Scheduled Commercial + Auditoriums - Dulles Skylounge by Valiant
When drawing up plans to rebuild its main terminal at Dulles International (IAD), architects came to the conclusion that Valiant's primary lounge used by Business and First class passengers would need to be totally demolished to make way for upgrades and improvements. With this news, Valiant began considering options to retain a high quality lounge for its patrons at Dulles during the construction. Their solution was unconventional but extremely interesting. Instead of finding a space within the terminal to build a temporary lounge, Valiant would create their own space outside of the terminal and shuttle first class and business passengers to it. In 2016, Valiant purchased a recently retired 747-400, repainted it in a slightly modified iteration of the Valiant scheme, and flew it to Dulles where it was parted out on a remote stand for several months. Much of the interior was removed as were the engines (which were replaced with end of life dummies). Later, the aircraft was towed to a less remote stand close to the terminal where a significant hole was cut in the aircraft's rear fuselage and a large tower containing an elevator and emergency stairs was installed near the rear of the aircraft. The main floor of the aircraft, featured in the map below, contains a bar and lounge marketed as Club 74, A full service restaurant with a buffet called the Loudoun Restaurant (after the county in which Dulles is located), a conference room called the Morris Room (in honour of the family which founded Valiant), and gender segregated wheelchair accessible restrooms. The structure's upper deck features a seating area with couches and various chairs that provide a panoramic view of the airport tarmac. Below the main deck is a kitchen for employees as well as shower facilities, gender-neutral restrooms, various small seating areas for customers, and certain utilities (mainly air conditioning). The Skylounge is connected to the airport's electrical and water systems. When it is open and it is not raining, customers board the Skylounge with a set of truck mounted airstairs, but employees and disabled customers use the elevator located at the rear. Since opening in 2017, the lounge has been very well reviewed by airline critics and passengers alike. The excellent views and facilities it offers makes up for the relative inconvenience of requiring a short shuttle ride to access. Valiant was intentionally ambiguous as to whether the Skylounge would be temporary. The new terminal floor plan included a large area which could have been fitted as a lounge if the Skylounge and its associated schedule prove to be uneconomical. However, reports suggest that as construction nears its conclusion on the new terminal, the space has been used as an office complex and staff break room - suggesting that Valiant does not plan to replace the Skylounge in the immediate future.