Umm, ho, hum. A few days ago, I wrote about how the Terminal 3 Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi Airport was temporarily closed suddenly on November 12, 2022, without notice. Little did I know that this was a bigger problem than just one or two lounges in isolation. [Update: All Plaza Premium Lounges in India are now closed]
All Plaza Premium Lounges at GMR-operated airports are shut for now.
Plaza Premium used to be the market leader in third-party lounge operations in India at a point in time. However, Mumbai Airport’s move to in-house lounges set a cat amongst the pigeons for major airports in India to get in the lounge business.
Bangalore Airport let go of Plaza Premium and Above Ground Level and opened its own lounges (called BLR Lounge and 080 Bengaluru). Delhi Airport similarly let go of Vistara, then Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa and are working on its own lounge (to be opened this month) to be operated by Encalm Hospitality. This company got into the business in 2021 and is trying to create an excellent hospitality-focused product for airport operations. Plaza Premium’s Ahmedabad Lounge was handed over to Lite Bite Foods.
This has led to the shrinking footprint of Plaza Premium, which was left with operations in only five airports across India:
- Amritsar Airport (International)
- Chandigarh Airport (Domestic/International)
- Delhi Airport (Terminal 2 Domestic, Terminal 3 Domestic/International x 2/Arrivals x2)
- Hyderabad Airport (Domestic/International)
- Nagpur Airport (Domestic)
We know that Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi T3 International was due to be shut down as their contract was not going to be extended once the Encalm Hospitality-operated lounge came into being. This is due this month.
When I wrote about the T3D Lounge, Plaza Premium’s website did not indicate any other lounges being shut. However, what seems to have happened is that all the Plaza Premium Lounges at all the GMR-operated airports are now showing as temporarily closed.
From the looks of it via Social Media, Hyderabad Airport has a similar timeline as Delhi Airport. While the Lounge seems open, credit card-based access has been nixed. It almost sounds like the Hyderabad lounges are close to pulling the plug.
Visa cards not working at lounges in Delhi and Hyderabad, but other cards are working?! This is despite having the 'best' visa card supposedly 🙁 Had to cut a sorry figure in front of my group.@DelhiAirport @Visa
— Jai Yadav (@jaiyadav1997) November 14, 2022
@bobcreditcard My Eterna card dishonoured at Hyderabad Airport Lounge at 3am when I needed it the most ….it was disheartening and horrible experience
— Dr Aniruddha (@Draniruddha123) November 13, 2022
I was @ Premium plaza lounge @RGIAHyd , 630am and just two breakfast items that were too cold. Completely baffled. I wish I had spent time otherwise …spotting planes …
— vidya sagar Dommati (@askvisa_) November 15, 2022
@RGIAHyd sir no services at hyderabad lounge for international passengers like no food no drinks tea etc horrendous conditions. Staff also not updating any thing. Passenger are totally unhappy
— Rajesh Varma (@RajeshV60753093) November 12, 2022
Delhi Airport would only go as far as to say that Plaza Premium Lounges are temporarily unavailable.
We regret the inconvenience caused. We would like to apprise you that due to operational reasons, the services at Plaza Premium Lounge is temporarily unavailable. We will update you once it is operational.
— Delhi Airport (@DelhiAirport) November 15, 2022
And Hyderabad Airport says there is some backup strategy they are operating on.
Hi Parithosh, please note that the Plaza Premium Lounge is currently not operational. We are on a backup strategy to ensure a smooth passenger experience at our airport! Thank you!
— RGIA Hyderabad (@RGIAHyd) November 15, 2022
Purely speculating, but it seems there is a contract getting over somewhere without an extension being offered. If this is true, then this will not be nice for the lounge operator because, in one swoop, two of their most significant operations in India will go away. One of our readers passing through indicated that even the Hyderabad Lounge is heading the way of Encalm.
I was in Hyderabad yesterday and the lounge is being taken over by Encalm who are also taking care of Meet and Greet services at Hyderabad airport.
The experience was pathetic as no proper management in @EncalmIndia lounge at Hyd airport
— Pratik Shah (@pratikshah1994) November 16, 2022
At the time of writing this, we have written to Plaza Premium Group, their PR agency in India and GMR for a statement. If they come back to us with a statement, we will update this story accordingly.
In the meantime, this is a big blow, especially for passengers who use their bank cards to access the Delhi or Hyderabad airport lounges. They are advised not to build in time for a quick bite or drink at the airport lounge before their flight anymore.
All Plaza Premium Lounges are shut at Delhi Airport for the moment (across T2/T3), and at Hyderabad, the credit-card-based lounge access seems to be nixed for now. Plaza Premium’s website, as of November 14, 2022, indicates all the outlets of the lounge operator in Delhi and Hyderabad to be closed for now. Both these airports are under the stewardship of GMR Airports at the moment.
What do you make of the Delhi and Hyderabad Airport Lounges being shut, en masse, without any notice? Have you flown from Delhi or Hyderabad recently, and what has been your experience?
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