Pearl Assist airport services

By Stephen Addison
This item appears on page 12 of the January 2019 issue.
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While planning our May 2018 trip to Morocco, it became apparent that my wife, Paula, and I would likely be spending two or three hours in Casablanca's Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) while awaiting our return flight.

There was relatively little practical information (e.g., a decent terminal map) available online about this airport. What I did find were mostly negative reviews of the facilities, the staff and the prices at airport shops and food outlets.

Shortly before our trip, the newly renovated Terminal 1 reopened, but I couldn't find any useful information about it. Of course, our flight would be departing from the mysterious Terminal 1.

Spending time in an airport lounge seemed to be the best approach to minimizing CMN's reported unpleasantness. According to the LoungeBuddy (www.loungebuddy.com) phone app, CMN's only lounges were the poorly rated Royal Air Maroc Lounge [now called The Casablanca Lounge — Editor] and a pair of lounges operated by Pearl Assist (www.pearlassist.com).

Pearl Assist's website listed a price of $50 per person for their departure lounge and $35 for the arrival lounge. They also provided meet-and-assist services for travelers arriving, departing or connecting at CMN.

Their Meet and Assist Plus service (for an additional $25) provided a dedicated agent to escort us from the airport entrance through check-in, Immigration and security and then to their departure lounge.

(I purchased the Meet and Assist Plus package as a belated Christmas present for Paula. In fact, I lucked into a deal and got half price for the second person, which brought our cost down to $113. I found out about the deal during a Q&A email exchange prior to our trip. One of Pearl Assist's responses mentioned the promotion and I readily accepted it; I never saw any indication of this promotion on their website.)

As boarding time approached, the same agent who had escorted us to the lounge would escort us to our flight's gate. This sounded great, but the website addressed only Terminal 2. I was able to confirm by email that their services were also provided in Terminal 1. (We could walk between the two terminals.)

As instructed, we contacted Pearl Assist by mobile phone 15 minutes before our arrival at the airport. Sure enough, a formally uniformed gentleman was waiting at the curb for us when we arrived. This polite, pleasant young man took our luggage, led us into the airport lobby and walked us through the formalities at each step.

This was a super-fast-track service; we went to the front of every line. It could not have been easier. Later, he took us to our departure gate, again carrying our luggage.

The departure lounge was clean, quiet and typical of most airport lounges. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast from the buffet, which featured some hot items. PCs and TVs were available. Unfortunately, there was no dedicated washroom; we had to use one across the hall from the lounge entrance.

We were very pleased with Pearl Assist's services. While Casablanca's airport didn't turn out to be as dreary as I had feared, I'm glad we finished our Moroccan visit in this manner. We felt the price was reasonable, but be forewarned: prices vary widely by airport.

Pearl Assist operates lounges and provides services in more than 50 airports, primarily in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. When I learned that they operate in Europe, my first thought was that this would be great for dealing with Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG).

Alas, the CDG meet-and-assist service costs $170 per person (with no included lounge access). At London Heathrow, the price rises to $185. Ouch!

STEPHEN ADDISON
Charlotte, NC

 

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

While planning our May 2018 trip to Morocco, it became apparent that my wife, Paula, and I would likely be spending two or three hours in Casablanca's Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) while awaiting our return flight.

There was relatively little practical information (e.g., a decent terminal map) available online about this airport. What I did find were mostly negative reviews of the facilities, the staff and the prices at airport shops and food outlets.

Shortly before our trip, the newly renovated Terminal 1 reopened, but I couldn't find any useful information about it. Of course, our flight would be departing from the mysterious Terminal 1.

Spending time in an airport lounge seemed to be the best approach to minimizing CMN's reported unpleasantness. According to the LoungeBuddy (www.loungebuddy.com) phone app, CMN's only lounges were the poorly rated Royal Air Maroc Lounge [now called The Casablanca Lounge — Editor] and a pair of lounges operated by Pearl Assist (www.pearlassist.com).

Pearl Assist's website listed a price of $50 per person for their departure lounge and $35 for the arrival lounge. They also provided meet-and-assist services for travelers arriving, departing or connecting at CMN.

Their Meet and Assist Plus service (for an additional $25) provided a dedicated agent to escort us from the airport entrance through check-in, Immigration and security and then to their departure lounge.

(I purchased the Meet and Assist Plus package as a belated Christmas present for Paula. In fact, I lucked into a deal and got half price for the second person, which brought our cost down to $113. I found out about the deal during a Q&A email exchange prior to our trip. One of Pearl Assist's responses mentioned the promotion and I readily accepted it; I never saw any indication of this promotion on their website.)

As boarding time approached, the same agent who had escorted us to the lounge would escort us to our flight's gate. This sounded great, but the website addressed only Terminal 2. I was able to confirm by email that their services were also provided in Terminal 1. (We could walk between the two terminals.)

As instructed, we contacted Pearl Assist by mobile phone 15 minutes before our arrival at the airport. Sure enough, a formally uniformed gentleman was waiting at the curb for us when we arrived. This polite, pleasant young man took our luggage, led us into the airport lobby and walked us through the formalities at each step.

This was a super-fast-track service; we went to the front of every line. It could not have been easier. Later, he took us to our departure gate, again carrying our luggage.

The departure lounge was clean, quiet and typical of most airport lounges. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast from the buffet, which featured some hot items. PCs and TVs were available. Unfortunately, there was no dedicated washroom; we had to use one across the hall from the lounge entrance.

We were very pleased with Pearl Assist's services. While Casablanca's airport didn't turn out to be as dreary as I had feared, I'm glad we finished our Moroccan visit in this manner. We felt the price was reasonable, but be forewarned: prices vary widely by airport.

Pearl Assist operates lounges and provides services in more than 50 airports, primarily in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. When I learned that they operate in Europe, my first thought was that this would be great for dealing with Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG).

Alas, the CDG meet-and-assist service costs $170 per person (with no included lounge access). At London Heathrow, the price rises to $185. Ouch!

STEPHEN ADDISON
Charlotte, NC