If you’re considering throwing a big group party at an airport, or maybe you already have and are looking for a low-cost alternative, this is the post for you. As a frequent traveler, I know how much it sucks when you’re in a group of friends or family and you cross the border and have an unwelcome immigration officer standing over you making you tear up your boarding pass.
Airports are great to start a trip. They offer places to lay your head, meet people, and unpack your bags. But they’re not necessarily a good place to have an all-inclusive party for a group of friends. Unless the airport is Chicago O’Hare, in which case Chicago O’Hare is great to have an all-inclusive party for a group of friends.
Once you’ve decided to throw a group party at an airport, you’ll have to decide which airport to do it at. Depending on your budget, it will probably be one of the larger airports, like LaGuardia in New York or Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. But even if you can afford to go to the smaller airports, you shouldn’t. Why? Because those smaller airports are much more likely to have cheaper food and drink deals, including special airport party packs, and they tend to be less crowded.. Read more about american airlines and let us know what you think.
As his fiancée was leaving on her bachelorette vacation, Geoffrey Palcher made a great move. For a pre-trip celebration, he reserved the conference room at the American Airlines Admirals Club. He came in early and decorated it as well. Most people are unaware that an airport party can be customized, but Palcher was all over it. And he was taking advantage of an American service that United and Delta do not provide.
Admirals Club Conference Room, Washington National Airport Geoffrey Palcher/Getty Images
On many levels, this is fantastic.
- Both club members and non-club members have access to the Admirals Club meeting rooms.
- Members are not allowed to attend the club unless they are flying American, however conference room visitors may fly any airline.
- The Admirals Club will write gate tickets for meeting visitors even if you aren’t flying.
Katie, Geoffey’s fiancée, photo courtesy of Geoffrey Palcher
A cardmember can add up to 10 authorized users at no additional charge to the American Airlines premium co-brand that comes with lounge access (Citi Executive card), and everyone with a card can bring in two guests, so if space is available, one person could potentially sponsor a group of 33 in an Admirals Club.
However, for a one-time event with non-members, nothing beats inviting them to a private area at an airport that you can tailor to your needs. Even wine is on display, with the bottle coming from the Admirals Club bar.
Which Airlines Allow You to Rent Meeting Rooms?
In 2016, United Airlines ceased accepting bookings for conference rooms. “The privacy (phone) booths replaced conference rooms in direct response to consumers seeking more private places to accept calls,” says spokesperson Jonathan Guerin.
Business meetings are not allowed at Delta’s clubs, which have also turned their conference rooms to sitting.
American Airlines, on the other hand, rents conference rooms in 13 cities: Boston; Washington National B and C clubs; Dallas – Fort Worth A, B, and C clubs; Newark; Houston; Los Angeles terminal 4; New York LaGuardia; Miami D30; Chicago O’Hare H/K, San Francisco. The cost is as follows:
- Members pay $65 per hour ($90 for groups of more than ten).
- Non-members pay $85 per hour ($110 for groups of more than ten).
At least 24 hours in advance, reservations may be made directly at the club or through Member Services (1-800-237-7971, Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Eastern) by giving names and dates of birth of visitors. Payment is due at the time of reservation.
Once inside the lounge, all non-club members, whether flying or not, may, of course, receive free beverages from the bar!
This is an opportunity that American Airlines offers that is under-known and under-appreciated, and one that might generate money if it were more promoted.
A Low-Cost Method Of Getting Into A Club
A day ticket to the American Airlines Admirals Club costs $59 per person and enables you to attend several clubs on the same day. Without memberships, a family of six stranded at the airport would spend $354 to get admission to the club. Renting a conference room at the club is less expensive, and it also offers you private space rather than just a permit to look for a seat.
Even if you aren’t flying with that airline, use the lounge.
United, Delta, and American have all restricted access to their own lounges, allowing members to use them only if they are traveling that airline or one of its qualifying partners on the same day. For lifetime club members, American and Delta offer an exemption. United doesn’t – not even for Cleveland-based members who don’t have a hub to make flying with United a feasible choice.
When traveling Southwest, for example, I can no longer utilize the American Airlines club in Austin. Unfortunately, the Austin club grew so full (and the airline delayed investing in extending the area into neighboring buildings that the airport no longer utilizes) that they had to turn their conference room into extra seats. They also turned their entrance into extra seats. Even before they quadrupled the number of locations they service from the airport, the club was still crowded during peak hours.
This isn’t a possibility at my home airport, but in places where it is, you may hire a conference space in a club before flying on another aircraft if your membership doesn’t allow you to do so.
When you aren’t flying, meet your friends at the gate.
These days, gate passes are hard to come by. Some individuals will purchase a ticket even if they have no intention of flying in order to get through security. (They’ll then cancel the trip and provide a refund or credit for a future trip.) That isn’t exactly kosher, but it’s also not unheard of. Just don’t attempt this technique to get access to lounges; Lufthansa won a lawsuit against someone who utilized its lounges for reasons other than traveling.
It’s so much nicer to get a real invitation that allows you to pass past security! The one drawback is that gate passes don’t qualify for PreCheck, so you’ll have to go through normal security, remove your shoes, and take your laptop out.
More From the Wing’s Perspective
If you want to throw a big group party at an airport, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The size of the airport, the number of flights taking off and landing, and the specific terminal. If you are flying, there are only three airports in the US that can handle a party of more than 50 people. Here are the three airports, with links to their websites and other information.. Read more about united skipping connecting flight and let us know what you think.
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