The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly turned the world upside-down. Many sectors are affected as the world braces to learn and adapt to the new normal of living in the time of the pandemic, and the travel industry is not excluded. Earlier this year, global travels shut down at a rapid pace. I remember flying into IAD on one evening last spring, and noticed that my flight was the only plane landing and taxing on the tarmac on a prime weekday evening. This morning I was headed to Seattle on Alaska Airlines. Unfortunately, not much has progressed since the height of the pandemic. As you see on the FIDS, less than two dozen flights were departing this morning out of IAD — including United flights!
I arrived at the airport a little earlier than usual, and having breezed through security, I found myself wandering around the B concourse looking for a munch. I also realized that headwinds are generally so strong this time of the year that I figured I should try to find something to eat before I hop on the plane. Wendy’s was the only food establishment available this morning, which I passed, hoping for less greasy and slightly healthier options. I discovered that the Turkish Airlines lounge has since re-opened, and I thought I would pop in.
Aside from all eligible TK and Star Alliance passengers, one could access the TK lounge by way of Priority Pass, Lounge Key, or by purchasing a walk-in admissions fee of $49, which I believe is sold directly by the airline or the operator of the lounge. If you plan on accessing using Priority Pass membership as I did, be prepared to pull your boarding pass and digital PP card for scanning.
If you have not been in the TK lounge, it is located adjacent to gate B43. Space was adequate if not on the smaller side, and I have been in the past when the lounge was severely overcrowded. There is the main area and the bar area. I read about an upstairs section of the lounge, but I have not personally been. There were not more than 4 other passengers in the lounge when I arrived this morning, despite Star Alliance having two scheduled departures this morning: an EgyptAir bound for Cairo at noon and ANA bound for Tokyo/Haneda at 12:15 PM.
The lounge boasts a great view of the tarmac, as pictured below, perfect for AvGeeks like me (though there were no planes in sight this morning).
The food offering, expectedly, was slim-picking. For breakfast, they had small, individually-packaged boiled eggs on a bed of arugula; individual small tubs of flavored yogurt; individually-wrapped muffins and bananas.
On the beverage side, two coffee machines are available for use with an assortment of teas. Chilled beverages include small cans of Coke products, small bottled water, and a regular-sized Perrier to those who prefer sparkling water. While I personally did not peruse the bar offering, the bar is indeed open and there was a bartender standing by to take an order as I walked by.
Social distancing was observed in this lounge. Every other seating area was closed, and there were signages to encourage and remind people of social distancing measures.
One of the restrooms is closed but there are two available as well as a prayer room. The lounge operator (Primeclass) also prominently displays its “The New Comfort” campaign outlining the measures they have taken to ensure the safety of staff and guests during this pandemic.
That being said, for a shortstop while waiting for boarding time, this lounge provides some respite from the gate area and might very well satisfy your hunger, should you be in the hunt for something simple and not too complicated (or a cup of coffee, for that matter).