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Alaska Airlines announced the renovation and expansion of two existing lounges and teased the possibility of a massive new lounge in the future, which would be similar to the Alaska Lounge the airline recently opened recently in San Francisco (SFO).
There’s plenty to like if you’re a loyal Alaska Airlines customer. The changes are targeted at two airports, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Portland International Airport (PDX), which are two of Alaska’s largest hub airports.
Let’s take a closer look at what these lounge changes mean for frequent Alaska flyers.
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Alaska is adding 3,000 square feet to the existing lounge in the C Concourse. This equates to an extra 60 seats.
While lounges may have been less crammed in the early part of the pandemic, there’s no question that as more business travel resumes those extra 60 seats will be absolutely necessary. Alaska Airlines has a somewhat unique structure for lounge access, in that customers flying in first class on a paid Alaska Airlines ticket get lounge access, even on domestic flights.
With such a large base of loyal Alaska Airlines customers in Seattle, the space won’t go to waste. The expansion should happen mostly out of the eyes of customers and the lounge should remain open throughout construction.
Once the expansion to the lounge in the C Concourse is done, the airline will close the lounge in the D Concourse for an overdue renovation. The lounge is scheduled to be closed for six months and reopen with new features, including made-to-order espresso drinks to take with you on your flight. The newly renovated D Concourse lounge is expected to open in the summer of 2023.
Additionally, as part of a larger renovation of the C Concourse, Alaska Airlines is planning a 20,000 square foot lounge with a tentative opening date of 2026. That’s more than double the size of the new lounge in San Francisco and is sure to bring a lot of excitement if and when it opens.
Alaska is planning an expansion of the lounge in Concourse C that should add an additional 30 seats.
The announcement mentions an enclosed patio area.The conceptual drawings seem to indicate that they’re stealing space from the concourse to make room for this expansion. Thankfully, Alaska anticipates that the expansion won’t affect the ability for customers to enjoy the existing lounge.
The airline is also planning a pop-up lounge in Concourse B that it’s dubbed an “express lounge”. With seating for 35 people, it’s on the small side. It will feature beverages and light snacks but not the full Alaska Lounge experience.
Lastly, Alaska also anticipates opening another sizable lounge of approximately 10,000 square feet in Portland. Like the Seattle lounge, the opening is scheduled in the 2025 to 2026 timeframe.
Alaska Airlines continues to expand outside of their Northwest roots, but Seattle and Portland are still very important markets for them.
Serving as hubs for the airline as well as supporting a ton of arriving and departing traffic, Alaska Lounges in these airports have always been valued benefits for customers.Made-to-order pancakes, a welcome hallmark of the lounges for quite some time, are now joined by handmade coffee that members rave about. Alaska Airlines has long enjoyed a fanatical customer base in their home markets.
As of late, they’ve added a new tier to their elite program. And, they made the big step of joining Oneworld, which leads to fascinating opportunities for loyal Alaska Airlines fans.
While it would be unfair to characterize the previous condition of their lounges as poor, it would also have been hard to argue that their lounges were a strength. Thankfully, that seems poised to change. The attention to the size and number of lounges they offer should pay dividends for Alaska frequent flyers and their customers.
Feature photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines.