This is our review of the Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2.
You can find out more, and book for cash, on this page of the airport website.
This article is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK. You see all of the reviews here.
Last week, we asked for your help in completing our directory of UK airport lounge reviews. One lounge we were missing was the Escape Lounge at Terminal 2 in Manchester. Reader Nigel very kindly submitted this review after his recent visit on his way to the Dominican Republic for a family holiday.
Manchester Airport owns the Escape, Escape Plus and 1903 lounges in the airport. You will rarely see a third party lounge operator such as No 1 Lounges, Aspire or Plaza Premium at any airport run by the group.
Over to Nigel:
“The airport lounges are fairly easy to get to at Terminal 2, with the majority being on the same corridor above the main departure area. After walking through Duty Free and into the main terminal, simply follow directions for Gate 209 – about a 100 yard walk. The lounges are well signposted opposite the gate, and are accessible via a staircase or lift. Just a word of warning, if you are travelling with a pushchair or have mobility issues – the lift is small and you may be in for a wait at busy periods.
The Escape lounge is on the left side of a long, narrow and pretty bland corridor. There was a queue to get in when we arrived at about 8am which was not a great sign.
Access can be pre-booked online from £21 per adult. It is also open to all the major lounge passes – DragonPass, Priority Pass and Lounge Club – as well as to paying customers on the day if there is room for £30. Luckily our access was included as we were travelling in Premium with Tui. [HFP edit – we have seen a lot of feedback that you will struggle to get in using a lounge pass at peak periods.]
A number of people in front of us in the queue were being turned away. This was not actually because the lounge was full but because they were actually trying to access Escape Plus, the business lounge for some airlines – including Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways – which is poorly signposted. HfP reviewed the Escape Plus lounge in Manchester Terminal 2 here.
We were greeted by the friendly and attentive reception staff and promptly shown to our seats. As there were five of us, we were offered two sofas with a table between them.
The lounge is a large room separated in the middle by a bookcase and other bits of furniture. There are a couple of windows which overlook the terminal building below. Unfortunately there is no natural light but despite that the lounge appears light and airy with the bright green colour theme common to other Escape lounges.
There are a variety of seats available, with the majority set around tables. There was a small buffet style seating area with plug sockets for those who needed to get some work done and plug in a laptop. There were also a small number of sofas reserved for larger families.
One thing that did stand out was the lack of plug sockets available. Unless you were lucky enough to get one of the buffet seats or had one of the sofas, you would struggle to plug in any electronic devices. Whilst wi-fi is available in the lounge, the speed is fairly slow and we were unable to get mobile data signal on three of our phones from three different networks! Connectivity is therefore poor.
When we arrived, hot breakfast was on offer from a self serve buffet. The selection was not massive but all the basics were there: sausages, bacon, beans, hash browns etc. There was also a selection of cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurts and pastries. The food standard was average but perfectly acceptable. Drink-wise there are a couple of machines in the lounge which serve all the usual hot beverages.
Alcohol is also provided, with a small selections of wines: 2 reds, 2 whites, 1 rosé and 1 sparkling. Carlsberg, Fosters and Strongbow were available via self-serve fridges. There is also a bar where you can obtain Guinness and premium spirits, which are free. Champagne can be purchased upon request.
Overall, the Escape lounge in Manchester Terminal 2 is comfortable and spacious with a reasonable food and beverage offering.
The lounge is clearly aimed towards the leisure and family market and does the job for that group. However the lack of a decent work area, plug sockets and wifi, makes it difficult to get your head down if you are travelling on business. Knowing how busy Terminal 2 can get and with the limited bars and restaurants in the terminal, £21 is actually a reasonable price to access the lounge and avoid the crowds.”
Thanks Nigel. 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 the DragonPass and Lounge Club card (two free entry vouchers with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold).
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit 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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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.