fit for royals
Houston has long been a hotbed of discriminating global travelers who demand the kind of cushy confines other world-class city airports offer. With that in mind, international airlines are targeting George Bush Intercontinental passengers with their improved upmarket amenities.
Perfect timing for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines — the world's oldest airline still operating under its original name — to unveil its newly renovated KLM Crown Lounge in Bush IAH's Terminal D. Just one of four in the entire world, Houston's new Crown Lounge reflects the same signature aesthetics of the Amsterdam-based airline's luxe lounges. (Two Crown Lounges are in the Netherlands; a third is in Toronto and is also newly renovated.)
In IAH's Terminal D lounge, that means visitors can expect a refreshed and updated lounge spanning nearly 4,000 square feet and offering 100 seats. Warm and modern design — a hallmark of the company's Amsterdam-inspired aesthetic — features palette of blue, grey, black, and copper brown — all touched up with the company's signature KLM Blue.
Baseball glove-soft and ergonomic eco-leather chairs and plush fabric seating utilize eco-friendly and upcycled materials while providing relief for weary travelers. Meanwhile, new flooring, sleek fixtures, and major upgrades to the bathroom create a sense of hotel over airport. Traditional Dutch delft houses are showcased on the wallpaper, harking to airline's Netherlands homeland, while wall art teases the on-board flying experience.
More on those delft houses: A KLM Delft Blue house display will showcase the various miniature houses from over the years, each depicting a real Dutch building. As travelers in the know are aware, the Delft Blue houses — each containing gin — are an exclusive gift for the World Business Class passengers traveling on international flights. The latest Delft Blue House, dubbed House #104 by the airline, will be released on October 7.
For those opting to eat at the airport, the Crown Lounge serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner via a self-service buffet. Peckish passengers can dine on hot and cold food options, salads, daily soups, sodas, juices, wine, beer, and spirits. A KLM USA spokesperson tells CultureMap that the airline plans to revamp the dining offerings "in the near future."
As for access, the KLM Crown Lounge is open to all qualifying business passengers from KLM, Air France, and their SkyTeam partners. Members of Sky Team Elites, Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, and Lounge Key also can enjoy lounge privileges. Day passes will be available for purchase as available for a mere $50.
The lounge operates between 6 am and 9 pm — ideal for those who might while their day away in the airport getaway.
IAH travelers can look forward to another KLM update. Starting on October 29, Houston passengers can fly KLM's 787-9 Dreamliner. The airline's state-of-the-art jet features KLM’s World Business Class with direct aisle access, KLM’s new Premium Comfort Class, and Economy Class.
“Houston is one of our top markets in the U.S., and this upgraded lounge is a wonderful new offer, reaffirming our dedication to providing travelers with the utmost comfort and convenience,” said Eric Caron, general manager of North America at Air France KLM, in a press announcement. “We look forward to welcoming our valued passengers in soon, providing an experience that will make their time at the airport as memorable as the destination itself.”