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My review of the ANA lounge at Porto Airport, used by British Airways

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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.

EDIT: In 2019, British Airways started allowing its passengers to use this lounge

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 (50)

  • Mr Dee says:

    I find it very difficult at most lounges to get something that doesn’t contain any grains but I think that is due to the grain products being an easy solution for price and to last longer. The day I see an nut flour alternative in a lounge will be a real shock to the system 🙂

    It comes as no surprise that BA has done more to avoid spending money, my recent CE trip reminded me how bad their offering has become. The food in CE was a joke, having no choice and given even smaller portions than ever before, I think buy on board is the best option nowadays if you actually want something to eat.

  • HiDeHi says:

    I imagine BA decided that at these airports where their competition is minimal and business traffic low, why pay for something when people will probably still choose BA anyway. Are there many people who would say, I was going to fly BA but because they don’t give lounge access, I will fly Ryanair. Not many I expect.

    Definitely shoddy but I can see why they thought they could get away with it.

    • the real harry1 says:

      My guess is that the lounge operator didn’t play ball – ie demanded something greedy over and above the current standard c.£15 a visit from a big customer.

      Imagine the last negotiation position from the provider was something like “£10,000 pa + 5 reserved places @ £15 per entry’ – wd sound very expensive if BA can see actual usage doesn’t justify the investment.

      btw Bordeaux lounge apparently available to BA qualifying passengers again (FT)

      • Rob says:

        Very unlikely. It is a BA revenue decision based on the fact it is Gatwick.

        Now … to be fair … if I have a £40 one way Y ticket should I really expect BA to pay £15 when I use the lounge? You can argue yes on the basis that status costs money to earn.

        • John says:

          BA frequently pays US$80 to the CX lounge on my £30-£60 tickets to places like PRG, VIE, LIS and GIB 🙂

      • Billy Buzzjet says:

        My guess is it’s something to do with Brexit …..or Donald Trump…or maybe North Korea ?!!?

  • Tim Millea says:

    What gives this airline the right to use the name “British Airways”? It should be put out to tender and a more viable operator given the chance.

  • Timothy Firmager says:

    I had the same experience at Olbia airport in Sardinia. There was no priority check-in lane, premium BA passengers (CE or Silver/Gold card holders) cannot use the fast track security lane and do not have access to the lounge – i.e. There were absolutely no status/CE benefits paid for within the airport at all.
    Thanks for the review of the ANA lounge, I will likely pay to go in on a trip to Porto.

    • Flyer68 says:

      Indeed, the Olbia situation is a disgrace. Club Europe passengers on the BA Charter flights (for Sardatur) are specifically allowed into the lounge, while those on the regular BA flights are not. No priority boarding either as its done by bus, yet BA at peak times is happy to charge almost 500 quid each way in Club ….

    • Rob says:

      Nothing in Pula, Croatia when we flew out last month. It doesn’t even have a lounge. Even odder every airport employee was a sub-30 year old female!

      • mark2 says:

        Had they got long blonde hair?

      • DK says:

        You do realise that Pula is not the center of any universe? Pula has become popular only because of low cost companies that couldn’t afford to fly Zagreb. Only good side of Pula is that Istria is magnificent touristic spot when in season May to September. Instead of Pula, you can fly Trieste and you’ll have everything offered by Pula within 2h drive reach. Would having a lounge for 4 months season be viable for any company? I doubt. Flying there out of season is comparable to going on skiing when there’s no snow.

  • Oli says:

    Was at this lounge two weeks ago and had no problem gaining access with AA executive platinum (one world emerald) on an Iberia economy ticket. Do BA and Iberia really differ here or was the lounge just trying to squeeze a little extra cash out of visitors on the day you were there?

    • Tony says:

      Iberia has its own arrangement with BOD lounge and grants the standard access. It’s a shame that IAG doesn’t arrange lounge access across all its airlines. There is one report on FT of BA passengers are now entitled to access.

    • Rob says:

      Iberia is not BA. Iberia also lets you in to the Ibiza lounge.

  • Catalan says:

    It does seem strange that BA Club passengers aren’t allowed access when the oneworld website shows that they should (unless I’ve read it wrong).
    Rob, what reason did they give you at reception for denying you access?

  • David says:

    Even worse in Tallinn. No lounge access and no acceptance of Lounge Club card. Very shoddy

  • Peter K says:

    Sorry to hear you cannot have wheat Anika. I’ve been off gluten for years and it can be very frustrating but you get used to it. In lounges you get used to asking what they have. Most have something, even if only peanuts.

    I’ve suggested before about mentioning what gluten free products are available at lounges/airlines/hotels as there are so many of us.

    P.S. If you are going to be checked for coeliacs than you need to still be eating gluten when the blood tests etc are done or it will show nothing.

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