Our review of the Escape Lounge at East Midlands Airport

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This is our review of the Escape Lounge at East Midlands Airport.

Last week, we asked for your help in checking out the few remaining airport lounges around the UK that we haven’t yet reviewed.  Reader Chris very kindly submitted this review after his recent visit to the East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge, which we haven’t discussed since it opened back in 2014.

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

The official website for the Escape Lounge, where can you book your visit, is here.

Over to Chris:

“East Midlands Airport, off Junction 23A on M1, is a small airport predominantly providing holiday and low cost flights – particularly for Ryanair.

The Escape Lounge is located beyond security and retail outlets and is opposite Gate 17.  It is open from 04:00 to 19:00 every day except Saturdays when it closes at 18:00 hrs.  It is run by the airport itself – which is owned by Manchester Airports Group – rather than being outsourced to a third party such as No 1 Lounges, Aspire or Plaza Premium.

The lounge is comprised of one large room with three open areas and different types of seating. There are high back lounge chairs, booth style benches with tables, and standard cafeteria style plastic chairs and tables.

Capacity is around 100+ and during my visit was probably 50% full.  The lounge does allow the reservation of tables, which might be advantageous for larger groups, although I’m not sure if this only applies to people who pay directly for entry.

East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge reviewand

East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge reviewand

East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge review

Breakfast was available during my visit, and included buffet style hot food, including a full English, and a small selection of cereals, fruit and pastries.  I noticed the hot food was replenished regularly.  Coffee, tea and juices were also available along with a full bar.  Drinks were restricted to one glass per person (e.g. no doubles) but there was no limit on the number of times one could return to the bar for another.

East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge buffet reviewand

East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge buffet reviewand

East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge buffet review

An obscure range of magazines was available but no newspapers had arrived by the time I left the lounge (06:30).  A comment by the staff suggested they do not arrive until later, if at all.

East Midlands Airport Escape Lounge magazines review

Free WiFi was available but this was not unique to the lounge as it is free throughout the airport. USB charging points were available at most tables and free printing and scanning is available according to their services menu.

There were at least four staff on duty at the time of my visit who coped efficiently but the lounge was continuing to fill as I left.   I am unsure how well it might cope at full capacity.


My overall impressions were of a colourful, clean but basic facility perfectly suited to a relaxing visit before a holiday flight.

My access, via Mastercard Lounge Key on the HSBC Premier Credit Card, was chargeable at £15 which in my opinion was reasonable value for what was available and what was consumed.  It is certainly of superior quality, range and pricing to the in-flight offerings from most of the airlines using East Midlands.  Feedback on its website suggests it may not always be good value at busier times when the atmosphere is not as calm.

A loyalty scheme operates with other UK Escape lounges at Manchester and Stansted whereby a free visit is awarded after six visits.”

Thanks Chris. You can access the Escape Lounge for free with a Priority Pass (which comes free with American Express Platinum, or you can buy one separately), as well as DragonPass and Lounge Club.  You get two free Lounge Club entry vouchers if you apply for a – free in the first year – American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card.

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

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  1. SammyJ says:

    Have they added access to the toilets yet? It was a right pain last time I was there, as the loos are outside the lounge, and the area outside was packed with people inexplicably queueing two hours before their Ryanair flight! The staff were also incredibly cheeky to my friend, who is a petite girl and was wearing conservative smart shorts and a blouse, telling her she would have to go and find some other clothes if she wanted in, as her shorts were too short for their dress code (they were not especially short!), only for us to find the lounge full of blokes in tracksuits and baseball caps when we finally got in, which wouldn’t bother me if they hadn’t been downright rude to my smartly dressed friend! Not sure if they’ve sorted the dress code and/or staff attitude out!

    • Maybe the staff meant she was too over dressed to fit in…and needed to find shorter shorts?

  2. I’ve used the Escape Lounge a few times with Loungekey (HSBC) for free.

    • filipino_chino says:

      Yes we do too… first person, second person is chargeable

  3. Claire says:

    Slightly OT, Any word yet on whether the new Bournemouth lounge will accept priority pass. It’s due to open in a month.

  4. Heathrow Flyer says:

    Those brown benches look like they were bought second hand from some truckers’ cafe…

  5. Funtime says:

    East Midlands is my local airport, indeed I was there yesterday.

    It’s very basic as is the whole airport.

    Very busy yesterday lunchtime but they coped, not a great choice of food or drink but an haven away from the crowds at peak times.

    Would I pay for entry? Not really, had breakfast in my village beforehand and just popped in for a couple of altitudes before my unbeknown two hour delayed Ryanair flight.

    In the sunshine now though.

  6. Chuck says:

    ‘drinks are limited to one glass per person’ ?!
    So as a couple you have to make 2 trips to the bar … ? Am I reading this right, can it possibly be true ? What if it’s really busy ? Queue twice ?

    • Shoestring says:

      easy, boy

      they probably have measures in place to stop rowdy drunkenness, obvs, it being the Midlands – ie no doubles allowed and they’ll check you’re not just ordering 2 for yourself, which is quite a good strategy much used by myself, I have to say – saves a lot of time & overrides ‘mean’ measures

      but anybody not dodgy will be able to point to partner sitting at table & get 2

      • Chuck says:

        I see … looks and sounds tacky …

        • David says:

          Well it is the midlands…

          • Roberto says:

            Was in a lounge in Liverpool once with a group of passengers booked onto a £1 ticket to somewhere they where not going to fly to.

            They hammered the free bar and “missed” their flight.

          • East Midlands…

    • Chris says:

      Perhaps my wording could have been better – you can have one glass per person in your party but only one measure per glass. I was on my own and they would not allow me to have a double, so I needed to go return for singles each time. Hope this clarifies.

  7. We used the lounge via my Amex plat card. Breakfast had finished and they were starting dinner. Very good selection of Italian offerings. We had a booth with charging points which made it very easy to use my laptop. No sitting leaning over a small table or balancing on my knees.
    In answer to Frank, there was no problem getting a drink for myself and wife.

  8. Rich barnett says:

    We went just over a week ago we didn’t think it was as good as the one at Manchester the one at Manchester seemed to have more selection

    • We are covering T2 Man tomorrow as it happens.

    • Mike Thompson says:

      Considering Manchester airport has been refreshed, any profit EMA makes goes into Manchester Airport and not invested in EMA

  9. Graham says:

    We use this frequently with our priority pass cards supplied through American express but beware that they always give priority to paid guests as we found out a couple of times in the summer when they are busy. Annoyingly we were told that if we paid they could find us a table??

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