If you’re feeling a bit fancy (or you’re an airline club member), many choose to make themselves comfortable in an airport lounge as they await their flight. But not all lounges are created equal.
Despite the extra money that travellers spend to be there, Which? has found that most airport lounges in the UK don’t actually deliver on their promises of comfort and luxury.
The consumer company carried out secret inspections in 20 airport lounges around the country, rating them out of five stars based on facilities such as toilets and showers, the food and drink selection, their level of noise and their view of the runway.
The bad news? Not a single one managed to get more than three out of five stars. No airport lounge in any of the country’s airports managed to score more than just-above-average.
On the brighter side of things, six hubs got three stars, including Manchester Terminal 1 Aspire, Edinburgh Aspire, Gatwick No1 North and Gatwick No1 South. They were praised to their ‘generous choice of drinks’, ‘excellent runway views’ and ‘varied food selection’.
Right at the bottom of the pile was Southend Airport’s Skylife Lounge which got a measly one star. It’s the cheapest of the bunch and apparently the inspector ‘arrived to find the area ‘appeared closed’ and ‘was ultimately advised by staff to request a refund’.
Gatwick North’s Plaza Premium, Manchester Terminal 1’s Escape and Birmingham’s No1 Lounge were only mildly better. They all ranked 1.5 out of five thanks to bland food, stained seats and long toilet queues.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘Using an airport lounge was once synonymous with luxury, but now that’s rarely the case. At the very least though they should guarantee you a hassle-free start to your holiday, with a pleasant environment to enjoy a nice meal and some drinks while you wait for your flight, away from the crowds.
‘Too often our reviewers found lounges failed to deliver even on this basic premise, with many overcrowded, unkempt, and unclean. The food offering was so poor at some lounges, reviewers went elsewhere to eat.’