Airports can be stressful, hostile environments. Even frequent flyers often experience the rage from those pesky self-service check-in machines that don’t recognise your booking number, being herded through long security lines like cattle and then trying not to look suspicious because you feel as though you’re carrying a kilogram of cocaine (when you’ve never done drugs in your entire life) the second you’re asked to step aside to be patted down – we’ve all been there!
This is where airport lounges come in; one of the travel industry’s best-kept secrets. These secluded areas make travelling less torturous; with amenities like free Wi-Fi, drinks, snacks, work stations, glossy magazines and newspapers.. airport lounges feel like the answer to most of our travel annoyances. At the very least, they can give you sanctuary from the noise and hubbub and are a lovely start to a holiday.
How To Get Lounge Access
Those in the know often assume they’re just for elite jet-setters, frequent flyers or those with an unlimited bank account, which isn’t necessarily true. In fact, there are four ways to get lounge access:
- Purchase a first-class or business-class ticket (if only, eh!)
- Become an elite flyer with your favourite airline. Once you achieve elite status with that airline (often silver, gold, or whatever their equivalent is), you’ll get prized access into one of their lounges
- Sign up for a credit card that has lounge access as one of the benefits. This is usually a certain type of American Express card
- If all else fails, you can buy your way in! It’s not as pricey as you might think and the benefits may very well be worth the price. I’ve seen prices as low as £20 per person before, which is about what I’d spend on a coffee, meal and bottle of water before boarding a long haul flight anyway.
It’s worth noting that not all airports have lounges, while some have multiple lounges to chose from; either owned by specific airlines or third-parties. They’re certainly not all equal either, so it’s good to do a little research if you’re going to pay. They can vary from being extremely premium; complete with showers, spas, hair salons, pool tables, beds, open bar of alcoholic beverages etc. to just literal rest stops that don’t serve hot food and drinks.
No.1 Lounges clubrooms at London Luton airport
My cousins and I were kindly gifted access to the brand new No.1 Lounges clubrooms at London Luton airport a couple of weeks ago when we flew to Dublin – you can watch the vlog and see what we got up to, here. This is the newest lounge at Luton airport, having just opened a week or so before we visited and as you can see, the decor is absolutely stunning; it’s warm, cosy and inviting.
As soon as we got through security, we battled the crowds of people and screaming kids through departures and made our way straight to the clubrooms. I don’t often fly during peak season and so I’d forgotten just how awful and chaotic the airport is during that time.
We all breathed a sigh of relief as we entered as all the noise immediately disappears and instead you can hear tranquil spa-like music inside the lounge. There was a lady stood by the entrance ready to greet us and show us to our table which was great as it meant no faffing around and wasting time. There’s nothing worse than that sense of urgency you feel at an airport, when the people serving you are too laid back or simply not around – that can be incredibly frustrating!
There was a self-service station already set up with hot drinks, pastries, fruit and granola pots which we were able to help ourselves to. I was particularly impressed that they also had a vegan yogurt/granola offering which was clearly marked – this won me over straight away as often vegans are overlooked in this type of situation.
We were immediately offered a menu to order hot breakfasts from, and again, they had plenty of vegetarian and vegan meals to chose from together with a choice of plant based milks.
We had a breakfast feast complete with a cheeky glass of champagne and enough time to sit and relax while watching the planes take off from the huge window.
The lounge opens at 4.30am and is situated right by the boarding gates. We’d booked an early flight at around 6.30am, so we arrived at 5am which gave us plenty of time to relax and refuel. In fact, we got lucky as our gate was literally the second one away from the lounge, so we took advantage of that and didn’t leave until the final call as we didn’t have very far to go!
The service throughout was brilliant; incredibly friendly and attentive. We were offered bottles of mineral water each to take onto the flight with us when we left, which was a lovely touch as that’s the first thing I usually purchase once I’m through security.
It was one of the best, stress-free starts I’ve ever had before a trip away, and we’d have all happily stayed in there longer.
The seating was all incredibly cosy, with sofas to sit on for those not dining, a selection of newspapers to chose from, a couple of desks with plenty of plug sockets for business travellers and great bathrooms stocked with a fancy toiletries.
There was also a bar to order alcoholic beverages, and you can add a glass of champers to your booking (or pay on the day) which is the best way to start any trip in my opinion! I mean, it may have been 5am in London and Dublin is on the same time zone, but it had to be 5pm somewhere in the world, right!? *winks*
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If you’re flying from Luton before 1st October, I highly recommend you take advantage of their opening offer. You can pre-book access for only £27 per person which I think is an absolute steal!