Review: the brand new Escape Lounge in Manchester Airport Terminal 2
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This is our review of the new Escape Lounge in the newly opened Terminal 2 extension at Manchester Airport.
I was in Manchester Airport last week for a tour of the new terminal building which has been open since July. You can read more about Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 extension in this article.
You can find all of the Head for Points UK airport lounge reviews by clicking here.
Three new lounges are opening in the building: two airport-operated lounges including the Escape and 1903 Lounges and a third party lounge operated by Aspire, which has yet to open. A space has also been allocated for a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse which will open when flight numbers justify it.
The Escape Lounge is the only lounge of the three to be currently open for general use, although it will soon be followed by the slightly more premium 1903 Lounge from September. It is open from 4:40am until 5pm daily.
You enter via a sort of shared reception between Escape and 1903:
There is some seating here, although it is not within the lounge proper. I get the feeling the airport team haven’t quite decided how to utlise this space, although they have said that as the lounge gets busier it will become an overflow space with a food offering from the tuktuk:
From the shared space you turn left into the Escape Lounge:
As you can see, the lounge was lively during our visit and is proving popular with travellers:
On the right is an impressive buffet which puts your average airline-run lounge to shame. You have a number of hot options:
…. as well as sandwiches:
Salads and deli:
…. plus freshly baked scones and pastries:
The vast majority of the food is prepared on site in a dedicated kitchen down the corridor. It genuinely looks good, and one of the best lounge spreads I have seen at this price point.
Alcohol is available at the bar (this is one of the key differnces between the Escape Lounge and 1903, where self-pour is available). There is an extra charge for champagne.
All the new lounges feature floor to ceiling windows with views across the tarmac, which are understandably popular:
There is also a shared space between the Escape Lounge and 1903 Lounge that can be closed off on one side depending on which lounge is in higher demand:
How to access the Escape Lounge at Manchester T2
At Terminal 2, the Escape Lounge is the home lounge for a number of airlines including Tui, with KLM and Air France joining soon. Following the permanent closure of its own lounge, British Airways uses the Escape Lounge in Terminal 1 which bears no comparison to this one, unfortunately.
If you are not flying in business class or do not have status then you can access this lounge using several different lounge passes such as Priority Pass (free with American Express Platinum, two one-off entry passes free with an American Express Gold card or buy one directly here). DragonPass, Lounge Key and Diners Club are also accepted.
Alternatively, you can book direct online via the airport website for £23 per person.
The Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport Terminal 2 is technically the ‘entry level’ lounge but I was seriously impressed with what I found.
The buffet is impressive, with a much better offering than you’ll find at many lounges including the British Airways Galleries Club at Heathrow. Whilst alcohol isn’t self-pour it is available for free. It represents a genuine step-up for the ‘Escape’ brand which has not, in all honesty, shone to date.
Tomorrow we look at the premium 1903 Lounge to see how it can possibly top this.
The lounge website is here if you want to book a spot for cash.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (March 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
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
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.