Families look forward all year to the summer travel season- with about two-thirds of Americans likely to take a summer trip. Vacation time can prove memorable for families, but the stress of the actual travel can be daunting. Some relief may be coming in the form of an increase in the competition to offer a place of respite- airport lounges.
Let’s first look at some of the current conditions that weary travelers face. The issues plaguing the summer travel season have seen robust coverage- with an array of topics to report on.
Severe weather can always be a culprit for flight delays- an average of 7,000 to 9,000 domestic flight delays per day in 2023, previously averaging around 2,300 per day. Summer vacationers are feeling the pinch of higher prices- the overall cost of travel, measured by the cost items such as airfare, lodging, meals, and car rentals, is down 3% from 2022, but up 14% since 2019. A lingering pilot shortage has squeezed service to regional airports- at least 324 airports have seen service cuts since January 2020, with 14 losing service completely. Speaking of the pilot shortage, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that airlines will hire more than 18,000 per year over the next decade. There is also a shortage in other travel-related vocations, with a need for flight attendants, at least 12,000 aviation mechanics, and even air traffic controllers… I can go on, but this post is about options to soothe the stress that can accompany travel. Let’s get back to airport lounges.
The concept of an airline lounge materialized in 1939, When American Airlines opened its first Admiral’s Club lounge at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The original location was kept in service until 2021, when a new, larger lounge was dedicated as part of a terminal renovation. Today thousands of lounges around the world cater to travelers. Lounges are operated by many networks, including most major airlines and several credit card companies, with Station Lounges offered by Amtrak for train passengers in larger cities.
I’ve got a story below about how the competition for travel lounges is heating up with a significant new entrant- JP Morgan Chase. Let me know what you think, and tell me about your travel experiences- click here to connect with me!
~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix
P.S.- Did you see my last Leadership Matrix post? The Civilian Exploration of Space
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