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New Manchester Airport lounges to open this Summer

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The long-awaited opening of the new pier at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 is likely to be the biggest UK airport development this year.

In terms of airport lounges, the plans are hazy.

Manchester Airport terminal 2 extension

Virgin Atlantic is opening a Clubhouse

We know that Virgin Atlantic is opening a Clubhouse at long last (article here), which should transform the experience for passengers. My last Virgin Atlantic flight from Manchester left me in the Escape Plus lounge – reviewed here – which is not exactly premium.

We don’t know much about the new Clubhouse except:

“In order to provide an unrivalled travel experience, Virgin Atlantic will bring its iconic Clubhouse lounge to Manchester for the first time from Spring 2020.  Upper Class customers and Gold Card members can take advantage of the exclusive space before their flight, which will include a la carte dinning and a full service bar, quiet working spaces and a spa, allowing passengers to relax and rejuvenate before they depart.”

oneworld?

It isn’t clear if oneworld will be opening a lounge in Terminal 2.

There are plenty of oneworld carriers using Manchester Airport, and Aer Lingus (not oneworld, but related by marriage) will also need somewhere for long-haul passengers on its new services if it ends up in Terminal 2.

You can be certain that Qatar Airways is also desperate for something better than Escape Plus.

It is also possible, of course, that British Airways moves across to Terminal 2. British Airways is permanently closing its existing lounge in Manchester Airport as we covered here.

We need to wait and see here.

What about everyone else?

We now know what will be available for the general public in the extended Terminal 2.

The Manchester Airport website now talks about two new lounges opening in the new pier – click here.

It seems that we will see a new Escape lounge and a new premium 1903 lounge.

Here is an impression of the 1903 lounge:

I found the original 1903 lounge in Terminal 3 to be excellent, as we reviewed here. I haven’t been to the one in Terminal 1 which the airport converted from the Etihad lounge.

Manchester Airports Group is not keen on letting third party lounge operators into its airports, so don’t expect anything from Aspire, Plaza Premium or No1 Lounges.

This strategy is not great for the passenger, as the Manchester-owned Stansted Airport shows, with only the basement level Escape Lounge available there. However, I have high hopes for the new 1903 lounge in Terminal 2.

Don’t forget PremiAir

If you are not price sensitive, of course, the smart thing to do is to avoid the main airport altogether and use the PremiAir terminal. You never go near the main airport as PremiAir is down by the Runway Visitor Park.

This can cost as little as £90 per person during promotional periods. You will be wined and dined in the brand new facility, after which you will be driven directly to your aircraft.

We reviewed PremiAir here (image above) and cannot recommend it highly enough.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2021)

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points 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. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

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 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 (31)

  • Mike says:

    Why do HfP keep referring to the new terminal at Manchester as a new ‘pier’? It’s a whole terminal with check-in, security, departure lounge, piers, immigration, baggage reclaim, arrivals area and car parks.

    It feels a bit like a London-centric way to downplay a £bn development at the UK’s third busiest airport…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Because T2 isn’t completely new ?

      Taken from Manchester airport website.

      2020 – Terminal Two Extension completed
      150% – size by which Terminal 2 will be increasing

      • Rob says:

        Bingo. I have pondered this point but the airport calls it an extension / new pier.

    • Tim says:

      It’s certainly not a whole new terminal, it’s refurbishments and two very carpeted and shopless piers.

    • Mark says:

      Correct Mike
      The new Terminal is exactly that, it can operate the full outbound and inbound customer journey in isolation of the existing T2 Terminal.
      As part of the Transformation Programme, to date, the new Terminal, one contact stand Pier, one remote bussing Pier, a MSCP and numerous remote stands have been constructed.

  • Blenz101 says:

    Because it IS an additional pier at T2 rather than a whole new terminal.

    The airport themselves and all other articles on the development refer to it in the same way.

    And HfP only last week covered the much smaller LBA’s NEW terminal. This will be a genuine new terminal rather than expansion of existing infrastructure.

    • Mike says:

      Yes – there are several new piers included as part of the development, but it is incorrect to suggest the whole development is ‘a new pier’. One of the new piers was one of the first parts of the development to open so obviously there will be airport press releases etc that refer to a new pier.

  • Peter says:

    I’ve always thought that airport lounges should be something special. I book them because they play on idea that jet travel is the future now.

    As you can guess my naive expectations invariably collide with reality. These mock up pictures are disappointing and tedious.

    • Memesweeper says:

      The 1903 artists impression is uninspiring.

      Nothing compared to the in-real-life disappointment of the Stansted lounge though. Even when you can in free it’s not worth the walk down the corridor.

  • @mkcol says:

    Dinning?
    Must be all that proper cutlery on real crockery 😁

  • Ian says:

    I’m not convinced BA will move to T2. I don’t believe T2 has the infrastructure to handle domestic flights.

    • Rob says:

      It does. T3 does not. Flybe used to use T2, as did Little Red. Aer Lingus from Belfast does too I think.

      • Nick says:

        Errrrrr are you sure?

        BA has used T3 since it was built. There are still buttons in some of the lifts calling it the ‘British Airways terminal’. flybe used it from the first day they took over the BA Connect routes to the last day they operated any flights at all. As did Little Red.

        T2 has never had domestic facilities before. The question is whether it will in the future… and I haven’t seen any confirmation that it will (apart from on HfP, but I don’t know where you’ve taken it from).

      • Ben says:

        Rob. Flybe used T3. Aer Lingus use T1. Please do some proper research.

      • M says:

        Sorry Rob, think you have the numbers mixed up? T3 definitely has domestic infrastructure as most of the domestic flights land here…eg BA from LHR. T1 has facilities because it was the original terminal (well T3 was T1A). That’s where Aer Lingus currently is because (Irish flights treated as domestic because of Common Area). I don’t think there has ever been any domestic at T2,

        • Rob says:

          Sorry …. thought you were discussing Heathrow. I don’t see the full thread as you do.

      • David says:

        I think you are confusing LHR &MAN. Ian is referring to T2 at MAN.

        • Rob says:

          I did! Rhys and I see the comments stream in a different way to you and sometimes we don’t actually know what the previous comment was referring to.

  • Blair says:

    Hmm if Virgin Clubhouse opens, will that incentivise AF-KLM to switch T3 to T2 I wonder. A real pity as 1903 Lounge in T3 is one of the major pluses of flting AF-KLM. Quiet and orderly. The Clubhouse, based on destinations served from MAN, will be full of shrieking kids.

    • David D says:

      Unlikely, as most of the code VS sharing would be VS on AF or KL planes for short haul connections, or long haul destinations Virgin do not service themselves. There would likely be very few if any flying VS on an AK/KL issued ticket or connecting from CDG or AMS.

  • TimM says:

    I have flew from the ‘new’ pier at MAN T2 last year. It was around a 20 minute walk through screened-off building works where presumably there will be non-stop retail opportunities in the future.

    The original plan was to demolish T1 entirely and extend the current T2 to connect to the current T3. If they had done it 10 years go it would still have been too late. Then the penny-pinching Manchester Airport Group thought better of it. Why make a pleasant, organised and civilised airport when you keep on making big money from what you already have? The T2 expansion is delayed by years and the final pier may never happen.

    IMHO, T1 & 3 should be demolished as soon as the extended T2 can take over. They are an affront to humanity. Then so is MAG.

    I also empathise with those who travel through Stansted.

    • TimM says:

      Apologies. “I flew from”

    • QwertyKnowsBest says:

      +1 and everyone who flys fron MAN regularly!!!

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      +1 but the sad thing is I sense they’d happily print most of that as-is in their own prospectus…

      • Craig says:

        Nothing like paying a premium to fly on a premium carrier in a premium cabin only to pay for drop-off, a liquids bag and a trolly. Such a joke.

        • Ian says:

          If you can afford a premium cabin on a premium carrier, you can afford to pay for drop-off, a liquids bag and a trolley.

          • Craig says:

            That’s a really poor logic when the airport experience is part of the journey as a whole and the airport has received plenty in fees as part of your ticket price. By that mindset, airlines can also chip away at their product offering and force you to pay for more and more but “since you can afford a premium ticket you can afford to pay for x, y & z etc etc.”

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