Notable restrictions to Priority Pass BR Access

Discussion in 'Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan' started by Bay Pisco Shark, Sep 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Anchorage (ANC)/Los Angeles(LAX)/Portland(PDX)/Seattle(SEA)/San Francisco(SFO)

    ALASKA AIRLINES BOARD ROOMS

    September 15, 2011
    Alaska Airlines Board Rooms in Anchorage (ANC), Los Angeles(LAX), Portland(PDX), Seattle(SEA) and San Francisco(SFO) have new entry conditions effective 01 October 2011:-
    All Cardholders and guests are required to show a Boarding Pass with confirmed same-day travel for access to the Lounge - Passengers traveling non-revenue are not eligible for access

    South of Expected! They get paid by PP for each entry. I don't quite get it. In fact, they can end up with more $ in a year than someone who buys a BR membership.
     
  2. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Considering the location in Seattle especially, but also in Los Angeles, it's a bummer. But does this actually say same-day travel on Alaska? :) Even if that's almost certainly the intent? I assume that non-rev wouldn't include award tickets.
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    It sounds to me like the intent is to keep nonreving airline employees from crowding BoardRooms, which isn't unreasonable. If they're airside, almost everyone must have a boarding pass anyway and Priority Pass rules seem to not allow use of their lounges when not traveling--i.e., you can't go to JFK and use Oasis for a free daily happy hour without legitimate business at the airport, perhaps including meeting someone or doing a GE interview.

    Priority Pass rules (and intent/business plan) explicitly say that you can't be required to travel with the carrier operating the lounge, so I'm sure that an Alaska boarding pass is not required.

    From the beginning, when airport lounges first started to offer memberships for sale rather than being exclusively for VIPs by invitation only, most carriers had rules that airline (and other travel industry in some cases at least, such as travel agency) employees could not join and could not enter as guests when nonreving or in any airline uniform. There might have been exceptions for really high level executives. I think it's pretty recent that airline employees can pay to join for their own leisure travel. I would similarly expect (but I don't know) that nonrevs travelling in IFC or C/J can't use their boarding passes for lounge access either after the flight segment or when their flight is delayed.
     
  4. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    It doesn't say that. I am not comfortable about the vagueness of that.

    So, say someone who is flying airline XX that has PP to use the BR in whatever city suffers irregular ops. He can't get a confirmed BP yet, he is standby for flights 1, 2 or 3. He can no longer use the BR.

    Another thing that stinks is that this policy was announced with 15 days' notice. No matter what the rationale may have been, people who played "within the rules" of the current policy and purchased/renewed PP in the last handful of months that are seriously affected by this policy, have gotten the royal screw.

    These bit by bit policy changes by AS are really discouraging, whatever they may be. Look at the folks who requalified for 2012 MVPG early and received paper UG certs only to find out that they will be replaced by electronic, and by the way, you can't use them on the lowest fares. And the rest of us who over halfway through the year, found out that our reliable UG certs now face serious restrictions.

    Maybe, just maybe, there will be one positive thing coming out of AS this year. Have I missed it?
     
  5. dave1013

    dave1013 Silver Member

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    Same-day confirmed travel on Alaska is not required - I called the BR this morning and confirmed this.

    The big thing is the requirement for same-day confirmed travel. No more going to the ticket counter and requesting a "Board Room pass" (which, when I was living/working in SEA, was a BP for standby travel).

    If you have reserved a conference room at one of the four BR locations that features such a facility, you can still get in if you are not traveling. But you have to pay $25 an hour for the privilege. And guests need to pay a fee, also. Could this be AS's version of a cover charge?
     
  6. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    This change is a HUGE downgrade for BoardRoom members, particularly in my situation :td:

    Being able to relax in the BR before picking someone up, or after dropping off someone at LAX where I would have otherwise end up jammed in traffic on the 405 [405 is undergoing constructions so it is worse FWIW] was godsend. I only do this several times a year considering it is almost an hour drive to LAX for me without traffic.

    One time, I landed in LAX on DL at the crack of dawn [SYD-LAX] and my ride could not pick me up until around 11am, so I went to the BR to pass up the time and did some work... Another time, I volunteered to VDB on a 4pm UA flight [LAX-JFK], which resulted in me having to overnight in LAX and having the option to visit the BR was great.

    Now, that is all being taken away and it is indeed a key benefit for me as a member. What about access for the BR special events? That is another huge nice perk of the membership and I know many members in ANC actually drive out to the airport for wine tasting, special foodie occasions, etc.

    Dilutions AS has put forth recently from memory

    +Implemented fare requirements for Gold Certs
    +Changed standby rules to 6 hours before the requested flight rather than 24 hours before your original flight
    +No more BR access for BR members when not traveling

    Changes AS needs to make to improve the travel experience for their members, but just does nothing about it in the form of procrastination, which shows how much we matter to them...

    +Fix the 24 hour upgrade loophole
    +Resolve many of their partnership integration issues with DL

    What is next? They will remove the no change fees for Golds? Stop giving 1,000 bonus miles for bookings with the AS Visa? Reduce MVP bonus from 50% to 25% per mile flown? Seems like they are headed in that direction :rolleyes:
     
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  7. ctporter
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    ctporter Silver Member

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    I have always had to show a boarding pass at delta, continental, and American clubs that honor my AS boardroom card but never had to show my boarding pass when entering an AS boardroom. Does this change now mean we have to show boarding passes, ID, and club card upon entering an AS club?
     
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  8. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    It sounds like you will no longer be welcome in a BR without all of the above, unless, of course, you show an F BP, and then you will not need a BR card.
     
  9. dave1013

    dave1013 Silver Member

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    It's a huge PITA, as was noted on the other popular frequent traveler forum, but the way around this odious change is to buy a refundable ticket.

    Most people won't subject themselves to this level of inconvenience but those who want to enjoy the wine tastings, special food offerings, etc., will. The risk, as you have intimated, is that the AS bean counters will be watching for spikes in refundable ticket purchases correlating with special BR events, possibly leading to a further reduction in benefits. Ordinarily I would think that would constitute an excessive level of oversight, but given the belt-tightening events of this year, nothing would surprise me anymore.
     
  10. RedTape
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    RedTape Silver Member

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    Doesn't any carrier in the PP network have the ability to change or terms of agreement? Seems to me that this is just what AS has done. Perhaps the beef really should be with Priority Pass for not getting cooperative partners. There's still the President's Club and the Red Club at SEA for members to use, so it isn't like you're locked out totally.
     
  11. RedTape
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    RedTape Silver Member

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    and Golfingboy, this isn't a HUGE downgrade for Boardroom Members. This is not a change for us at all. It is a change for those accessing under Priority Pass.
     
  12. MSPeconomist
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    I don't understand. PP lounge access is explicitly for when you are travelling on any airline. It sounds like the Board Rooms are now starting to check whether you are flying on some airline that day, which is as it should be.

    They can change the terms for their own members whenever they want, according to the T & C. Some airline lounges require travel on that airline or alliance while others have less strict rules, but I don't think any lounge would encourage use as a free bar for local happy hours if that's what some people have been doing.

    Special events are somewhat different. There it's up to the carrier to determine whether they're for all local elites (and then they should issue gate passes if necessary) or for their own passengers who are travelling that day.
     
  13. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    Nope, the gate pass program for BR members who want to access the lounge when not traveling will end on Oct 1st... It has been confirmed by some people from the BR and the BR administration and the AS employees are not denying it over on FT, which they would have in a heartbeat if the speculation were false.

    So this is NOT just for PP holders, but for BR members as well. To add insult to injury, AS has not communicated or notified their BR members of such change...
     
  14. RedTape
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    RedTape Silver Member

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    I guess it is all just perspective. I cannot see why (here and the other place) why there is such a collective knotting of the panties about accessing the board room on days when you're not traveling. My guess is that despite the practices of people here, that for most people the idea of doing the TSA gauntlet to visit a lounge, even if waiting for someone to arrive, is not that appealing. I'm with that lot. Frankly, I'll take the cell phone lot, thankyouvery much.

    If losing this "privilege" is such a trauma, write a letter or bring it up at an MVP gold lunch. Maybe if the size of the board room ever grows, they can reinstate it. Its hard enough to find space during some peak periods in the lounge, I don't mind this restriction.

    I can see MSP's point about special events, and I would trust that if AS is to continue these they will address this.
     
  15. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    Your situation is different from mine... I live an hour away from LAX without traffic and I don't do this often. I only use this benefit for legitimate reasons and the LAX BR is rarely crowded except at late night right before the VA departures with all the Business class passengers.

    LAX cell phone parking lot is awful and it is no fun circling the airport since luggage takes 40 minutes. I have experienced waiting over an hour just for luggage at LAX a few times before, not kidding.

    I highly doubt it is the TSA, but does not hurt to find out.

    The main problem here is AS DID NOT COMMUNICATE WITH US, so I could have drove 1 hour to LAX 60-90 minutes before my parents land only to find out that this benefit is no longer a part of the BR program. Frankly, that pisses me off and it is not how a customer-centric company should operate. You modified the terms of the program, you have due duty to inform the affected customers. Priority Pass did exactly that, AS??
     
  16. dave1013

    dave1013 Silver Member

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    Mr. Tape, I guess you'd say I am one of those whose panties are in a Gordian knot over this. I don't even live in a community that has a BR at its airport (I live in Juneau), however, I get good and wound up when I learn of a Government agency taking a negative action with no apparent good reason. Admittedly, we are not yet sure if this change is TSA-driven or AS-driven, but one of our colleagues was assured by AS BR staff that it was TSA. I've chosen to accept this representation at face value and do something about it, and if you have visited FT lately you'll understand what it is.

    I respect your decision to wait in the cell phone parking lot; please don't criticize me or others who feel differently.
     
  17. RedTape
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    RedTape Silver Member

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    It wasn't a criticism, it was an observation. I regret any any inconvenience misinterpretation may have caused.
     
  18. Colonel G
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    Colonel G Silver Member

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    I am not convinced that they will start throwing out non-flying members of the BR, but if they do change the policy, I know some ANC residents, Jackal and Beckoa, that will be really upset.
     
  19. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Unless they have another way to get airside, they can't even get a gate pass from AS anymore for BR access.
     
  20. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    Forgive my ignorance, but before this change took place, how were you able to get through security to access the BR if you didn't have a boarding pass for travel? What documentation did you show TSA? More curious here than anything as I've never really heard of that before...
     
  21. Colonel G
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    Colonel G Silver Member

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    You just went to the AS counter showed your BR membership and asked for an airside Departure Management Card. Looks like a BP without a flight # or seat assignemnt and TSA lets you through.
     
  22. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    New Boardroom Gatepass: Buy a refundable Y ticket for the last flight of the night, check-in for a boarding pass, enter Boardroom, then cancel check-in and refund the ticket.
     

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