Airport Experience [Questions & Reviews)

Jerry

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First time i've used the Executive lounge and first impressions are it's seems a decent place to relax before the flight and was pretty busy when i first arrived decor seems to be simple more modern office like than anything else and the furniture is comfortable. Seems a decent range of snacks(crisps, welshcakes, pastries, chocolate covered oatcake pieces and nuts) there is also soft drinks, tea and coffee and a selection of bottled lager, cider and ale and Penderyn whiskey products at the bar but no hot food and i do think they have missed a trick by not offering sandwiches and wraps as that would make up for the lack of hot food. Generally i think it's a decent product and if i had an afternoon flight again i would consider booking it.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I'm picturing you sitting in the lounge taking on a bit of fuel. Is this the lounge that Qatar business customers use?

Your 320 is EC-LYE (you probably know this) and it's currently approaching the Brest Peninsula west of Lorient. It's been to Scotland (Edinburgh) earlier today. Have a great trip.
 

Jerry

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I'm picturing you sitting in the lounge taking on a bit of fuel. Is this the lounge that Qatar business customers use?

Your 320 is EC-LYE (you probably know this) and it's currently approaching the Brest Peninsula west of Lorient. It's been to Scotland (Edinburgh) earlier today. Have a great trip.
Yes it is kind of as they have their own section towards the rear of the lounge along with KLM business class passengers as well.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Yes it is kind of as they have their own section towards the rear of the lounge along with KLM business class passengers as well.
Is the food any different in that section or isn't it possible to see?
 

Jerry

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Is the food any different in that section or isn't it possible to see?
I don't think it's different just a closed off section for them.
I think if a passenger was expecting a lounge like one at a major airport they'd be disappointed but to me it seems pleasant enough to spend some time before my flight.
 
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TheLocalYokel

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aviatorconcorde

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This is my video review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport!

Thanks for sharing Jerry, I’ve not seen the lounge since refurbishment so this is good to see. I want to say there’s slightly more food on offer than what was there previous. It looks like they are making a lot better use of the available space than the old configuration also.

Shame there’s no hot food or at least some sandwiches. Should be the bare minimum now there’s a long haul Business class product at CWL, one belonging to (what is marketed as) a 5* Airline.
 

Jerry

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Shame there’s no hot food or at least some sandwiches. Should be the bare minimum now there’s a long haul Business class product at CWL, one belonging to (what is marketed as) a 5* Airline.
It does seem to be the main complaint about the lounge that there is no hot food. Even if it was all pre packed with a microwave there to heat things up then that would be an improvement, why they don't offer hot food is a mystery to me. The range of snacks was good though and i had 2 plates! In all i enjoyed it and would use it again.
 

TheLocalYokel

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It does seem to be the main complaint about the lounge that there is no hot food. Even if it was all pre packed with a microwave there to heat things up then that would be an improvement, why they don't offer hot food is a mystery to me. The range of snacks was good though and i had 2 plates! In all i enjoyed it and would use it again.
I think if Qatar operated a night flight from CWL the lack of a reasonable range of substantial hot food for their pemium-class passengers would be more of an issue for some of them. I can only speak personally, and others will no doubt see it differently, but when we take long haul night flights with Emirates both my wife and I like to have a meal and one or two drinks in the airline lounge before boarding so that (a) we can maximise sleep time when the body clock expects it and (b) we don't have to sit up eating for an hour or two into the night flight at a time when we would not normally be consuming a large amount.

The fact that Qatar operates day flights from CWL means that a light snack can be taken in the lounge prior to departure and a proper meal enjoyed within the flight.

Nevertheless, it would certainly be a step up if hot food was available but that might well mean increased admission prices for those not visiting as part of their airline premium ticket price which the lounge operators might judge would put some people off and ultimately be less profitable.
 

Jerry

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Nevertheless, it would certainly be a step up if hot food was available but that might well mean increased admission prices for those not visiting as part of their airline premium ticket price which the lounge operators might judge would put some people off and ultimately be less profitable.
I think for many it's about value for money and the value has been questioned. From comments I've seen elsewhere because other lounges at airports like Bristol have hot food it's expected at Cardiff and from other comments it seems the expectation by some is that the lounge should be World class.
I wonder if that even having a microwave there to heat certain foods up would help with the perception of the lounge.
 

TOM100

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The airport should award the lounge contract to Swissport with their 'Aspire' product - it is proven and well known. The airport think their product is superior (it isn't - having used Aspire a lot).

Swissport have economies of scale with buying and can cross utilise staff.

Running a lounge is not core airport company business and they should focus their attention on bringing up the standards of the poor SSP food product (Beer House etc). Their product is poor.

It's a shame that they can't get more local suppliers in there like a Brains pub or Coffee #1.

The airport should negotiate a lucrative profit share on the lounge with Swissport and focus on their core business rather than trying to pretend running lounges.

Just my opinion - the bigger bang for their buck on delivering a great customer experience would be on focussing on improving the standards of their catering licence holders (like getting them to offer a value for money product, clear plates and glasses and occasionally wipe tables so you don't stick to them !)
 

TOM100

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Mathers - hence why I say they negotiate an intelligent commercial revenue share agreement so they still make money from it but benefit from access to bigger pool of resources to man it, better buying power. So for example say it makes £100k in revnenue (just for this example) and they make £40k profit if they give it to Swissport who make £110k in sales but only costs them £40k to run it the £70k profit could be split £45k to CWL and £25k to Swissport.

CWL makes more money, Swissport make money and the customer gets a better product - win/win/win.

The airport doesn't have the hassle, and can focus on its core competence - running and managing an airport and managing existing suppliers better.
 

Foxlimayankee

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The lounge at CWL has always been an attractive alternative to sitting in the departure lounge. The Beer House constantly gets criticised on social media at the quality of food for the price paid.
CWL for some reason do feel the Lounge is better ran in house and from what i can see refuse to believe it's sub standard in any way. I've used both No1 Lounges, Virgin Atlantic's and Aspire lounges at a few of their Airports and they all knock spots off CWLs lounge. I would say No1 Lounge (I used BHX) is better than Aspires newly refurbished lounges, mainly because of more choice of food and bigger Lounge.
Did a proper kitchen get installed during CWL refurb? That was what was holding it back previously.
I'm not sure what exactly is currently offered but I agree with TLY regarding having a full meal service and getting a meal on the QR flights, as it's only a 6 hour flight it wouldn't leave much time between meals. Good offerings would be some basics like pasta, quality salads, Welsh produce, even mini style burgers from local Welsh produce. It doesn't have to be 3 course gormet dining.
From watching Jerrys video it does look airy and crisp but still think there's no special wow factor about it. Which given it's just had a make over, they've missed a trick with ambience and character.
 

Jerry

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There Airport won't allow a 3rd party contract to operate the lounge as it makes them money.

The airport must be doing something right as on occasions there were times when the lounge was full hence why it needed a further expansion.
It was fairly busy during my time in there with the odd lull and the passengers varied from business passengers to holiday makers.
Did a proper kitchen get installed during CWL refurb? That was what was holding it back previously.
Not sure but i'd have thought that if it had then it would be up and running by now?
 

TOM100

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Please don't misunderstand me I'm not saying the product is terrible but if CWL really wants to be taken seriously as a business product it needs to be as good (or better) than competitors.

QR is a 6 Star airline and if I paid £4K for a Business Class seat I would expect a little more.

There is a key partner on site who could probably do it better with an established product and the airport could still benefit financially from it.

As a regular user of CWL I just wish they would sort the service and quality of the main offering in the IDL that the bulk of the c1.6m customers use - they have had so much feedback with no noticeable improvement (last week I couldn't get a lemon in a G&T as they had run out !). The new additions to the lounge and
refurb are great but the licence holders just can't get it right.

I now prefer to buy on board as paying £7 for a bacon sandwich, given no cutlery, no napkin and having to clear the debris from my sticky table doesn't appeal anymore. When I buy on board CWL get no slice of those £££'s.

I enjoy the food outlets at LHR and LGW - so u can get it right (and I only mean the basics).
 

Jerry

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A big part of the complaints are against the operators of the Beer House from what i've seen on the airports twitter account. I've used it before and found it not that great. I now generally prefer to use Costa and to be fair that is always pretty busy.
As to Swissport running the lounge or any other airport lounge provider would they be interested even if they were approached especially if there is no kitchen. Also would the airport then be able to offer 'a stylish Welsh departure' as they put it on their website if the lounge was just essentially part of a chain?
 

TOM100

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If you go to the BA lounge in Hong Kong it has a distinctly Chinese flavour to it as well as some comfort British classics so yes you can put a local slant on it.....if there is a profit somewhere of course Swiissport would be interested. They have the concept, contacts and buying power to do it.

You don't specifically need a kitchen on site to make a hot offer available......
 

TheLocalYokel

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Qatar uses third party lounges at a number of its smaller airports, as a look through the first three pages of Qatar lounge reports in Skytrax will show at the below link. It's not only the CWL lounge (by coincidence the latest lounge reported on) that receives the thumbs down, although I'm not sure if the refurbished lounge was open when Qatar began flying from CWL.

http://www.airlinequality.com/lounge-reviews/qatar-airways/page/1/
 
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