UK Airport Lounges In Detail
Twenty years or so ago airport lounges were seen as the reserve of the rich and famous. Only people travelling first class really knew about these little airport oases.
Today however, it's a totally different story. Airport lounges still remain very special places and just because more people now use them it does not mean they have suddenly just become an extension to the main terminal building. You can still expect to relax in true style and comfort in surroundings which promote relaxation and calmness.
Airport Lounge Choice and Availability
The choice of lounges at airports has greatly increased especially at places like Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick. There are lounges which cater for lower budget travellers and there are some which offer the absolute pinnacle in pre-flight leisure time and are almost re-defining the whole concept of airport lounges.
Also, they are now far more readily available, one quick search on the internet and you'll be presented with an array of websites offering lounges at most UK airports. In fact our own website can even add an airport lounge booking onto the back of a car parking or hotel booking.
Entry to UK Airport Lounges
One of the main misconceived perceptions regarding airport lounges is that you'll have to wear a suit or at least a shirt and tie... Totally untrue, you do however have to dress smart.
This simply means things like no football shirts or ripped clothing etc.. Take a look at a typical example of the dress code required for the No1 Lounge at Heathrow airport (T3) :
"The lounge has a smart-casual dress code and may refuse entry to customers not wearing suitable clothing. Tailored shorts and smart jeans are allowed, but the lounge suggests you do not wear sports clothing, camouflage patterns, clothing with offensive slogans or that exposes midriffs or shoulders. Hen and stag do themed clothing is not permitted."
Another typical misconception is that children are not allowed in lounges. Again, totally untrue. In fact the vast majority of lounges allow children entry, some even offer free entry to very young kids.
Also a lot of lounges now cater especially for children by offering a greater range in entertainment with things such as games consoles, games and some having dedicated games rooms such as the No1 Lounge at Gate 49 Stansted airport.
Facilites Inside UK Airport Lounges
Once you have paid to enter the lounge then the drinks are all free. This ranges from tea & coffee to soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. You can expect to have free reign to beers, lagers and spirits (not champagne). However, you will need to bear in mind that some lounges (very few, in fact we know of only three) will put a limit on the amount of drinks you can have.
Food & Snacks
All lounges will offer snacks of one type or another. These include things like crisps, nuts, sweets and pastries. However, some offer far more and have sandwiches and hot snacks available.
Some go even further, for example Plaza Premium T4 Heathrow airport offers breakfast, lunch and dinner which includes light hot meals, tapas, soups and desserts.
Entertainment, Wifi and Other Gadgets
We can safely say that all lounges in the UK offer free wifi access. Aslo all lounges will offer free newspapers and magazines. It's also safe to say that all lounges will offer powerpoints to enable you to recharge your devices. That's at the basic end! Others will include things like televisions, phone access, books and board games.
At the top end of what some lounges will offer are computers, tablets, games consoles, pool tables, cinema room with dvd library, quiet relaxation rooms and dedicated games room.
You'll also be able to find lounges which offer some amazing facilities which will make you feel like you're in a home from home. Take for example the Aspire Plus lounge at Newcastle airport which offers private single space snoozepods.
It doesn't end there, you can expect some lounges to have spa treatments, private bedrooms, showers and even personal shoppers.
Surroundings, Comfort & Views
So, in a nutshell all airport lounges offer a true oasis away from the crowds, a place where you can truly feel relaxed. They will all have comfy seating with nice decor, bar area and staff to help. Most will also have seating areas where you or your family can feel a bit private.
Some lounges will have absolute amazing surroundings with dedicated rooms such as the Escape Lounge at Stansted airport. This lounge offers four different areas :
The Deli Bar & Restaurant - Complimentary drinks and snacks where all food is freshly made for you.
The Hub - The main area with private sections allowing you to relax and even sleep if you want to.
The Snug - A spectacular tranquil area with cozy seating.
The Study - A great place to do some work or have a meeting, complete with powerpoints and free wifi access.
Many of the lounges also have excellent views over the airport and runway. So just sit down with your drink, maybe something to eat and watch the planes come and go.
Almost all of the lounges have disabled access but please take extra care when booking to make sure the lounge you want specifically states that they have access for disabled travellers. Our website has a simple to read tick system, if the lounge offers disabled access then you will see it ticked. Go to our airport lounges page and do a search to see.
How Long Can You Spend In an Airport Lounge?
A question we think most people ask. Simple answer is three hours. You'll find that these times are quite flexible and if you happen to find yourself still in the lounge slightly after three hours you're probably going to be ok.
There are some lounges which allow access for much longer. For example the Plaza Premium T2 Departures lounge at Heathrow which allows you to enter the lounge six hours before you fly off.
This is quite a new concept. Imagine you arrive at a UK airport after a long flight and all you want to do is to relax or even sleep for a few hours, maybe also take a shower. Well take a look at the Plaza Premium T2 Arrivals lounge at Heathrow airport.
This lounge will allow you up to 12 hours access which will give you plenty of time to utilise the usual offerings in a lounge as well as the Wellness Spa, take a shower and even sleep in one of the private relaxation rooms.
The big question most people immediately think of when a vip airport lounge is mentioned. Ok, they do vary quite a lot from the basic lounge offering drinks and snacks, newspapers etc.. will cost you around £14.95 each. Then right at the top of the pile you have lounges which offer absolutely everything from spa treatments to bedrooms to hot food and games rooms, these will cost you anything from £50 to over £100 each.
Consider this though, lets say you're travelling on your own, if you stayed in the airport departures hall you will have to pay for food, drinks and possibly some of your wifi access. Then you'll have to find somewhere comfortable to sit (we all know how uncomfortable some airport chairs can be).
So lets say you spen £15 on lounge access, you'll get drinks and snack free as well as not having to pay for wifi access and be able to relax in a comfy chair instead of constantly wriggling around on one of those metal chairs most airports seem to like!
UK Airport Car Parks (UKACP)
Have a great trip!