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Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

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This is our review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

Reader Nathan kindly sent in some photographs and a brief review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport:

EDIT:  This review is from 2017.  We have a more recent 2019 review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport if you click here.

“The Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport is located just off the main seating area tucked away in the left hand corner through double doors.

The opening hours are 05:00 – 21:00 daily (except for Saturdays Nov-May when the closing time is 17:00).

Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

The lounge has one area to the left and another to the right. On the left side is an area with small tables and chairs.

Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

If you want to do some work you can use one of the little desks. There are plenty of plug sockets available for use and free Wi-Fi.

Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

There is a selection of newspapers and magazines.

Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

If you turn right at the reception desk you enter the more relaxed and comfortable sofa area, with TVs showing the news on (this is a stock photo):

Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

Both areas join to their own snack bars that have a good selection of nibbles: pastries, crisps, cereal, fruit, yoghurt and cakes. The rocky road and Welsh cakes are excellent. Note that the food is the same at all times of the day so don’t expect anything special at breakfast or early evening. The coffee machine and soft drinks fridges are also here.

Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

The alcoholic drinks have recently changed to bar service and the bar is in the area with the tables. The service has been prompt during the visits I have made since it changed from self-service.

The selection is good and features the normal range of spirits but I particularly like its selection of spirits from the Penderyn distillery in the Brecon Beacons. I am partial to the single malt and my wife loves the Merlyn (a Baileys-type drink). There is also a selection of wines and locally sourced Glamorgan beers.

Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport
Entry can be gained with either a Lounge Club card (comes with American Express Gold, two free entries included) or a Priority Pass card (comes with American Express Platinum, unlimited free entries).  You can also pay on the door or book in advance.

Conclusion

Though the lounge is small by comparison to some reviewed on HfP lately, it has never been busy when I have been there. When I was there at 6pm on a Friday there was only one other person in the lounge. This is likely due to how quiet Cardiff airport is in general.

I like the theming within the lounge with some Welsh history and a lot of large advertisements for the Penderyn distillery – although this is personal taste. The staff are very friendly.

There are toilets attached to the lounge so you do not have to go back to the main concourse. They could, to be honest, do with a bit of a face lift.

There are flight information screens within the lounge.

The dress code is smart casual. I have been to the lounge in tailored shorts and a t-shirt many times and never had any problems. I have also been in as a group the staff have been happy to keep serving us despite having more than the two drinks they recommend.

It would be nice if there was a larger selection of food and maybe a hot dish. But the nibbles are nice, especially the rocky road!”

Thanks Nathan.  If you want to pre-book paid access to the lounge, you can do so via the Lounge Pass website here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (13)

  • AH says:

    Maximum of 2 drinks limit in Cardiff lounge. Not sure how much they enforce it though.

  • Mike P says:

    As an ex-Cardiff resident who now has LHR as their local airport I’ve got to admit to sometimes (not that often though!) missing CWL. This lounge actually looks vaguely decent and the terminal wasn’t bad the last time (2011 – time flies!) I flew out of there.

    The shame is unless you’re flying to AMS or DUB, there’s not a huge amount of flights from CWL these days with most people making the trek across the Severn Bridge to BRS. I wonder what the future will be for it as an airport.

    • AH says:

      We have a few new routes to Spain through Vueling as well as Iberia other budget airline to Madrid.
      When we got a route to Amsterdam, it opens up the world. Cheaper taxes as well.

  • Lawrence Evans says:

    I’ve found the executive lounge staff very friendly and the facilities more than adequate. I have to challenge the lack of routes. In 2016 Cardiff Airport was the fastest growing UK airport and Flybe now has an extensive network to many European Cities, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Milan, Rome, not forgetting a twice daily connection to London City Airport and the network appears to be continually growing. Summer 2017 sees the introduction of twice weekly Madrid flights with Iberia Express (New to Cardiff) and Vueling continues to expand with a 5 x weekly connection to Barcelona, an exciting hub with many International connections. (Not forgetting Alicante, Malaga year round and Palma in the Summer) Admittedly quieter in the Winter, but easier to get around, there is an explosion of holiday flights in the Summer. Winter 16/17 saw cruise flights to Dubai and Bridgetown, so Cardiff is definitely worth keeping an eye on !!.

    • Mike P says:

      Looks like Flybe have taken off somewhat down there. Not flown from CWL for a long time personally (see 2011 comment above) so it’s good that things are improving.

      Will it be enough though? Most people I know (friends, family etc) who still live down that way tend to go to BRS for all their flights.

      • AH says:

        Now its owned by Welsh Government it has picked up.
        Pity we cant get RyanAir or Easyjet to move to Cardiff & make it a proper rivalry.
        I guess that wont happen unless the Severn Bridge is free.
        As it is, Bristol is in a much better catchment area.

        • Harris says:

          Need more airlines, free business to the city,and full-time staff not seasonal -to improve service 40 hrs week contracts no zero hrs

        • Lawrence Evans says:

          Ryanair have been at Cardiff for about 2 years ! They operate Tenerife x 2 weekly and this Summer have announced Faro x 2 weekly, thankfully their routes are creeping up slowly, but steadily ! (Foregt EasyJet they have to big an operation over the Severn) https://www.cardiff-airport.com/destinations/

        • Lawrence Evans says:

          As a National Airport, part of Cardiff’s problem is APD, with no level playing field between Scotland and Northern Ireland who have reduced APD….Suppose it helps if you have a Cabinet Minister that actually ‘fights your corner’ ! http://flycardiff.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/cairns-and-his-cojones-in-vice-like.html There is huge potential for International flights for which Cardiff has not only the runway capable of taking large aircraft (as opposed to BRS) and the capacity.

      • Lawrence Evans says:

        Bridgetown went out again this afternoon. It’s a pity family and friends are still choosing BRS, Cardiff has a lot to offer and are cheaper in some cases too, passenger numbers increased significantly last year and are set to increase again this year….bums on seats is what attracts the airlines after all. https://www.cardiff-airport.com/destinations/

    • Lawrence Evans says:

      Ryanair have been at Cardiff for about 2 years ! They operate Tenerife x 2 weekly and this Summer have announced Faro x 2 weekly, thankfully their routes are creeping up slowly, but steadily ! (Foregt EasyJet they have to big an operation over the Severn) https://www.cardiff-airport.com/destinations/

  • Kevin says:

    Thanks for the review. You can also get in with Lounge Key (I know some readers have it).

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