The Weekend Traveller – The Airport Lounge
I’ve travelled through many airports around the world, even having the pleasure of working in some, but lets face it, they are not the most enjoyable part of any trip or holiday.
People are stressed, prices are steep, quality in some is appalling and to top it all off, there are never enough seats.
Many years back I was fortunate to do lots of flights, many of them Business Class and as such I got to experience the quality of the business class lounge. These were offered complimentary when travelling on a partner airline around the world. No trip to Australia was without a visit to the beautiful one world Business Class Lounge at Heathrow or whilst refuelling in Singapore.
I later changed my career (And income) to travel/work overseas for 8 years and those business class flights and all important perks were a thing of the past – or were they?
Lounges that are available to the general public, those that you do not need to be flying business class or be a round the world frequent flyers for, have been improving dramatically over the last few years.
With Airport Owners and Handling Agents trying to cash in on that little piece of luxury that we all want, there are now many lounges that you can pre-book and pay for, that are more then just a waiting room with a few soft furnished seats.
Over the last 6 months, I have visited each of Manchester Airports 3 Terminals and tried out a different lounge at each one – carry on reading to find out more.
Terminal 1 – Escape Lounge
The Escape lounge at Terminal 1 starts from just £19pp – We recently paid £25 each before a flight to Holland. The Lounge is quite roomy and light with plenty of seating. However there were a couple of sofa’s reserved with a time slot of two hours – this was the same two hours that we were in there and they were not used once.
The drinks that are included are of good quality with a few different red/white wines and Prosecco is also included in the price, overall the bar is well stocked and manned.
Food served here was also a good quality, hot food included Lasagne, Pasta, Soup, as well as Cheese, Ham, Sandwiches and other Snacks.
Screens are also dotted around the lounge, so you can see when its time to head down to your gate and start boarding the plane.
My Rating – Good
Terminal 2 – Aspire Lounge
We used the Aspire Lounge in Terminal 2 before a long-haul flight to Thailand. this was the cheapest that I’ve booked at £20pp
The room was quite small, but luckily the airport was very quiet, with our flight being the only one within a three hour slot. therefore there were plenty of seats available.
There was only one Red Wine on offer at the time and if you wanted Prosecco it was an additional charge – which would then make it the same price as the Escape (Where Prosecco is included) They also have a sign that says ‘1 drink is OK, 2 they ask questions and 3 you will usually be refused’
Food on offer consisted of Cheese, Ham and Bread – maybe because it was so quiet, hence no food pictures here.
My Rating – Average
Terminal 3 – 1903 Lounge
Terminal 3 has a newer lounge also operated by Escape called 1903 and this is a ‘premium’ lounge which we visited before a trip to Barcelona.
1903 is the closest I’ve seen to the Business Lounge standard – it was slightly more expensive – we paid £30pp, having said that the quality was also the highest. With the decor being fresh and the seating comfortable.
The drinks menu not only included Prosecco but also Champagne. Wines are Premium and as are Spirits – Stocking delights such as Manchester Gin!
The service and food available in 1903 was very welcome – I only wish this standard was available in all of Manchester’s 3 Terminals
My Rating – Excellent
I now very rarely travel without booking a Lounge – and with another flight coming up from Manchester T1 very soon – which should I choose.