Airport lounges are some of the best places to visit before departing on your journey (or even between flights). They offer great spots to relax and perhaps have a drink or two (or even a meal) amid sometimes hectic traveling times.
There are quite a few different types of airport lounges but one brand of airport lounges you might want to check out are the Escape Lounges.
In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about Escape Lounges including how to get entry, what to expect, and also provide you a full list of all of the locations in the US and also in the UK.
Table of Contents
What are Escape Lounges?
Escape Lounges are airport lounges located around the UK and in certain US states; they are usually found at smaller airports although they are popping up at some larger airports as well.
These lounges offer complimentary food, drinks (including alcoholic beverages), high-speed Wi-Fi, charging stations, and areas to relax and enjoy some comfortable space away from the crowds.
Escape Lounges originated in Manchester in the UK but Escape Lounges expanded to the US in 2015. Since then, we have seen more and more popping up and they have even joined the American Express Global Lounge Collection (more on that later).
How do you get access to Escape Lounges?
American Express Platinum Card
One of the easiest ways to get access is with the American Express Platinum Card. With the Platinum Card, you can get access for yourself and for up to two guests. All you have to do is show them your card when you enter and entry will be granted.
The Platinum Card is easily the best credit card for airport lounge access.
In addition to access to Escape Lounges, you will get access to the noteworthy Amex Centurion Lounges which are some of the nicest lounges located in the US. More and more of these are popping up around the country so be sure to keep up with the latest lounges in your area.
In addition to Amex Centurion Lounges, you will get access to Priority Pass Select lounges. Priority Pass has over 1,200 airport lounges located all around the globe.
There has been some overlap with Escape Lounges in the past so that is something to keep an eye out for. For example, The BDL and MSP lounges were part of the Priority Pass network but MSP was dropped, so now you would gain access to that lounge via your Platinum Card instead of Priority Pass.
The only drawback with the Priority Pass membership is that you don’t get credit for the restaurants that are in the Priority Pass lounge network like you do with other premium cards. So that’s just something to consider.
You can also get access to the Delta Sky Club Lounges whenever you are flying Delta. In addition, there are a number of other lounges that you can access with the Platinum and you can read about those here.
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Purchasing day passes
Regardless of the airline that you are flying on or the class of your airfare, you can purchase a day pass to get admission into an Escape Lounge. There are two different ways you can obtain a day pass. You can purchase a walk up pass or you can book online.
Walk up pass
These lounges allow you to purchase a pass as a walk up guest, which basically means you are a guest that did not make prior reservations. If you choose to enter as a walk up guest, the entry price will be more expensive. For example, in the US you will likely be paying $45 and in the UK you will likely be paying £30.
By the way if you are a AAA member or are a member of the military, you should inquire about discounts.
You can book your passes online and purchase them before you ever arrive at the airport. If you are worried about lounges being at capacity when you visit, this is the smartest way to go since you can guarantee yourself a spot at a lounge.
This is also how you can save money.
If you purchase online, you will save five US dollars and if you purchase online for a UK lounge you will save £5. Just make sure that you book 24 hours prior to your visit.
It is very easy to go through the booking process. Simply select a date and a time that you plan on entering and then proceed with payment.
If you need to make a change to your booking, you may have to pay additional fees.
For example, if you needed to make a change to your visit date or perhaps a flight and you made that change at least 48 hours prior to your arrival, you may be charged a $10 fee for the change. In that case, you would be issued a full refund.
If you make changes outside the 48 hour notice window, you will NOT be issued a refund.
Also, if for some reason, you are not able to attend the booking that you made, then you will not be entitled to a refund.
Other forms of membership
You can also get access to the lounges with other types of memberships. For example, the following memberships may qualify you for entry: DragonPass, Priority Pass, Lounge Club, Lounge Key, Diner’s Club International and TAV.
What type of complimentary food and drinks can you get?
You will receive complimentary food and drinks when you visit Escape Lounges, but what type of food can you expect?
When it comes to breakfast, you’ll see things like pastries, muffins, boiled eggs, cereals, and yogurts. For other parts of the day such as lunch you may find some light snacks, sandwiches, salads, and even pies and soups.
I would advise to check the individual lounge page to see what type of foods are offered at that particular lounge (you can find links to the lounges below). For many lounges, you will be able to view both the food and drink menu online.
But to give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a look at the food menu at Minneapolis St. Paul.
For the breakfast menu which is served from 4:30 AM to 10:30 AM, you will see some common items like muffins, grits, yogurt, but there are also some things like smoked salmon quiche that you don’t always find at other lounges.
The lunch and dinner menu which runs from 10:30 AM to 8 PM, has some solid choices like roast beef, meatballs, and a kale chicken caesar salad. Don’t forget that they also have stations open all day where you can pick up things like boiled eggs, hummus, cookies, and other snacks like trail mix.
In addition to the food, you can also get complementary tea, coffee, soft drinks, and even alcoholic drinks at some lounges.
Here’s a look at some of the free drinks you can expect at MSP.
Notice that you can select from a menu of wines, spirits, and beer. You’ll find a selection of sparkling wine, white wine, and red wine including Emerald Bay Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
As for spirits, you’ll have a broad selection of vodka, whiskey, tequila, gin, rum, scotch, and others. And then for beer you can find both domestic and imported with beers like Coors light and Corona.
There will also be premium drinks available, though those will be offered at an additional cost.
Here’s a look at what the premium drink menu might look like. Prices range from about $5 to $9, depending on what you are interested in. You will see more recognizable names under the premium spirits menu like Grey Goose, Patron, Don Julio, Captain Morgan, Hennessy, and others.
Although I don’t drink myself, I’ve heard good things about the specialty cocktails at these lounges.
If you are in need of gluten-free items, ask a staff member upon arriving and they may be able to hook you up with something. You can also find out details about the local chefs and get some culinary insight on the lounge’s webpage.
Full list of Escape Lounges
United States locations
- Oakland International Airport
- Sacramento International Airport Terminal A
- Sacramento International Airport Terminal B
- Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky International Airport
- John Glenn Columbus International Airport (Coming Soon)
United Kingdom locations
- East Midlands Airport
- London Stansted Airport
- Manchester Airport Terminal 1
- Manchester Airport Terminal 2
- Manchester Airport Terminal 3
Escape Lounge FAQ
Kids are welcome in the lounges.
Children under the age of 23 months receive complimentary entry to Escape Lounges US locations. Children 24 months and older are required to pay the adult entry price.
Passengers wishing to bring children into the lounge must email the lounge or [email protected] to inform them of the location, date, time, number of children and ages of children.
If you are traveling with a large group, then you should know that groups larger than six people are not permitted in the lounge without prior authorization. If you would like to request authorization for a large group simply send an email to: [email protected].
Keep in mind that the lounge cannot guarantee that your entire group can sit together and space is often on a first come, first serve basis in these lounges.
Just note that the group cancellation policy works a little bit different from the normal cancellation policy. If you have bookings of six or more people, you will need to provide seven or more days notice before the date of arrival to get a free refund and you will still be subject to a $10 cancellation fee per guest. You will not receive a refund for group bookings that provide less than seven days notice.
The lounges state that there is a dress code to adhere to smart casual or business attire at all times and they reserve the right to refuse entry to any person who may be dressed in a way that they deem inappropriate.
Interestingly, shorts above the knee and sports jerseys are not permitted or any other clothing that they think will offend other guests. They also state that men’s shoulders should be covered at all times, so no tank tops.
Lounges often don’t enforce dress codes too strictly so as long as you look presentable, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
But it never hurts to comply with dress codes so that you don’t have to worry about anything and if you are worried about not getting access, then you can always call ahead and inquire about how strictly the dress code is enforced in practice.
The amount of time you can spend in the lounge depends on the lounge you were visiting and the location.
For lounges in the US, the website states:
Your booking entitles you to a single visit for the entire calendar day booked in the Escape Lounges from the time of booking or walk-in until the closing time of the lounge.
But for lounges in the UK the website states:
Your Booking entitles you to a single visit in the Escape Lounge of up to 3 hours, from the booked time of arrival at the Lounge.
So just make sure that you are mindful of the differences between the different locations.
You are not allowed to bring in animals or pets of any kind. However the exception is if you are bringing in service animals per ADA regulations.
It is okay to let loose a little in the lounge and have a few drinks before your flight. In fact, that is sort of the whole point of lounges for a lot of people. They want to create an inviting place to feel relaxed before hopping on board and traveling.
But there is a fine line between having a good time and getting inebriated. The terms state, “[a]ny Guest whose behavior is disruptive, disrespectful, or inappropriate for any other reason, in our sole discretion, may be removed from the Lounge.” So basically, just act with common sense and decency and you will have nothing to worry about.
Escape Lounges are great airport lounges and they are expanding around the US and the UK. They definitely add some nice value to the Platinum Card lounge access network and can be a great break from the crowds at some of these less trafficked airports.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.