Today we are checking out East Midlands Airport VIP Lounge. There is just one airport lounge here at East Midlands Airport, and it’s hosted by Escape Lounges. Escape Lounges is a popular brand choice of airport lounges here in the UK. Due to our flight from the airport being in the middle of the summer school holidays here in the UK I didn’t expect we’d gain entry with our priority pass. Luckily, however, we did… and as a result, we managed to document our experience.
Helen and I recently upgraded from an American Express Gold card, to an American Express Platinum card. With this came a complimentary Priority Pass that provides us with access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world for free.
Which means we’re going to be doing A LOT of airport lounge reviews from different airports around the world. Airport lounges are in our opinion at least great value for money if you’re flying long haul or enjoy an alcoholic drink or two as a way to kick off your travels. Access to an airport lounge usually retails between £15 and £25 depending on the lounge you visit and different lounges offer different facilities and services.
Where To Find The East Midlands Airport VIP Lounge
East Midlands airport is one of the smaller commercial airports operated here in the UK. It has one terminal and one airport lounge. The airport lounge is airside, past security and through the duty-free section. Simply follow the route round when airside, past Superdrug, Dixons Travel and WH Smiths towards Frankie & Bennies.
You might notice some people heading upstairs at this point. That’s to be expected as the majority of dining options within East Midlands Airport are actually on the first floor. You, however, need to stay on the ground floor, where you’ll see the lounge on the left opposite gate 11.
If you’re in any doubt about how to get to East Midlands Airport VIP lounge you’ll notice signs above your head throughout the airport, and a number of staff on-hand to assist you.
We were presently surprised to find that the East Midlands VIP lounge is of a very good size and broken down into a number of sections. Upon our arrival, however, we were allocated a table rather than having the ability to choose the seating arrangement that would best suit our needs. Although we did request to change to somewhere with a plug socket for our laptops. So, if you’re after a specific seating arrangement, chair style or like us, plug socket then keep this in mind when checking in.
Upon arrival, you’ll notice a large section of seating to your immediate left. Behind this is a wall (I believe for the kitchen and the back of the bar) with some single bench seats for a raised desk area. For the first time I noticed a small section of the lounge here to have a ‘barrier’ as a sort of reserved / super VIP area.
To your immediate right, you’ll find around 5 sets of ‘booth’ style seats. Between that on the front wall and the wall at the very back of the airport lounge, you’ll find an array of double and family/party seating arrangements set up. Directly behind the check-in desk you’ll find the buffet food and refreshments area. All of the lounge is split by low level pillars and walls with embedded TV screens either showing the news or flight updates.
View from The Airport Lounge
When you arrive at the front doors of the airport lounge here at East Midlands Airport you’ll notice that on your right there’s a lovely view of the taxi-way and runway. Being on the same level as the actual tarmac it provides a fantastic photo opportunity.
Unfortunately, however, you have to take a complete 180 degree turn away from that amazing view into the airport lounge, inside of which has no windows. I have to say is a bit of a disappointment considering the view you know you’re missing out on, so hopefully, a renovation in the future might change that?
Catering / Bar
The catering and bar facilities inside this airport lounge were mediocre especially of that we’ve experienced from other Escape Lounges across the UK.
‘grab and go’ drinks from the fridges below the buffet were limited only to still and sparkling water. Which meant that if you wanted a soft drink or an alcoholic drink you had to go to the bar. This caused some queuing, especially as the number of people within the lounge increased.
The soft drinks in the Escape Lounge here were pump dispensed rather than the glass bottles I’ve experienced in the past. As a diet coke connoisseur, I have to say, the difference in taste is staggering, disappointing considering I’m now going to Spain where I’ll be on Coca-Cola light for a week. The glasses the drinks were served in were particularly small, and of course, as the soft drinks aren’t self-serve I found myself waiting in the queue four times over a period of our 1.5-hour visit.
The food within the lounge here was better than the drinks and inline with other Escape Lounges we’ve visited. We visited the lounge between the hours of 12 midday at 1.30pm and as a result had lunch which entitled a self-serve buffet of small finger sandwiches (cheese and pickle, egg mayo and chicken mayo).
There were two hot dishes, one a tomato-based pasta, and another chili con carne as well as a small salad selection with three other cold pasta dishes. What’s become somewhat of a staple in my traveling diet especially in Escape Airport lounges was also available, that is tortilla chips with a trio of dips available to choose from. For dessert, we found a wide selection of fruit available as well as muffins and flapjacks or cheese and crackers.
The facilities within this East Midlands Airport VIP lounge are somewhat basic compared to other airport lounges we’ve visited around the world. The toilets are located outside the lounge around 100ft back towards gate 9 and the internet is complimentary and part of the East Midlands Airport service.
It wasn’t the fastest internet in the world, but good enough to check some emails prior to our flight. There was around 4 TV’s in the lounge all of which were showing the BBC news channel on mute – pretty standard for airport lounges here in the UK.
The staff service was fantastic in the airport lounge here today. We had already been seated when we realized we needed a plug socket for our laptops and the staff assisted us in moving us to a table more suitable. Empty plates and glasses were removed from the table promptly and the food on the buffet was regularly “topped-up” as required.
In conclusion, the East Midlands Airport lounge by Escape Lounges is a relaxing space within what can sometimes be a chaotic airport. It provides basic food and drinks, which I feel could be extended and improved easily. The staff is friendly and helpful, however, I missed the opportunity to see some natural daylight and take in some of the awesome views of the airport’s taxiway prior to my flight.
As this airport lounge is the only airport lounge inside East Midlands airport, I’d certainly visit here again. However, had I to pay the £25 without access to a priority pass, I’d probably spend my money at one of the restaurants within the airport instead. The meals are likely to be more substantial and you can make the most of those fantastic views.
There’s only one lounge at East Midlands Airport, and while ever we have the priority pass we’ll be visiting it. However, I can’t say I’d be overly impressed had I spent £25 per person to gain entry into here. There are things I’ve seen from other Escape Lounges across the UK that I’d really like to see this one feature in the future. These would include; more plug sockets, faster wi-fi, easily accessible soft drinks & more constructive meal options.