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Priority Pass Announces Safety Standards for its Member Lounges

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Priority Pass set forth dozens of COVID-19-related safety standards for its network of more than 1300 lounges.

The program — a membership to which many of us enjoy as a benefit of premium credit and charge cards — set forth a list of guidelines for pretty much every aspect a guest’s visit to a member lounge.

Because Priority Pass lounges are contracts to a variety of independent and airline lounges, they don’t really have an official say or control of clubs’ rules.

So these are more helpful suggestions and wish lists more than anything else.

Social Distancing and Hand Sanitizer

Social distancing is encouraged, obviously. And it sounds like they want hand sanitizer everywhere.

Restroom sinks are seen at the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4.
Restroom sinks are seen inside the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4.

Plus, they’d like signage in restrooms to remind us we must wash our hands for at least 20 seconds.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Not surprisingly, employees will be asked to wear PPE. I didn’t see anything requiring the same of guests. Plus, glass or plastic dividers should be installed where possible.

Guest Entry

Guests might no longer touch the handheld, electronic device used to register members for each visit.

The Club at DFW Dallas Airport
The Club at DFW

Instead, “The passenger must…verbally agree [to] the visit details and the Lounge staff will ‘Accept’ the visit on behalf of the passenger. Again, the device is not required to be passed to the passenger for acceptance.”

Inside the Lounge

It sounds like Priority Pass wants lounge staff to find you a seating location.

Guests are seen at the The Club at LAS at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport's D gates.
Guests are seen at The Club at LAS at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport’s D Concourse .

“Introduce a seat allocation service whereby the receptionist identifies space in the lounge for each new guest or group of guest,” the writer. “This may assist with capacity management by ensuring that guests are utilising spaces that are appropriate to the size of their group.”

Failing that, Priority Pass suggests that if clubs “cannot implement a seat allocation service, operate a clear table policy, and place signs on tables which have been cleared, cleaned and sanitised, so guests can easily identify which tables have been cleaned.”

Avianca Lounge in San Juan
Avianca Lounge in San Juan

Children’s play areas should be 86ed, they suggest.

And areas where people tend to congregate should be identified and dealt with so congestion doesn’t become an issue.

Bye-Bye, Printed Reading Material?

Priority Pass recommends lounges do away with printed magazines and newspapers.

Newspapers and magazines are seen inside The CLUB at SJC airport lounge at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, California.
Newspapers and magazines are seen inside The CLUB at SJC airport lounge at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, California.

Instead, the suggest clubs “Replace print media with digital media access on guest’s personal device.” So I wonder if it’ll be sort of like an Apple News-type network we can access?

Eating and Drinking

Sandwiches are seen on the buffet at The Club at LAS at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport's D Concourse.
Sandwiches are seen on the buffet at The Club at LAS at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport’s D Concourse.

Priority Pass encourages lounges to avoid self-service food and beverage options. Instead, they suggest staff members serve items directly to guests. This is a practice we think may become standard at buffets, in general.

And here’s a logical suggestion — yet one that never really crossed my mind until now:

“For bar service, attendants should be especially aware of which surfaces are clean and which are potentially contaminated. For example, it would be a bad idea to clear a used glass from a guest and then hand a full, clean bottle to a new customer.”

That makes complete sense. It might slow down bar service by a few seconds in some instances. But it’s certainly a good idea.

Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning a lounge, Priority Pass recommends its lounges:

  • Use cleaning products recommended by local health authorities as being effective against COVID-19

  • Clear and disinfect guest areas once empty before allowing new guests to occupy

  • Disinfect all high-traffic areas daily, and thoroughly clean the entire lounge regularly

  • Plan and implement a policy for managing guests who show signs of COVID-19 inside the lounge

  • Keep air conditioning on throughout the day and set frequency of air recirculation to at least five times a day if possible

  • Switch air filtration systems to 100% outside air

Final Approach

I’m sure most lounges took the initiative to implement most of these changes prior to Priority Pass’ memo. It’ll be interesting to see which ones adhere to the guidance and which ones do their own thing.

— Chris

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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2 Comments

  1. No food
    No drinks
    No seats
    No magazines
    Can’t touch anything
    No bathrooms
    No speaking (germs and all, you know)

    Just get in there, put on your mask, and social-distance. You are allowed to stare at your cell phone.

  2. Sounds like PP is about to get even less valuable. Many lounges were packed prs-covid, but at least you could squeeze in to get some quick food and drink before a flight. If they start controlling capacity for distancing, it will be hard to even get in. And if you do get in, it’s gonna takes longer to get food and drink, you won’t be in control of the portion/strength of either, and there’s probably going to be some expectation of a tip (at least stateside).

    Not good.

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