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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.