Believe it or not, it’s been more than a year and a half since I’d taken an international flight in any cabin (January 2014 to be exact). That was long before I joined UPGRD, hence the dearth of lounge reviews on my site. I finally broke that streak with our long awaited European vacation straddling the end of June and the early part of July, with flights scheduled to Istanbul and back from Rome.
With all of our segments coming by way of an AAdvantage Mile Saver Award, that meant plenty of lounge time. Our first lounge stop was in Atlanta, where we switched planes en route to London via British Airways; that meant a trip to The Club at ATL in Terminal F. This is a fairly new lounge, having opened in July, 2013. Rocky posted a detailed review of The Club at ATL shortly after it opened, and I recommend reading his post for a different point-of-view.
First, the important stuff. The lounge is primarily used for British Airways and Lufthansa premium class and elite passengers; however, as with all “The Club” branded lounges, access is also permitted for Priority Pass, Diners Club, and Lounge Club cardholders. Or, if you aren’t flying on a designated airline or a member of one of the above programs, anyone can purchase a day pass for $35.
First impressions – the lounge wasn’t all that crowded, but feels even quieter and less crowded thanks to the airy, split-room design. There is also a work area with workstations and a printer/fax machine, not pictured.
Main sitting area
Back of main seating area and window seats near the glass
Snack mix with small “snacking” tables behind the main area
The not so great – you would expect a great view of the runway for planespotting, what with the cool “Fly Delta Jets” sign visible in the first photo. But it’s not to be. Get up close, and your view is significantly obscured by a mesh curtain.
As for food and drink offerings, it’s definitely superior to what you’ll find in most domestic lounges. In addition to the chips, crackers, and fruit seen above, a decent selection of food is available at the back of the lounge. The spread consisted of two hot soups, assorted finger sandwiches (the turkey variety was pretty good), fresh vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and cheese and fruit. It’s not the extensive selection available in, say, the British Airways Galleries Club at London Heathrow, but it is still a major step up from most U.S. domestic airline lounges.
The best feature of the lounge, though, is the extensive bar selection. And I do mean extensive.
I tried to take a couple of photos closer to the bar, but they didn’t come out. Nevertheless, you can see the large selection of spirits, with a decent selection of beers and wines available at the counter as well, all for free. And it’s not just the el cheapo stuff either; as Rocky mentioned in his review, higher quality spirits such as Johnny Walker Black, Jack Daniels, etc. are also available. WAY better than the house beer/wine you can get at domestic clubs, for sure. Throughout our roughly 2-hour stay, a server frequently made her round through the lounge, both to collect used utensils and to offer drink refills.
Special note if you are a British Airways customer – if you originated somewhere other than Atlanta, you will need to perform a document check with an agent prior to boarding. BA does send an agent to the lounge approximately 30-45 minutes prior to boarding, so you can have it done right there without having to fret about leaving the lounge early.
Overall, The Club at ATL is a fine domestic lounge. If you’re a Priority Pass member, it’s definitely worth the trek down to Concourse F to spend some time. Just beware, Terminal F is at the far end of the airport, meaning up to a 30-minute walk or 7-minute train ride if your flight departs from another concourse. It was just mildly disappointing for us because while it’s a fine Business Class lounge, it’s definitely not a First Class one. That would have to wait for a visit to the Concorde Room on our way home.
Note: this post is part of my multi-part trip report series about my wife and I’s trip to Europe in June/July, 2015. Read the trip report introduction for an index and background about our trip.