It looks like most of the Alaska Lounges are back on Priority Pass, which is an exciting development. We hope it stays that way.
Which Alaska lounges are included in the Priority Pass?
The following five Alaska lounges are back on the Priority Pass:
- The Alaska Terminal Anchorage (ANC) South Terminal
- Terminal 6 of the Alaska Lounge Los Angeles (LAX)
- The Alaska Lounge New York (JFK) Terminal 7
- The Alaska Lounge Portland (PDX) Concourse C.
- The Alaska Lounge Seattle (SEA) northern satellite
In either case, lounge access is limited to three hours after a scheduled flight, and Priority Pass members can bring up to two guests into the lounges. Alaska Airlines still reserves the right to restrict lounge access to Priority Pass members due to capacity constraints.
In situations where the lounges are full, a virtual waiting list is used, which is a good alternative to the old system that only turned people away. You can find the links to these on the Priority Pass website – here is the one for the Seattle Lounge, for example.
Alaska Lounge Seattle
Why did Alaska Lounges leave the Priority Pass?
What has actually changed here? The Alaska Lounges in Los Angeles and New York never left the Priority Pass. However:
- In late 2019, the Alaska Lounges in Anchorage and Portland exited Priority Pass, while they reunited in late 2020
- In mid-2018, the Alaska Lounges in Seattle left the Priority Pass, and one of the lounges has been back in operation since last week
As you can see, one of these developments is brand new while the other development is a few months old. The resumption of Alaska Lounge Seattle is especially exciting, especially since the location that has joined is Alaska Airlines’ flagship lounge, which only opened in 2019.
Why did the Alaska Lounges leave the Priority Pass? Well, Priority Pass economics can be complicated for airlines selling lounge memberships:
- Ideally, Alaska Airlines would want you to buy an Alaska Lounge membership as it is likely to be the most profitable for the airline and also leads to the highest levels of loyalty (you are more likely to fly Alaska if you have since paid for a lounge membership you want to be able to use it)
- The Priority Pass pays Alaska Airlines when someone with a Priority Pass membership enters a lounge. The catch is that Alaska Airlines doesn’t want to cannibalize lounge membership sales
- Over the years, more and more people have received Priority Pass lounge memberships through premium credit cards, which has caused serious bottlenecks in some lounges
- Given the declining demand for travel, Alaska Airlines is likely looking again for a new source of income for the lounge, and this is certainly an option
I am curious to see if Alaska Lounges will stay on the Priority Pass network permanently or if this will only be temporary.
Alaska Lounge Seattle
Alaska Lounges at five airports are back on the Priority Pass, which is a fantastic development. In particular, the Anchorage and Portland locations were merged again at the end of 2020, while the Seattle locations were merged again from last week.
Since the lounges are currently much emptier due to the reduced travel traffic, I am curious to see whether these lounges will remain part of the Priority Pass or whether this is just a temporary measure.
Has anyone recently entered an Alaska Lounge with a Priority Pass?
(Hat tip to Ian)