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O2 mobile customers now get FREE airport lounge access if their flight is delayed

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O2 has launched a very interesting special offer for anyone whose phone runs on the O2 network and who is signed up to the O2 Priority benefits programme.

If you are an O2 customer and your flight is delayed by 60 minutes or more, you and up to three friends or family members will be allowed free access to an airport lounge.

The scheme is called Priority Smart Delay, and is a partnership with Priority Pass.

O2 Priority Smart Delay

This is how it works:

“Register your outbound and return flight details up until the time of your flight’s scheduled departure, and if delayed, we’ll send you an email with your complimentary airport lounge access vouchers.

Not alone? No worries, you’ll get access for you and three friends or family members travelling on the same flight.

With 1200 airport lounges in over 500 airports across more than 100 countries, you’re sure to find some peace of mind.

Before you know it, you’ll be hopping on that plane to begin your exciting journey.

Offer Goods/Services: This Offer entitles you access to an airport lounge for you and three friends, in the event that your flight is delayed by 60 minutes or more. You will not be granted free lounge access unless your flight is delayed by 60 minutes or more.

Can be used once a month per customer. To access this Service, you must register via Priority before your flight departs. Not all flights are eligible for registration. SmartDelay reserve the right not to provide Service if you fail to accurately register your details. Subject to successful prior registration and lounge availability, the Service will provide you with airport lounge access via email and SMS in the event that the flight tracking system identifies that your flight is delayed by more than 60 minutes (the ‘Delay Threshold’).

To access the lounge, you must display your lounge access email. A delay which matches or exceeds the Delay Threshold must be announced as one single period of delay or reached as a consequence of multiple incremental shorter delays.

In the event of a qualifying travel delay, a lounge access voucher will be provided to you and up to three travel companions on the same day of your flight. Cannot be used on any other day of your travel. Only named individuals in the email confirmation will be eligible.”

The scheme is working on a rolling monthly basis – it is not clear if you need to re-register each month or not.

There is a limit of 7,500 one-way flight registrations per month which isn’t going to go far given that O2 has 32 million customers in the UK, although Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile customers are excluded.

The offer is guaranteed to run until at least January 2020.

O2 has done the maths here.  If we assume 5% of flights are an hour late, that all 7500 monthly registrations are used up (a registration covers a one-way flight, not a return), that there is an average of two people per booking and that O2 is paying £15 per person for the lounge, the offer will cost O2 £11,250 per month.  This is peanuts, frankly.  It is excellent PR for O2 at a very low cost.

PS.  In theory, nothing stops you buying a £1 O2 SIM card from your local newsagent, putting it in your phone and creating an O2 Priority account.  You can then ditch the SIM card.  You’ll note from the rules above that, if your flight is delayed, your lounge voucher is emailed to you.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 2023)

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four 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 four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get four 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 (43)

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

  • Prins Polo says:

    I’d just echo the comment that whenever I try to get into Priority Pass lounges at London airports, they’re full.

  • Riccatti says:

    You have to be AIRSIDE when flight is delayed to use the lounge. Chances of that, and then if it’s delayed for 1 hour already, other chances that it will delay not for long more.

  • pommy ray says:

    is being deplayed when no gate number is shown?
    I found recently more airports get you into a gate by a certain time and delays can occur and obviously you can not leave.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Annoys the hell out of me when they do this. Is a scrabble of passengers all standing around a tight space really better than announcing the 30 mins delay.

  • Lady London says:

    Surely if flights are delayed, then there’s a good chance multiple flights are delayed? And so thé lounges will be full anyway. (Genuinely full, and not just “Priority Pass is not paying us enough, and so if you didnt pay this loubge extra money then we’re not letting you in” version of “lounge is full” ) ?

    I can imagine if next summer looks to be full of airline strikes, then O2 will withdraw this rapidly. But meanwhile, as Rob says, excellent publicity for cheap.

    • ADS says:

      i think the numbers will probably be even lower than Rob’s estimate …

      how often do rolling delays come up where you don’t have enough time to actually head off to the lounge.

      you also have to wait for the entrance ticket to arrive on your phone … which will reduce the time you have to spend in the lounge … which will reduce the likelihood that you will actually go to the lounge.

      and there will be some people who have a seat near the gate, and just can’t be bothered trekking off to the lounge.

      so i suspect the actual usage figures will be tiny !

      • ADS says:

        and another group of people who presumably won’t get to use it … if you miss your connection and you get put onto the next flight (so the second flight isn’t actually delayed) … stranded for six hours waiting for your new flight with no lounge access … as nearly happened to me a couple of days ago !

  • rob burgin says:

    just been refused have sky mobil

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

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