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16 July 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
 
 
 
Birmingham Aspire
£21
£24
 
Yes
 
 
 
Birmingham No1
£28
£35
 
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Edinburgh Aspire
£22
£24
 
 
 
 
 
Gatwick Aspire North
£21
£24
Yes
 
 
 
 
Gatwick My Lounge North
£24
£30
Yes
 
 
 
 
Gatwick No1 North
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Gatwick No1 South
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Gatwick Clubrooms North
£38
£50
Yes
 
 
Yes
Yes
Gatwick Clubrooms South
£38
£50
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Heathrow Plaza Premium T2
£38
£40
Yes
 
Yes
 
 
Heathrow No1 T3
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Heathrow The House T4
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
 
Heathrow Skyteam T4
£30
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Heathrow Aspire T5
£35
£40
 
Yes
 
 
 
Heathrow Plaza Premium T5
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
 
 
 
Luton Aspire
£25
£40
Yes
 
 
 
 
Manchester Escape T3
£21
£40
Yes
Yes
 
 
 
Manchester 1903 T3
£35
£40
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Stansted Escape
£25
£30
Yes
Yes
 
 
 
Southend Skylife Lounge
£20
£24
 
 
 
 
 
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
 
 
 
2
Birmingham Aspire
£21
£24
 
Yes
 
 
 
3
Birmingham No1
£28
£35
 
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
3.5
Edinburgh Aspire
£22
£24
 
 
 
 
 
1.5
Gatwick Aspire North
£21
£24
Yes
 
 
 
 
2.5
Gatwick My Lounge North
£24
£30
Yes
 
 
 
 
2.5
Gatwick No1 North
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
2.5
Gatwick No1 South
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
3
Gatwick Clubrooms North
£38
£50
Yes
 
 
Yes
Yes
3.5
Gatwick Clubrooms South
£38
£50
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
3.5
Heathrow Plaza Premium T2
£38
£40
Yes
 
Yes
 
 
3
Heathrow No1 T3
£32
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
4
Heathrow The House T4
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
 
4
Heathrow Skyteam T4
£30
£40
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
2.5
Heathrow Aspire T5
£35
£40
 
Yes
 
 
 
2
Heathrow Plaza Premium T5
£40
£50
Yes
Yes
 
 
 
3
Luton Aspire
£25
£40
Yes
 
 
 
 
2
Manchester Escape T3
£21
£40
Yes
Yes
 
 
 
3
Manchester 1903 T3
£35
£40
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
4
Stansted Escape
£25
£30
Yes
Yes
 
 
 
2.5
Southend Skylife Lounge
£20
£24
 
 
 
 
 
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.