As part of my Jet Blue Mileage Run, I had a 7 hour layover in the SEATAC airport in Seattle. Normally, I would have dreaded spending 7 hours in an airport but I was actually looking forward to trying out the Centurion Studio as it would be my first opportunity to use one of the AMEX Centurion Lounges. Technically, the Seattle lounge is referred to as a studio as it has the smallest footprint of all the AMEX lounges. With that small footprint comes many reports of overcrowding and even reports of people being turned away.
When I arrived at the studio, I was greeted by the front desk clerk who took my boarding pass, AMEX Platinum card and a piece of picture ID. It seems that they take the access to the lounge pretty seriously as this was the most effort I have ever had to go through to access a lounge. From there, I was asked to wait on the couches as the lounge was currently full. I was told that the wait time was going to be less than 5 minutes and it turned out to be true. Once a seat opened up, I was led by the gentleman in charge of seating to an area where there were 4 sofa type seats arranged around a small table. While I was grateful for the seat, I really felt like I was in the middle of someone’s private area.
I asked to be moved to an area where I could work and was directed to another corner seat that had opened up. Once I moved there I saw another gentleman vacate a more comfortable seat and moved over to take that seat. That’s when the gentleman that seated me came over and admonished me for taking over the seat as it was intended for a couple that had just come in. He somewhat politely asked me to vacate my seat and move back to my previous seat. Based on that interaction, it really felt like I had to ask permission to move to other areas of the lounge … something that I had not experienced before. I actually felt like I was in grade school again and needed permission to get up.
In terms of the food, it was actually very disappointing. There was nothing but cookies, desserts and veggies. Nothing there was hot and the selection was quited limited.
If I’m being honest, none of the food was all that appetizing. In fact, I left the lounge to get some proper food at the food court. Now that’s saying something. If you have a patron leave your lounge to get food at the food court, you’re doing it wrong.
In terms of drinks, AMEX has wait staff taking orders for beer, wine and a couple of cocktails … so no access to self-serve alcohol that I could see. You also have access to the standard Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, etc. One of the things that Centurion Lounges do is to bring a taste of the city to the lounge and the Seattle Centurion Studio decided to do that through Jones Soda. Now don’t get me wrong, I used to love Jones Soda when I was younger and I was actually looking forward to the nostalgia but I was disappointed once again as they only had 2 flavors … orange and cream soda. Once again … not impressive.
In terms of a design esthetic, it’s quite a nice looking lounge but there are far too many things working against it for me to recommend it to anyone.
I will actually be back in Seattle for a 4 hour layover in a week’s time so I will see if anything has changed. If not, I will be sure to try out Alaska Airline’s Board Room Lounges. I will also have the opportunity to try out the newest AMEX Centurion Lounge in Houston in November … hopefully that won’t disappoint as I am bringing a couple of friends along for the ride.