Where to Find First Class Lounge Passes at Bargain Basement Prices

Delta-Skyclub PassIf you are trawling for passes to gain access  to those “swank” airport lounges reserved for the airlines’ best customers, you are in luck!

The big three U.S. airlines sell one-day lounge passes for $50 — a steep price to pay for relaxing in a “club” before your flight.

There are a lot of passes in circulation because several airline credit cards throw in lounge passes as incentives for applications.

Passes for the United Club, the Delta Sky Club, and the American Airlines Admiral Club are readily available on the Ebay auction site.

I checked the prices of “completed listings” on Ebay and found a big price variation depending on the airline club.

Can you guess which club passes command the highest prices on Ebay?

In recent weeks, United passes were selling for around $13, American passes for about $20, and Delta passes for an average of $24.

Is this price spread simply a reflection of supply and demand, or does it somehow speak to the relative quality and desirability of the lounges for the big three?

I can’t say, because I have only visited one airport lounge — the United Club at Dulles International Airport (IAD).

To be honest, it was no great shakes.

The lounge was so crowded it was hard to find two seats together.  It was quite noisy and the WiFi signal was no better than in the public waiting area.

There were some free snacks available — apples, trail mix, carrots and dip, cheese and crackers, cans of juice and soda, espresso coffee, and some alcoholic beverages at the bar.  There were also free newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, and some glossy travel magazines.

To me, the lounge perk seemed worthwhile only for someone with a long layover who  needed to get some work done.  There were carrels available, and a conference room.  A distinct advantage was the ready availability of electrical outlets to charge mobile devices.

What do you think?  Would you bid $12-25 for a one-day lounge pass?

2 thoughts on “Where to Find First Class Lounge Passes at Bargain Basement Prices

  1. My opinion is that lounges are absolutely worth $15 and definitely not worth $50. I don’t go to them regularly, but try to always have a pass with me just in case I end up with a delayed flight and hours to kill. In those cases, you’ll have quicker access to agents who can help you rebook on alternate flights, free wi-fi to update your hotel and car reservations if needed (I’m amazed how many airports don’t offer free wi-fi otherwise), and some snacks to help keep you from getting cranky! I always break even on a $15 investment since I’d be at an airport restaurant for a drink and snack otherwise + probably buying a bottle of water to take in flight.

    Unfortunately, as you mentioned, lounges are often busy – especially in times of long weather delays when everyone has the same idea. My other gripe is that many airport lounges close too early, for example closing at 9pm when my flight has been delayed until 11. Those late evenings are precisely when my annoyance level is highest and a quiet retreat would make the most difference in my comfort.

    International lounges, in my experience, have been MUCH nicer, including enough food for an entire meal, high-quality drinks, napping rooms, and showers to freshen up which is great when you’re connecting after a red-eye.

  2. Most airports have electrical outlets, WiFi and other necessities for the business traveler in the public areas. Some club lounges are quieter than the terminal areas; some are not. International lounges have concierges and hosts and all that fancy stuff, like a British club. However, i think the domestic ones are just not necessary. How much time do you hang around in between flights, anyway?

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