Travelling in business class is a dream for many holidaymakers, with luxury amenities and perks you don’t find in economy, but this comes with a business class price tag that might be out of budget for many people. However, there is a way you can boost your travel experience and enjoy some luxurious perks without shelling out on an expensive flight ticket.
To get into the business class lounges run by airlines such as British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, chances are you are definitely going to need that business or first class ticket – or at least be a frequent flyer or cardholder. But, most UK airports also offer their own airport lounges for customers travelling in any class – and it might not be as pricey as you think.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Seamus McCauley, editor-in-chief at Holiday Extras said: “Every year, Holiday Extras researches how much UK holidaymakers spend in departures at the airport whilst they wait for a plane – with our most recent data showing that it’s an average of £23 each.
“With lounges starting from as little as £26 per person, the research shows that in many cases it’s actually cheaper to book a lounge – and not only do you get most things that holidaymakers buy in departures such as food, drink, wifi and magazines, included within the entry price, but a comfortable, quiet and relaxing space away from the bustle of departures.”
If you’re jetting off in the coming months and want to learn more, scroll down for our complete guide, or click on the links to jump to the relevant section. Alternatively, if you haven’t yet booked your flights or holiday, why not take a look at some of the best deals on offer from British Airways at the moment or try to grab a holiday deal in the latest Jet2 and Jet2holidays sale?
What is included in an airport lounge?
Airport lounges vary depending on which airport and which type of lounge you are at, but across the board, they offer a safe haven away from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal. The majority of lounge passes include a selection of free drinks, including alcoholic beverages if you fancy treating yourself to a glass of fizz while you put your feet up.
You can also expect free snacks, occasionally hot food dishes, and free magazines to flick through while you pass the time. Additionally, most lounges also have a TV and WiFi.
For those on a business trip, some lounges do offer dedicated spaces for you to get on with some work, meanwhile, those heading on a family holiday are also covered, with most lounges accepting little ones.
And in some cases, you might even be treated to Fast Track security as part of the deal. It’s important to note, however, that the amenities on offer vary so it’s best to check the details of the specific lounge on the airport website before you book.
Seamus McCauley, from Holiday Extras, told Express.co.uk: “Aspire is Europe’s largest brand of airport lounge, and includes everything you could need to have the perfect start to your trip; comfortable seats, food and drink, and a relaxed space. Its lounge at Inverness Airport is available for just under £26 per person, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option.
“If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious – Clubrooms by No1 Lounges would be worth considering. Its lounge at Gatwick is priced from £42 per person, and for the added cost holidaymakers can make the most of a tranquil setting with plush furniture, a seasonal menu designed exclusively for lounge guests, and first-class service from its staff.”
As an example, The House in Heathrow Terminal 4 is one of the airport’s most popular lounges, offering guests an a la carte dining menu, unlimited champagne, cocktails, soft and hot drinks, free internet access, phone access, charge points, a television, and even showers for those who want to freshen up on a layover. The lounge is also open to children, accessible and has a prayer room.
Or, if you’re flying from Manchester Airport, Terminal 3’s Escape Lounge is one of the flight hubs most in-demand. Here, guests can expect a range of sweet treats, drinks and fresh food. Those with a morning flight can enjoy a range of continental breakfast options, including cereals, fruit, croissants and pastries. You can also enjoy a selection of traditional hot items including sausages, bacon and beans.
From lunchtime onwards, tuck into a range of pasta and sauces, freshly baked bread and desserts. Hot drinks, soft drinks, spirits, wine, sparkling wine and beer are all included in the self-service bar, or enjoy premium drinks such as champagne for a few more pounds. There’s also free internet access, phone access, TVs, magazines and charging points, plus the lounge is open to little ones, accessible and has a prayer room.
Despite how popular many of these airport lounges are, spaces are limited on an hourly basis so once capacity has been reached, you will not be able to book a space. This ensures the lounges are never busy and guarantees peace and quiet. So, if you do want to book an airport lounge before your next holiday, it’s best to act fast.
Which UK airports have airport lounges?
Most UK airports have airport lounges, some of which are specifically for airline passengers (such as the British Airways lounges) and others which can be accessed with a one-off fee or a membership.
Many of the busiest airports have multiple airport lounges across their terminals. With the help of Holiday Extras, we’ve rounded up all of the airport lounges on offer at flight hubs across the country. Simply click your departure airport to see which lounges are available to you:
- Aberdeen Airport
- Belfast Airport
- Birmingham Airport
- Blackpool Airport
- Bristol Airport
- Cardiff Airport
- Doncaster Airport
- Durham Tees Airport
- East Midlands Airport
- Edinburgh Airport
- Exeter Airport
- Gatwick Airport
- Glasgow Airport
- Heathrow Airport
- Humberside Airport
- Inverness Airport
- Leeds Bradford Airport
- Liverpool Airport
- Luton Airport
- Manchester Airport
- Newcastle Airport
- Plymouth Airport
- Stansted Airport
How to get airport lounge access
There are a couple of different ways you can enjoy airport lounge access that doesn’t require a business or first class ticket. Of course, this means that while you are permitted access to partner airport lounges, it does not include posher lounges on offer from airlines.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get lounge access is by buying a one-off airport lounge pass online. This can be done online with booking partners such as Holiday Extras or Lounge Pass. Alternatively, you can book directly with lounge operators such as No1 Lounges or Executive Lounges by Swissport (who run Aspire lounges). You can also visit your departure airport’s website where you will be directed to the booking page.
Most airports book in three-hour time slots, so you should take this into account when arranging your visit. Seamus, from Holiday Extras, explained: “Most airports book slots in three-hour time slots, so to make the most of the lounge before your flight – we recommend booking three hours before your scheduled departure time.
“That way you can make the most of your allocated time in the lounge, using the facilities and taking advantage of the benefits they offer before you need to head to your gate to board the flight.”
If you’re a frequent flier, then you might want to consider paying for a yearly membership guaranteeing you unlimited airport lounge access to participating lounges around the world. Signing up for a membership typically makes you a member of a scheme which runs numerous lounges.
The cost of a membership depends on the provider you sign up with, but you can expect it to cost somewhere between £250 and £300 a year. Unlimited membership to airport lounges (so not the airline ones) costs about £260 to £300 a year.
When paying, you become a member of a scheme which tends to run dozens or hundreds of airport lounges. Alternatively, some packaged bank providers offer airport lounge access as an added bonus.
How to get the cheapest airport lounge prices
If you’re looking for one-off lounge access, then booking in advance is without a doubt the best way to go if you’re looking for the best prices. Lounge passes booked in advance tend to start from approximately £20 and can be notably cheaper than if you try to book it at the airport.
Leaving booking your lounge pass to the last minute also runs the risk of missing out completely. Once lounges hit capacity, there’s no more room for late bookings. So, if your heart is set on an airport lounge, it’s best to book in advance and benefit from the cheapest prices at the same time.
Book an airport lounge with Holiday Extras
Holiday Extras offers a number of additional extras to boost your holiday, from airport parking to airport lounges. And using their platform is a really straightforward way of enhancing your trip.
“We offer 116 lounges across airports in 44 countries around the world. This includes all UK airports, popular family-friendly locations like France, Italy, Spain and Greece, and even further afield in destinations like Mexico, Malaysia and the Maldives,” explained the company’s editor-in-chief, Seamus.
“Booking an airport lounge is easy – all you’ll need is a lead passenger name, group size, and flight details,” he continued. “When you’ve entered those, you can select an entry time and choose from the selection of lounges at the airport you’re travelling from. It’s as simple as that.”
You can see the full list of airport lounges you can book with Holiday Extras on their website or by using the Holiday Extras app.
“The easiest way to book a lounge is to download the Holiday Extras app,” said Seamus. “Once you’ve entered the details there, all the lounges that have availability will be presented – making it easy for you to compare and decide on which one you’d like to use.”
Book an airport lounge with Lounge Pass
Lounge Pass works in partnership with over “600 loungers at over 350 airports worldwide”, including over 45 airport lounges in the UK. Their cheapest lounge passes can be booked for as little as £13.50, depending on where you are flying from.
And, you can book with confidence, knowing that if plans change, you can cancel for free as long as you do so within 24 hours of your scheduled slot.
Lounge Pass also works with several high-end airport lounges around the world, which include the usual free foods, drinks and amenities, as well as more exclusive perks such as “en-suite bedrooms, games rooms, separate children’s play areas, a mini cinema or even a gym”.
You can see the full list of airport lounges Lounge Pass works with on their website, as well as how to book.
Book an airport lounge with No1 Lounges
No1 Lounges offers lounges across three UK airports, as well as working in partnership with a selection of airport lounges across the UK and US. If you’re flying from Heathrow, the brand has three 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.
No1 Lounges has seven lounges at Gatwick Airport. You can visit the No1 Lounge, My Lounge, Clubrooms and Club Aspire at South Terminal, or the No1 Lounge, The Gateway and Clubrooms at North Terminal from £30 per adult.
And at Birmingham, No1 has two lounges to choose from. You can visit the No1 Lounge, or the most premium brand in the No1 Lounges collection, Clubrooms, with prices starting from £34 per adult.
No1 Lounges also works with partner lounges, including but not limited to, Edinburgh, Luton, Liverpool, Manchester, Orlando and Las Vegas.
You can see the full list of airport lounges No1 Lounges works with on their website, as well as how to book.
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