Airport lounges are adjusting to the our new world by reducing shared spaces, especially those involving food.
I flew though Istanbul Sunday and spent a few hours in the Turkish Airlines Business lounge, one of my favorite lounges in the world. Turkish, like airlines around the world, is taking steps to reduce the transmission of germs in its still-crowded lounges.
Yes, the lounge was still packed. In the midday rush, most seats were taken and the lounge looked like any other day. Coffee stations were still open, though baristas wore masks. Food stations were still open but operated with a slight twist (at least at some stations); a chef will hand you a finished dish (versus you serving yourself).
Self-serve pide and nuts are no longer available.
The buffet, which likely presented the highest risk of contamination considering the hundreds of hands that touched it each hour, has replaced large bowls and platters with individual portions in single-use containers.
Take a look:
Restrooms and showers were still operational, but a cleaner was stationed inside restrooms whose job was to essentially continuously sanitize restroom surfaces.
Turkish Airlines offers one of the largest and consistently busy airport lounges in the world. Its steps to minimize the spread of germs are similar, though, to what many airport lounges around the world are now doing. If the situation worsens, it would not surprise me to see many airport lounges eliminate food and drink all together beyond a small number of pre-packaged snacks and drinks. We’re already moving in that direction in the USA.