Airport Lounges

t wasn’t long ago that airport lounges were seen as the exclusive way to travel, it was an airport experience reserved for businessmen looking to make their calls before that big international meeting in quiet surroundings and celebrities avoiding the main terminal hustle and bustle.

In recent years this has changed meaning the everyday leisure traveler can enjoy the executive lounge experience. A number of lounges noted that their services can be tailored to those with children wanting a more relaxed start to their holiday and have opened their doors to everyone so what is an airport lounge and is it worth considering?

What is an airport lounge?

An airport lounge is a designated area which has been split off from the rest of the departures hall and whilst each lounge is different, almost all in the UK offer more comfortable surroundings the main terminal. Typically you will find comfortable seating, airport customer services staff and easier access to flight information, complimentary snacks, drinks and newspapers and many also offer several entertainment options from Nintendo Wii to spa facilities.

You can stay in an airport lounge for usually up to three hours and prices can start from as low as £13.50 per person at the smaller airports.

Are children allowed?

Whilst a number of airport lounges are making arrangements for children not all allow them so its worth checking before placing a booking. The Gatwick No 1 Lounge for the South terminal for example currently allows children of all ages (over 12s are classed as adults) whereas the Manchester Escape Lounge for Terminal 1 accepts children over 6 years old only.

Its best it you are thinking of using a lounge to check this in advance, almost any website you look on for prices will advise of the acceptance of children or not and the age rules that are to be imposed. Lounges often require a reasonably smart dress code and typically don’t allow baseball caps and hooded tops.

How long can I stay in a lounge?

Typically this is up the three hours in the UK but some may only be two hours so we do recommend you check should you have a longer stay in the airport to fill.

How much will a lounge cost me?

Again this varies as each lounge is run by its own management or brand but typically you can expect to pay from around £13.50 for an adult at a smaller airport, the major London airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick are closer to the £20 mark per person.

What about entertainment in the lounge?

This differs from lounge to lounge, some offer none at all, perhaps consisting of an area with comfortable seating and a small bar to the larger airport lounges, often more modern with a great range of facilities. The Premier Lounge at Leeds Bradford airport now offers a games console and child’s activity room and the Heathrow No 1 lounge has its own spa and a mini cinema.

What about the complimentary food and drink?

Usually lounges offer snacks such as sandwiches, crisps and biscuits included in the initial cost but some of the larger lounges offer a range of snacks which change depending on the time of day. Some also offer a full menu of hot food (additional charges).

Tea, coffee and soft drinks are also usually included and many lounges do have a bar but any alcoholic drinks will need to be paid for. Many travelers see the complimentary refreshments as a major benefit, when using the main departures terminal a cup of coffee can cost a couple of pounds on its own.

Whether you think an airport lounge is of interest is down to your personal opinion and circumstances. Whilst they are a nicer way of spending your time in the terminal, the introduction of children has resulted in a slightly more family based feel then before.