Why Do Airport Lounges Require Boarding Passes?

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Transiting through Los Angeles International Airport last week allowed me to check out a few Priority Pass lounges, a benefit of my Platinum Card from American ExpressAnyways I had the chance to stop by the KAL Lounge at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, as well as the Alaska Airlines Lounge.

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Entering the Alaska Airlines Lounge, all that was needed with my ID and Priority Pass lounge. I mentioned I was flying another carrier and if they wanted my boarding pass, however it wasn’t needed.

Next up, when I went to the KAL Lounge, they wouldn’t even begin the check-in process without my boarding pass (which they reluctantly accepted my mobile boarding pass), which begs the question why do airline lounges need to see your boarding pass if it’s on another carrier?

One argument could be its to make sure you are flying that day, however both of these lounges were airside meaning everyone entering has already showed their boarding pass to TSA to get through security.

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You can receive a Priority Pass Select membership, which will get you lounge access to these lounges for free by being a cardholder of The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Do you agree that Priority Pass lounges should require you to present a boarding pass in addition to your ID and Priority Pass card? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

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  1. What if I arrive to go on a connecting flight that doesn’t leave until a day later, and I stay at airside to go into a lounge. Another example, I arrive on Etihad at LAX (arrival is at airside because of preclearance at AUH) then I go into KAL lounge and use it as an arrival lounge without a boarding pass. Checking a boarding pass would prevent that…

  2. I believe the boarding pass is another check to verify your identity. I have lots of friends that I resemble closely enough that I could hand them my priority pass card and Global Entry ID (which has a very blurry black/white picture of my face) and they could get in without a problem. If they also need a boarding pass with the “right” name on it, things suddenly get trickier…

  3. In addition to the reasons listed above, collecting boarding pass info also gives the lounges valuable marketing and customer info including: (1) what airline the lounge guest will be flying, (2) what flight number and destination, (3) time of flight departure vs. time of lounge arrival (i.e. how long will the guest stay in the lounge). Business decisions are supposed to be made using data, and asking for the boarding pass helps provide it.

    The lounges may also, however, use this info to limit/restrict visitors (e.g. an airline lounge that is also a Priority Pass lounge could use boarding pass info to figure out how and when to limit lounge hours and access in order to favor their own customers).

  4. I was told in recent months that this is an industry wide or at least USA industry wide requirement based on a new law of some sort. This came from a United lounge staff person late in 2016. Now I don’t know if this is true but he claimed that all lounges would be requesting boarding passes in 2017 to comply with some new law or maybe TSA type rule I forget the details. The subject came up because I was using a day pass for a United lounge but flying on AA so when he asked I was surprised. He had no problem with my boarding pass from another carrier and that is why I asked him about why they needed it.

  5. When I visited the AF/KLM lounge at SFO last month, the receptionist made it very clear that she was prioritizing AF and KLM customers, to the point of checking them in ahead of the rest of the line.

    Lounges with capacity issues will want to make sure they admit all business/first class passengers on the airline that operates the lounge (and airlines that have contracted it for their premium passengers), and others may not get in if it is full.

  6. Large numbers of airport employees were apparently buying lounge memberships. That’s why.

  7. I have traveled using a friend’s priority pass card and was able to enter Changi Airport’s Lounge (forgot the name) without showing my boarding pass. Just to make it clear – my friend and I don’t have same the name. I guess it depends on the country where the lounge is situated.

  8. The lounge might need your boarding pass to let the gate agents of your flight know that you’re in the lounge. By scanning your boarding pass, it tells you’re in the lounge. In case it’s time for boarding or if gates are closing and they’re scouting for you, they’ll come straight to the lounge to pick you up.

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