1. ITV Report

Luton Airport lounge labelled 'bland' and 'claustrophobic' in new study - and it's not even the worst

London Luton Airport Photo: ITV News Anglia

Pay-as-you-go lounges at British airports have been slammed in a new study.

Inspections of 20 lounges - which charge up to £50 - found many offer no more than a glass of cheap wine and a handful of crisps, according to magazine Which? Travel.

Among the "highlights" of the report were:

  • The lounge at Luton labelled "bland and claustrophobic"
  • Southend's Skylife lounge promising passengers the chance to "live the high life" but offering no hot food.
  • The 20 lounges inspected scored an average rating of just 2.4 out of five in a new study.

The lounge at Luton Airport - which is run by company called Aspire - scored above average with a mark of 2.5 out of 5 in a study by the magazine.

Despite it's description as "bland" and "claustrophobic", inspectors still found it was a 'comfortable alternative in an airport short on seating'.

Aspire runs more than a dozen UK lounges, but none of the ones visited as part of the study were deemed worth the money

We take feedback on our services very seriously and are always looking for ways to improve our customers’ experience. We continually make changes to our menus, which are reviewed and enhanced on a seasonal basis. We are proud of the service and provision offered to our customers, who continue to rate us very well on peer recommendation review platforms.”

– Aspire Lounges Spokesperson
Passengers at London Luton Airport Credit: ITV News Anglia

"A pay-as-you-go lounge to start your holiday early might seem like a great option if you are willing to fork out a bit extra.

"But as our research shows, in many cases, you might be better off with a pie and a pint in the airport pub."

– Which? Travel editor Rory Boland.

Southend Skylife Lounge had the lowest score of just one out of five. It was one of only a few lounges offering no hot food, but piles of pre-packed sandwiches.

The No1 lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 was found to be living up to its name by being ranked the best overall with a score of four out of five.

London Southend Airport Credit: PA Images

"Airports work with the independent operators of paid-for lounges to ensure passengers have a range of options to step away from the busy terminal.

"As surveys from Which? and others show, passengers are very satisfied with the high-quality service in UK airport terminals.

"We will continue to work with lounge operators to ensure their facilities meet passengers' needs and expectations."

– Airport Operators Association spokesperson.