should be on the radar of every South African company that wants to reduce traveller friction.
Here’s a round-up of our top four unique lounge experiences for your travellers to try on their next trip.
Cultural Immersion Lounges
The SATS Premier Lounge Terminal 2 at Singapore Changi International Airport is known for immersing its guests in Singaporean culture with displays of real orchids, Peranakan porcelain and artwork depicting local scenes. The lounge hosts regular cultural events to ensure that visitors are treated to a unique experience every time they enter the lounge.
Air France recently completed the first phase of the renovation and expansion of its business class lounge in Terminal 2 (T2) at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The renovated lounge features an open kitchen designed in the style of a Parisian brasserie.
“At home experience” Lounges
The Almost@Home Lounge in Helsinki Airport, allows travellers to cook in a real kitchen or enjoy a drink from the wine and spirits bar. The lounge also features loft-style homey seating areas that will make travellers feel like they’re in a friend’s apartment.
Cathay Pacific’s newly opened ‘The Deck’ at Hong Kong International Airport promises to emulate a contemporary living room environment of understated luxury.
Health Experience Lounges
Virgin Atlantic pioneered the idea of offering spa treatments to passengers in its London Heathrow Clubhouse more than 25 years ago. Since then, they have added a Bumble & Bumble salon, Dr. Hauschka skin-care swag, and Truefitt & Hill men’s products.
Air France’s new business class lounge in Charles de Gaulle features two private saunas, a relaxation area furnished with loungers and mini-suites; a detox bar with a selection of fine teas to improve health and wellbeing; and two private cabins where guests can book facial treatments with Clarins beauticians.
At Dubai International Airport, Emirates Business Class Lounge at Concourse B, travellers are treated to a barista experience in partnership with Cost Coffee as well as a Health Hub with Voss water featuring ‘healthier’ dining and drinking options.
Natural Oasis Lounges
An open-air natural oasis in the midst of the airport chaos can be the perfect antidote to traveller friction.
Delta’s Sky Clubs at JFK’s Terminal 4 and Atlanta’s Concourse F are very literally providing travellers with a breath of fresh air with their ‘Sky Decks’. The ‘Sky Decks’ are outdoor mega-patios, designed by Thom Filicia, and feel somewhat like being on a roof-deck at a metropolitan hotel.
In Munich in Germany, the VIP Wing airport lounge also treats travellers to fresh air with an ‘open-air’ Bavarian beer garden where travellers can relax and enjoy a last sip of the Bavarian culture before continuing on their journey.
And although not in the open air, one of the highlights of the new Senator Lounge at Vienna Airport in Austria are the real Austrian beech trees, which are preserved using a special preservation technique and evoke the culture of Austria.
Although the wear and tear on frequent business travellers cannot be fixed by offering lounge access, these modern conceptual airport lounges can go a long way in making business trips more pleasant and even fun for road warriors. Preventing traveller friction and ensuring your road warriors health and well-being whilst travelling should be a top consideration in your corporate travel programme.