Last year I went up to Manchester to try out the brand new premium independent lounge in Terminal 3 – the ‘1903’ lounge.
My review of the 1903 lounge is here. The airport spent £1.6m on the lounge and I was impressed – it was a quiet, grown up space with (fairly) premium drinks and food and very welcoming staff. I wrote that, so nice was it compared to the BA lounge, for a special occasion I would recommend paying for 1903 rather than using the tired British Airways lounge for free.
1903, by the way, references the year that the Wright brothers made their first flight.
The ‘1903’ brand is owned by the airport – as is the cheaper ‘Escape’ lounge brand – and the plan is to roll it out at other Manchester Airport-owned sites such as London Stansted and East Midlands.
There seem to have been a few changes since I visited. A few airlines have started using it, which presumably makes it busier, and the cash price has come down to £30. It has retained the ‘no kids’ and ‘no groups of more than four’ policy.
The concept seems to be going well though.
Last week, 1903 took over the Etihad lounge in Manchester Terminal 1.
The opening hours are:
6.00am – 10.30am
5.30pm – 8.30pm
This is a little odd, to be honest. The Etihad flights depart at 9.05am and 8.35pm, so these times were not chosen to fit around those. Does the airport assume that there won’t be enough paying customers to justify keeping it open for seven hours during the day? Or are they doing refurbishment work during that period?
It also isn’t clear how the ‘no children’ policy can work alongside Etihad’s need to allow all Business Class – and presumably status card holding Economy passengers – to use the lounge.
If you are flying another airline from Terminal 1 when the 1903 lounge is open, you can buy admission at the reassuringly expensive price of £45 per person. It is NOT possible to gain access with a Priority Pass or any other lounge club scheme.
Full details and how to book can be found on the airport website here.
PS. The photos in this article are of the Terminal 3 lounge and not the new Terminal 1 site
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:
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.
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.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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 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.