It’s happening, airport lounge visits are reducing in India.

About eight months ago, I wrote about the economics of lounge access in India and why Indian banks are cutting down on lounge access via their credit and debit cards. Now, we have concrete proof that the needle is moving in the other direction.

Dreamfolks shares data on reduced Lounge Visits.

When it comes to lounge visits in India, one company that made its whole business around powering the business was Dreamfolks. They positioned themselves as a platform that could replace Collinson, with the massive demand for Airport Lounge Access in India over the past few years, it being used as the hero feature for many banks to attract customers to their credit cards.

However, since December 2023, many banks have moved to a spend-based model, linking lounge access to the card being used rather than just being active. Banks have figured that they would like customers to be using the card rather than sign up for them as a lifetime free card and not use it after. And that flywheel is now beginning to show effect.

Take a look at the visit numbers for Dreamfolks.

a graph of numbers and text

You notice that the number was going upward for the first three quarters of the financial year 2024 (April to December 2023), and from January to March 2024, it reduced by 0.2 Million passengers (2 Lakh).

The reduction is not done yet. In an investor call, Dreamfolks Management said that the impact will only be evident by the end of September 2024, when they expect the numbers to settle into a pattern. There is not much more colour to it, apart from the fact that the company, which has Indian credit-based lounge access as its most significant contributor to the top line, is having to diversify now to create more product/business lines, which will take away the impact of this move, hopefully.

Bottomline

Airport Lounges might become slightly less crowded over the next three months if the folks at Dreamfolks, who manage most lounge access products for Indian banks, are to be believed. The first quarter of a downward reduction has already got shown in their results for FY24.

Do you note the change on the ground level as well? Are some Airport Lounges getting less crowded?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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Comments

  1. Yes the banks have cut down on
    Lounge usage both domestic and International.

    I’ve paid for the usages of lounge both for domestic and International.

  2. Yes I did feel on my recent trips that lounges are relatively less crowded but still quite crowded overall.

  3. Due to the crowds, i started avoiding lounges, only visit if there is more time and hungry. Entry to the lounge queue will be big in Mumbai and Delhi airports.

    It’s good to know that crowd reduced.

  4. Credit card for lounges will fall for sure. and there are many who will return the multiple credit cards they were holding. Crowd has not thinned though, I saw the hyderabad, Bangalore airport this week. May be in a few months. What may also happen is that food quality may go up. Except Bangalore airport lounge most are plain awful. Hyderabad and delhi are really sad show.

  5. Why should I use hdfc card ? Spending one lakh quarterly just to eat free there other means…. too
    Make one free excess once in six months will work.

  6. If this is indeed the case then very good news for the travelers

    The basic idea of lounges has been turned upside down – why should people who can easily afford meal outside need free food?

    And why should people who can’t even afford a meal at the airport get reserved area access?

    Take free food out and everything falls into place.

    Lounges should ideally offer a space to chill/ relax / work and not be a free buffet, availability depending on arbitrarily distributed pieces of plastic.

  7. Yes .. recently I have visited lounges in both Hyderabad and Chennai and I can confirm that there is less crowd tham what it used to be few months back.
    I don’t have to wait or stand in queue for 15 mins to get into lounge.

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