Airport lounges are often seen as a sanctuary of pre-flight bliss. But right when you’ve settled in, along comes a distraction – the good old boarding call. And not necessarily for your flight, but seemingly, for everybody else’s flight. But imagine an airport lounge without boarding calls – a ‘silent’ lounge, if you will.

No interruptions, no announcements – simply relax, dine or work before it’s time to board. So it begs the question – should more airport lounges do away with the traditional boarding calls? As somebody fortunate to travel more than most, here’s my view.

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Why I like silent lounges

Most of my travels are for work – so more often than not, the lounge is my temporary office. It’s a place to catch up on email, make phone calls, file stories: anything work-related, essentially.

But what’s rather annoying is when you’ve staked out a quiet corner of the lounge to make a call. Then along comes an announcement – ‘flight 987 to Sydney is now boarding’. And another announcement. And another. In my view, and with all the information available to travellers today, do really need a boarding call?

Think about it. Flight information is already displayed on screens throughout each lounge. Our mobile phones keep us abreast of when boarding is expected to start, thanks to the airlines’ mobile apps. In fact, with Qantas, you can even receive a push notification to your phone when boarding starts. Do travellers really need a large, echoing announcement just to be reminded that they’re sitting at an airport to catch a flight? I don’t think so.

Plenty of lounges overseas already operate in ‘silent’ mode. Any time I’m flying within the United States, the airlines ask you to monitor your own departure rather than calling each one. In some lounges, flights on the screen are even sorted by destination, not by time. You can easily see what’s happening, and get moving when it’s time.

Emirates – one of the world’s largest airlines – also operates its Dubai lounges in silent mode. With so many flights departing to every corner of the globe, calling each one just wouldn’t be practical.

On the home front, Qantas ran a trial of silent lounges in 2015, although it didn’t take off. But in the age of those push notifications, perhaps it’s time for a revisit.

The one exception…

You can probably tell that I don’t see the need for boarding calls when everything is running smoothly. But there can be timely exceptions to the usual ‘silent lounge’ approach where it makes sense.

For instance, when there’s a flight that’s significantly disrupted, updates via announcements make more sense. This would still result in very few announcements overall. But for those on the disrupted flight, it’d make the lounge experience more peaceful by not being glued to the TV or app.

I’ve noticed that Emirates does this in Dubai. The only announcements tend to be updates about flights delayed by several hours or more. That includes advice about the delay and then an announcement when it is indeed time to board.

What’s your view, though? Do airline lounges really need to call boarding for every single flight – especially in busy domestic lounges? Or would you prefer a quieter lounge, given that flights are easily monitored through airline apps? Have your thoughts via the poll and the comments section below!

Also read: Why US domestic First Class flights rarely include lounge access – and how to get in

Feature image courtesy of Oleksandr P/Pexels

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Should airport lounges be ‘silent’, without boarding calls? was last modified: March 27th, 2024 by Chris Chamberlin