Using an airport lounge is the new thing many people are adding to their pre-holiday checklist. But what are they, what do you actually get for your money and, ultimately, are they really worth it? Here’s what we think.
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What is an Airport Lounge?
Airport lounges are an option at most airports that add a touch of luxury to your trip whilst you wait to board your flight.
They are designed to be quiet spaces where you sit back and relax and escape the frenetic activity going on in the wider airport departures or arrivals area.
They’re situated after you’ve made your way through check-in, luggage drop-off and security. It means you can step into a calm oasis and there’s no need to wade through crowds and sit down on an uncomfortable, metal cold chair that goes right through you.
Lounges usually have food available for you to help yourself, as well as drinks, including alcoholic ones. These food and drink offerings are included with your access. You’ll also get access to WiFi and maybe some other complimentary or small fee services, spa treatments for example.
Who Can Access an Airport Lounge?
It’s a myth that an airport lounge is only for the elite members of society like celebrities and other wealthy, important individuals.
If you’re trying to get into the likes of a British Airways or Virgin Atlantic airport lounge then you’ll need a business or first-class ticket, or be a high value frequent flyer.
Airport lounges can be affiliated to credit cards, for example Capital One lounges and you can use this as an access route.
There are also some airport lounges, usually owned by companies, that are open to everyone for a fee. Examples of airport lounge providers are
- No1 Lounges, who own and manage a number of airport lounge brands, including No1 Lounges, My Lounge, Clubrooms and Club Aspire across Birmingham, Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
- Escape Lounges have lounges at a range of airport terminals: Bristol, East Midlands and Manchester terminals 1, 2 and 3. Entrance is either by pre-booking, walking-up on the day, with an applicable membership card or through an agreement made with an airline.
No1 Lounges for example has 3 airport lounges across Heathrow Airport Terminals 3 and 5. You can take your pick from the No1 Lounge or Club Aspire branded lounges, with prices starting from £35 per person. You can enjoy complimentary, seasonal hot dishes, snacks and premium drinks including beers, wines, spirits and more. Wi-Fi, charging points and digital newspapers and magazines come as standard.
Priority Pass offers you access to 1400+ lounges regardless of airline you’re flying with. For this there’s an annual charge and there are options available depending on the frequency with which you travel. For example, Standard Plus, is for the regular traveler and the current full price is £229 which gets you 10 free lounge visits, thereafter there’s a charge of £24 per visit.
Finding the Right Airport Lounge for Your Trip
If you’re flying for business, the likelihood is travelling for work is something you do frequently. Buying an annual pass for airport lounges may, therefore be a great choice for you, guaranteeing a comfortable place to sit and work during those unsociable hours. With speedy WiFi and charging points for your devices, you can even comfortably get 9-5 started no matter what time of day you’re flying.
At a relatively small cost, if it’s allowing you to work, it’s one you can submit as work expense. If you’re travelling a lot, it’s also worth seeing if your air miles can guarantee you a free lounge pass or two.
Couples, Holiday or Honeymoon
Add something extra special to your mini break, or your honeymoon and get your married life off to a great start. Ask for it as your wedding gift and you won’t even have to pay for it. With adult only lounges available, you can enjoy a more romantic setting and toast a complimentary glass of prosecco. You can even get Promo Codes For spa treatments at some lounges, including Executive Lounges. Book in for a massage, facial or a selection of other treatments and really pamper yourself.
A lot of airport lounges will accommodate the whole family, and even come with play areas where your child can rid themselves of pent up energy before boarding a flight. No need to tear your hair out keeping track of your offspring in a busy airport or feel guilty for disturbing other holidayers.
The teenagers can plug themselves in and there will be no whinging about being hungry, having to queue up for yet another bottle of Fruit Shoot. Save the pennies on feeding your tribe and avoid the airport expenses for dining by using the airport lounge complimentary food and drink.
Is it Worth the Money?
Food and Drink
Avoid premium rates slapped on a bottle of water and snacks just because you’re in the airport. Spend anywhere from £20 to £40 on your airport lounge booking and you’ll be getting food and drink included in the price.
You can log in to exclusive WiFi, not slowed down and made clunky by thousands of people. Kids can be entertained with special screen time privileges and you can take the time to keep up with your online social acitivy.
Why risk the chances of securing a seat in the first place when you’re going to find it pretty uncomfortable, anyway?
Airport lounge seating offers sofas and armchairs you can sink into. Time will fly in a more relaxed environment where you’re not simply staring at a screen for those magic ‘boarding’ words.
Some airport lounge bookings come with free fast track passes through security, saving you up to 10 minutes of time depending on when and where you’re travelling from. Your fast track pass may even include being one of the first to board. As well as fast track, you can also book in a spa treatment, complimentary glass of fizz in hand.
Time spent in an airport is nothing if not stressful. From luggage allowances to long queues, crowds and your children running riot. Take the edge off and book yourself in at an airport lounge. Not only do you avoid the anxieties of the airport, but you can treat yourself to perks like bubbles and a massage. Make time fly before you fly and get Netflix up on their speedy WiFi.
You can check what others think about a particular airport lounge by using review sites such as TripAdvisor, or look at such as SkyTrax which assess lounges using a set of criteria across the lounge amenities, facilities and service standards, and they use a unified and consistent rating system so that you can get accurate comparative ratings. For example:
- British Airways airport lounge at London Heathrow T5 is currently rated as 5*
- Escape Lounge at Manchester airport is currently rated as 3*
- Aspire Lounge at Birmingham airport is currently rated as 3*
However you choose to use your airport lounge pass, you’re certain to feel more calm before take-off. Yes, it might just save you money, but most importantly it also helps give you a great start to your holiday.