BALTIMORE (AP) — Travis Riner ordered a vodka and soda, grabbed a quick snack and headed to an empty plush banquette in the “Relax Zone” of the Club BWI, a new passenger lounge at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. He plugged in his laptop and used the complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi as he prepared to hop on his conference call while waiting to board a flight to Orlando.
For $40 a day, Riner and other passengers have access to the private lounge and all its amenities — free snacks, cocktails, daily papers and charging stations. For an additional $10, guests of the Club BWI also have access to Roam Fitness, a full-service workout and shower facility, which opened its first location in the country at the airport in January.
These new facilities are among BWI’s growing offerings for a luxury travel experience, along with a slew of craft cocktail bars, elevated dining options and upscale shopping venues. The efforts are an attempt to provide a better travel experience for customers while attracting new passengers from nearby, competing airports in larger cities such as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., according to BWI officials.
The airport, which saw a record 2.3 million passengers in May, is following in the footsteps of larger hubs, like Boston’s Logan International Airport, with its numerous fine-food offerings from James Beard Award-winning chef Todd English; San Francisco International Airport, which hosts a science, art and culture museum along with Gucci, Burberry and Swarovski stores; and Los Angeles International Airport, which recently opened a “celebrity terminal” with a private TSA screening lounge, BMW sedan shuttle service, private bathrooms and daybeds.
BWI is gunning for “the ultimate customer experience,” said Annette Fisher, deputy chief of marketing and air service development for the Maryland Aviation Administration, which oversees the airport. “It’s about having everything at your fingertips. It’s a one-stop shop. We have nonstop flights, luxurious accommodations. It’s easy come and easy go.”
In the past five years, Benet J. Wilson, a freelance aviation journalist and senior editor of Airport Business magazine,…