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  New lounges offer luxury for all travelers


Creature comforts and technology perks are all the rage at airport lounges these days. How about this one at the new Airspace Lounge at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport? Even when you position yourself at the bar for a brew, you’ll find an electrical outlet at every seat in the bar and at every other seat in the lounge.


Assuming there are seats available, there’s no need to scramble to find a plug to recharge your laptop, tablet or cellphone. The Airspace Lounge claims to be part of a new concept in lounges. Its operator, AirMall USA, says the Airspace Lounge “is the first large-scale airport lounge network in the U.S. open to any passenger flying on any airline.”


Day passes for the lounge, on Concourse D, go for $17.50 and monthly memberships are in the works, AirMall says. So, you don’t have to be a road warrior flying around the country all week to get into the Airspace Lounge. It’s open to once-a-year vacationers from any airline if you come up with the $17.50 for a day pass.


And, you don’t need to show a boarding pass to gain entry, but are required to swipe a credit card on a touch screen entry kiosk to gain admittance. Among other tech-oriented services, the lounge offers free Wi-Fi [well, you already paid a fee for the day pass], complimentary access to on-site PCs and Macs, and color-printing for a fee.


Separately, Alaska Airlines is changing things up at its Board Room lounges at airports in Anchorage, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Ore. The airline is extending the operational hours at each of the lounges, where day passes cost $45 and annual memberships go for $295 to $450, depending on your elite status in Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program.


Starting June 11, the Anchorage Board Room will be open for travelers 5 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., which adds about six hours to its daily schedule. The Board Rooms in San Francisco and Portland are open longer, too, until 9 p.m. And, the Seattle Board Room will keep the lights on until 10:30 p.m. daily. The Seattle facility had been closing at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays. On the tech front, all of the Alaska Airlines Board Rooms offer complimentary Wi-Fi, business work stations and large-screen TVs.

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