*This is a collaborative post
I've always fancied myself as one of those people who looks all glam and put together at the airport, spends the whole time in an airport lounge and is just effortlessly chic. I am never going to be that person but during our recent trip to Cuba, Steve and I decided to make the most of being 'child free' and booked ourselves into the Escape Lounge at Terminal One, Manchester Airport. Children are actually welcome in the Escape lounges but personally, I think the experience is better without kids (don't shoot me for saying that).
The airport lounges are super easy to find at Manchester Airport - just follow the signs! Our flight was at 12noon with boarding starting at 11am so I did wonder whether the lounge would be worth it for a morning flight (when you won't be drinking as much). After our experience, I really think it is. Prosecco is now included as part of the complimentary drinks range so although it was only 9am when we arrived, we decided to start our holiday in style.
There are a range of seating areas and styles to choose from in the lounge from desks where you could work, to dining tables and chairs and lazy boys in the quiet corner. The seats were all super comfy and way more stylish than the plastic rows of chairs you have to sit on in the main airport terminal.
You can order a selection of cooked breakfast items from the bar - some items such as bacon and sausage baps are included, other items such as a full English are available at an additional charge. We went for 2 bacon sandwiches which were promptly delivered to our table and actually tasted ok. I was expecting something similar to what you'd find in Greggs but these ones were better - the bacon was lovely and crispy just how I like it.
As well as the cooked items, you can also help yourself to a continental style buffet. The juices, pastries and yoghurts were all delicious but we did feel like the continental meats and cheeses let the side down a bit. I was expecting Serrano Ham, Chorizo and Continental cheeses rather than ham and chicken that looked like it had come straight from a packet from Asda along with cubes of cheddar.
I did like that you could just help yourself and we kept our table topped up with Danish pastries throughout the morning.
To beer or not to beer that was the question? I don't normally start drinking at 10am and wondered if I'd get some strange glances if I cracked open a bottle but 90% of the people in the lounge were doing the same. A selection of complimentary alcoholic drinks are included so as it's free, you will definitely get the best value if you just start your holiday as you mean to go on. You can order wines and spirits from the bar (a few people were ordering G&T's) or help yourself to beers and ciders from the fridges (as well as soft drinks). I like that you can help yourself as it means no one is judging your 10am drinking habit.
After breakfast, we found a super cosy couple of chairs and spent the next hour or so relaxing, reading the complimentary newspapers and magazines, helping ourselves to a couple of Espressos and more pastries. It was bliss! There is free WiFi and charging points are readily available too.
I've put together a rough idea of how much we would have spent had we not been in the lounge:
2 x glasses of Prosecco = £14
2 x bacon sandwiches = £7
1 x plate continental meats, cheeses and yoghurt = £8
4 x pastries = £6
2 x fresh orange juices = £4
4 x espressos = £8
2 x 2 hour WiFi = £10
2 x beers = £6
Newsapapers/magazines = £5
Total = £68
The Escape Lounge T1 costs £22.50 per person to pre-book so we made a saving of £23. I know we might not have spent that much had we just stayed in the main terminal but I definitely think the lounge represented good value for money for us.
Benefits of booking the Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport for breakfast
- It's hassle free, especially if you pre-book online
- There are lots of comfortable seating areas, complimentary reading material and free WiFi
- You can help yourself to unlimited beers, ciders and soft drinks
- You can help yourself to unlimited pastries, yoghurts, cereals and soft drinks
- Unlimited (and decent) coffee
- You can order complimentary bacon & sausage sandwiches, toast and porridge from the bar
- You can order a complimentary glass of Prosecco from the bar and start your holiday in style
- Departure boards and announcements are available in the lounge
- It's a lot less busy and manic than the main terminal
- The lounge opens from 4:15/4:30am and breakfast is served until 11am
- There are places to charge your devices
- It will probably save you money
- You can 'walk in' without pre-booking if you decide to treat yourself on a whim. It is more expensive to do this though
Why booking an Escape airport lounge for breakfast may not be for you
- The selection of meats and cheeses wasn't great, so if you're a foodie you might be disappointed
- If you're not going to drink alcohol, you won't get the best value from the experience
- If you are booking with children, they pay the same price as adults so for us to visit as a family, it would cost £112.50 which I definitely don't think represents good value for money as we would not eat/drink that value between us
I think booking into an airport lounge feels like a real treat and it really helps to get you into the holiday mood. If I was travelling as a couple or with friends, I will definitely re-book for a morning flight and imagine spending an afternoon/evening in the lounge would represent even better value for money. If I was travelling with the kids, I'd skip the lounge and spend our cash in WH Smith and Burger King instead.