The work area of the Air Canada lounge at Newark Airport is located right behind the check in desk. In the hour or so that I was sitting there waiting for my flight, I heard more people get denied entry to the lounge than were admitted. Why weren’t they allowed in? Because they didn’t know the rules of entry. The person working the desk wasn’t all that sure of the rules either and I heard him give incorrect information to at least one couple. It didn’t affect them getting admission to the lounge, I waited until later to let them know the correct policy.
I’m not surprised people are confused by the rules. Lounge admission policies are unnecessarily complicated. Who gets access with which ticket and when they’re allowed in can change from day to day and even hour to hour.
Luckily, you don’t need to know the rules for every lounge and every program. You just need to know the rules for the programs you’re in and for the lounges you want to enter. Just doing a little bit of homework can go a far way and keep you from getting shut out from entry.
Since I have no status with an airline, I don’t have to worry about when I’m allowed access to the lounges. However, I did hear a traveler ask the Air Canada lounge if he could get into the lounge with American Airlines One World status. I don’t know how that would work because American is a part of the One World program and Air Canada is part of Star Alliance. The lesson to learn is that if you have status with a program that will get you into lounges, learn which airlines are part of your alliance (and when you’re allowed to access the lounges).
Most of the time I’m allowed to access a lounge, I’m using my Priority Pass card. Rules for how many people are allowed into a lounge with a Priority Pass card are different depending on which bank provided your membership. Most times you can bring in two guests for free (or your Immediate Family with the Citi Prestige version). Now, the front desk agent at the Air Canada desk told people with Priority Pass they didn’t get any guests in for free (which was incorrect). They both had cards so they had no problems with entry but I’m not surprised when front line agents give incorrect information. I checked with them later and found out they had Priority Pass from having the American Express Platinum card and therefore should be allowed two guests. They told me that they’ve had to pay for entry for a guest before at a different lounge so it shows you need to know what you’re entitled to.
To check on the rules for an individual lounge, I look at the Priority Pass website or use the Priority Pass app. To get additional information about lounges, I’ll look at LoungeReview. There’s another website called LoungeBuddy but they’ve become more interested in selling you lounge passes than reviews (the reviews are still there for all lounges but it takes several clicks to get to them).
An interesting note about this Air Canada lounge is the restricted entry times for Priority Pass cardholders.
NOTE: Priority Pass and other lounge membership cardholders will only be admitted into the lounge between 05:00-15:00 daily. Hours are subject to change.
Last time I was in the lounge, the front desk agent told me that you can enter the lounge before 3PM and stay but you just can’t enter after that time.
I also heard a person being denied entry because they were arriving into Newark and not on a departing or connecting flight. This is a common restriction but not one I could find on any website for this particular lounge.
It doesn’t surprise me that people don’t know the rules about getting into lounges. When I started, I got things wrong sometimes and that feeling of walking away from the desk after being rejected isn’t a good one. Remember, just learn about the program you get access with and look in advance which lounges you might be able to use. If I had just done this in Las Vegas, I would have gone to the Centurion Club instead of the Club at LAS.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary