Priority Pass offers members a chance to visit a lounge regardless of the service class on their boarding pass. This can be a welcome relief for those who travel in economy or who have a ticket that does not offer lounge access. Their network spans across all continents and includes access to not only lounges but even restaurants in airports where Priority Pass lacks a lounge partner. However, in Australia, there are two new additions to the network – The House lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, however, this access comes with a bit of a catch.
The House Lounges in Australia
One Mile at a Time reports that The House lounges in Sydney and Melbourne are now Priority Pass lounges. This is pretty significant as the lounge was previously operated by Etihad Airways. However, as part of Etihad’s move to cut costs, they decided to cut the lounges in Australia and instead they handed them over to a third party. Etihad passengers, however, can still access the lounge.
It seems that in order to drive more passengers and more revenue to the lounge, they are now accepting Priority Pass members from 5:30AM to 10:00PM in Sydney and 5:30AM to 10:30PM in Melbourne. However, there is a catch.
Instead of other Priority Pass lounges where members get to access the lounge for free, The House is giving Priority Pass members an AUD20 fee to enter (or just under $14USD). The House lounges are a much better experience than some other Priority Pass lounges, complete with showers and an upgraded dining experience.
Now, there are two ways of looking at this. On one hand, Priority Pass lounges are generally not as glamorous as some airline lounges around the world. This makes sense, because they have to cater to a larger number of passengers than, for example, the Lufthansa First Class lounge. Thus, these lounges usually offer fewer amenities than some others.
If you are either connecting to or from an ultra-long-haul flight, a shower could be worth the access fee.
So, one one hand, offering access to this lounge at a low rate is pretty fantastic. On the other hand, this could become a slippery slope pretty quickly if other lounges in the Priority Pass network decide to start charging for access. This would be especially unfortunate if smaller and underwhelming lounges like the Bidvest Premier in Cape Town suddenly start charging an access fee.
Collinson, the owner of Priority Pass contacted Simple Flying with this comment:
“At Collinson, we constantly seek out new lounges and non-lounge airport experiences to offer our Priority Pass members, particularly in locations where there is currently limited coverage in order to provide a market-leading experience for all travelers. One option currently offered to our members is access to Clubrooms in London Gatwick, London Luton, and The House Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne airports. These lounges provide an additional choice for our members and ensure we can offer greater coverage in these key airports. They also offer a premium experience that includes full table service, a la carte dining, an extensive wine list and more. In line with the industry, we charge an additional fee to access these premium lounges, which is clearly marked both online and in-app. As always, these lounges are part of our ongoing effort to enhance our members’ travel experience.”
For more information on Priority Pass, check out our guide to Priority Pass!
What do you make of this development? Let us know in the comments!
Deputy Content Manager & Lead US Journalist - Jay’s extensive travels and experience with premium products has given him incredible insight into the wider landscape of commercial aviation. Cited by TIME and Intelligent Aerospace, among others, and interviewed by major outlet NPR, Jay’s focus on route planning and fleet developments allow him to dig deeper into the stories behind the headlines. Based in Washington DC, United States. Follow him on social media for all his latest travel updates.