Escape Lounge In Terminal 3 At Manchester Airport feature image

Escape Lounge Manchester Airport T3 Review

In May 2024, I flew from Manchester to London Heathrow to catch a connecting flight to Miami. Arriving at Manchester Airport at 4 am, dreary and sore-eyed, I was delighted to find its Terminal 3 Escape Lounge open and ready for action.

As a pay-to-access lounge, it’s open to everyone and accepts walk-ins, so I was keen to see what it was like.

At just £25 for 1.5 hours of lounge access, the Escape Lounge is competitively priced compared to rival lounges. It’s small but comfortable.

It helps to know whether lounges are worth a visit or not, especially when you’re paying at the door. I’ve scoped out everything so that you’ll know what to expect – here’s my review of Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3 Escape Lounge.

Snapshot Verdict

Want just the key points about the Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport? Here are the main things you should know:

If you wish to pay for Escape Lounge access, it costs £25 for 1.5 hours. Or, if you have Dragon Pass, Priority Pass, or Lounge Key, you get access for free.

You don’t need to book in advance, whether you enter with a pass or pay on arrival, but it may be wise to reserve a spot in peak times. It opens from 4 am until 8 pm most days.

The Escape Lounge is small. It offers mostly tabled seating, with charging sockets available on booths and benches only.

Food is limited, with just a couple of options. However, drinks are plentiful, with a self-service bar serving spirits, soft drinks, and water in the center of the lounge. There’s a single coffee machine on the opposite wall.

Where Is The Escape Lounge In Manchester Terminal 3?

As you emerge out of security, you enter into an (ever crowded) waiting room full of seats. Keep your eyes overhead, where you’ll spot a ‘Premium Lounges’ sign straight ahead by the steps.

Keep left at the steps, and you’ll see a doorway with further flights of stairs (there are lifts nearby for those requiring accessibility).

Most importantly, turn right at the top of the stairs rather than left if you want to pay for lounge access. The lounge to the left is for those with passes or airline eligibility only, although they are quite happy to direct you to the correct entrance.

Turning right at the top of the stairs and passing a set of lifts, you enter a doorway with a long corridor. It has a real industrial vibe, though its walls are adorned with inspirational flight quotes. 

At the end of the corridor, the Escape Lounge is through a doorway on your right. You’ll see a desk straight away. 

Escape Lounge Signpost Manchester Airport Terminal 3

The Story Of The Escape Lounge At Manchester Airport

There are Escape Lounges at all three terminals at Manchester Airport. The Terminal 3 lounge we’re covering today only opened in 2022, formerly making up the 1903 Lounge.

Booting the premium 1903 Lounge out of action, Escape Lounge aims to offer a more budget-accessible lounge option at Manchester Airport.

Escape Lounges is an international chain and a good brand to look for when traveling and wanting that extra bit of comfort.

Getting Access To The Escape Lounge

Anyone can get access to the Escape Lounge in Manchester’s Terminal 3.

That’s part of its beauty; you just pay £25 at the door to get access to food, drink, and comfort for 1.5 hours. Most lounges cost upwards of £30, like Belfast City Airport’s Aspire Lounge.

Another way to bag access is through a pass. Priority Pass and Dragon Pass holders get complimentary lounge access subject to availability, which is handy.

Escape Lounge is by far one of the easiest lounges in Manchester Airport to access and enjoy. Its open-door policy makes it a great choice for travelers who don’t automatically receive flight access.

Should You Book In Advance?

On the note of access, I would say that from 4 am to 6 am, on a Tuesday outside of school holidays, the lounge was fairly busy. Nobody got turned away, but at one point, the queue did grow to around ten people. I’d say it was probably at ⅔ of its optimal capacity.

I don’t doubt that Escape Lounge would be really busy in peak times, and I have heard ‘horror’ stories of people being turned away. I’m not one to book much in advance (I’m much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of girl), but the Escape Lounge would be one of my recommended exceptions.

There are just not many comparable options in Terminal 3, and you don’t want to be left scrambling, especially if you’re reliant on paying for access rather than using passes.

Inside The Escape Lounge

Escape Lounge Manchester Airport Terminal 3 seating overlooking runway

Emerging from security, I found the stairway to the Premium Lounges with no issues. As soon as you exit, you emerge into a busy waiting room, heading straight ahead up a flight of stairs and taking an immediate left up a stairway.

I initially struggled to find the Escape Lounge once I’d made my way upstairs to the Premium Lounges floor. The obvious choice isto turn left, where a second Escape Lounge sits with an immediately visible front desk.

However, instead, you must turn right, pass the elevators, and enter a long corridor through a doorway.

The corridor doesn’t exactly scream ‘welcoming’. It’s gray with industrial features; honestly, it feels a little clinical. The wall art – black and white pictures and flight-inspired quotes – is a nice touch, though.

Escape Lounge wall art Manchester Airport Terminal 3

It feels a little out of the way and hidden because of its long corridor location, which gives it more of an adventurous appeal. At the end of the corridor, you turn right and immediately face a reception desk.

I was met by a down-to-earth, smiling brunette lady and a gentleman who inquired whether I’d be accessing via pass or payment.

I made a debit payment (the lounge doesn’t accept American Express cards), and the lady gave me a quick run-over of the lounge. She also handed me a cute little welcome card with the Wi-Fi details on it.

My first impressions were fantastic in terms of customer service. Everyone was friendly, and the process ran like clockwork.

The lounge itself is essentially a single room, although it has been cleverly designed to give the appearance of separate areas.

You enter immediately into the buffet area, with a more comfortable reading-style area to your right and booth seating straight ahead, which overlooks a runway. There are restrooms to your left; everything is very compact.

Escape Lounge Terminal 3 Manchester Airport overlooking runway

Small but comfortable, would be my summary. It’s by no means shabby and flaunts a modern appeal. It has lots of orange and yellow colors, giving it a warm quality. Most square tables are wooden or marble-style with plastic or leather chair seating.

There are two main departure boards. One is directly opposite the check-in desk, presumably so staff can calculate whether you are eligible for entry yet, and the other is by the windows. It’s a nice place to sit, snack, and wait for your gate to open in comfort.

Eating At The Escape Lounge

When arriving in the early hours, I was unsure what to expect from food and drinks. However, I will say that there were very limited breakfast options.

Escape Lounge Terminal 3 Manchester Airport breakfast croissants

There was a stand of pastries next to hot food stands of bacon or sausages,neither of which were very appealing as a vegetarian. I’m not a huge fan of cereal, although a low-lying table held a fairly respectable selection. The fruit was nice, though.

It would have been nice to see some hot food options for vegetarians. But, for £25, I was happy to snack on copious pastries and fruit.

The drinks were more varied. In the center of the lounge, there’s a large white marble bar that acts as a centerpiece and a practical area for self-service beverages.

Escape Lounge Terminal 3 Manchester Airport drinks station

There are plenty of complimentary alcoholic beverages, a fridge of soft drinks, and (pretty watered down) orange juice and water jugs. On the far wall is a coffee machine offering all your usuals, like cappuccinos, mochas, lattes, and hot chocolates. You can get hot water for various premium teas. 

If premium alcohols are more your style, optional drinks like Prosecco and champagne are available for purchase. The staff are super attentive despite it officially being a ‘self-service’ lounge, so you’ll have no issues finding these extras.

The Atmosphere 

As I mentioned, the lounge has a compact but modern feel. The best way I can describe it is a newly renovated college cafeteria at 11 am. It’s the sort of place you know will imminently get busy but has a friendly and comfortable vibe.

The customer service really makes the experience, with attentive staff going the extra mile — be that quickly clearing empties or chatting with you at check-in. The careful interior design also keeps the Escape Lounge feeling trendy and spacious despite its small size. 

I got a lot of remote work done using the free Wi-Fi, and the natural lighting by the windows is a motivating touch.

While I can’t speak of the atmosphere in real peak hours, I found that the lounge layout meant it didn’t feel cramped. Despite being filled to what I’d describe as ⅔ optimal capacity, you don’t feel overlooked like in other lounges, like London Heathrow’s horseshoe-shaped Club Aspire Lounge in Terminal 5.

To Conclude: Is It Worth It? 

Escape Lounge Manchester Airport Terminal 3 pastry selection and muffins

You can’t beat the Escape Lounge if you want a pay-to-access lounge at Manchester Terminal 3. Small but mighty, it offers solid value for money with good Wi-Fi, nice seating, and a great selection of refreshments. 

While its food buffet is slightly lackluster and could use some improvement for vegetarians, it’s great for snacking. The opening hours are handy, too; 4 am is just such an advantageous time to access a lounge.

I’d say that Escape Lounge is definitely worthwhile for anyone flying from Manchester Airport who is reliant on paying for lounge access. Passholders might be better off looking elsewhere.

However, if you don’t fall into the pass category, you get a great return on what you pay for Escape Lounge.

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