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Today’s guest post comes from an avid follower and friend of PWAC – Jason Francisco, also a fellow miles and points travel enthusiast. He has his own travel blog site at Daddy Travels. Just like PWAC, Jason also has a big family. He and his wife, Nancy, have four growing kids. However, that hasn’t stopped them from traveling the world. One of the side benefits of many credit cards that we have is airline lounge access, which can range from the very good to the very bad.

Can airline crew and pilots access airline lounges?

A very good friend of mine who works in the airline industry reached out to me about ways to access airport lounges when on vacation. He was also very interested in finding ways to bring his wife to these lounges for free or for a small fee. Knowing what I know about my personal experience, I suggested for him to look in to the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum cards

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Both cards offer access to Priority Pass lounges. American Express Platinum cardholders also have access to the Centurion Lounges, the International American Express Lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs when traveling Delta.

I happen to carry both cards and have used them in my worldly travels. I used to dread going to the airport. Why? The wait. Yes, I’m not a fan of waiting for my flight. But my travel life changed once I started accessing airport lounges…for free.

(SEE ALSO: HELP! I’m wasting DAYS of my life in airports)

This stirred my curiosity. My buddy could use the Priority Pass whenever he goes on vacation, but I asked myself, “would he be able to use airport lounges on the days that he is working (in uniform)?” My curiosity took the best of me so I sent a tweet to Priority Pass. Why? Well, from my observation, whenever flight crews go through airport security or whenever they pass through the gate before boarding the aircraft, I see them show their ID badge. No boarding pass. No passport. Nothing. Why was this important? In the lounges that I’ve used, they typically ask for the Priority Pass card, and a boarding pass. This led to the tweet that I sent to @PriorityPassCom. Shown below was my question, and their reply.

a screenshot of a social media post

As expected, Priority Pass mentioned that a boarding pass may be requested when entering lounges. I did learn from my friend who works for an airline that on the days that he’s working (on duty, flying the aircraft), he is not issued a boarding pass. All he needs to show is his ID. But on the days when he is an actual passenger, he gets a boarding pass.

Knowing what I didn’t know at the time, I had imagined that by him acquiring a Priority Pass card, that it would give him an opportunity to enter a lounge before his flight. But it never really occurred to me that I’ve never seen any flight crew members in uniform at the many lounges I’ve visited. Sure enough, my friend did state that those in uniforms are prevented from being in the lounge. It’s frowned upon.

a group of women in red uniforms walking with luggage

I inquired about this as well from a Facebook travel page and the feedback I received from those in the industry or knew people in the airline industry that they were told not to go in the lounge while in uniform or on duty. Lounge access in her case was used whenever she’s not working or on vacation. Plus, since flight crews who are flying or working do not get a printed boarding pass, this prevents them from being allowed to enter the lounges. In fact, in early 2023, Delta banned all employees from using Delta Sky Clubs, even if they otherwise had access.

The next time I travel, I will observe for myself if there are flight crew members in uniform hanging out at the lounge. After hearing and reading what I’ve read though, I doubt I’d see a bunch of them at the lounge.

Readers what do you think?  Have you ever seen airline crew, flight attendants or pilots in an airport lounge?


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