India is full of mom and pop lounge operators. Of the major lounge operators, there is Plaza Premium, Bird Group and TFS Global, which operates the lounges on behalf of many major lounges such as Bangalore Airport and Mumbai’s Adani Lounge (and smaller lounges such as Lucknow Airport). Then, the likes of Primus Lounge should be removed from the business for the lack of experience in operating a lounge in the first place. Primus Lounge operates lounges at Amritsar, Indore and Jaipur Airports.
Primus Lounge, Amritsar Airport
The domestic pier of the Amritsar Airport had a small lounge, which has also set up a marketing outpost on the ground floor of the airport after you get through the security check. This was our first introduction to the Primus Lounge. Like you would note, full marks to Saptagiri Restaurant Private Limited for having fed into the hunger of credit card issuers in India and tied up with every perceivable brand there is, apart from American Express, who have not signed on with them, thankfully.
So, we went over to the first floor, where we were going to board our late night flight from, and where the Primus Lounge was, only to be surprised by this matchbox size lounge. Here is the entrance to this lounge.
As you would note, the names of all the issuers who would be let in were plastered all over. But it was 9 pm on a Sunday, and no one at the reception knew how the operations of the lounge worked.
We ran into a front-office agent who did not know how to swipe the card machines or input the digits of a card on a back-end platform to authenticate for access. When we arrived, a crowd surrounded her, with people having all their credit/debit cards out asking her which one would work. Her only answer to them was, the lounge is full.
However, I could see from the corner of the door that there was space inside, at least for two people, so I requested her to let my parents in, who were both willing to swipe their Priority Pass to get in. I also educated her about how it made good business sense for them because Priority Pass usually pays a higher rate for lounges compared to the other card-based access. However, she continued to tap on her tablet, trying to feed in digits of people she had already let into the lounge but did not know how to authenticate.
It took a little bit of perseverance from Shipra and me to get her attention, to be able to get at least our parents checked in. While I could see the empty seats, I did not know the whole place was operated, frankly, like a nut case of a job. And the only reason to get inside was that I would rather my parents don’t unmask themselves on the plane so that they could grab a bite at the airport itself.
However, the lounge looked like it had no competence to show for the lounge operator. It was a 20-25 seat operation, but inside, there was chaos all around. For example, many people sit on top of the couch armrests while trash is spread out on the floor and the couch itself.
The restaurant area had no one managing it, with leftover plates not cleared up after people left the lounge.
But the clearest sign of no one being available and looking out for the customers inside the lounge were the lounge operators lack of their own people in this lounge. There was no trace of anyone while I went in to get my parents settled in.
For that matter, there was no sign of any food as well.
The only thing my folks got for their USD 32 per head visit was a 200 ml bottle of water and chaos, and the lack of a lounge attendant. I left them inside, but they came running after ten minutes for the complete fish market that the lounge was operating as.
Now, before you go about my experience being a freak occurrence, I checked out other reviews of the lounge, and it was consistently rated 1* on Google Maps and other review websites as well. I only wish I’d seen the reviews before my trip rather than after the trip. I’ve personally written to relevant people at various organisations to de-list this lounge from their platforms and offerings.
The Primus Lounge Amritsar is one of the worst managed lounges in India, incapable of taking the loads that the airport could be looking at. For one, the lounge does not have trained staff, and second, they have their essential people missing at the peak hours of the airport operations.
Have you been to the Primus Lounge Amritsar Airport? What has been your experience at this lounge?
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Amritsar airport lounge display board at entrance showing accessable cards shows SBI card , but concerned staff at reception on 22.05.23 at 7.45 Am denies access and advises that it is not updated .Not appreciable, incovinience faced by me .Who is answerable for this
I had recently visited the Amritsar lounge and really that was pathetic.
No sufficient people to operate this. While at 17 e0 pm they were still serving dal rice and nothing more to eat.
More pathetic was the way we were serviced. The staff was not at all co operative for servicing the people around.
Since we don’t eat onion and garlic we requested the chef to make us some dal without onion and garlic to which he straightaway denied.
Writing this review while sitting in this lounge . The most striking feature is the flies which are everywhere, on your face and the pathetic food they serve. Unclean and congested place .
Great Review Ajay and team, this has got to be the best site (a go-to for me, for sure) whenever I would be visting a new location and an unknown lounge. Hope to share my experience on the ATQ lounge, soon.
This sounds like a terrible experience. I can imagine being super unhappy paying $32 per head for such a poor setup. I also happened to visit the Golden Chariot lounge at Udaipur. Was a virtual replay of what you experienced. Thankfully that joke is now closed. I am not quite sure why airports allow such poor lounges to operate. After seeing how well Mumbai has done with a single operator (TFS) who has a contract with the airport, I’m fairly convinced that this is the way to go. I think BLR should also strongly consider a two lounge system – one for elites and J and another for card access. They do have enough space.
The lounges are in disarray because they are now too overcrowded. Earlier, the lounges in India were the best in the world owing to the hospitality and the food. Unfortunately, with the increased crowds, lounges are simply not in a position to cope, despite their best intentions. If lounge space cannot be increased to accommodate the ever increased crowds, I think the lounges would fare better by raising the rates banks need to pay per guest using the lounge. This way, lounges can maintain the same revenue levels while increasing the net revenue per lounge guest and thereby increasing quality of the lounge and experience for the lounge guests.
“best in the world”
I’ll take it you haven’t been to HKG and used any of their lounges. To Singapore, to Doha, the list of best lounges goes on and on but never in my life have I seen any lounge anywhere in India even make a top 20 list.
Best in the world, AHH man that’s hilarious.
I’m not saying there aren’t good lounges in the country but to imply they rank amongst the best on the globe is laughable.
I have travelled to 45+ countries and we have visited many lounges such as the Concorde Room at LHR.
For us, what is most important is the availability of hot vegetarian food and the lounge able to meet the needs of my parents who often travel with me.
While no doubt there are other great lounges in the world, my parents have always loved the lounges in India better owing to the hospitality they have received in the India lounges and the food. They are happiest when in the India lounges (prior to the overcrowding) and for me that makes them the best in the world because my parents are the happiest there.
In my books, the Thiruvananthapuram Lounge beats the Cathay Pacific lounges in HKG because in the Thiruvananthapuram lounge, the chef manning the live dosa counter kept making different, unique mini-dosas for us at his own free will. One of the most generous tips I have ever given is at the Thiruvananthapuram lounge. The Cathay Pacific lounge while definitely better today has been super-rude to us on multiple occasions (aka Indians) back in the early 1990s behaving as if Indians didn’t belong in those lounges.
Hence, in my books, based on my experiences of various lounges in 45+ countries and based on criteria that is important to me, Indian lounges are truly some of the best in the world owing to their food and genuine hospitality.
Hi Sanjeev, did you take up this matter?
What was the response received?
Did you perceive any change after your complaint?
>>The Cathay Pacific lounge while definitely better today has been super-rude to us on multiple occasions (aka Indians) back in the early 1990s behaving as if Indians didn’t belong in those lounges.
obsession of few people to use a lounge. Good that you paid 32USD for nothing. People like you deserve a lesson.
@Anup, who hurt you, son?
How does his decision to visit or not visit a lounge affect you? In any event, for better or for worse, his visit to the lounge has educated you on the poor conditions of the lounge and therefore enables you to make an educated decision if you were in the same situation – which btw is also the reason we all chose to visit this blog.
Calm down and educate yourself first before relying on ad hominems to direct your misplaced negativity.
Just get yourself educated before writing like a worthless person
@Anup, since you can’t make substantiative contributions here, who is being the worthless person. If this continues, we will bar you from commenting here.
and that will be the biggest regret of my life. Just be happy that your dumb website is getting hits and interactions from me
Ajay, well spoken, my friend. Seems this guy ANUP just cant value add on a public forum.
Anup, what is your problem in life? How is SANJEEV not “educated” You seem to be a person who just cant take any feedback, my friend. Rest in Peace!
Yes I agree. Some people dont appreciate the time & efforts undertaken to share a reveiw as well as capture some pictures. As we know, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Anup, quite obvious you are a non-lounge user! The benefits of a lounge go far beyond the “free food”. As someone who travelled 8-10 times per month by flight, I really understand and appreciate the value-add that lounges have to offer. Lastly, your comments are selfish and self-centred. Im sure the writer doesnt give a rat’s ass about his USD 32 Dollars, he probably makes much much more from this website, and the revenue comments like YOURS generates!
What the heck, this Anup seems to be a bit or some really really screwed up guy
To be honest most of Lounges in India are in complete disarray these days and have lost their charm. Now every bank is providing lounge access even for some of the entry level debit and credit cards which makes lounges overcrowded and huge lines outside.
I travelled through Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore airports ,both domestic and international and the situation is same everywhere. Either lounge operators should increase capacity or ask banks to stop providing lounge access to each and every customer.
Good luck if you are a business class ticket holder or have access to Amex Lounges, rest of the people keep fighting for an access to the domestic lounges.
I am sorry to say Shuvo but if you come across people to keep 5-10 lacs in SB account just for getting a card with lounge access, people are doing it. So you cannot tell banks to stop giving lounge access cards to all or public. This revolution is unstoppable.
No one wants to stop your “revolution” instead the lounges need to do the following:
1) Increase capacity for maximum footfall in peak hours
2) Increase charges levied to banks
Both the above actions will do an auto-correct on the situation which so many of us are facing!
If there are multitude of people availing the Lounge facilities, don’t just fret… there are no free lunches. Don’t blame the people or banks for giving access to people, lounges are not just limited to some privileged class. Rather, the lounges must buckle up to provide better services because they charges a good amount for each card swiped even if it comes out as a complimentary one for the card owner. And btw, many lounges do provide good service, let’s not generalise the statement for India. Also never forget, in none of the firang lounges you get to eat for this reasonable amount.
Could you please provide the email id people managing rupay lounges? Varanasi’s Zesto Bar and lounge is listed on rupay lounge platform but the lounge operators don’t allow any access through rupay cards. Need to bring this to rupay’s management’s attention.
Suggest you escalate/share this with your Bank, they will take it up. If you write in to the people managing lounges, they will give you a canned (standard) response thanking you for your feedback + they will have it looked into.
I had been to this lounge in Dec 21. It was around 12:00noon and there were 1 person operating the lounge. He got our credit card swiped and he really knew which card would work or do not work. Rupay platinum card do not work at this lounge, i argued with him that it did work at Mumbai Adani airport though. Post we got inside he also came inside to serve the people with 3 options: burger, sandwich and french fries (veg or non-veg). The food was really made fresh and it was served hot. He also served green tea, coke & Water bottles too. Post this they were preparing for lunch and we got good scent of chole kulche and other amritsari stuff. They were about to serve it but since our flight boarding was at 1:05pm so couldn’t get chance to see the food. Later a lady staff also joined this person to be on the gate. We also observed few people gate crashing inside and ordering food since there was no one at the gates even in afternoon time. We do not know how many had genuine cards working for this lounge or came just for free.
Great to see the 1st POSITIVE feedback, thanks ANONYMOU-3 for sharing !
The whole point of this entry in the lounge was for the review. I am sure airport has many more food options and any one of them could have been chosen for the food. Even better, you can have dinner before reaching airport. One need not use PP just because he/ she has it and in this case it seems it wasn’t even free visit.
@Sankar, clearly you know much more about the circumstances of people who were there and in the moment about what they should or shouldn’t have done. As for what we should do with our Priority Pass, the next time I pull it out of the pocket, I will keep your advice in mind.
Ajay, I love your sense of humour 🙂
Ajay, fair review of what appears to be a poorly run lounge.
That said, given the general tonality of the review, I don’t feel it’s fair on your part to prominently feature the photo of the front-office agent. It’s evident that she’s obviously trying her best despite the poor (or no) training that she may have received.
I’m also genuinely curious to know why you thought it would be safer for your parents (or anybody else for that matter), to sit in the lounge and not the gate area, given the apparent lack of hygience, social distancing and non-adherance to Covid-protocols?
@Guest, thanks for bringing this to our notice. I see that we edited the image to blur out the face, but somehow WordPress took the original image over the edited one. Now fixed again.
As for why my folks should be sitting there as I mentioned, we did not have a clue of what was happening inside till we got them in. And then, they were out in 5-10 minutes figuring there was general chaos all over.
Well noted, Ajay, and thank you for clarifying.