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. I’ve been wanting a priority pass for some time now but struggled to justify the cost. However, with the benefits of upgrading to the platinum card from American Express, we found it to be worth it – for this year at least.
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.
In today’s review, we’re looking at Manchester Airport Escape Lounge T1. Escape Lounges are available in eight airports between the UK and the USA, three of which are located at Manchester Airport (one in each of the three terminals). In a previous post we’ve checked out Escape Lounge In Manchester Airport T2, and we were looking forward to seeing how the same company in the same airport, simply a different terminal might compare.
Where To Find The Escape Lounge At Manchester Airport T1
You’ll find the Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport T1 when you go through security, and then through the duty-free. Once you’ve made it out from the duty-free you’ll see signs above your head directing you to the ‘premier lounges’.
You’ll need to proceed to the second floor and turn left, following the corridor round past the Aspire lounge. The Escape Lounge At Manchester Airport T1 will then be on your left-hand side.
Priority Pass Access
Our flight was on Sunday 20th May 2018, and we got to the airport lounge around midday. We attempted to get into the Aspire lounge at Manchester Airport T1 first. We don’t have a preference between the two, it was simply the first one we saw when we made it onto the premier lounge floor. Despite there only being a handful of people in the vast lounge they were not accepting walk-in guests for another 2 hours.
Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport T1 did have a sign outside saying they currently weren’t accepting walk-in guests. However, when I went to reception to enquire when access might be available the staff very kindly permitted us entry.
Update: We re-visited this lounge on Monday 11th June 2018 at 8am and found the same problem. The Aspire Lounge was full and not accepting walk-in guests for a number of hours, except this time the Escape Lounge was also full. They took our name and number and offered to call us when a table became available (the wait was a little over one hour)
The Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport T1 is deceivingly bigger than it might first appear. As you walk in you’ll see the reception desk, both behind this and to the left of this desk, there is a small seating area.
Further behind the seating area at the back, you’ll find the ‘quiet zone’. Here you’ll find a selection of around 30 seats along with a large TV showing the news.
To the right-hand side of the reception, you’ll find the majority of the main seating area. This area is made up of tables of two and four as well as a small high desk suitable for those travelling for business.
View from The Airport Lounge
Unfortunately, there are no windows within this airport lounge, therefore, you have no view.
I managed to snap photos of the four different seating options within Escape Lounge Manchester Airport T1;
We chose to sit in the green pod-like chairs as we find these the best for sitting on our laptops and working. However, if you’re planning on visiting the Manchester Airport Escape Lounge T1 to relax before a flight then consider some of the more comfortable leather chairs (top left corner).
Catering / Bar
On our return visit to Manchester Airport’s Escape Lounge in T1 we had breakfast. Breakfast here is comprised of a variety of hot English breakfast items including breadcakes, sausages (absolutely delicious!), bacon and beans… as well as pastries, fruit, porridge, yoghurt and more…
Lunch / Evening Meal
We had a late lunch/evening meal at the Manchester Airport Escape Lounge T1. After our previous experience in some of the airport lounges in the USA, we were both excited to be back in an airport lounge offering ‘proper meals’.
The meals included a curry, shepherds pie, an arrangement of sandwiches, cheese and biscuits, buns, cakes and more…
There are a number of hot drinks machines available within the Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport T1. Two in the main dining area and one in the quiet zone. You’ll also find beers and soft drinks as well as a wine bar serving a number of wines and champagnes.
Just like the Manchester Airport Escape Lounge in T2, you’ll notice the media area as you walk in. Situated just behind reception but before the seating area on the right-hand side. Here you’ll find magazines, newspapers and books. Books are available to take with you with a recommended donation of £1 going to Cancer Research. The area wasn’t as straightened up as it could be during our visit (we did take this photo at a particularly busy time during our stay) however, it’s not something that bothered us.
There are a number of plug sockets located across the tables but not at all the tables. However there are USB ports embedded into the menu holders, these are ideal for charging mobile phones, tablets and e-readers.
Unfortunately, there are no ‘exclusive’ toilets to this airport lounge. Instead, the toilets are shared between the three airport lounges and are located just a 50 foot walk from the entrance of the lounge. In the ladies at least there are only two cubicles which means everytime Helen or I visited we’re waiting, in a cramped environment. So if there was one thing I’d like to see changed by Manchester Airpot Escape Lounge T1 (or maybe even Manchester Airport in general) it would be this. I said the same thing in our Manchester T2 review of Escape Lounge too…
We found the internet within the Manchester Airport Escape Lounge T1 to be okay… nothing more, nothing less. Downloading images etc. could take up to one minute, but web pages and emails loaded quickly.
This certainly is somewhere that could be improved easily in our opinion though. At peak times you can estimate that at least half of the entire lounge is connected to the WIFI with at least one device. This quickly and easily causes problems.
Just like T2 the Manchester Airport Escape Lounge T1 had an amazing set of staff. Not only did we find the staff amazing during our stay, we were quick to notice how quickly they went above and beyond for other guests in the lounge.
It seems now that Escape Lounges within Manchester Airport, regardless of the terminal really are a solid choice if you’re looking to relax, grab a drink or even a bite to eat prior to your flight. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Manchester Airport Escape Lounge T1 to anyone in the future.
I only hope they add in; extra plug sockets, faster WIFI and more toilets in the future to make visiting this lounge an even better experience.
Escape Lounges at Manchester Airport, regardless of the terminal seem to be a solid choice when you’re looking to grab a drink and a bite to eat prior to your flight. The staff make this place and really do go above and beyond for guests. Some small changes; faster internet, more plug sockets as well as additional toilets would really make this airport lounge even more amazing!