This is part of a new service package of Budapest Airport. It is called bud:vip and since the beginning of the year offers VIP guests a relaxed, discreet and swift passage through the airport both after landing and before departure. The core component of the package is a special lounge that can be accessed from the large hall on the departure level of Terminal 2A through a small, discreet door marked bud:vip. Functionally it reminds of the other lounges of the airport, but everything is even more exclusive and elegant.

Completely separate way

With the opening of the bud:vip lounge, the airport did not simply add another waiting area, the real highlight and the new feature of the service package is the attached infrastructure between the lounge and the plane. "This new service makes it possible for the first time to completely separate the paths of an ordinary passenger and a bud:vip customer to and from the plane," explains Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport Zrt., who came up with the idea of the new lounge as well as the bud:vip package. Until now, the airport could only offer certain hybrid solutions to those who wanted a more exclusive treatment, but they still would have had to go through the passport and security control together with other passengers.

That is no longer necessary, because a separate security gate was set up for the bud:vip customers. It is located directly adjacent to the new lounge, separated only by a door. The departing passenger leaves the lounge practically through a "back door" and does not have to go back to the concourse. Their separate path continues through the document control, then one floor below by lift, where at the tarmac a black Mercedes sedan and a black Mercedes bus are available in which then the bud:vip customers are chauffeured directly to the plane.


Months-long preparations

What sounds rather clear and simple when first hearing about the launch of the new service, actually took several months of intensive preparation. "Bud:vip had to be seamlessly integrated into the existing security architecture of the airport," says Lammers. Countless consultations with the police, border guards and Customs, but also with the airlines and ground-handling companies was necessary. Even seemingly simple processes, such as the fact that the bud:vip customers do not have to check their luggage themselves – which is also part of the package and done by an airport employee – required intensive coordination.

"In addition to the constructive attitude of all participating partners, the fact that similar VIP services are already offered by large international airports throughout the world has helped in the preparation", adds Lammers. However, the fact that all components of the resulting bud:vip service are compatible with the conditions of an international airport, does not mean that the team did not develop a specific “Budapest-solution” for each sub-aspect. Asked about why the booming Budapest airport had to make do without this internationally established and otherwise self-evident service, Lammers points to the structure of Terminal 2. So far, there simply wasn’t a large enough and well-positioned area for such a service.

Competing in the top league

However, with the move of the government lounge to neighboring, much larger premises last year suddenly an appropriate and well placed area with a connection between the tarmac and unloading area became available and the airport did not hesitate for long. Lammers noted though that if the VIP lounge had not been set up there, they would have found a new place for it in a timely manner. After all, such a VIP service is indispensable for an airport that wants to compete in the top league. Partners such as Budapest's five-star hotels or the managers of national or international corporations or celebrities have inquired about such a service for some time now.

Asked about potential customers of the new lounge, Lammers immediately describes the perfectly understandable image of the international film star or musician, who is "not so keen on his fans' autograph requests before and after flying". But the new service is of course not only available to celebrities, but to all passengers who appreciate the bud:vip amenities so much that they are prepared to pay the corresponding prices. The service package including the many extras costs EUR 215 per person. When buying larger contingents or designated silver, gold and platinum cards, this price can drop to as low as EUR 142. The cards are available for both individuals and corporations.


Transit travelers are also welcome

The VIP lounge is not only available to customers for whom Budapest is the starting point or the destination of their journey, but also to passengers in transit. With this clientele in mind was it decided to add to the comfort of the lounge with a shower. The VIP service obviously offers its guests a fine selection of food and drinks and undisturbed shopping at the duty-free stores of the airport. On request, however, the bud:vip employees can do that for the guest.

The lounge is managed by Péter Mészáros, who has been taking care of the prominent guests of the airport for years. "I'm glad that we can finally offer them a complete VIP package," he says. From the very beginning, bud:vip has been well received by travellers but they are already thinking about the future. "The already recognizable demand makes us confident," says Mészáros.

Lammers adds: "If demand turns out to be larger than the current space in our lounge, we will find a new and bigger solution."

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