Summer Travel Update

The northern hemisphere, in particular Europe, has become the centre for travel this summer, so it is no surprise to see airports so busy once again. There is a pent-up demand for travel, with many of us using the summer break as our first opportunity for a vacation in three years. Covid caused the entire travel sector to suffer immensely; fortunately, whilst the industry is slowly rebuilding itself and is on track to do so a year earlier than previously forecast, these things still take time.

Scenes of passengers camped out in departure halls or forming a line outside terminal doors are increasingly prevalent as delays at security, check-in, and immigration contribute to the traffic jam. Airlines are encouraging travellers to arrive up to four hours before their flight, but many flyers are turning up earlier and are unable to check in, causing even more mayhem. Airports are concentrating flights in fewer terminals and are still recruiting to replace staff that left the industry during the pandemic. Many locations are at full capacity and are having trouble managing the influx of passengers. Those currently being recruited require intensive training and security checks which can take several months, so naturally when the travel sector bounced back much earlier than expected, it left key players in the travel sector playing catch up to try and meet demand.

Many airport lounges are faced with the same challenges with the number of passengers wanting to enter lounges at an all-time high, reduced staff, problematic supply chains, and a build back velocity that the sector has never seen. Currently, you may experience longer than expected wait times at lounges, and restricted access. Priority Pass is pursuing several initiatives to assist lounges in returning to full operational capabilities, which will increase availability and, ideally, lessen the strains brought on by the current demand. These initiatives include extending current opening hours and re-opening previously closed lounges, pre-booking to secure entry, introducing a digital waitlist system at select locations, using capacity monitoring technology to provide up to date information, and altering operations to increase staff presence on the floor.

Although airports and Priority Pass partners are actively hiring to try and match our desire to travel, during this busy season there are still insufficient staff and resources, and we do unfortunately expect this to continue in some regions through the summer.

Whilst it’s great that travel is heading towards the pre-pandemic levels, the entire Priority Pass team thank our valued members for their patience, whilst we navigate through these challenges over the next few months.