Service on the ground and in the air must be at par to succeed!

SAVOIR VIVRE’ IN THE AIR AND ON THE GROUND

(Posted 04th January 2015)

Airport lounges, especially the better ones, are today the icing on the cake of travel. Premium passengers of course do look at on-time performance, safety records, the goodies of a decent frequent flyer programme and especially on the ground priority handling at check-in, immigration and security control points. Once that is all in place, and the various hurdles towards boarding have been skillfully navigated, it is the lounge which can ultimately keep or lose customer loyalty.

In the region new lounges have set new standards in recent months. Kenya Airways no doubt comes out top of the pops with their new Simba and Pride lounges at their home Terminal 1A. Standards are finally in a league where a global comparison with top lounges is possible and from there the principle of ‘Last on and First off’ is easy to apply, as flights are called when most other passengers have already boarded and the priority gate ensures that there is not a moment of added waiting time when strolling into the front cabin of the airline’s new B787 or B777 fleet.

Elsewhere in the East African region Kigali comes second today, after the modernization and refurbishment of Kigali International Airport is now complete. The Pearl Lounge, now with an adjoining Government VIP lounge, has easily tripled in space and feels ‘airy’ especially when daylight floods the interior.

The lounge in Entebbe matches today the overall impression the airport itself gives, tired being the best word to describe it and not much more can be said in fact for the lounge in Dar es Salaam, but then again, Dar is getting a brand new international terminal and with it will new lounges open, no doubt to the delight of many regular travelers flying out of Tanzania’s commercial hub.

Overseas though airlines are vying with each other to constantly review and where necessary upgrade lounge services, and a full review of the Qatar Airways lounges will come up soon after experiencing the luxury of what the airline says is ‘simply the best’.

One lounge in Europe stands out though and is worth a mention, the new Brussels Airlines / Star Alliance lounge at the end of Pier A of Brussels Airport. This terminal, once the intercontinental and non-Schengen flights have left, turns into a Schengen Terminal and hence remains busy throughout the day. ‘The Loft’ as the new lounge is called does impress on several levels, making the wait for the flight home with Brussels Airlines to Entebbe, Kigali, Bujumbura or Nairobi a worthwhile experience. Open from 5 in the morning to 9 at night, in tune with the first and last flight each day, does the new facility, which spreads over 1.240 square metres, offer all expected amenities. The so called ‘Nap Boxes’ allow a traveler with a longer transit time to take a rest, after perhaps using the bathrooms which provide that quintessential morning shower after a long overnight flight.

Microsoft Surface tablets are available for travelers who may want to browse the web in addition to reading the wide range of premium magazines and dailies available in the lounge and while it may not exactly snow food and rain drink there is a veritable selection of snacks and food items on the buffet, as are drinks at the bar, including a selection of Belgium’s finest beers. The ‘Belgian Café’ offers fresh brews and of course a selection of pastries for those who are just passing through on short transit.

Meanwhile, in tSAVOIR VIVRE’ IN THE AIR AND ON THE GROUND

(Posted 04th January 2015)

Airport lounges, especially the better ones, are today the icing on the cake of travel. Premium passengers of course do look at on-time performance, safety records, the goodies of a decent frequent flyer programme and especially on the ground priority handling at check-in, immigration and security control points. Once that is all in place, and the various hurdles towards boarding have been skillfully navigated, it is the lounge which can ultimately keep or lose customer loyalty.

In the region new lounges have set new standards in recent months. Kenya Airways no doubt comes out top of the pops with their new Simba and Pride lounges at their home Terminal 1A. Standards are finally in a league where a global comparison with top lounges is possible and from there the principle of ‘Last on and First off’ is easy to apply, as flights are called when most other passengers have already boarded and the priority gate ensures that there is not a moment of added waiting time when strolling into the front cabin of the airline’s new B787 or B777 fleet.

Elsewhere in the East African region Kigali comes second today, after the modernization and refurbishment of Kigali International Airport is now complete. The Pearl Lounge, now with an adjoining Government VIP lounge, has easily tripled in space and feels ‘airy’ especially when daylight floods the interior.

The lounge in Entebbe matches today the overall impression the airport itself gives, tired being the best word to describe it and not much more can be said in fact for the lounge in Dar es Salaam, but then again, Dar is getting a brand new international terminal and with it will new lounges open, no doubt to the delight of many regular travelers flying out of Tanzania’s commercial hub.

Overseas though airlines are vying with each other to constantly review and where necessary upgrade lounge services, and a full review of the Qatar Airways lounges will come up soon after experiencing the luxury of what the airline says is ‘simply the best’.

One lounge in Europe stands out though and is worth a mention, the new Brussels Airlines / Star Alliance lounge at the end of Pier A of Brussels Airport. This terminal, once the intercontinental and non-Schengen flights have left, turns into a Schengen Terminal and hence remains busy throughout the day. ‘The Loft’ as the new lounge is called does impress on several levels, making the wait for the flight home with Brussels Airlines to Entebbe, Kigali, Bujumbura or Nairobi a worthwhile experience. Open from 5 in the morning to 9 at night, in tune with the first and last flight each day, does the new facility, which spreads over 1.240 square metres, offer all expected amenities. The so called ‘Nap Boxes’ allow a traveler with a longer transit time to take a rest, after perhaps using the bathrooms which provide that quintessential morning shower after a long overnight flight.

Microsoft Surface tablets are available for travelers who may want to browse the web in addition to reading the wide range of premium magazines and dailies available in the lounge and while it may not exactly snow food and rain drink there is a veritable selection of snacks and food items on the buffet, as are drinks at the bar, including a selection of Belgium’s finest beers. The ‘Belgian Café’ offers fresh brews and of course a selection of pastries for those who are just passing through on short transit.

Meanwhile, in the air has Brussels Airlines also ended 2014 with some serious honours when crowned ‘Champion’ on Trans-Atlantic Routes, besides coming first for the airline with the best Red and White ‘Wines on Wings’ of their flights, the latter for the third year in a row. In the category ‘Best Airline Food’ did Brussels Airlines come a respectable third on the podium, after runners up Asiana and winner Alitalia.

(All taken from ‘The Global Traveler / Globaltravelerusa.com’)he air has Brussels Airlines also ended 2014 with some serious honours when crowned ‘Champion’ on Trans-Atlantic Routes, besides coming first for the airline with the best Red and White ‘Wines on Wings’ of their flights, the latter for the third year in a row. In the category ‘Best Airline Food’ did Brussels Airlines come a respectable third on the podium, after runners up Asiana and winner Alitalia.

(All taken from ‘The Global Traveler / Globaltravelerusa.com’)

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