Airport lounges are generally the domain of big spenders or very frequent fliers, off limits to the majority of passengers. Porter Air has a different take on flying, however, and that extends to their lounges, which are open to all passengers. And with the recent opening of a lounge at Newark, several hundred more will be able to enjoy the service daily.
Like the carrier's other lounges in Toronto and Ottawa, the Newark location offers all passengers a number of amenities, including free WiFi, non-alcoholic beverages, and coffee; the Newark location features Starbucks brewed coffee and a cappuccino/espresso machine. The seating area is also quite a bit more pleasant than the typical gate area with more comfortable chairs and tables available. They may sound like small perks now, but when you're stuck at the airport, a free cup of coffee and a nice place to sit become big perks.
The lounge offers seating for approximately 70 passengers, similar to the number Porter's planes can carry. This means the lounge area rarely gets too crowded, though at peak departure times it can fill up. Even when full, however, there is ample more room for passengers to spread out.
Not surprisingly, Porter sees the lounge as a competitive advantage in the rather crowded New York City/Toronto (and beyond) market. The airline operates up to 13 flights daily and the lounge is the latest in their effort to woo customers to their service. Robert Deluce, president and CEO emphasized the value of the lounge to passengers, "The Newark lounge is the latest element of our desire to emphasize speed, convenience, and service for all of our customers. This is now a distinguishing feature for everyone who flies with us from the Greater New York and New Jersey areas."
The lounge isn't quite as private or secluded as those operated by other airlines. But access is included in the ticket price and the benefits—except alcoholic drinks—are on par.
We'd like to think this is a sign of things to come, but all-passenger lounges from the major airlines seem a long way off. What do you think?
Photos courtesy of Wandering Aramean