Today, most U.S. commercial airlines have vaunted lounges – like Admirals Club or Sky Club – to serve their employees and passengers. But, a more lavish, distinguished version of this travel perk was once available to luxury travelers, writes Rebecca Harshbarger, senior associate at Atkinson Consulting and vice president of active client programs at the American Express Travel division. Harshbarger’s article appears in the May issue of Fortune (click here to subscribe).
According to the article, in the early days of the 20th century, travel was glamorous, and it didn’t matter where you went. Travelers attended corporate events, traveled by train and plane and jetted about in luxurious luxury.
The “Wonder Years” inspired the growth of the airline business at least, and, as Harshbarger points out, there were obvious ties between businesspeople and their golf clubs: “Often the members of the rich and powerful got together in their private homes at country clubs where the betting was not just on the weather or the carousel but the shot accuracy on the course. We saw our first golf carriages in the post World War II economy era when the First World War had made the roadways difficult and some young men began to view country clubs as a place for steady companionship, gossip, pursuits, well done on the bag, good, long courses, and specialized care and money.”
But given the everyday necessities that the modern travelers must put up with, they may have little use for a fancy airport lounge. Harshbarger says that rather than a decorum-free “fly-in, fly-out” experience, business travelers should be advised on safety measures and their obligation to take the time to avail themselves of airport lounge services.