A holiday gift that eases airport waits

Remember the snow storms that shut down airports on the East Coast last year? Were you or a family member recently delayed because Chicago was experiencing high winds? Even if you are traveling to or from a balmy climate, winter’s weather woes may put your plane or the flight of someone in the family on hold at a different airport.

You might find items of interest such as this statue of Lincoln near O'Hare's Terminal 2 or you can wait in comfort in an airline's club lounge

You might find items of interest such as this statue of Lincoln near O'Hare's Terminal 2 or you can wait in comfort in an airline's club lounge

You can get to know the airport better where you are stuck. But having a place to relax, watch TV while sipping a glass of wine or have free Wi-Fi access can go a long way to easing flight delays.

The holidays are a great time to make travel easier for someone you love (including yourself) by giving an airline club membership. However, the recipient will appreciate the gift throughout the year.

What you should know

American Airlines

AA has more than 40 Admirals Clubs and connections to 30 more lounges through its international partners.  If the recipient is already an AA Advantage member, club membership may be discounted. Also Advantage miles may be used to purchase membership. If not a member, the person can be enrolled for additional benefits at no cost.

Club benefits include complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, snacks, computers with hi-speed internet access and Wi-Fi. In addition, a service desk assists with plane and seat changes. Seating and TV is more comfortable. Some clubs have showers and children’s areas. Many clubs have complimentary beer and wine.

Costs range from $500 for a new, single annual membership (or 80,000 Advantage miles) to $400 (or 55,000 Advantage miles) for a new, single AAdvantage platinum member. Add $325 for spouse. A 30 day Admirals Club pass (from date of purchase) is $99.

United Airlines (includes Continental Airlines)

United Club, (formerly United Red Carpet Club and Continental Presidents Club) offers the same benefits as Admirals Clubs do for AA travelers. With international partners, the joint clubs have more than 50 lounge locations. As with AA the recipient should join the Milage Plus program.

Club cost for a United MilagePlus member is $475 (62,500 miles)) Premier MilagePlus member cost is $450. Add $225 (30,000 miles) to add a spouse or domestic partner. A one day Club Pass is $39.

Happy holiday travels

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