On Thanksgiving Day, I went to Iceland. The 7:30 p.m. flight from JFK Airport, Terminal 7, was on Icelandair. There’s a relatively new Alaska lounge at Terminal 7 and it’s part of Priority Pass, so I was looking forward to checking it out (and having some food prior to my overnight flight).
I was warned by other travelers that this lounge frequently limits entry to Priority Pass members based on “space constraints” so I was not surprised to see such a sign when I arrived at the lounge. I was also advised that sometimes space opens, so I should just wait around a bit, which is what I did.
It was around 4 p.m. The representative at the desk informed us that the lounge, which would be closing early at 5 p.m. for Thanksgiving, was presently over-capacity. He said that, if people leave, he’d let us in.
But no one left. No one. Not a soul.
Finally, at about 4:30 p.m, he decided to let us in. I expected to see throngs of people throughout the lounge (reminiscent of my experience with, for example, the American Express Centurion Lounge in Miami). But, there was no one. There was literally no one in the lounge, except for a few employees who were sneering at us for being there. There was no food. There were no beverages.
It was a ghost lounge.
A few employees saw us and said, in a less than pleasant manner, Who let you in? We’re closing early.
I don’t know what time they cleared out the lounge, but it was certainly long before 5 p.m., or even 4 p.m. Maybe they didn’t let any guests in all day, I have no idea.
I have no objection to a business closing or closing early for a holiday, but to entirely shut down a lounge hours before the early closing time – based upon phantom claims of overcapacity – is dishonest and wrong.
Anyway, we were told they were locking up at 4:40 p.m. One employee, Kristy, took pity on us and sent us on our way with a little take away bag containing a few cookies and snacks.
Has this ever happened to you?