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My review of the ANA lounge at Porto Airport (which BA won’t pay for)

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If you’ve ever travelled from Porto on a British Airways flight you might have been in the awkward situation of being turned away from the only lounge at the airport.

That is because at some point British Airways decided that it didn’t want to pay for its passengers at certain airports to have a glass of wine and a snack before their flight, even if they are travelling in Club Europe (which I was) or hold a Gold or Silver card (which I do).  This seems to be getting more common.

A few weeks ago I visited my friend in Portugal and ended up in said situation. I had to do a bit of work and really wanted a glass of wine so I decided to use my Amex Gold Lounge Club card.  As I had already used my two free lounge passes for the year, Lounge Club charged me a £15 fee for access.

Was it worth it? Here is my review:

ANA lounge porto

The ANA lounge at Porto Airport is upstairs on the first floor.  It has nothing to do with the Japanese airline ANA.

Washrooms are opposite reception and the actual lounge is to the right.

In the center of the lounge is the self service bar and snacks. I was in the lounge in the late afternoon and the food selection was pastries, sandwiches and cookies.  As my doctor recently told me I should avoid wheat there was nothing I could eat.

I did have a couple of glasses of wine and some still water.

The lounge was not very busy but it was still an issue finding a seat with a table and functioning plug socket.

ANA Lounge Porto

The lounge also had an ‘outdoor’ balcony overlooking the airport and runway. There were lots of empty seats in this area.

ANA lounge porto

In one of the corners was a business centre with phone chargers, computers and desks.

ANA lounge porto

The magazine selection wasn’t great though I did like the look of the shelves.

ANA lounge porto

Conclusion

Let’s put it this way. The ANA lounge at Porto isn’t a bad lounge. The atmosphere was, as the website promises, relaxed and pleasant.

I’m just not sure if it’s worth paying to get in – especially when British Airways should be the one paying when you’re flying in business class!

The £15 fee via Lounge Club isn’t a lot, but my friend told me that the airport wifi is great and you can get a wine and a decent snack for less than £15 at any of the restaurants.

Entry is free with a Priority Pass so if you have one of those (via Amex Platinum or buy one here) I’d say ‘why not?’.

You can also pay to access the lounge on the door for €24 – which in my opinion is too much for what’s on offer.

It would also be great if someone could look at the sockets and fix those that aren’t working …..

The more important question, of course, is why British Airways unilaterally decides not to pay for lounge access at certain airports even when there is a perfectly suitable option available.  This is the second time this year that this has happened to me – it also happened in Ibiza.  At the very least, I think BA should provide a €15 – €20 refreshment voucher for the airport to qualifying passengers.

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Comments

  1. Seville airport is a pretty dismal place and the lounge was said to be “closed for refurbishment” when we were there. I don’t know if it’s since reopened/available for BA CE/status passengers? Next week we’re flying BA to Athens, where I believe there is no lounge access either. Does anyone have any knowledge of this, as it’s surprising given the number of BA passengers passing through the airport each day?

    • No idea about a lounge but Athens airport I found to be rather quiet anyway so plenty of places to sit and eat or just relax. Maybe I got lucky and went at a quieter time – was May this year.

      • There are 4 PP lounges in Athens – I’ve used the Melina Merkouri and Goldair lounges. Both fine. I’ve sat in the Goldair one for a very long time waiting for a morning connection to the islands – it’s not somewhere I would recommend for above an hour or two max! I didn’t know the BA one had gone as I have usually flown Aegean the last couple of years. It was pretty dismal. Sounds like BA has pulled out of a lot of EU airports. I only really fly BA shorthaul. This would be a reason to jack the whole status chase malarkey in for me.

  2. BA Galleries lounge at Athens closed a year or two ago. I was able to access the Skyserve third party lounge when flying in Feb this year (think it’s named after Aristotle Onassis). Sandwiches and cakes were not bad at all. Some local wine available, from memory. Pretty crowded when I was there…

  3. Same as split – there is a lounge (which looked pretty poor) but you aren’t allowed in even though it’s a 3rd party and Iberia FF can use it

  4. Prins Polo says:

    Same in Krakow. In Innsbruck, they used to give out vouchers but stopped a couple of years ago.

  5. As a LTG, I would of course prefer 3rd party lounge access – which has always been marketed by BA as a member benefit rather an implied fare component – be determined, if at all, by EC status.

    However, the policy of giving “vouchers in lieu” (and BA easily recouping their value in goodwill) at new and/or loungeless and/or seasonal destinations (eg: ADB; DBV) seems to have given way to one or more of “we haven’t negotiated lounge access yet” (a full year after BA resumed flights to BIO),”our charter passengers” – unlike you, a LTG CE passenger – “have chosen to pay for lounge access” (at the invariably empty OLB lounge); and “this lounge will be closing 2 hours before your
    flight departs and you need to be at the gate” (one hour before an on-time departure from TLS).

    BA.com should devote much less space to trumpeting “M&S On Board” and the dubious ‘benefits’ of OW and much more to stating explicitly in MMB 1) whether there is a lounge; and 2) whether the passenger will be granted access without having to resort to incidental membership of Iberia +.

    If sandwiches can be valued in Avios, why not lounge access: I’d certainly consider accepting 2K Avios at check-in in lieu of access to a 3rd-party lounge offering no more than uncomfortable seats, minimal refreshments, poor WiFi and aircon that “we can’t control; it’s down to the airport”.

  6. I visited this lounge recently when flying BA CE and used my Priority Pass to get in. Thought about complaining to BA but pretty sure it would be ignored. I’m also avoiding wheat products and was similarly unimpressed with the food offering. Settled for a glass of wine.

  7. Talinn is another place where BA withdrew their agreement earlier this year with the only and perfectly reasonable lounge at the airport. Other airlines, Priority pass etc all continued to be accepted.

  8. This is going to increase rather than decrease – BA has made a conscious decision to reduce the number of lounge offerings across Europe. Please do send in complaints though, they might send you a token pre-written reply but do keep track of trends and won’t change without supporting evidence!

    There are actually some airports where they’ve made the right decision – the lack of choice and very high costs with low quality in some airports means they’d get more complaints if they offered it than if they didn’t. But there aren’t many of these, mostly it is just them being greedy!

  9. James matt says:

    Can someone put a consolidated list of European airports where this is no lounge access. Across so many posts it’s hard to follow. Thanks

  10. Search “BA Lounge database europe” on Flyer Talk for an updated list.

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