- Capital One is looking to bring an elevated dining experience to its airport lounges at New York’s La Guardia Airport and the Washington area’s Ronald Reagan National Airport.
- The bank is partnering with D.C.-area chef José Andrés to design a menu that focuses on tapas and small plates in airports where travelers typically have shorter layovers.
- “What we kept hearing from customers was the way they traveled was just different from what they saw in the more typical lounge experience,” Matt Knise, managing vice president of U.S. card, travel and experiences at the bank, told Bloomberg. “They didn’t necessarily want to go find a seat. They wanted to go, get some fresh food and step out.”
Capital One is hardly the first bank to expand its presence in the food space. JPMorgan Chase last year agreed to buy restaurant platform The Infatuation, which owns the Zagat guidebook and review brand.
The new lounges, named Capital One Landing, will be strategically placed a shorter distance from airport gates. An indoor/outdoor concept at La Guardia is designed to provide sweeping views of the New York skyline and airfield.
The new offering comes after the bank revamped the traditional lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and announced plans to open lounges at Denver and Dulles airports early next year.
Capital One’s competitors, meanwhile, already operate lounges at some of the target airport: American Express has a presence at La Guardia and is eyeing an expansion toward Reagan National. JPMorgan Chase, meanwhile, said it will open lounges at La Guardia and Dulles.
Andrés said his team thought of Spanish tapas soon after Capital came to him with the push for a new dining experience.
“Food is deeply linked to the travel experience,” Andrés said. “But as someone who spends a lot of time in airports, many times, I find myself wanting more.”
Combining tapas style with “the bounty of American farms and traditions,” Andrés said, is a way to incorporate “the very best of both countries.”