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.

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 12

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

Escape Lounge Stansted Airport review 11

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.

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  1. Great timing of this article, just saved me some money.

    Wanted to get a certain somewhere on the continent on an upcoming weekend, and LHR flights were nearly £200 with no award seats. After reading this, thought I would see if there was a flight from STN, and RFS was available!

    Will a BA Gold card with mobile Y BP suffice to enter the lounge, or do we need invitations from check-in?

    • Dave H says:

      I flew from here a couple of weeks ago on the cityflyer to Faro economy, I was allowed in purely on my boarding card which had my BA silver status.

      They do quite good bacon or sausage baps in the morning.

  2. filipino_chino says:

    My sister went to 1903 and the staff were happy, yet shocked to see anyone… lets hope they join PP

  3. AndrewG says:

    On Thursday (25MAY) at around 4pm the airport was packed full of people. There were no seats and queues at the bars and restaurants. I was looking forward to going to the lounge which I usually access with Priority Pass with no issue. However the lounge was also so busy they were only accepting pre-booked guests!

    • Lady London says:

      I was admitted same day at around 5.15pm . They know I never stay long so perhaps that helped.

      Other than the staff, who are just as pleasant and efficient as the staff at No.1 Gatwick, who are really good, tbh I’m with the other poster who thought this review is bit too positive. Free drinks selection is very limited. Food on buffet mostly on the low quality side except for salads especially the cold pasta ones. Breakfast is better and the staff really excel in excellent service and helpfulness at some ***awful times of the morning.

      The main Stansted terminal area was so overcrowded it was absolutely awful. Does anyone know any good place to go if the lounge at STN is full and won’t admit people? I have more STN flights booked up and dreading being turned away.

      • Never had issues with access in 10+ visits and I usually travel at peak times

  4. Mr Flump says:

    I believe the lounge has an agreement with Moneycorp that allows you to order currency at their pre-order rates while you are in the lounge. Not sure if it then gets delivered to the lounge or you collect it at the nearby bureau though. I’d assume it is delivered.

  5. Rich84 says:

    We have used the lounge a few times with access using Dragonpass whilst waiting for Ryanair flights to Faro. It’s usually quite busy but we haven’t had any problems getting in. It is quite a long walk from security though and there are so many shops at Stansted now.

  6. I used this two weeks ago, just showed my BA silver card, allowed me to jump past those on a waiting list with PP etc. Just stayed 30 minutes but thought it really quite good!

  7. Polly says:

    We also use it once a year with PP to Bergerac, and it’s always quite pleasant there. Nice they stopped charging for prosecco now…Best always to buy priority fast track passes, around £5, seperately which by passes the long security queues there.

  8. Billy says:

    It’s Stansted though. So, run for the hills.
    Manchester Airport is just as bad.

  9. 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.

  10. Aliks says:

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

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

      • 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

  11. 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)

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