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Royal Jordanian is Latest Middle East Airline to Offer Paid Access to Lounges. Also Introduces Upgrade Bidding System.

Royal Jordanian is Latest Middle East Airline to Offer Paid Access to Lounges. Also Introduces Upgrade Bidding System.

Royal Jordanian is Latest Middle East Airline to Offer Paid Access to Lounges. Also Introduces Upgrade Bidding System.

The national airline of Jordan, Royal Jordanian is the latest Middle East airline to allow economy class passengers to access its Business Class lounge for a fee.  It follows moves by both Emirates and Etihad Airways to introduce similar schemes.  But the one advantage Royal Jordanian has over its rivals is the shockingly small fee the airline has introduced for the service.

For just $39 USD, economy class passengers can access the Crown Lounge at the airline’s hub in Queen Alia International Airport, Amman.  The lounge access voucher has to be bought via Royal Jordanian’s website and allows access for up to three hours.  Infants below the age of 2 get free access with an accompanied paid for adult but the service isn’t available for codeshare passengers.

The airline describes its Crown Lounge as “a haven of luxury” with eight separate spaces including a bistro and bakery, the Blue Bar for cocktails, individual TV suites and a family hangout.

Royal Jordanian’s new president and CEO, Stefan Pichler said of the offering: “We at RJ will follow and listen to our guests and make our products available in a convenient way.”

He continued: “Shopping RJ online saves time and effort. Our guests should be able to tailor their trip according to their needs.”

On top of the lounge access offer, the airline is also introducing an online upgrade bidding program dubbed ‘Go Crown’.  The system will allow economy class passengers to bid for a business class upgrade although further details weren’t immediately available.

In June, Abu Dhabi-based airline, Etihad Airways announced it would allow economy class customers to access its dedicated premium lounges in Abu Dhabi, London, Manchester, Dublin, Paris, Washington D.C., New York JFK, Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles.  Business Class passengers can also pay to upgrade to the airline’s First Class lounge and spa.

However, the airline stopped short of offering a business class upgrade bidding system and instead has introduced what it describes as a “Neighbour-Free Seat” option.  This allows economy class passengers to bid for up to three empty seats next to their original seat.  Essentially the plan is to make money out of empty seats that passengers would ordinarily be allowed to use free of charge.

Meanwhile, Emirates first opened up its business class lounges at Dubai International Airport in February.  The airline charges economy class guests $100 USD for up to four hours access to its lounges and also allows business class guests to upgrade to the First Class lounge for the same fee.  Since a successful pilot at the airline’s hub, the scheme has been rolled out to Emirates lounges worldwide.

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