web Musings of The Global Traveller

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Flight announcements in the airport lounge

Some airlines are good at announcing all their departing flights in the airport lounge - eg Emirates in their Auckland lounge, or Singapore Airlines in Seoul. Other airlines are good at reminding you they don't announce any flights - eg Singapore Airlines in Singapore.

Picture from wikipedia

These I like. When in lounges that don't announce flights it is slightly annoying to check the monitors regularly for delays, gate changes, etc. But at least you expect to have to do so. It is those lounges which sometimes announce and sometimes not (or not at the right time) that I find annoying.

For the regular calls for flights lulls me (and many other passengers) into complacency. Since, outside USA, I prefer to board as late as possible, I tend to wait until boarding is announced before making my way to the gate - maximising pleasures of the lounge and minimising stress. (Within USA the difficulties of obtaining overhead bin space by my seat means I try to board early there.) If the flight is then called too late in the boarding process I find myself rushing to the gate, or worse the embarrasment of a page for holding up the flight. This seems to be happening to me more and more within Australia and New Zealand.

If the flight is not called at all then I risk missing the flight unless I realise the time and make my own way to the gate. Flights not being called at all seems to also be happening more and more - perhaps a consequence of reduced staffing in the lounge?

In busy airports, having all flights announced in the lounge is problematic. So I guess the best solution is to have plenty of monitors with accurate, timely information (not always the case as many only update every 15 minutes or so). Further, all flights should show on the monitor, not just those of the airline which operates the lounge - for some guests may be on other flights.

But the worst of all options that I have experienced, is how they deal with departures in the Tom Bradley Internation Terminal (at LAX airport) interim business lounge, which I visited last October. There are no monitors in the lounge. Rather than announce the flights over the PA, instead someone wanders around the large open-space area holding up a sign proclaiming flight 123 of Airline Whatever is ready to board. Not sure what happens if you are visiting the bathroom at the wrong time.

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