Luxury pet hotels, pet portraiture, pet birthday parties and even pet facials – these are just some of the ways the travel industry has bent over backwards to make our furry friends feel like they’re on vacation too.
Now, our four-legged besties are getting the first-class treatment at airport lounges, thanks to the opening of a lounge designed especially for pets at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
The on-site kennel is located in United Airline’s new cargo facility and has 28 separate enclosures designed to hold different types of animals comfortably until it’s time for them to fly. The kennel is temperature-controlled, as are the purpose-built vans that shuttle the pampered pooches from the lounge to their flights come boarding time.The lounge, which opened at the end of last month, is the third such pet facility that United is operating in airports across the U.S., with similar services available at Houston and Newark airports.
United says the lounge staff is trained to provide first-class care for the animals, which includes walking, bathing and grooming them. After all, even pets like to stretch their legs, take a hot shower and freshen up their look when they’re in transit, right?
It strikes me that although we see “VIP” lounges and clubs all over airports, few of us know exactly what happens behind their closed doors. Back in the day when I was an infrequent flyer, I held hedonistic notions of wild orgies, alcohol binge fests and parties of ancient Roman nature.
Now that I’ve been spending some more time in airports, I recently decided to indulge in a Northwest Airlines Worldclub membership and I’d like to file this report from behind enemy lines:
It’s all true.
I just saw a tiger burst out of the women’s washroom, leap over a fresh seafood buffet and tear a CEO’s head (bluetooth dongle and all) right off, only to be stabbed in the face by a midget flight attendant. Right now we’re building a fire out of Toyota Management books for a fabulous shish-a-la-tiger dinner.
Or not. The truth is that it’s pretty quiet up here (the Detroit Worldclub is on the second floor, thank you). Business people wander in and out as if they’re sleepless ghosts, lost in a maze of luggage and partitions, CNN plays on a half dozen flat panel televisions and nobody really smiles at each other.
But hey, the snacks, booze and chocolate espresso are free, and I can log into my gmail and work accounts easily over the club wireless. So in the end, it pays off for me. If you’re ever in the same airport at the same time as me, let me know and I’ll bring you in for free.
Wouldn’t it be cool to get off an airplane and instead of squishing uncomfortably into some hard chair to await your next flight, you can strut right into the nearest airline lounge no matter which airline it happens to be?
Well, it’s now a reality. Almost.
The Priority Pass is designed for the frequent traveler who might find himself stranded at an airport that does not have their lounge of choice.
For just $399 a year, the Priority Pass gains access to more than 500 lounges in 90 countries and 275 cities around the world.
But, be careful before buying your pass; not all airports and lounges are included in the pass. I took a peak at LAX, for example, and learned that the pass gains access to five lounges; Delta Crown Room Club, Alaska Airlines Board Room, Continental Presidents Club, Northwest World Club, and US Airways Club. Not too bad! That’s one club in five of the seven terminals.
I also jumped over to check out Frankfurt, Germany where I tend to find myself on layovers while flying from LAX. Frankfurt boasts the American Airlines Admirals Club in Terminal 1, and the Skyclub Lounge and Delta Crown Room in Terminal 2.
Personally, I think this is a great deal for those who fly on a regular basis. Think about it; how much time do you spend waiting in nasty terminals when you would rather be lounging somewhere clean, comfortable, and relaxing?