The mobile lounge at Washington Dulles is an interesting thing. I first came across them in the Airport series of movies, where they feature in both Airport 1975 and The Concorde… Airport ’79.
Nowadays they are mainly used to take people arriving from overseas from their plane to the International Arrivals Building. Being a bit of an aviation fan, I was very happy when I flew into DC and got to use one.
Mobile Lounge Concept Video
There is a great video here from 1958 explaining why the mobile lounge was a good idea to use for the new airport. Since airports and piers were getting longer and more spread out, people were having to walk greater distances.
As the presentation points out, this could mean having to walk up to five football fields in length from getting out of your car to boarding the actual flight. Clearly that was not good, so a solution was needed.
Having passengers board the lounge and then carting them all to the plane was decided upon. Unfortunately they fell out of favour as people arriving did not appreciate having to board a bus and preferred to walk. I can relate, getting a bus when you land is the pits!
Eventually other solutions were found and the whole concept was pretty much ditched. They are an anachronism today, but I suppose it’s nice to be able to still see them in action.
Checking out the video, the whole concept of the mobile lounge makes some sense. Of course, aircraft became much larger, meaning one or two lounges would not be able to accommodate all the passengers.
With many airports around the world privatised and operated to separate people from their money, you can see why a short and convenient airport experience is avoided. Getting people to spend an hour or so before flight shopping, eating and drinking is best for the bottom line.
What did you think of the video? Have you ever used the mobile lounge at Washington Dulles and if so, do you like it or loathe it? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image via Reddit.