Moscow Picked For World’s First Oneworld Lounge

Filed Under: oneworld

In February 2019 I wrote about how the oneworld alliance was planning on opening some branded lounges.

The Plan For Branded Oneworld Lounges

Collectively oneworld airlines already operate hundreds of lounges around the world, but the idea is that at some airports the alliance as such would build lounges, rather than member airlines.

There are over a dozen oneworld member airlines

This is a concept we’ve already seen from SkyTeam and Star Alliance, as they each operate some of their own lounges as well. Initially the plan was for the first lounge to be announced in mid-2019, though clearly that has been delayed a bit.

The SkyTeam Lounge Dubai

At the time the alliance revealed that they saw opportunities in 15-30 airports globally, with many of the choices driven by terminal developments (in other words, airports where oneworld airlines depart from a common terminal, and there’s space to open a lounge).

While it was by no means an official announcement at the time, the alliance did suggest we could see these lounges in airports likeĀ Sao Paulo, Beijing Daxing, Frankfurt, Paris, New York JFK, and even London Heathrow.

Well, the alliance has now announced the location for their first ever branded lounge, and it’s not where most of us expected.

I should note upfront that some people might point out “well there’s already a oneworld lounge at LAX.” While it does have the name, in reality it’s run by British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, and isn’t operated by the alliance as such.

Moscow Selected As First City For Oneworld Lounge

The oneworld alliance and Moscow Domodedovo Airport have agreed to build a new branded lounge for customers of all the alliance airlines operating to the airport. I’m guessing that the lounge won’t actually look like the picture at the top of the press release. šŸ˜‰

Hopefully not what the oneworld lounge Moscow will look like

Moscow Domodedovo is home to oneworld member S7 Airlines, so this would also be the lounge that S7 uses going forward. No timeline has been given yet for when the lounge will open, though we’re told to expect more details, including the opening date, in 2020.

S7 Airlines has a hub at Moscow Domodedovo Airport

Rob Gurney, CEO of the oneworld alliance, said the following:

ā€œWe are excited to launch the first oneworld branded lounge at Moscow Domodedovo in this momentous year, as we celebrate the allianceā€™s 20th anniversary with an invigorated mission to deliver the highest levels of service and most seamless travel experience to our customers. Moscow Domodedovo is the home of our member S7 Airlines, and we are thrilled that the first oneworld branded lounge will be located at its hub.ā€

S7 Airlines operates more than 140 daily flights from the airport, and on top of that the airport is served by British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Royal Jordanian.

In total oneworld has more than 150 daily flights from the airport, and in the first 11 months of 2019, the airport handled more than 12.6 million oneworld passengers.

Currently all airlines except S7 use third party contract lounges, so I guess this is a logical airport for the alliance to open their first lounge.

One of the Moscow contract lounges used by oneworld airlines

Anton Eremin, CEO of S7 Airlines, said the following:

ā€œWith Domodedovo Airport being our core hub we will be really glad to welcome passengers of our partner airlines in Moscow. We always strive to provide travellers with excellent service at any stage of their journey. I am sure that opening of the oneworld branded business lounge will enable us to further enhance airport passenger experience.”

It’s not entirely clear yet whether S7 Airlines will continue to operate their own lounge, if they’ll co-locate with other airlines at the new lounge, or if the current S7 lounge will be used as part of the new lounge setup.

What do you make of Moscow DME being picked as the first airport for a branded oneworld lounge?

  1. Much needed at DME. The lounges there are very sterile. Swiss and Lufthansa each have their own which is odd and neither is great.

  2. Will detained Israelis have access?

    A number of Israeli travelers who arrived in Moscow Thursday were reportedly detained at the airport and subjected to questioning. Some 15 Israelis on an El Al flight were stopped upon arriving in the Russian capital, where airport officials searched the bags of the passengers and took their passports, the Kan public broadcaster reported. Several of the Israelis had their fingerprints taken, according to the report, which said there was no word on why the passengers were detained. All of the Israelis were released after five hours, according to the website.

  3. I’m surprised given DME is S7’s hub. One would think S7 should have a big enough lounge to house all oneworld alliance members in DME.
    I’m more familiar with skyteam lounges and I noticed they tend to have them in airports that aren’t skyteam member hubs like LHR, YVR, DXB, HKG, etc.

  4. Only British Airways, Iberia and S7 are flying to DME Airport.
    JAL is switching to SVO soon, Finnair already only flies there and even British Airways has one frequency to SVO.
    Probably Cathay might resume their former Moscow route once again?

  5. @ross I think the important thing to point out is that it isn’t even safe anymore to transit via Russia anymore. Naaama Isssachar, a dual Israeli-American citizen, has been detained for quite a while already, and was sentenced to seven years in prison. She was carrying a very small amount of marijuana in her checked baggage, that she did not even have acess to as she was in transit from India to Israel. The working theory is that Russia arrested her so that they can make a swap for a Russian criminal who is due to be extradited to the US from Israel.

  6. I suggest they name it the Donald J. Trump Lounge, in honor of the “president” that Russia “helped” elect!

  7. Uh…this is a weird idea. As Max points out, yes S7 is based at DME, but Finnair now only flies to SVO due to their Aeroflot partnership, and JAL is soon to switch to SBO too. BA already has a lounge at DME, and thatā€™s pretty much it for oneworld airlines at Domodedovo. S7ā€™s current lounge is truly very nice, a super pleasant space to relax or eat before a flight, but itā€™s much too small to serve anyone except for the airlineā€™s few own Business Class passengers plus elite members and the people who access it through priority pass. Trying to remake that space into a oneworld alliance lounge would devalue it in the eyes of S7ā€™s own customers and lead to overcrowding. Plus it would likely mean the loss of prioritypass access to that lounge, which would be very unfortunate considering how nice it is…as someone who uses it several times a month in some cases, Iā€™d really prefer it if oneworld just left DME alone and let it continue as it is now.

  8. Interesting choice of location. Maybe the next Oneworld alliance lounge could be in Damascus or Pyongyang.

  9. This does not make any sense to me… Alliance-branded lounges seem to be most economically feasible at popular airports that are not hubs of member airlines, like Skyteam at HKG, LHR, DXB or Star Alliance at CDG, AMS, GRU, etc. Moscow is hardly an O&D market for OW carriers and most transit traffic is handled by SU, not to mention S7 operates DME as its hub. Why would OW want to build its first-ever brand lounge there?

  10. @charlie
    In a case like that, it doesn’t matter, most nations take a very hard line on people bringing anything illegal into their country, regardless of where its going or how its going to be transported their. The US, for example, has arrested several people going from Canada to states with legal marijuana, and Canada has charged people with felony weapon violations for entering Canadian territory on a boat trip to Alaska. Nations states take stuff like this seriously, violate at your own peril.

  11. @Sunny..
    it is extremely rare for serious charges to be considered on a tourist that was in transit that was carrying several grams of a substance lime marijuana. While I have never used any illegal drug I do understand that this was a very small amount, about 0.25 ounces. Remember, she was in transit.
    It is unlikely that I would transit through Moscow regardless of how great that lounge would be.
    While Israel has strict security and border controls they are not known for throwing tourists in jail for years.

  12. @Donato – 0.25 ounges (9.2 grams). You can roll at least 3 fat blunts out of that.

    Still a felony amount in many states.

    if she was in transit in one of those states and a dog sniffed it out, it would be a much longer jail term.

  13. @annabelle costa
    I guess you learn something everyday. I had assumed that this was a small amount. I am not familiar with the terms used, I hope I will never learn them. I might just take up vaping instead.

    The term states can be confusing, Do you think there are States in the USA where someone in a secure airport area, in transit, not entering the USA would be jailed for years for the amount in question?

  14. Donato – While the punishment is beyond ridiculous, Israel regularly locks up people indefinitely without charge, so you can stop acting like there’s some moral high ground there…

    Not that it’s remotely relevant to the actual issue of whether she’s being used as a pawn or not – you’d need to see how similar cases have been handled to establish that.

  15. @Joey & everyone else in this post wondering about S7ā€™s presence is DME

    S7 is mostly a domestic airline flying within Russia and CIS, with limited services to Europe, East Asia and Northeast Asia for Russian and Chinese leisure travelers (S7 pretty much monopolizes the China-Siberia and China-Far East Russia market, where places like Beikal and Vladivostok are attracting tons of Chinese tourists and businessmen given their geographic proximity and relative isolation in the modern day global narrative).

    Therefore, you can think S7 as the Russian equivalent of Air Europa/Thomas Cook/Condor, and their DME hub serves mostly for Moscow folks traveling to Europe for leisure or domestically. Thatā€™s why they have a nice but small lounge at DMEā€”most of their international flights out of DME are no more than 2-3 times per week and are all by narrowbodies, which is enough to serve their own passengers, but not enough for other airlines flying more frequently to DME.

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