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Review: The SKYLIFE Lounge at Teesside International Airport

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This is our review of the SKYLIFE Lounge at Teesside International Airport (formerly Durham Tees Valley Airport).

This was previously known as the Premium Lounge before the recent rebranding of the airport.  The various lounge club websites, such as Priority Pass, are still using the old names for both the airport and the lounge.

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

Teesside Airport

In our ongoing effort to review every lounge in the UK, reader Anita very kindly sent us this review of the SKYLIFE Lounge, the only lounge offering at Teesside International Airport.

Over to Anita:

Durham Tees Valley is no more.  Having been taken over by the local authorities, it has now been renamed Teesside International Airport in line with its aim to attract 1.4m passengers by 2023.

Dwindling passenger numbers and the cancellation of many scheduled and charter routes means Teesside International Airport has suffered serious neglect in recent years. Hopefully the change of ownership will reverse this. There is a real air of optimism and energy about the place, starting with a revamp of the airside areas, including an improved lounge offering called ‘The SKYLIFE Lounge’.

At the moment the lounge is only open from 4.30am – 10am and 3pm – 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 4.30am – 10am on Saturday and 7am – 11am on Sunday.  There are so few flights it doesn’t need to be open longer.

Here is an official PR picture:

SKYLIFE lounge Teesside International Airport

…. and here is the real thing:

premium lounge teesside international airport entrance

The SKYLIFE Lounge is easy to locate given the size of the terminal! There is no duty free, only a WH Smith and a bar serving food. The lounge is next to Gate 3, which is where the KLM flight leaves from.

premium lounge teesside international airport buffet

We were the first to arrive at 7.45am for a 10.05 departure.  By 9.15am the lounge had 21 passengers in it, all of whom appeared to be business travellers. The maximum capacity of the lounge is 50 so it was about half full – although there are plans to extend and provide a dedicated lounge for leisure travellers and families as the airport picks up more charter business (under 18s are not allowed in).

premium lounge teesside international airport seating

The lounge itself is a bright, air-conditioned space, with lots of natural light and views out to the runway. Staff are cheerful and helpful and appeared to know regular guests.  There is a mix of sofas, tables and chairs for individuals and couples:

premium lounge teesside international airport view

….. as well as three workstations.  Connectivity is good with plenty of power sockets throughout the lounge, although no USB charging points.

premium lounge teesside international airport desks

Toilets are within feet of the lounge entrance in the public area outside.

The SKYLIFE Lounge has a decent buffet with lots of variety. We had our pick from a hot breakfast (sausage, bacon, beans, scrambled egg):

premium lounge teesside international airport hot buffet

…. as well as pastries, cereals, breads, biscuits, crackers, cheese and fresh fruit.  I’m told that the afternoon offering includes sandwiches, a pasta dish, sausage rolls, cakes and scones.

premium lounge teesside international airport breakfast buffet


premium lounge teesside international airport cereal

There is cranberry, tomato, apple and orange juice, still and sparkling water and bottles of soft drinks.  Alcohol was again self-service.  There was a plentiful supply of red, white and rose Chilean wines, along with branded spirits (Bells, Beefeater, etc).  Hot drinks are available from a machine which dispenses coffee, cappuccinos, hot chocolate and hot water for the great variety of teas.

premium lounge teesside international airport buffet


premium lounge teesside international airport

High speed wifi is available whilst printing and photocopying is on request.  There were newspapers, with mostly a single copy of the FT, Times, Daily Express and Telegraph.  There isn’t much emphasis on magazines here, with only an old Grazia from May.  A couple of widescreen TVs were showing Sky News.

premium lounge teesside international airport papers

Departures are not announced, but a screen keeps you informed and as the lounge is so small the reception staff will give you a prod when the flight is boarding.  You can even watch your flight pull up outside.

Teesside International Airport’s big plus at the moment for travellers is its size.  It’s friendly, personable and stress-free.   If you’re contemplating flying with KLM to Amsterdam, or connecting onwards, I’d highly recommend it as an alternative to Newcastle International Airport or Leeds Bradford.  With no queues and a good quality offering it was a great start to our day.

premium lounge teesside international airport tables

How to enter the SKYLIFE Lounge at Teesside International Airport

KLM uses the SKYLIFE Lounge at Teesside International Airport for its business passengers as well as those with Gold or Platinum Flying Blue status. Eligible guests from Eastern Airways can also use the lounge.

You can also access the SKYLIFE Lounge with Priority Pass (which comes free with American Express Platinum, or you can buy one separately), DragonPass, and Diners Club.  You can also enter with a Lounge Club card (two free entry vouchers come with the free-in-year-one American Express Preferred Rewards Gold).

You can also pay cash via the Lounge Pass website at £21.95 per person.  You can buy annual membership for £199 but this must be done in person.”

Thank you Anita.  You can read more about the SKYLIFE Lounge on the airport website here.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit 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:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) 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.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply 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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

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 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

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 (12)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • ChrisC says:

    Most locals continued to call it Teesside Airport despite the rebrand to Durham Tees Valley so the recent re-rename was really just erasing a mistake.

    And the same could be said for the combined authority buying it back.

  • Chuck says:

    The food in aluminium foil … they need to stop that !

    • Mike says:

      Not a premium look is it?

      I’ve always assumed that people who do this are lazy – it makes the dish easier to wash but creates mountains of waste…

      • Bagoly says:

        Although aluminium is one of the easiest materials to recycle.
        We collect ours (admittedly we have space), and take periodically to a scrap metal merchant.

  • John says:

    This airport has a train station about half a mile away from the terminal which is served by one train a week on Sunday afternoon in one direction only, which is the subject of many railway blogs.

    The train service used to be hourly in both directions 30 years ago but it was culled because nobody uses this airport. Basically the only flights are to AMS and ABZ with a few specials during holiday season.

    The local authority apparently has ambitions to install travelators to the station but they will need to seriously increase the number of passengers before there is any chance of that being worthwhile.

    • Tariq says:

      It’s been allowed to die off for sure. Last time I flew through here was before the last rebrand as mentioned above, as a child on the BD services to LHR.

    • Lumma says:

      The railway station service was cut back well before the airport lost most of its flights. It was a decent airport back in the 00s. BMI baby leaving the airport was the beginning of the end for it

    • ChrisC says:

      It’s one of the least used stations in the country. Usually in the bottom 5 based on ticket sales.

      Every so often it is bottom of the list so the next year it gains a few extra visits^ from train geeks who tell the conductor they just want a picture of themselves under the sign to they quickly allow them to do it before the train departs.

      ^ though as the stats are based on ticket sales some of the bump is due to people just booking tickets for the souvenir value and collecting them at machines elsewhere

      I last used the station in the early 80’s when I went to the air show and the last time the airport in the mid 2000s on a BMI Baby flight LGW – MME for a Christmas visit to my parents.

      Teesside must be one of the worst connected airports on the U.K. mainland with no scheduled bus service and a single train stop on a Sunday.

  • TigerTanaka says:

    Great review of a fab little airport. Living 10 minutes away, it is great to be able to leave home at 5am, drive to the airport, park, go through security, grab a bite in the lounge and still be able to catch the 6am flight to Amsterdam.

    I was not aware of the “no under 18s in the lounge” rule. If it is in place, it is not enforced as I took my 15 year old in there at Easter.

  • Concerto says:

    Is there a possibility to rent a car there?

    • Heathrow Flyer says:

      From memory AVIS/Budget hold vehicles on site.

    • TigerTanaka says:

      I hired a car when Avis had their crazy points promo on. I turned up at the pre-booked time and there was a guy from Avis waiting for me with the car and the paperwork. I have seen the Europcar office open on a few occasions.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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