Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: Cardiff Airport Executive Lounge (Lolfa Foethus)

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

This is our review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport.

It is part of our almost-complete collection of UK airport lounge reviews – see them all here.

As we don’t often fly from regional UK airports we asked you to help us fill in the gaps.  Reader Lewis very kindly sent in this review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport, which we haven’t covered for 18 months or so.  Over to Lewis:

“Cardiff Airport upgraded its Executive Lounge offering in 2018 as part of a wider £4 million terminal upgrade.  This coincided with the launch of Qatar Airways direct flights to Doha from the airport.

Business class passengers with KLM and Qatar Airways plus Flybe all-in ticket holders benefit from fast track security at Cardiff Airport. Economy passengers are unable to purchase this separately and it does not come inclusive with lounge access. Security at Cardiff Airport does not get huge amounts of traffic all year round but it can save you 15 – 20 minutes when there are a number of early morning departures such as the morning of my flight.

As part of the terminal upgrade the departure lounge was extended and given a new entrance to the Lolfa Foethus (Executive Lounge in Welsh) tucked around the back.

Executive Lounge Cardiff Airport entrance

Accessing the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport

Most airlines (including KLM and Qatar) use the Executive Lounge for those travelling in business class.

If you do not have lounge access included in your ticket you can book it on the airport website here. It is £23 per person.

Unfortunately the rules for Priority Pass, Lounge Pass, LoungeKey have recently changed. As of 1st October 2019 they are no longer valid for entry, which is a shame. You can still use your DragonPass to get access to the Executive Lounge. Access is subject to availability, as is standard.

Pre booking isn’t necessary but recommend for early morning departures in the summer season.

The Executive Lounge

The lounge is open from 5am every morning and shuts at 9pm except for Saturday’s where it closes at 5pm.

Executive Lounge Cardiff Airport seating

On arrival you enter the main Executive Lounge area for all passengers. There is plenty of seating available, a dedicated work area, a TV and an information board. Usually there are newspapers but I didn’t see any this morning.

One of the first things you will notice is the lack of windows in this lounge, there is one small window facing the car park. There are no runway views.

Executive Lounge Cardiff Airport seating

Food and drinks

For the breakfast buffet there is a cold only offering of pastries, Welsh cakes, fruit, cereal, crisps, peanuts, biscuits and pretzels. Clotted cream and jams are also available.

Executive Lounge Cardiff Airport snacks

Hot and soft drinks are dispensed from a self service machine.

Executive Lounge Cardiff Airport food

There is a separate manned bar area with numerous beers on offer from the Glamorgan Brewery company (I recommend them!). You will also find other beers such as Becks, wine on tap and numerous spirits including Penderyn Whiskey.

The terms and conditions of the lounge do state that there is a two drink per person limit but in reality I have never seen this enforced.

Executive Lounge Cardiff Airport bar

It’s worth noting that there are no exclusive use toilets for the main Executive Lounge area. The toilets have been moved to cater for the second area of the lounge, the 51 Degree Business Lounge…

51 Degree Business Lounge

Executive Lounge Cardiff Airport 51 degrees

This area is exclusive to business class ticket holders for Qatar Airways and KLM. This area isn’t particularly large, I counted around 25 seats but it’s a pleasant space with window views of the front of the terminal plus its own TV, information board and buffet station. This space with the exclusive toilets will be mostly beneficial in the summer when the main executive lounge is busy with families. Given the school term has started when I was there, there were more passengers in the 51 Degree Lounge than the main Executive Lounge.

Disappointingly the food offering is similar, if not almost identical, to the main Executive Lounge area. The main difference is that one of the fridges is stocked with beer and some spirits in the corner. It’s worth noting that I have seen pictures of hot cawl (Welsh stew) and fresh bread being served to business passengers outside of breakfast hours.


The lounge is a nice area to relax and to get away from a busy departure area.  The lack of hot food and runway views does let this lounge down although I do think this is fairly reflected in the £23 charge.

Today I was on a KLM business ticket with a 6.05am departure and I was absolutely fine with a hot tea and some fruit. If I had paid good money to fly business class with Qatar Airways and was presented with this would I be happy? Probably not.”

Thanks Lewis. For more UK lounge reviews you can check out our directory here.

You can book the lounge for cash via the Lounge Pass website here.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (July 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK 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 1,500 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 £24.  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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (17)

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

  • Spaghetti Town says:

    Used to go into this lounge just for the rocky road biscuits, after the refurb they’d sadly gone!

  • Matt B says:

    I live probably smack in the middle of Cardiff and Bristol, yet haven’t flown from Cardiff since my lads package trips to Magaluf, Ibiza etc over 20 years ago. Whenever I look at flights and have a choice between them Bristol is always cheaper. I’m amazed it’s still going, i assume the WAG is still pumping money into it?

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      WG own it.

      There are smaller airports operating however, i.e Norwich, Humberside, Newquay

  • Biv says:

    Not worth the money available –

  • Pid says:

    OT but lounge related. I visited the LHR T3 arrivals lounge the other day. They no longer accepted Priority Pass but would allow me in with my Amex Plat. Not sure how new this is.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks. This has always been the Plaza Premium rule at T5 Departures but didn’t know it had spread.

    • Lady London says:

      What is the real story behind this trickle of lounges (that seems to be becoming a flood if you count the new lounges that want a big chunk of cash as well as the pass) that now wont take Priority Pass. And louanges that should take Priority Pass according to Priority Pass, and previously were mainstay Priority Pass, but where there is now clearly a policy of not admitting Priority Pass holders unless they pay £5-10 cash extra in addition to what they’re paid already for their Pass? This is happening even when the lounges are empty. The excuse of flights expected doesnt alwzys ring true.

      Is Priority Pass in trouble? Where do they see
      the evolution of airport lounges and their funding and Priority Pass’s future direction and profits?

      With reports of access to PP lounges becoming ever more mostly or restricted, especially given the mediocre quality of many PP lounges, i can only conclude that Priority Pass is in financial trouble as they are no longer able to provide the service they promise.

      • Lady London says:

        *mostly — >. Costly

      • Rob says:

        Collinson is a cash cow, trust me.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Greed may then kill it.

          Just seems odd they are losing lots of lounges.

          You’re only as good (useful) as the lounges you have access to.

      • Aaron says:

        Collinson are naturally trying to maximise their profits. They are cheapskates who don’t like paying airports. Airports / lounge operators would be lucky to get more than £13 per guest off Collinson. So airports/lounge operators are always looking at how to diversify away from PP guests (own channel bookings, airline space deals, and the rare but lucrative pay at door walk-ins).

  • Yawn says:

    They put out soup and prosecco ahead of the Qatar flights. There are also scones late afternoon. I agree it’s not a great lounge experience but as most of the departure lounge is a beer hall, it’s still worth the money.

    • Lady London says:

      Thanks @Yawn you’ve answered m’y question “Why use this lounge at all then”. So it just about makes sense for QR flights.

  • Youngtraveller says:

    Having used this lounge between 1-3 pm I can say they had the same offering as what they offered during breakfast “pastries, Welsh cakes, fruit, cereal, crisps, peanuts, biscuits and pretzels. Clotted cream and jams are also available.” At least it was the case in August and June.

  • jamie says:

    They also have the same offering from 4-6pm it is the worst food selection ever!

    PP issues are a concern however, hopefully the new Aspire at Edinburgh will still accept it

    • David D says:

      It is expected that the new Aspire next to the No1 Lounge at Edinburgh will be accepting the same frequent flyer scheme business and eligible elite passengers as the original Aspire lounge. I’m looking forward to trying it out early next month just after opening. If the improvements are like of those at the No1 Lounge then it should be good.

  • Lee Thomas says:

    The soup is served in the main lounge and is available to all passengers. I still think they could up their food offerings.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.