Here’s What Makes an Airport Lounge Truly Sad: The Club at PHX

Independent lounge networks, not affiliated with an airline, can be quite nice. Take the Airspace Lounge in San Diego or any of the Centurion lounges. Most contract lounges around the world though, not so much.

In the world of ‘not so much’ I think Phoenix’s The Club lounge is even ‘less so much’.

There’s one American Airlines Admirals Club on the B concourse in Phoenix, and it’s on the other pier from where my flight was departing so I decided I would check out the Club contract lounge since it was a mere gates away.

The first thing about is is that access and hours are rather odd. It’s a pay in lounge for $35. It’s open from 8 am through 3:30 pm for Priority Pass, Lounge Club, and Diners Club cardholders. Then in the afternoon and early evening it’s for British Airways. That’s really strange — I don’t care if it’s closer to a BA gate, the Admirals Club is much nicer.

You take the elevator or stairs up a level to reach the lounge.

Immediately I was disappointed.

There were almost no power outlets in the lounge, and those that existed weren’t easily accessible.

Perhaps this is the strangest thing about the lounge: it looks like something out of the 1980s and yet it opened in 2014.

Furnishings reminded me of the old Cathay Pacific lounge in Manila.


What Cathay Pacific’s Manila lounge used to look like

Or perhaps the Royal Silk lounge in Chiang Rai, Thailand


Thai Airways Business Class Lounge, Chiang Rai

There’s just something about blue lounge chairs. Like in the Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur domestic lounge.

But at least those had bathrooms. The Club at PHX doesn’t have its own bathrooms, you leave the lounge and use the bathrooms that are shared with the offices on the floor.

There is booze though.

And potato chips.

And mini-muffins.

And wifi… sort of. They tell you to use the airport’s ad-support wifi. Gee, thanks.

There is one single saving grace to the lounge: free bottles of water. It’s worth stopping in if you are departing from a nearby gate just for that. Grab your pre-flight water and then board (just try not to spend time in the lounge).

However the lounge does not provide its own bathrooms, its own wifi, easy access to power outlets, or much furniture that isn’t blue. I left and went back to the other end of the concourse for the Admirals Club which was far less depressing.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. The (real) BA Lounge in IAD is a Priority Pass lounge in the day and BA only in the afternoon/evening.

  2. Gotta love SkyHarbor’s US/HP terminal. It looked like it was out of 1982 when it opened (but that was actually in the early 90s).

    And hasn’t changed since.

    To be frank, not much needs to change. It’s comfortable and easy to use, the poor lounge aside.

  3. Free non-rail booze? And you are complaining about the color of the chairs? Jesus you are so far removed from reality.

  4. I was there. It was not bad. Had a glass of wine and some food. No hot food. But it’s OK. I got in free but wouldn’t pay $10 to go.

    With this review I have a baseline to compare your reviews now, and I think you are a drama queen ( no not debate queen)

    Pick up backpacking or peace Corp. It makes you humble, less chubby and more appreciative of what you are getting. Fly on.

  5. You didn’t take a picture of the mouse pad from 1999? I was here last Friday. Sad, yes. It really is. The floor is empty when you walk up to it, which gives it a bad vibe. The Phoenix airports carpeted feel just makes it seem dated and old. And this lounge really reflects the spirit of the 1980’s.The only nice thing is it is a place to plane spot and have top shelf alcohol for free. The chips are actually kind of nice to see. I am not a fan of pitted olives and crackers all the time. http://i.imgur.com/8QvCUBM.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/hBmzRVw.jpg

  6. I know Gary’s perspective is largely that of an AA flier, but the greatest need for a club is at the decrepit T3, as DL does not operate one (even though it serves all its hubs plus LAX from the airport. T2 (AS, UA) will soon be closed and those carriers will move over to a remodeled T3. I don’t know if UA will retain a club there. Admittedly, WN has a huge operation at T4 PHX and perhaps its business fliers would use the Club at PHX, but given the limited hours it’s of very limited utility.

  7. I’ve been there. The staff were super friendly, but it’s a tiny spot, offers the already free PHX wifi, and doesn’t offer much besides booze and lousy carbs. No fats or proteins, nothing particularly exciting. Also, the bathroom is outside the lounge, so anybody could use it.

  8. This does not seem significantly worse than the small, crowded, PHX ACs. None of the lounges in PHX are exactly shining stars.

  9. Yeah, it’s pretty bad, but with the Admirals Club construction going on, sometimes it’s the only option. Eventually there will be a closer AA Club, but if you’re in that particular concourse, it’s a long walk (~24 minutes round trip, IME).

    The staff is nice at The Club, and it beats sitting at the gate 🙂

  10. Not sure about the comment about “around the world” here. I’ve been to quite a few contract lounges around the world that were very good, and some mediocre ones too. I wouldn’t generalize.

  11. You do realize that this used to be the BA lounge until they sold it to the Club in 2014? It still has the same old tired furniture. That is why the hours and access rules are odd…

    The first class side is closed off until the afternoon, though it’s only marginally nicer.

    There’s also an area up there that used to be the LH lounge, but I think they use that now as a training room…

  12. Seems just like the Houston Bush UA terminal A lounge with different color chairs. It also lacks bathrooms but I think the hours are better.

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