I originally posted this in response to a poll, but figured to start a new topic so....
Charging a fee......I pay the lowest possible fee to get airline club access. $99 per year to Priority Pass. In addition to the annual fee, there is a $27 per visit. The inconsistencies that I have found from club to club are startling. Yesterday, I had a 7:00PM scheduled flight from BDL (Hartford/Springfield) to PHL. I finished up very early and headed to the airport hoping to catch an earlier flight. There was an outside chance of catching the 1:31PM and a great chance for the 3:14PM. No luck on the 1:30...the 3:14 had checked in full, so that was going to be a long shot.
I figured to kill two, maybe fours hrs (5PM flight), in the USAir lounge. Having run to the airport without lunch, I was hoping for soup, maybe a few snacks, at least. This wonderful Lounge collected my door fee. The offerings were a bowl of picked over trail mix and a powdered coffee machine!! I dropped my stuff in a fairly comfortable chair and headed back out to the airport food court area. I bought myself a sandwich and headed back to the USAir Lounge. As I entered the door, the polite attendant, that had accepted my fee just 5 minutes earlier, had transformed into Brian Urlacher and was coming at me to impede my forward progress. She growled that "outside" food was not allowed!! Startled, I was dodging from left to right and apologizing for my ignorance to the rule. Unimpressed with my words, she continued her onslaught to keep me from entering the main lounge area. I'm sorry to report, I was no match for her ferocity. I humbly asked for my money back and I would sulk back to the general population area to consume my sandwich. Of course, she refused to issue the credit. No other employees were present. I sighed, swallowed my pride, choosing to live and fight another day. I'll get that credit the old fashioned way.... call CS and plead my case.
The bottom line...fees are no guarantee of anything. Service or amenities are by luck of the draw, or so it seems. What are your thoughts?