CarefulBuilder14 wrote:One thing I have to wonder about lounges - how inconvenient can a lounge be before it gets to be too much of a hassle to get there?
If I got a Platinum, and all the lounges it gave me access to at a particular airport were pre-security or in different terminals, would it be any better than just getting some overpriced food and sitting in a restaurant a minute away from my gate?
This is a very valid consideration.
In addition to the PP network of lounges, Amex has built four new and exclusive "Centurion" lounges, one of which I am going to go visit in about 14 hours from now. The PP card is not needed to enter a Centurion Lounge, but a Platinum or Centurion card is.
There is another Centurion lounge in an airport I fly in and out of 2 or 3 times a month, but I can never visit it, because it is located in a different terminal, which requires two trips through security to get to. It's a shame to miss it all the time, but there isn't enough time to risk a visit.
On the other hand, at one of the world's busiest, if not largest, domestic airports, with 6 different terminals, I will hop on a train and go from one end of the airport to the other just to visit the nicer lounge called The Club, because access to all the terminals is all "airside", meaning I don't have to pass through another security check point to go from one terminal to the next.
At makes more sense to drink water you pay for by the bottle, rather than free unlimited alcohol. It makes more sense to pay $10.00 for a sandwich at a kiosk just seconds away from your departing gate, rather pay $27 for unlimited sandwichettes after walking for 10 minutes and taking a tram ride and three escalators, only to repeat the journey in reverse to make it back to the departing gate.
Not that long ago, not all airports had free wifi, or any wifi at all, and cellular data was not common, as smartphones as we know them today did not even exist, pre iPhone and pre Android. The lounges had computer terminals, printers, fax machines, and Cat 5 cable cubicles to plug your laptop into, all of which were unavailable in the regular terminal.
Today, most of those types of amenities hold very little value, as most airports now have free wifi, and most people don't really need to print much anymore. The lounges are so crowded nowdays, that there is often not as much of a feeling of peace and solemnity away from the hustle and bustle in the rest of the airport.
That all being said, I have made good use of the lounges, and will continue to do so.