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The Evolution of Airport Lounges: A Look Back Throughout the Years

The history of airports is quite short if you compare it to the likes of workplaces and schools.

But the very first commercial airport opened just over 100 years ago and within that 100 years, a lot has changed in air travel.

Did you know…?

The first commercial flight was on Jan. 1, 1914. This flight was on an airboat between St. Petersburg, FL, and Tampa, FL. Although this didn’t last for very long. This was the introduction of passenger flights (Sharp, 2022).

Photo of First Commercial Flight - Courtesy of USA Today

A few years went on and 1922 saw the opening of the very first permanent commercial airport. It opened in Flughafen Devau in East Prussia. This airport was the first to introduce paved ‘aprons’ that allowed heavier planes to land and made night-time flying available.

In fact, Flughafen Devau, now called Aeródromo de Kaliningrado-Devau, is still operating as a small domestic airport in the province of Kaliningrad, Russia (AQT Solutions, 2017).

Photo of First Commercial Airport - Courtesy of

So, as of today, commercial airports have been around for 101 years!

As the years went on and airline travel became more and more popular so did the introduction of first-class and priority customers.

So…the airlines responded.

The first airline to respond was American Airlines. It introduced the very first airport lounge!

The exclusive lounge was opened in New York’s LaGuardia Airport and called the “Flagship Club”. Initially, only invited guests could enter the lounge.

Photos of First Admirals Lounge at LaGuardia Airport - Courtesy of Travel Update

So as a regular customer, you probably wouldn’t have seen the Admiral’s Lounge, no matter how much you paid…! It was exclusively for invited celebrities, politicians, etc…

Please note that these invitations were extended by the American Airlines Chairman, C.R. Smith, who was the one to broach the lounge idea in the first place. So maybe you could have gotten in but only if you were friends with C.R. Smith…!

Initially, the lounge was created simply to allow elite customers to have a place to have a drink and relax before or after their flight. But after about 30 years, American Airlines opened the lounges to be available with membership fees, much like it is today.

Fun fact, the very first lounge has officially closed its doors. Not entirely, as it is still in LaGuardia Airport, it has just moved its location within the airport.

84 years later and there are multiple independent and airline lounges in most international airports. But now you can find more than just food and drink. Most lounges include personal travel assistance, shower suites, business centers, conference rooms, and more...

Photos of the Admirals Lounge at LaGuardia Airport, original location before it closed - Courtesy of Lounge Review

Although amenities depend on the size of the airport and lounge, one thing has remained consistent in all airport lounges since the very first one opened in 1939…

And this constant is a good thing!

You know those hard, ganged seating with absolutely no power available in the main lobby area by the gates. You won’t find that in airport lounges.

The consistent part…?

Lounge seating.

Although each lounge has its own style and its own amenities, the seating in every lounge has a similarity.

And that similarity is comfort…!

That’s what Flexxform does best.

Comfortable lounge seating for public spaces!

Are you designing a new airport lounge? Reach out to us to find quality, comfortable seating for the lounge -


American Airlines. (n.d.). Admirals Club. Retrieved from American Airlines:

AQT Solutions. (2017, May 1). What Was the World’s First Airport? Retrieved from AQT Solutions:

Business Traveler. (2022, July 5). The Evolution of the Airport Lounge. Retrieved from Business Traveler:

Finlay, M. (2022, February 13). A Brief History Of Airport Lounges. Retrieved from Simple Flying:

Glusac, E. (2022, July 27). The Democratization of Airport Lounges. Retrieved from The New York Times:

Hardiman, J. (2021, December 15). End Of An Era: American Airlines Closes Its Original Airport Lounge. Retrieved from Simple Flying:

Qubein, R. (2021, December 15). Airline Industry’s First-Ever Airport Lounge Closes Its Doors Today, Another Opens. Retrieved from Forbes:

Sharp, T. (2022, February 28). The world's first commercial airline. Retrieved from Space:


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