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Review: the Northern Lights lounge at Aberdeen Airport

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This is our review of the Northern Lights lounge at Aberdeen Airport.

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

All this week, in partnership with Priority Pass, we are reviewing some of the best independent airport lounges outside London. All of these lounges can be accessed with a Priority Pass membership, which you can buy here with a 40% discount or get for free with selected UK credit and charge cards (click here to learn more). You can also pay cash, of course.

The next stop on my UK lounge tour (and the only non-Aspire lounge, actually) is the Northern Lights lounge at Aberdeen Airport. You can find out more, and book for cash, on the airport website here.

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen sign

Rob enthusiastically reviewed this lounge in 2018 but this was my first time – and indeed my first time at Aberdeen Airport. I was looking forward to seeing how it compared to the Lomond Lounge in Glasgow (review here), which is excellent. I was not disappointed.

Inside the Northern Lights lounge

Getting to the lounge requires heading down to the ground-floor gates as you come out of security and doing a bit of a u-turn around the terminal building. Fortunately the signage is decent.

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen sign 2

There are just two lounges at Aberdeen – the BA lounge, which you pass first, and Northern Lights, which is just round the corner. We reviewed the British Airways lounge at Aberdeen Airport here – it is also very good, but doesn’t have the quirky charm of Northern Lights.

Here is the check-in desk, complete with Halloween decorations!

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen check in

Because Scotland is currently a bit stricter with regards to covid precautions you are escorted to you preferred seat and only table service is available. To be honest, I think table service is an upgrade so I’m not complaining.

The lounge is a large, squarish shape with an open plan layout:

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen seating

Window seats get a good view of the runway and the many helicopters taking off and landing for North Sea oil rigs:

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen window seat

This large bar-stool style seating separates the window area from the bar area:

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen bar stools

and

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen bar

The only thing missing, in my view, is seating that is more appropriate for working. Except for a couple of bar stools the entire lounge is filled with armchairs and coffee tables. They are very comfortable but unfortunately not very convenient for working at on a laptop. Plug sockets are also a little thin on the ground.

Food and drink in the Northern Lights lounge

The lounge staff are extremely attentive and come round on a very regular basis to ask if you would like something to eat or drink. Two menus were provided, including a seasonal one:

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen menu

Options included soup, a burger/slider, goulash, veg chilli, fishcake and a poke bowl as well as a variety of cheese/charcuterie/antipasti boards. It is an impressive offering, although I had unwisely eaten too much at breakfast and could only manage a tomato and basil soup:

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen tomato soup

…. which was great – not too sweet and definitely freshly made vs from a can.

I also tried the scones, which for some reason were warmed in the microwave which gave them a weird sort of sponginess:

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen scone

Alcohol is free although premium drinks are chargeable, including prosecco which is available for £4 per glass. The lounge specialises in whisky and has a big display behind the bar.

This is, overall, a very impressive lounge. When a lounge is run independently of the big operators (Aspire, No1 etc) it is easy to get it wrong, but everything here works well apart from the lack of formal desk space.

There appears to be a real commitment to working with local food suppliers and the variety available outclassed everything else I saw during my week on the road.

There are also enough quirks in the decoration and furnishings to bring a smile to your face, especially given the number of lounges I’d seen in the days before this. This lounge was clearly not designed by committee or to a corporate template, and is all the better for it. It is a credit to what is, at the end of the day, a relatively modest airport.

Northern Lights lounge opening hours

The lounge is open from 4:30am until 5:30pm Monday to Friday. On Saturday the lounge is open from 4:30am until 11:30am and on Sunday it is open 7:30am until 3pm.

How to get entry to the Northern Lights lounge at Aberdeen Airport

There are two ways to get access to the Northern Lights lounge. One option is to book ahead on the airport website here, with headline prices starting from £28 per person. This guarantees you a spot at your booked time.

The alternative is to use a lounge membership program such as Priority Pass or DragonPass, both of which are accepted at the Northern Lights lounge. Standard Priority Pass membership is currently £41 per year (40% off) via this link or you can get it for free via the following cards:

Using a Priority Pass or LoungeKey membership doesn’t guarantee you a spot – it is first come first served – but the Northern Lights lounge was not particularly busy when I went.

Thanks to Priority Pass for supporting this series of articles.

Comments (15)

  • James says:

    It’s an excellent lounge and blows the BA lounge out of the water.

  • John T says:

    Anyone else find Halloween decorations in an airport lounge to be very tacky??

    • Ken says:

      Ha, the wholesale importation of Halloween to the UK from the USA grinds my gears. But that’s because I’m a miserable curmudgeon.

      “Enter if you dare” – at least makes a change from “Thou shall not (priority) pass”.

      • Richie says:

        Apparently one of the tests at a PP interview to be a lounge dragon is the 20ml of water in 500ml glass, if the candidate says ‘full’ they get the job.

  • Richie says:

    £32 incl one glass of prosecco is a rip off.

    • ken says:

      bit of a shame that prosecco retailing at a tenner a bottle is counted as a premium drink and chargeable.
      Just wouldn’t imagine the demographic at Aberdeen battering the fizz like a scouse hen party.

      • Ryan says:

        And will fall again when duty eventually falls…

        In terms of Scouse Hen parties, trust me after after working and socialising in Aberdeen for a number of years, surprised you may be…

  • Yorkieflyer says:

    Not keen on the job lot of armchairs from an old folks home

  • Toppcat says:

    It’s a great lounge, and much better than the BA alternative. This review doesn’t really get into the character of the space (which I suppose may be different post covid). Food is good, whiskey selection is fantastic (and very reasonably priced) and there is also a good selection of Brewdog beers (given that they are also local). One of my favourite lounges.

  • David says:

    I thought it was one of the best UK short haul lounges – I have visited.

  • mutley says:

    The whisky wall has different prices, £4, £8 and £12 dependent on what your favourite dram is when I last visited.

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