Days before Christmas, airports can get a little crazy: Long TSA lines. Snow-canceled flights. Passengers eating sad, cold sandwiches at flight-delayed gates. But Terminal D at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has a new refuge that turns holiday hassles into pre-boarding bliss—the first-ever luxury airport lounge from Capital One.
The Capital One Lounge is a 10,000-square-foot luxurious escape near Gate D22 with curated menus, a craft cocktail bar, cycling and yoga room, and many other amenities.
But more than that, it’s a statement: Capital One has been moving into the travel space for years, and now it’s truly taking off.
Helping people travel smarter
Capital One is making moves as a tech company that wants to help people travel smarter. That means every step of the journey—from booking to the airport experience and beyond. The bank, which takes a tech-forward approach to travel, revealed details of its new all-in-one travel booking portal this summer.
Called Capital One Travel, the portal includes smart price prediction tech to help customers get the best deals and options. Benefits include free price-drop protection on flights and the option to freeze a flight price for up to 14 days.
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“We recently launched a new partnership with Hopper,” Claire Deichmann, Capital One’s director of lounge strategy and growth, told Dallas Innovates.The AI-powered travel tech platform, which recently raised $175 million, offers unique features in what’s been a bit of a “run-of-the-mill industry,” she says, and is powering up the bank’s travel booking capabilities.
The new travel portal, which was “live in beta” as of early December, is rolling out across the bank’s platform for cardholders. Capital One also launched a new upper-end travel card, upgraded travel benefits and announced new transfer partners for Capital One miles this year, Deichmann says.
Last month, the bank also launched its first premium rewards card, the Venture X card. So now, “what’s in your wallet” could offer you more ways to save on travel worldwide.
Venture X card provides free access to the lounge
One other reward Venture X cardholders get is free, unlimited access with a boarding pass to the Capital One Lounge at DFW Airport and the bank’s other lounges opening in 2022 in Denver and Washington, D.C. They also get complimentary entry for two guests per visit.
Venture and Spark Miles cardholders get two complimentary visits per year and additional visits at a discounted rate of $45.
All other travelers with boarding passes are welcome at the new lounge at the standard rate of $65, which brings you a wide range of complimentary food and beverage options including craft cocktails—as well as high-speed wifi, a shower suite, the cycling and yoga room, a relaxation room, and more.
Best-in-class airport lounges are a key Capital One play
One way to make people see you as a travel company is shift their perceptions, and the new lounge at DFW’s Terminal D does just that. It aligns the bank’s brand with an elevated airport travel experience—one that may almost make you glad your flight got delayed.
To create that experience, one of the first things the bank did was talk to hundreds of heavy-traveling customers about their travel and airport lounge likes and dislikes. Then it did a quantitative study of 2,000 others. Deichmann says the bank listened to their needs and anchored them back to some of Capital One’s core strengths, such as being digitally led.
“One of the things we’ve heard a lot is most traditional lounges can be like a little bit stuffy—a little old school,” she said. “We wanted to make it feel more modern and refreshing in terms of our design aesthetic.”
Another pain point: Many lounges are geared toward longer-stay customers, but a lot of fliers don’t really have much time. They want to hop in, eat a nice snack, sip a quick drink, and get to their gate in time for boarding.
For short stops and long layovers
So Capital One oriented the front of its DFW lounge space for short-stay customers who want a relatively brief escape from the terminal’s hubbub. The lounge offers them quality grab-and-go food options and a coffee and espresso bar to get them ready for their journey.
Deeper inside the lounge space, amenities cater toward people who want to stay longer and experience more.
Jenn Scheurich, head of travel experiences at Capital One, says listening to travelers helped them create an ideal oasis.
“We built our experience from the ground up based on what customers told us they really wanted,” added “We’re excited for people to come in and experience it.”
The experience: nap pods, art works, cocoon chairs, yoga—and no TVs
To create an oasis from travel stress, one key feature is what’s missing: blaring talking heads on 24-hour news channels.
“We wanted to give people that moment of respite,” Scheurich told us. “We did a lot of things intentionally. For example, there are no TVs in the space.”
What is in the space is a way to relax and unwind—and comfort everywhere you look.
“You’ll see our little workout studios,” Deichmann said. “We’ve got Peloton bikes, yoga mats, and amazing runway views and sunset views, so you can sweat and look at the sunset.”
Seating was selected to give weary passengers a soothing break.
“The red chairs are my favorite because they sort of like wrap around and you feel like you’re in a cocoon,” Scheurich said. “It’s what people need. Traveling is stressful.”
The zero-gravity nap pods (as seen at the top of this article) are even more cocoon-like, offering what Deichmann calls “a fully sensory immersive experience like a spaceship. There’s a shield that comes across your face, different soundscapes you can listen to, and stars on the ceiling.”
There are also multi-faith prayer rooms inclusive for all types of travelers. “We do have several Middle Eastern Airlines that use the space and wanted to make sure we met their need,” Deichmann said.
Regional foods, locally commissioned artwork
Each of Capital One’s airport lounges will have a local feel.
“Strategically, we knew that we wanted to be in DFW,” Scheurich said. “It’s a great market and sees lots of great travel both originating from DFW and passing through DFW, so there are a lot of customers that we thought we could reach there.”
So when people pass through the lounge, they’ll know they’re in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“It’s not just a generic lounge, it’s authentic to the region,” Deichmann said. “We wanted to have consistency of look and feel to the region where they are.”
Works by Dallas-Fort Worth artists are featured throughout the lounge—over 55 pieces of local commissioned artwork.
“Capital One leaned into the local elements,” Deichmann said. “That’s in terms of our food and drinks, local sourcing of food and beverage providers, and choices that cater to authentic foods of the region,” along with the survey of local artists.
“This is not the same food and drink that Dulles will have,” Deichmann pointed out. “Capital One worked with hospitality partner Streetsense to curate the food and beverage experience. We wanted to do something a little bit different than the standard buffets. We have things that are pre-plated for a more elevated experience.”
Whether a traveler wants to grab a quick snack or break for a relaxing dining experience, the lounge has fresh and healthy options that can make you feel good, she said.
“We’ve also worked with a company called Unfiltered Hospitality on our bar program, who are the founders of the famous cocktail bar in Miami, the Broken Shaker,” Deichmann added, noting the “amazing cocktail menu.”
More lounges on the way across U.S.
DFW is just for starters. More Capital One Lounges will be landing soon at Denver International Airport and at Dulles outside Washington, D.C. And Scheurich’s team is working to get lounges into other airports across the U.S. as well.
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