This is my review of the Escape lounge at London Stansted Airport.
Our collection of UK airport business lounge reviews is growing steadily. As Rob and I cannot visit every single UK airport lounge, we have had help from readers adding reviews to the list. You can see all of the reviews we currently have here and we’re working on the rest!
For a change here is one of my own UK lounge reviews as I went up to Stansted Airport for a short trip to Hamburg and got to take a look at the new-ish Escape lounge.
The ‘Escape’ brand is owned by Manchester Airports Group, owner of Stansted. You will also find three ‘Escape’ branded lounges at Manchester, one at East Midlands Airport and at some American airports. They haven’t built one in Bournemouth Airport yet!
(EDIT: We have a newer, 2020, review of the Escape Lounge at Stansted which you can read by clicking here.)
Where to find the Escape lounge at Stansted
The Escape lounge is located at the far end of the airport when coming from security, halfway to the gates.
You have to walk through what feels like the longest Duty Free arcade in the world along shops and restaurants until finally reaching your destination, next to Pret A Manger.
The entrance to the lounge is at the end of a corridor which also leads to the airport toilets. You then head down a couple of stairs:
The first impression of the Escape lounge is that it’s very bright and fresh.
I accessed using my Lounge Club card using one of the two free visits that came with my free American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card. As I went in, the reception was to the left and the food and drink area to the right.
Food and drink in the Escape lounge
It was early evening when I was there. The food consisted of some soup, a good selection of salads, bread rolls, cheese and various other snacks on the counter. You can also order food from a menu with a beefburger costing £6.95 and a pizza £5.95 just to give a few examples.
Soft drinks were in a fridge underneath the food counter.
There was a staffed bar (the staff didn’t want to be in my picture….) where you can get standard alcoholic drinks. If you’d rather have champagne instead of prosecco (which is free) you need to pay £5.25 per glass or £21.95 per bottle. You can also purchase premium spirits for £3 per 25ml.
The newspaper and magazine selection was acceptable – to me – with The Guardian, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan and a couple of other titles. I imagine there is a wider newspaper selection in the morning.
I liked the phone charging solution with USB ports integrated in the drinks menu on every table. This is the same design that Rob mentioned in his review of the new Manchester Airport ‘1903’ lounge recently.
I used the free wifi to watch some Netflix and there was no annoying buffering.
This is a picture of the dining area closest to the bar area.
This was the sitting area towards the back with view over the airport. There was also another coffee machine at this end of the lounge.
How can you get into the Escape lounge at Stansted Airport?
As you can see from this sign outside the lounge, there are a variety of ways to get in. Most relevant for HFP readers is that it is part of Priority Pass (buy one here, or free with Amex Platinum), Lounge Club (free with Amex Gold, which I used) and Lounge Key (via HSBC Premier credit cards). You can pre-book for cash via Lounge Pass.
British Airways passengers using the weekend BA ‘summer sun’ services would also use the Escape lounge if they had BA status or were flying in Club Europe.
When I first got to Stansted Airport and saw how busy it was, I was afraid that the lounge would be packed, too. Luckily it wasn’t.
The staff was noticeably friendly and attentive, making sure the lounge was kept in good shape and that used plates were cleared straight away.
I liked how calm the lounge was, the food was good and for £15 via Lounge Club – assuming I had used up my two free annual visits – I wouldn’t think twice whether or not to use the lounge next time at Stansted Airport.
There was a sign outside saying that at busy times Lounge Club, Dragon Pass etc are not accepted but, with so few scheduled flights from Stansted having a business class cabin, I doubt they restrict numbers too often.
It is worth noting that Manchester Airports Group is planning to expand its ‘1903’ premium lounge brand if the current site in Manchester Terminal 3 goes well, so we may well see another Stansted lounge option in the next couple of years.
You can pre-book a cash visit to Stansted’s Escape lounge via the airport website here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
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 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021. Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply 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 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.