Air France has a modest lounge at Aéroport Lyon-Saint-Exupéry (LYS) that does not have a full-time agent, only an agent that occasionally passes through to freshen up the limited beverage and snack offerings.
Entry is gained by pin code from the check-in agents. I innocuously asked the Air France agent where the club is located and she replied, “Do you know the code?” She wrote it down with a furtive glance. A small ego-rush of the conspirator welled up in me.
Airline club lounges have two appeals, with a different weight for each traveler: utility and ego.
Pin code access reduces utility as many passengers will arrive, like I almost did, without the pin and then need to hunt around for someone to provide it.
The ego element is interesting because I noted the smiles on travelers as they punched in the code and smugly looked back at passersby. I am guilty as well. Interesting how the works psychologically.