Review: British Airways Lounge Manchester

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After two fun days in Manchester, our next stop was Stockholm. We redeemed British Airways Avios to fly economy from Manchester to London to Stockholm, which was a cheap/easy way to get between the two cities. Our flight out of Stockholm was at 9:50AM, and we got to the airport at around 8AM.

Manchester Airport feels reasonably large from the outside, though I didn’t really get the same feeling from inside.

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Manchester Airport exterior

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Manchester Airport check-in hall

British Airways check-in was located on the right side of the terminal (Terminal 3, to be exact), where I quickly checked my bag (at this point in the trip my carry-on was huge, so I didn’t even bother trying to carry it on).

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British Airways check-in Manchester Airport

Security was an absolute theater, as Matt has written about before, so I won’t rehash that here.

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Departures hall Manchester Airport

Past security the tarmac looked pretty simple, with mostly regional planes from British Airways and flybe. Given that Manchester is quite a large city, I’m sort of shocked by British Airways’ lack of a presence at the airport. A vast majority of their flights are to London. I would have thought there’s more of a market for flights to other points in Europe.

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Manchester Airport tarmac

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Manchester Airport tarmac

We followed the signage towards the British Airways Lounge, which was located just past the duty free shops to the left.

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Signage for British Airways Lounge Manchester

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Duty free shops Manchester Airport

The lounge is located one level up from the main concourse, and there was both an elevator and staircase leading up one level. Unfortunately the elevator was broken, so it seemed like the stairs were the only option.

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Stairs to British Airways Lounge

At the top of the stairs are the entrances to both the British Airways Terraces Lounge (to the left) and the Escape Lounge (to the right).

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British Airways Lounge entrance Manchester

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Escape Lounge entrance Manchester

I presented my mobile boarding pass, which quickly got us admitted (I had access to the lounge due to oneworld Emerald status through American AAdvantage).

The lounge was in a circular shape, centered around a glass rotunda of sorts, which meant the lounge had tons of natural light.

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

The lounge had the standard BA lounge decor, though I felt like the lounge had a better “flow” than some of British Airways’ other lounges. Also, while the furniture was a bit past its prime, it was actually in good condition, which can’t be said for the furniture in many of British Airways’ other lounges.

In the far right of the lounge were the bathrooms and showers, as well as a more secluded seating area.

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

Then the lounge widens out a bit in the back corner by the windows.

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British Airways Terraces Lounge seating Manchester Airport

The lounge overlooks some of the more interesting traffic in Manchester. It’s crazy to me that American has three flights a day there — from Miami, New York, and Philadelphia.

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British Airways Terraces Lounge tarmac view Manchester Airport

The spread in the lounge was on multiple “stations.” The one closest to the windows had mostly liquor, soft drinks, wine, whole fruit, and packaged snacks.

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British Airways Lounge Manchester buffet area

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British Airways Lounge Manchester liquor display

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British Airways Lounge Manchester wine selection

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British Airways Lounge Manchester juice

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British Airways Lounge Manchester snacks

Then the next station over had an espresso machine, tea, and cookies.

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British Airways Lounge Manchester espresso machine

The final station had the more “breakfasty” items, including croissants, danishes, muffins, porridge, etc.

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British Airways Lounge Manchester breakfast spread

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British Airways Lounge Manchester breakfast spread

Then there was also cereal, yogurt, and (not especially appetizing looking) mixed fruit.

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British Airways Lounge Manchester breakfast spread

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British Airways Lounge Manchester breakfast spread

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British Airways Lounge Manchester breakfast spread

All-in-all I thought it was a pretty impressive food spread, especially for what’s ultimately a regional lounge.

The lounge also boasted a decent enough business center.

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British Airways Lounge Manchester business center

And then there were some shower rooms which were anything but impressive, but I can’t say they looked any worse than those in The Concorde Room.

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British Airways Lounge Manchester shower

Our flight was scheduled to board at around 9:20AM, though was delayed by about 20 minutes due to a late inbound aircraft. So that meant more time in the lounge.

British Airways Lounge Manchester bottom line

I was reasonably impressed by the British Airways Lounge Manchester. It was spacious, in good condition, and had a good enough breakfast spread, especially for what amounts to an outstation lounge. I was even more impressed by the British Airways Lounge Edinburgh a couple of years back.

All things considered I’d say British Airways actually offers a more compelling lounge product at their outstation than at their hub in London.

What has been your experience with British Airways lounges?

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Comments

  1. BA used to have direct flights to Europe from MAN but discontinued them several years ago. It puts them at a disadvantage IMHO as connecting via LHR is time consuming and….well you know.

    Glad you enjoyed MAN.

  2. I live not to far from MAN so fly from there regularly. I quite like the BA lounge as it’s generally quiet compared to LHR, which is always mad busy when I go. The MAN loung is a little tired in places but on the whole fulfills its remit.

    BA used to fly to NYC from MAN, I think the last flight was 2008 and it was a 767. They are now very much ‘Via London Airways’ rather than British Airways. I can’t remember the last time I was on a BA flight from MAN to London that was not full or at least almost full, so the demand is there. Guess the economics don’t stack up for MAN and BA.

    I’m flying EK on Friday from MAN and the EK lounge at MAN is better than BAs with good views of the tarmac and in generally better condition.

  3. American flies from Chicago, New York and Philedelphia to Manchester. They don’t fly from Miami to Manchester.

  4. It’s funny to hear your comments on BA at Manchester.

    When it was opened the BA lounge (which was in the BA terminal) included the Escape lounge, but it was divided in two when BA exited Manchester some years ago.

    Delta, American, Virgin and United all operate daily flights to the US from here, and there are about 10 wide bodies a day to the middle east including A380. AF operates to five times as many destinations from here as BA, who mostly manage a handul of A320s to LHR.

    You have stumbled across why many folks from here call BA “London Airways”.

    While MAN has more non stop destinations than any other UK airport, when connection is required many locals prefer to connect at ABL (Anywhere But London).

    Even SQ has half the capacity at MAN that BA have.

  5. I have been pretty partial to taking one of the Virgin trains from Manchester to London as long as my final destination is London.

  6. You’re confused both that BA’s presence is pitiful & AA even fly there at all.
    Surely you understand this is the whole point of the Oneworld alliance? Just like how BA will operate LHR-SJC instead of AA.

  7. Terminal 3 is the smallest terminal at Manchester Airport which might be the reason for the ‘simple’ tarmac traffic!

  8. As others have said, now you understand why so many of us call them London Airways! They’re big into the hub model.

    Overall looks like a decent lounge the food and drink spread is a massive step up on Admiral’s Club and you have to pay for those!

    Did have a chuckle about the stairs comment, for one floor up I wouldn’t dream of using the lift!

  9. Great TR as ever. However, your surprise at the flight schedules in and out of Manchester is pretty parochial (bein generous). The airport serves as the main international airport for both the Manchester and Leeds metropolitan areas- combined population of 5 million plus. Hardly surprising that there are a few transatlantic/ transcontinental flights…

  10. The lounge in Manchester is great and whilst the bathrooms need a refurb, they’re still better than the disgraceful ones in Heathrow.
    Unfortunately BA seems to hate the regions nad a couple of years ago pulled its other Manchester flight which went to Gatwick and was great for leisure connections. It’s effectively London Airways and for One World loyalists, the AA and Cathay presence is very welcome! The UK has an obsession with Heathrow and various other UK airlines such as Virgin and BMI (now swallowed by BA) have teased Manchester by offering a range of international routes for a short time before moving most of them down to Heathrow as soon as the slots became available. Other than low cost airlines like easyjet or dedicated leisure carriers like Thomson, it’s foreign airlines that see the value in Manchester, with direct flights to China on Hainan airlines and multiple flights to hubs in Europe with KLM, Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines.
    In terms of the airport itself, they come up with a new ;strategic plan’ every now and again, but security and immigration facilities get worse every year. T3 is tiny, but they’ve insisted on cramming far too many airlines in there with the result that at certain times of the day, people are queueing right back into the check in area to get through security. It used to be so efficient, but over the past couple of years I’ve never waited less than 20 minutes for my luggage.
    It sounds like you didn’t get the best of Manchester – you needed a local to guide you! Hotel-wise, you’d have been better off at the Gotham or King St Townhouse, but they aren’t part of any international chains, so the Radisson may have been a better option for you – massive rooms!

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