My review of the Signature private jet terminal lounge at Luton Airport!

This is my review of the lounge at the Signature Flight Support private jet terminal at London Luton Airport.

Regular readers may remember that, back in June, we wrote about a deal that easyJet had done at Luton Airport with Signature Flight Support.

When flying easyJet, you can now arrive and depart from the new Signature Flight Support private jet terminal at Luton.  You can park at the terminal, which includes its own customs, immigration and security screening facilities.  You can then relax in Signature’s lounge until it is time for your flight, at which point you will be driven across the tarmac to your aircraft.

So far, so interesting.  The cost is a bit of a shock though – £475 for one person and £120 for each additional person in the group.  Given that London City offers a virtually identical service for £90, I thought the appeal would be limited.  You can read more on the easyJet website here.

Anyway ….. as the easyJet PR team were very keen that we write about this new service, and we did, I wasn’t expecting any problems when I suggested we review it.  After all, London City Airport were very happy with the reviews we did of their private jet terminal lounges and even gave us some passes for a competition last month.

easyJet told us to get lost.

I didn’t care.  I found a way of getting access anyway…..

Signature Flight Support Luton terminal

How to get there

Signature Flight Support operates out of two stand-alone terminals at Luton.  Terminal 1 is the primary facility and is the one where the lounge has just received a facelift.

I took the train to Luton Airport Parkway and hopped in a taxi, since the Signature terminal is separate to the main airport.  The cost was only £4.40 and it took literally two minutes with minimal traffic.

The Signature terminal, as you can see above, is impressively minimalist.  The look is only spoilt by being sat next to a Holiday Inn Express.

What you find inside

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I think somewhere in my mind I expected it to be staffed by the sort of slim 20-something women with long straight blond hair who work in Mayfair art galleries.  It was very quickly obvious that the staff were interchangeable with your average cheerful, bundle of energy, easyJet employee.  (Which, for absolute clarity, is perfectly fine!)

The taxi dropped me at the door, I gave my name at the reception desk, showed my passport and was ushered into the lounge which was immediately ahead of me.  It is a two story building but the upstairs area is used for offices and meeting rooms.  You are restricted to the lounge.

Here is a short (40 seconds) YouTube video which shows you a panorama of the lounge.  It was empty when I arrived, and I think it peaked at eight people during the time I was there.

If it is not visible, click here to visit our YouTube page. You can also subscribe to our channel via that link.

You will see from the last bit of the video that a full size short-haul aircraft was parking at the terminal at the time.  I was hoping to see someone famous jump out but the two passengers looked like 20-something Eastern European gangland bosses …..

Click on any of the photographs to enlarge.

What you have inside the lounge is one large space:

Signature Flight Services Luton lounge 1

and

Signature Flight Services Luton lounge 2

and

Signature Flight Services Luton lounge 3

The only slightly private area is this very tiny kids play space:

Signature Flight Services Luton lounge childrens area

….. but even that is not blocked by a wall or door from the main lounge area.

There is one table with a handful, literally a handful, of newspapers and magazines with a TV above it.

Eating and drinking

In one corner is the bar and refreshment area:

Signature Flight Services Luton lounge bar

Don’t come here expecting fine food, or indeed any food.  The only nibbles were crisps, popcorn and packaged biscuits.

There was a coffee machine (which could do caramel cappuccino, a first for me from a small vending machine) and a few fridges with soft drinks, beers and Moet et Chandon champagne.  The only spirit I could see was Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky – not even Blue Label ….

Signature Flight Services Luton lounge bar 2

I didn’t take a photo in the gents but it was good to see a selection of toiletries in a basket, including shaving kits.

I was there for two hours.  As the lounge has recently been refurbished, it is not short of power points and the wi-fi was decent.  I had no problem getting some work done.

The real selling point, however, is the full length and full height glass window overlooking the tarmac.  You get an excellent view of aircraft moving around the airport as well as the nearby maintenance hangers.  Unlike being in a main terminal, the aircraft are directly in front of you, not separated by the length of an airbridge.

The staff generally left me alone.  I was offered a drink when I first sat down, and at one point a representative of the private jet company I was with came over to introduce himself.

What was a little unnerving is that there are no departure boards.  The staff know who you are and will track you down at the right time (there isn’t far for you to wander, let’s be honest).  However, I began to get a bit nervous as my 4pm departure time approached and no-one came to me.

I was eventually called at 3.58, taken through private security screening and driven in a minibus:

Signature Flight Services Luton lounge transfer bus

…… down to G-SPUR:

G-SPUR

More on that, including the reason I was on it, in a day or so.

What does it cost if I am flying on a scheduled airline?

You don’t actually need to be flying easyJet to use the lounge.  Signature works with other operators at Luton as well.

For £475 (£595 for a couple) you can drop your car at the Signature terminal, sit in their lounge for an hour, use a private security channel and then be driven across the airport to your easyJet plane.  This does seem excessive.

You can’t knock the Signature Flight Services lounge.  Realistically, given the small number of people who use it, running a high quality food service would be uneconomic – although they could improve the quality of drinks.

But still …. for £90, you can use the First Class lounge in the private jet terminal at London City Airport (as Anika did in this review) and be driven to your plane.   Unless you’re flying BA, who are the only major airline at London City not to co-operate.   I think this is decent value if you’re not price sensitive.  £475 for one person, plus £120 for a partner – for a service advertised at easyJet customers – is a totally different ball game.

At least you have the choice, of course, and you could argue that it is a bargain compared with the Windsor Suite at Heathrow at £2,750 + VAT for 1-3 people …..

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Comments

  1. If Easyjet told you to get lost, does that mean you paid your way in?
    The last line made me laugh a bit. If you’re not price sensitive, value kinda drops out of the equation or at the least follows an exponential curve.

    I doubt out of Luton there are many flights above £475, even at ultra-short notice; I doubt you’d get this past expenses. The target market seems to me like City: celebrities who don’t want hassle in the terminal, and no doubt a few A-list politicians would be able to bill the taxpayer for it.

  2. “I think somewhere in my mind I expected it to be staffed by the sort of slim 20-something women with long straight blond hair who work in Mayfair art galleries”

    Lol – you could almost be describing my friend’s wife here!

  3. I nearly took umbrage at the “… but the two passengers looked like 20-something Eastern European gangland bosses …” comment until I remembered we had parked the jet at Farnborough !

  4. Looking forward to the review of Lord Sugar’s first jet.

  5. I still find the concept of private jets at Luton hilarious. I get it’s a quick in and out for some celebrities but I associate Luton with sheds, awful transport, never-ending construction, awful staff and extreme cheapness. The few times I’ve been unable to avoid the place I look at those little coffee-shack sheds out in the carpark and think opening one of those up at 4am on a winter morning in the dark must be one of the most miserable jobs you could have in greater london.

    • Voted UK’s worst airport 5 years in a row!

    • Luton isn’t in Greater London, and it’s far enough from other airports that if you’re a celeb who lives nearby you might as well use it.

    • But probably if you can afford the private jet you can helicopter in and out, would that be an option?
      What I don’t get it who this is aimed at, it’s so expensive you have to be loaded, and if you’re that loaded why do you need a lounge anyway, it’s not like your plane goes without you, surely you walk from car to plane, and the plane goes when it has clearance to do so. Hard to imagine Lewis Hamilton getting there 3 hours early to enjoy the ‘free’ champagne in the lounge.
      It’s also hard to believe one easyjet passenger has used this.

  6. I love your reference to 20 something females with long straight hair … a bit like bank employees, all looking the same. I thought it was me who thought things like this and I am so un PC!

  7. OT:

    I upgraded from Amex Gold to Platinum last Monday, they told me over the phone that the annual fee will be charged as soon as I’m upgraded. I got the Platinum welcome kit on Thursday, activated the card, made a couple of transactions, no annual fee. Today is my statement date, still no annual fee charged.

    When can I expect it to be charged?

  8. Alan Sugar Woz Here 🙂

  9. …”drop your car at the Signature terminal”…

    does this include some form of parking also then or would you have to pay for that separately?

  10. Lady London says:

    Posher people are flying Easyjet, than are flying BA these days.

    I can well believe there is a market for this amongst the Easyjet passengers I’m seeing nowadays.

    I don’t think it’s likely to suit Ryanair pax anytime soon though.

    • The most middle class flight I’ve ever taken was EasyJet EDI-GVA in ski season.

      • Haha yep, Jet2 and Easyjet from EDI during ski season are def a bit different to some other times of year – is so nice flying direct though and generally cheaper too!

  11. Good ol’ G-SPUR, a bit long in the tooth now, and that looks like Captain Andy Mac from a distance!

    From my experience, private jet clients never turn up early to “enjoy” the lounge. They normally walk straight from their car to the aircraft. The lounge is really only there as a “back up” – in case we are late or the aircraft goes tech.

    • Built 2005.

      Given the traffic around Luton at peak times you wouldn’t want to push your luck if on a shared jet which will happily leave without you. Last time Anika used Luton it took 30 minutes in the bus to get from the station to the airport, a trip which took me 2 minutes.

      • Registered in UK in 2005 – built 1992 :-p I’ve flown in her a few times.

        Shared jets whilst on the increase still makes up a tiny proportion of the private jet market – 99% will be business colleagues/associates and happy to wait for each other or friends/family travelling together.

  12. Showing off buddy? Easyjet + Private lounge sounds weird!

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