American Express Centurion Lounges are probably the best overall airport lounges in the United States. All of them were closed months ago because of health and safety concerns and the impact on air travel caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Recently American Express announced that Centurion Lounges at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Seattle – Tacoma International Airport (SEA) will reopen on October 5, 2020.
Travelers passing through those airports who have an American Express Platinum personal or business credit card will be delighted to have these lounges open. Centurion Lounges at New York Laguardia (LGA), San Francisco (SFO), Houston (IAH), Charlotte (CLT), Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX). Miami (MIA), Dallas (DFW) and Hong Kong (HKG) remain closed until further notice.
Airport lounge operators have devised ways to safely provide services to the growing number of airline passengers. Centurion lounges are dealing with the challenges presented by SARS-CoV-2 as follows:
Check-in is the worst part of the traditional Centurion lounge experience. Presenting Platinum cards, boarding passes and identification usually takes a few minutes for each guest, and there is almost always a line.
The new procedures actually speed up the process. Now check-in is accomplished online through the Centurion lounge app. Members merely present a boarding pass and ID at the front desk. On the negative side, capacity is reduced to meet applicable governmental requirements.
Customers who cannot be immediately admitted due to capacity restrictions will be placed on a waiting list and notified of expected wait times via the app or at check-in.
Food and Beverages
The wonderful buffets are being removed. Now lounge staff will serve premium food offerings on pre-portioned plates.
Wine selections are unchanged, but the number of other alcoholic beverages will be reduced.
Some Centurion Lounges provide spa services like complimentary massages and manicures. When those lounges reopen, spa services will be will be limited to treatments like self-administered Theragun massage and digital meditation. Equipment and treatment areas will be sanitized (UVC light?) between every appointment.
All showers will remain closed.
Guests must wear face coverings in the lounge except when eating or drinking. Staff will wear face coverings at all times. Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout each lounge. Cleaning will be enhanced in unspecified ways.
Air travel is ticking up and some airport lounges, including American Express Centurion Lounges, are starting to reopen. That is welcome news for those who use these lounges even though spa services and showers remain closed. As we head into the Fall and Winter, I hope lounges can remain open.