At the Star Alliance and United Club lounges in Los Angeles, you can wait for your flight outside on an observation deck, perhaps while sipping Chardonnay, smelling jet fuel and enjoying one of roughly 330 sunny days each year.
It's part of a newish trend of airlines and alliances opening clubs with outdoor decks. Some are in obvious places, like L.A. Others are not. Delta Air Lines has outdoor lounges in Atlanta and New York
, while Virgin Atlantic has one in London. The terraces delight passengers, who pose for selfies by fire pits, while watching aircraft move on the ramp.
But it's December now. And while Virgin Atlantic likes to brag it has the only rooftop garden at Heathrow, the airline has never figured out how best to use it because, unlike in Los Angeles, the sun does not shine year-round. "Winter in London proved to be the most challenging time for us to make this space incredible," Daniel Kerzner, the airline's vice president for customer experience, told me.
Enter the igloo.
This week, Virgin Atlantic announced it had built an eight-seat igloo on the deck, available to passengers through January 14. It's part of a marketing deal with London's Coppa Club, which uses seasonal igloos to goose low-season sales
. At Virgin Atlantic, executives hope igloos will make the brand pop on social media. According to the release, the airline expects customers will take "highly shareable selfies in this unique location."
I don't see many igloos — I'm in L.A. — but apparently elsewhere they're a thing. "Igloos have become a huge sensation in London, and we wanted to take it one step further," Kerzner said. Kerzner, who earlier this year left Marriott International, where he was vice president of marketing, promised we'll see more innovative ideas from Virgin Atlantic in 2018.
What do you think? What should Virgin Atlantic plan to help improve the brand's positioning? Does it need to do more than have a month-long igloo popup?
And what's with this igloo craze?