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My review of the Escape Lounge at Stansted Airport

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This is my review of the Escape lounge at London Stansted Airport.

The official airport website, where you can book access for cash, is here.

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.

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 1

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:

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 3

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.

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 4

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.

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 14

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.

Escape Lounge Stansted 10 review

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.

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 6

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.

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This is a picture of the dining area closest to the bar area.

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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.

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 5

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.

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 2


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.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) 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.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

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 you get 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 (18)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Stuart says:

    I think this is a very generous review of the lounge and certainly more appropriate for a day time review – as opposed to peak time.

    At busier times the lounge becomes crowded and staff cannot keep up with demand. The lounge gets very dirty, tables not cleared, food not stocked etc.

    The food is low quality and is always unfortunately a disappointment – the (free) hot food being particularly low grade. Bread for the soup always seems to be Chiewy or stale. Salads are not too bad for lounge food so try these.

    Drinks are free flowing from the bar although, contrary to the review, I don’t think the prosecco is free (?).

    Pros: Calmer than the chaos that is Stansted. Reception staff are always welcoming and professional.

  • Aliks says:

    Looking at the Stansted map :
    Can you walk through the Harris and Hoole coffee shop and avoid the shops?

    • John says:

      How about between the Burger King and Hamleys? Other maps I have seen don’t show any corridors between shops though

      • Matt says:

        No, these corridors are staff only with access with airport ID only. No way MAG will let pax bypass shops (wouldn’t surprise me if they bring ‘Priority Departure Lounge Access’ and charge to avoid walking through shops).

    • Lumma says:

      There’s definitely no exit through the back of that coffee shop. There’s only the lounge and the toilets accessible down the passage between the pret and coast to coast

  • Ben says:

    This is a fair review- staff are the best thing about this lounge.

    I firmly believe it’s the best non-LHR priority pass lounge in London (I’ve been to all of them)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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