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TravelHaven Tips — Hotel Services Make up for Airline Cuts

As airlines cut back on services, some hotels are stepping up to fill the gap and make the airport experience less difficult. Hotels can assist their harried guests to decompress after airline delays, baggage hassles, and other travel issues and to help departing guests. Some new hotel services include airline concierges, who can help with security, immigration and customs; lounge access, as well as seating selection, usually for much less than the airport and air carriers charge for similar services.

Now that the in-flight meal is extinct, many hotel kitchens are stepping up to offer meals to go. Others provide a selection of snacks that beat airport and airline selections for quality and variety.

Some luxury hotels have begun lending athletic shoes and clothing so that guests don’t have to lug (and pay for!) that extra bag. Others will store wardrobe for frequently returning guests, laundering them after departure so that they are fresh and ready upon return. Guests whose wardrobe has increased during a stay may be helped to avoid baggage charges with boxes to ship excess items back home.

In some locations hotels are opening their own lounges for guests to freshen up on arrival or to while away the time before departure. These may include wet bars, Wi-Fi, electronics charging stations, showers, children’s play areas, and refreshments. Other airport innkeepers offer half-day rates for long layovers or delays to relax in the privacy of a hotel room instead of sitting around the terminal.

Most of these services come at a price, of course, especially airport services for departing guests. Still, the cost is often less for comparable airport services (such as lounges and expedited security or customs). And other offerings are otherwise unavailable at any price.