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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)

  • Simon says:

    The yes-no lounge situation seems to be BA’s version of running a lottery for Club pax and status holders. As Timothy and Flyer68 mention above, the rather nice lounge at Olbia actually has a BA logo on the welcome board outside, it’s only when you look very closely that you see the Charter-only qualification. I raised that one with BA last year and they didn’t want to know. Instead of “where available”, how about they stop making misleading BA website claims about CE service by adding a “no lounge access” flag on their booking engine or display a list of airports where they haven’t agreed terms with the lounge operator? I’ve worked out that if there’s no lounge mentioned on the return part of the itinerary, then you’re not getting one, but that’s not exactly the same as full disclosure…

  • Shaneen says:

    Can’t use what looks like a nice lounge in Puta Cana wether flying in Business and /or Silver or Gold as BA won’t pay for access. We got a $20 voucher to use in the shop to buy sandwiches and a drink. I found it quite amusing that you could tell who was going to be flying in business as they all had beige plastic bags!

    • Anna says:

      Punta Cana! (Puta means something else lol.)

    • Nick says:

      They might pay for the lounge in PUJ if customers flying the route paid a bit more for their tickets… I was told it’s one of the lowest-yielding premium cabins on the entire network, and is consequently at the bottom of the list for any investment whatsoever.

  • Tilly says:

    OT – had anyone used the lounge at Nice airport? Presume it’s the canopy lounge being in the non-Schengen area. Wondering if worth visiting on our return journey, have lounge access with CE from T5 on way out but flying back in ET.

    • Alan says:

      Used Nice lounges a few times (Schengen & non-Schengen depending on where I was flying). PP accepted. An OK food/drinks offering – nothing special. Lounge can be very busy at times.

      • Tilly says:

        Thanks Alan. Have lounge club complimentary passes with gold card so was considering using them.

        • Alan says:

          If it’s the non-Schengen one (for flight to the UK) then when you go up the stairs/lift you’ll be able to see how busy it is. I always go in as it’s free for me with PP but depending on your travel plans you may want to save the vouchers for another lounge. In fairness the Schengen lounge is more spacious and I had a 2h delay on my flight to Paris – made it much more pleasant!

          • Tilly says:

            Good advice. Thank you. Might save for our holiday later in the year as flying WTP from Gatwick in November. Will see how busy it is. The husband also had 2 passes from his gold card. Then we have another planned in March but may book in CE instead.

          • Alan says:

            Good idea – have a great trip!

            Also, not sure if you’ve been to Nice before, but would definitely recommend the hilltop town of Èze (it’s about half-way between Nice & Monaco) – absolutely beautiful!

          • Tilly says:

            Fab. Thanks. Will check that out. Our first time in Nice.

          • the real harry1 says:

            check out http://www.francethisway.com/places/bauxdeprovence.php
            as well – my mate got married there & it was cool

  • Ian says:

    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?

    • Tilly says:

      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.

      • Leo says:

        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.

  • Simon says:

    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…

  • Gavin says:

    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

  • Prins Polo says:

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

  • dps says:

    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”.

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