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Cars & travel.

5 August 2021

Best and worst UK airport lounges

Our inspectors went undercover to find where you'll get the VIP experience - and where you'll have to make do with a soggy sandwich
W
Which?Editorial team
Manchester lounge 480399

With airports becoming ever busier, pay-as-you-go lounges have soared in popularity.

No longer the preserve of the business traveller, here any passenger can stump up between £20 and £50 for the promise of some peace and quiet - with food, booze and super-fast wi-fi included.

But not all airport lounges are created equal. For every sweeping runway view, elsewhere there are dingy basements. A swanky a la carte menu is the exception to a dozen tired buffets.

That’s why our undercover inspectors have visited 21 pay-as-you-go lounges at some of the UK’s biggest airports - including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh.

They tested everything from the comfort of the seating and the speed of the wifi, to the quality of the food and drink.

Find out which lounges are worth your money, and when you’ll be better off with a restaurant in the terminal.

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 Airport Lounges
Price (advance)
Price on door
Toilets
Runway view
Spa facilities
Made-to-order dishes
Includes fast-track security
Our score (out of 5)
Belfast International Causeway
£27.50
£27.50
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Birmingham Aspire
£21
£24
No
Yes
No 
No 
No 
Birmingham No1
£28
£35
No
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
Edinburgh Aspire
£22
£24
No 
No
No 
No 
No 
Gatwick Aspire North
£21
£24
Yes
No 
No 
No 
No 
Gatwick My Lounge North
£24
£30
Yes
No 
No
No 
No 
Gatwick No1 North
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
Gatwick No1 South
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
Gatwick Clubrooms North
£38
£50
Yes
No 
No 
Yes
Yes
Gatwick Clubrooms South
£38
£50
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
Heathrow Plaza Premium T2
£38
£40
Yes
No 
Yes
No 
No 
Heathrow No1 T3
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No 
Heathrow The House T4
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
No 
Heathrow Skyteam T4
£30
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No 
Heathrow Aspire T5
£35
£40
No
Yes
No 
No 
No 
Heathrow Plaza Premium T5
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
No 
No 
No 
Luton Aspire
£25
£40
Yes
No 
No 
No 
No 
Manchester Escape T3
£21
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
No 
No 
Manchester 1903 T3
£35
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
Stansted Escape
£25
£30
Yes
Yes
No 
No
No
Southend Skylife Lounge
£20
£24
No
No 
No 
No 
No 
Using the table: Our score: 1 = A sub-standard lounge we think is well below average; 2 = An adequate lounge with room for improvement; 3 = A solid lounge that meets expectations; 4 = An excellent lounge, above average; 5 = An exceptional lounge – among the best.

With airports becoming ever busier, pay-as-you-go lounges have soared in popularity.

No longer the preserve of the business traveller, here any passenger can stump up between £20 and £50 for the promise of some peace and quiet - with food, booze and super-fast wi-fi included.

But not all airport lounges are created equal. For every sweeping runway view, elsewhere there are dingy basements. A swanky a la carte menu is the exception to a dozen tired buffets.

That’s why our undercover inspectors have visited 21 pay-as-you-go lounges at some of the UK’s biggest airports - including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh.

They tested everything from the comfort of the seating and the speed of the wifi, to the quality of the food and drink.

Find out which lounges are worth your money, and when you’ll be better off with a restaurant in the terminal.

 Airport Lounges
Price (advance)
Price on door
Toilets
Runway view
Spa facilities
Made-to-order dishes
Includes fast-track security
Our score (out of 5)
Belfast International Causeway
£27.50
£27.50
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
2
Birmingham Aspire
£21
£24
No
Yes
No 
No 
No 
3
Birmingham No1
£28
£35
No 
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
3.5
Edinburgh Aspire
£22
£24
No 
No
No 
No 
No 
1.5
Gatwick Aspire North
£21
£24
Yes
No 
No 
No 
No 
2.5
Gatwick My Lounge North
£24
£30
Yes
No 
No
No 
No 
2.5
Gatwick No1 North
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
2.5
Gatwick No1 South
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
3
Gatwick Clubrooms North
£38
£50
Yes
No
No 
Yes
Yes
3.5
Gatwick Clubrooms South
£38
£50
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
3.5
Heathrow Plaza Premium T2
£38
£40
Yes
No 
Yes
No
No 
3
Heathrow No1 T3
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No 
4
Heathrow The House T4
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
No 
4
Heathrow Skyteam T4
£30
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No 
2.5
Heathrow Aspire T5
£35
£40
No
Yes
No 
No 
No 
2
Heathrow Plaza Premium T5
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
No 
No
No 
3
Luton Aspire
£25
£40
Yes
No
No 
No 
No 
2
Manchester Escape T3
£21
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
No 
Np 
3
Manchester 1903 T3
£35
£40
Yes
Yes
No 
Yes
Yes
4
Stansted Escape
£25
£30
Yes
Yes
No 
No 
No 
2.5
Southend Skylife Lounge
£20
£24
No
No
No 
No 
No 
1
Using the table: Our score: 1 = A sub-standard lounge we think is well below average; 2 = An adequate lounge with room for improvement; 3 = A solid lounge that meets expectations; 4 = An excellent lounge, above average; 5 = An exceptional lounge – among the best.