The American Express centurion lounges have been closed since March 21, 2020 due to the covid pandemic. American Express is slowly reopening lounges with the first lounges in Seattle and Philadelphia reopening on October 5, 2020. Since then Charlotte, New York- JFK, and San Francisco lounges have reopened. Dallas and Houston are reopening by the end of October. As American Express reconfigures the lounges to create a safe experience for guests, more lounges will open. Part of it will also be determined by local laws and restrictions.
The Seattle American Express lounge is one of the smallest lounges in the network. A new lounge is planned for Seattle, but is still a year plus away. For now, we’ll have to live with the expanded lounge which was expanded on March 22, 2017. I have a full review of the Seattle American Express lounge, pre-covid, but today I will share with you what to expect on your next visit to the Seattle Centurion Lounge and others as they open.
Centurion Lounge Covid Changes
As lounges reopen, changes to the lounges are in place to keep people safe. The first and most distinctive difference include plexiglass barriers and social distancing queues. Lounge capacity has been reduced and there are fewer chairs and tables for guests. In addition, to help keep distance between guests, there are many one-way walkways in the lounge, trying to keep people moving with space between guests.
Food & Beverage Changes
The lounge buffet is still open, but food is mostly no longer self-serve. Staff will instead hand guests food. To make things easier, there are now trays available to help guests carry food and drinks back to tables in a single trip. Staff will also make guests coffee drinks and other beverages. Thus, helping reduce high touch points throughout the lounge.
Although most items are now served to guests, I did find it somewhat strange that there are two areas that are still self-serve. The coffee and tea stations are available to guests to serve themselves.
In addition, there’s a mini self-serve buffet area near the bathroom. Items here are on self serve plates. Reducing most touch points, but still leaving some are for cross contamination.
The menu is also different than pre-covid. I think the new food choices at Seatac (SEA) airport are better now than before.
Over at the bar, things are different as well. There are still cocktails and a full bar, but the main bar menu has been optimized for quicker service. There’s a good selection of beer and wine, along with a few cocktails. The morning bar is still limited to just a few items. The full bar is available starting at 10:30.
The bar now also has a queue and two stations to order drinks. Bar tenders work from behind plexiglass and then drop drinks off at a different dedicated station.
Pick up your drinks at either zone one or two.
Throughout the lounge seating hasn’t changed drastically. There are now fewer seats and more space between tables. Some tables have signs that read “closed” and others are reserved for groups of 3 or more. In many instances, the lounge was designed for personal space.
Mask-up and Enjoy
As someone who is constantly traveling, I am happy to see the lounges reopen. Many of my favorite staff members pre-covid are enthusiastically welcoming guests back. There are changes in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. Please do your part and follow American Express’ policies. Masks are required at all time, except when eating and drinking. In addition, American Express is asking people to “check-in” with their phone via the American Express app. Navigate to “membership”, find an airport lounge, and then choose “The centurion lounge”. Finally, click “get verification code”. Upon arrival scan in to the lounge. This allows you to check-in, without having to scan your American Express credit card. This is also great for those who may not travel with their American express credit card.