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Review of the extended Skylife lounge at London Southend Airport

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This is our review of the new, expanded Skylife lounge at London Southend Airport.

Back in 2016 Rob had a pleasant day out at London Southend Airport including a visit to the small Skylife lounge.  Since then the lounge has been fully refurbished and hugely expanded and reader Olivier was so kind and sent us pictures of it. 

The entrance is the same as before with an added door on the right for the entrance to the new area.  This is an old 2016 picture so ignore the £20.95 price (it is now £22.95 if you pay cash).  The capital ‘L’ in ‘Life’ has also now been dropped!

Southend Airport review

When Olivier visited the lounge in February, the old lounge area was not in use.  One of the employees told him this part would be refurbished later this year once they understood what worked with the new area and what didn’t.

SkyLife Lounge southend review

The new area is huge compared to the old lounge, with a large number of sitting areas, many of them featuring comfortable sofas.  There is also a large dining area with tables and chairs.

SkyLife Lounge southend review

and

SkyLife Lounge southend review

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SkyLife Lounge southend review

Olivier was very positive about the setting, the design, the decoration and the furniture used.

SkyLife Lounge southend review

The food on the buffet was only pastries and fruit in the mid-afternoon, but they also have a machine to make your own pancakes and one to make your own hot dog.

SkyLife Lounge southend review

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SkyLife Lounge southend review

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SkyLife Lounge southend review

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SkyLife Lounge southend review

There was a good selection of alcohol including draught beer.

SkyLife Lounge southend review

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SkyLife Lounge southend review

Conclusion

All in all the improvements are very positive and the Skylife lounge at London Southend Airport now appears to be competitive with independent lounges at similar sized airports.  When Olivier visited the lounge on a Wednesday afternoon there was only one other couple there.  Even if it did get busier there would always be enough seating.

You can get into the lounge using Priority Pass.  You can buy one here or you receive two (which admit four people between them) with The Platinum Card from American Express.

It is not a Lounge Club member unfortunately, so if you have two free lounge access passes from your American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card you will need to use them somewhere else.

You can find out more about the lounge on the airport website here.

This article is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK. You see all of the reviews here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

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 a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

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.

Comments (5)

  • Bagoly says:

    Pitching for the JetBlue destination?

    Unfortunately I see that Ryanair has moved in 🙁

  • flyforfun says:

    It’s probably because Ryanair has moved in that it becomes more essential that there’s a decent place to escape to! I’ve only used it once a few years ago and it was like the airport was only inhabited by 1 or 2 plane loads of people at any one time. Looking at the current departures board it looks like that may be slightly more busier, but not much.

    Having a look at Southend Airport’s website on the lounge makes me wonder if they are being too honest with the offering:

    “Provision of a selection of complimentary snacks (please note that this, in no way, constitutes a full meal offer)”

    So I wonder if what Oliver saw was the extent of it. I saw that same pancake machine at Hong Kong’s Premium Plaza lounge last month – however when I pressed the button, the belt moved but no pancake came out!!

  • Crafty says:

    There’s one of those pancake machines at the Cordis HK. My partner was very impressed.

  • Jeremy says:

    The pancake machine was working last week, the kids loved it. Surprisingly good for what it is…
    Having been through the airport several times I can say it’s always quiet and a pleasure to use, the lounge is generally quiet and the only real downside is the loos are in the terminal.

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