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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