United has announced that they will be closing four of their Red Carpet Club lounges in the coming months, a decision “based on a number of factors, including high fuel costs…” Apparently the amount of Jet A used to operate the lounges was burning a hole in the UA budget this year. The airports affected are Minneapolis, Baltimore, Atlanta and Dallas-Ft. Worth, all of which are hubs of other airlines. That is too much of a coincidence to not have been a contributing factor, either to the actual decision or the low usage of the lounges based on fewer passengers using United from those cities.
This isn’t quite as bad as Delta’s cuts – United is keeping their dedicated first class lounges open and cutting fewer locations – but it is also a far cry from Continental’s opening of a new Presidents Club this past weekend.
I’ve been in the RCCs in a few airports (though none of the ones closing) and other than help from an agent if I need to change a ticket or there are flight problems, I can’t say that I really find them all that great. Depending on how you get in you might have to pay for internet access and unless you are flying internationally you have to pay for drinks. Overall it just isn’t that great of an environment. Then again, they can be quieter than the terminal, which isn’t a bad thing.
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