Recently opened, The Club at PHX by Airport Lounge Development (ALD) is on my go-to list on my next trip through the Phoenix airport. While I haven’t had the chance to visit this club yet, I wanted to share the news in the event your travels will be taking you to or through PHX.
The Club at PHX opened in early April this year and is located in Terminal 4, airside, at the end towards Gates B15 – B28. This club adds to ALD’s list of independent shared-use lounge locations in the U.S. Each is named for the airport code of its host airport:
Atlanta: The Club at ATL
Dallas/Ft Worth: The Club at DFW
Las Vegas: The Club at LAS
San Jose: The Club at SJC
The idea of an independent shared-use lounge is one where there is no affiliation with an airline or class of service, unlike the Delta Air Lines SkyClub or United Global First Lounge, for example. Enter the door, pay the fee and you’re in, regardless of which airplane you are flying or what class of seat you are sitting in. This independent shared-use lounge concept is more common in international markets, as I recently experienced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG) and Bermuda (BDA).
ALD’s goal is to capture a whole new audience of visitors, people who may not have a specific airline or other lounge membership but would like access to a lounge for a part of a day. Reasons may include: long flight delay, extensive layover, looking for a place to get some work done or hold a meeting, want to feel safer if traveling alone, want to enjoy an adult beverage or two before a flight, or just want to get away from the crowds. For me, I often run into the lounges where I have access simply for a cleaner bathroom than those in the airport terminal’s public areas.
A day pass for each guest is $35 including children. ALD is looking at how to structure a family plan in the future. Visiting such a club as a family can be a pricey experience. The value depends on how long you will be using the lounge and what amenities you will enjoy. My general rule of thumb is a two-hour minimum. If I will have a full two hours or more to get work done, read or relax, then to me this fee is worth it. Less than that, I will usually head to a restaurant instead.
If you have a Priority Pass membership, access to any of the ALD Clubs is included in your Priority Pass access (even with the Priority Pass Select card) as this is a sister company to ALD.
With recent changes due to the USAir/American Airlines merger, both airlines withdrew from the American Express Platinum Card program that allowed access to these airlines’ clubs. US also withdrew from the Priority Pass program. Fortunately a Priority Pass membership still gets you into The Club at PHX. That will be my ticket into this lounge on my next pass through PHX.
As to amenities in the Club at PHX’s 3,000 square foot space with 90 seats:
- All complimentary beverages, including premium drinks
- Snacks – homemade guacamole, salsa and chips and other finger foods
- Newspapers, television, Wi-Fi, work stations, printers
You will also find sandwiches and soups in The Club at LAS due to the volume of international travelers. Showers are in all of the Clubs except PHX. They are looking at adding more amenities for women (lotions, for example).
Their key differentiator is their hospitality staff, according to Nancy Knipp, ALD’s Senior Vice President. Prior to joining ALD, Nancy was president of the Admiral’s Club at American Airlines. Their staff’s goals are to assess traveler needs and do more to help them than you would receive from an airline lounge. That said, an independent lounge cannot rebook you on the next flight in the event of a cancelation, for example, but they can help connect you with the airline staff that can assist you. They are trying to be a true hospitality experience, not just an airline lounge.
Look for more ALD independent shared-use lounges in the near future. They are planning on more than doubling the number of lounges in the next 2-3 years.
If you have been at The Club at PHX (or any of their other clubs), do share your experience! And I’ll share mine after my next trip through PHX.