London: Increasing demands on the business traveler and rapid advances in technology will give rise to a new breed of personalised, ultra high-tech, yet relaxed airport lounges over the next 15 years.
Priority Pass, the world’s largest independent provider of airport lounge access has created a blueprint, for the 2030 Lounge of the Future in conjunction with Professor Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey. Its concept, unveiled at the Business Travel Show in London this week, features a highly interactive and personalised environment where business travelers can seamlessly integrate their business and personal lives into their journey, from lounge arrival to boarding the plane.
Its vision includes intelligent ‘virtual’ work stations where travelers can access their personal desktops using just their mobile phone, eclectic spaces built around personal ‘pods’ incorporating facilities for both working and resting and even dedicated spaces for exercising to create a versatile ‘work/life’ experience.
Priority Pass also predicts:
Errol McGlothan, General Manager, Priority Pass said: “As professionals travel more and to a broader variety of destinations it will be increasingly important to consider how they can be more efficient with their travel time. Our concept suggests the direction some of today’s latest technologies and trends might take to help business travelers achieve this. However, far from being just a work-focused environment, the Lounge of the Future will also better accommodate both working and personal needs to offer a truly enhanced and more personal airport lounge experience.”
Professor Woodward, University of Surrey, added: “With emerging technologies pulling graphics out of computers and television screens and integrating them into real world environments, business travelers will benefit from the ability to place computer-generated graphics in their field of vision. Near Field Communication (NFC) will also grow in prominence to be a key part of our daily lives. NFC is already used for transactions in some stores and virtual ‘wallets’ to store credit and loyalty cards, it will also be used for enhanced data exchange, and exchanging information such as schedules, maps, business cards and images.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Priority Pass is part of Priority Travel Group, a division of the Collinson Group, specialising in the international travel clubs and services sector. For more information, visit www.prioritypass.com.
The first airport lounge was introduced in 1939 as ‘The Flagship Club’ at LaGuardia airport, born out of the American Airlines Admirals Club to recognise their most loyal travelers and as a privileged place for VIPs to relax before their flight. The launch of the airline hub and spoke system in the US during the 80’s and 90’s resulted in more and more passengers having to make connections in hub cities that added to the daily passenger traffic and time spent in airports due to connections. The change forced the airlines into adding new and expanding the size of existing lounges to deal with the added passenger traffic.
Frequent Flyer programs that began in the early 80’s grew in popularity and then began to diversify in the late 80’s and early 90’s to differentiate membership status levels depending on certain mileage thresholds and flight segments flown. Many of those that achieved the highest elite status were rewarded with lounge access as an additional benefit and lower elite members were rewarded with discounted airline lounge program membership fees. Starting in the early to mid-90’s US airlines finally began to change their mindset with regard to their lounge product simply being an exclusive club for their best customers to become more of a profit center.