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No.1 Lounge Birmingham Airport Review

In February 2024, me and my sister decided to take a bit of an impromptu trip to Barcelona, without the kids, spending just a couple of nights in the Catalonian capital.

Once we started planning the trip, we decided very quickly that we would take full advantage of her priority pass, which gives full access for her and a guest to a number of airport lounges worldwide!

As we were flying out from Birmingham airport, we had a choice of three lounges.

We were told they can get busy, so it’s best to book in advance, but we decided to risk it and had no trouble getting in or finding space.

Note:

It’s important to note we were traveling on a Sunday morning at the start of the school holidays, which could have been a fairly busy time, so if you want the security of knowing that you can definitely be permitted access you may opt to pay the ÂŁ6 per head to reserve a seat.

Where to find the No. 1 VIP Lounge

We decided to opt for the No. 1 Lounge, which is situated between WHSmith and Factory, (not as it says on the priority pass directions, between WHSmith and JD).

It’s right alongside the toilets also, which incidentally are the toilets you use whilst you are in the lounge, for me this was the first (and only real) downside. The toilets were fine, clean enough and handily located just outside the lounge, but I would have expected a separate toilet, just for lounge guests, actually as part of the lounge itself. 

Inside the No. 1 VIP Lounge

Lounge at Birmingham Airport

We arrived to the desk at the entrance and a friendly staff member asked first if we had booked before heading inside to check out the availability, he came quickly back saying he could “squeeze us in”.

There were in fact lots of seats inside, so we had no trouble finding somewhere to sit, and in fact had a choice of tables! This perhaps adds to the exclusivity of the place, or certainly the feeling of exclusivity! I imagine they never fully fill the space to capacity, so as to maintain the tranquil feel of the lounge and the feeling that you are truly having a more special experience.

The lounge was impressive, with an expanse of tables for diners, plus a more relaxed seating area located near the windows overlooking the runway (as many lounges offer).

This proved popular for those traveling with children, who could sit and watch the planes as they taxied to and from the runway. One such family we saw, were traveling with children who were dressed as a pilot and flight attendant and were thoroughly enjoying the experience inside the lounge!

There was also a mezzanine floor above, open when we arrived, but which was closed off at some point during our visit. There are also a number of more private rooms available at the No. 1 lounge at Birmingham Airport, which are more tucked away than the main areas and include a meeting room and a TV room. These are fairly small rooms, with more of a living room feel to them. 

Eating in the No. 1 Lounge

Having selected our seats at a comfy table, along the wall with bench or booth style seating, we set about investigating the food on offer.

Food options at No1 Lounge Birmingham

Never ones to be shy when it comes to eating, we both decided to go for the cooked breakfast which was laid out in a buffet-style hotel breakfast. As a vegetarian I was easily able to fill up my plate with a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes and beans, before popping back to see what sweet treats were available.

If you prefer a lighter breakfast there was also a range of cereals, yoghurt, fruit and pastries, which in the interest of conducting a thorough review, we had to sample!

We both agreed that the croissants on offer were delicious, fresh and warm they were gorgeously melt in the mouth and buttery, so a 10 out of 10 on that front.

For drinks, we were also spoilt for choice, with a well-stocked bar supplying a range of drinks including wines and beers as well as soft drinks.

lunch at No1 Lounge Birmingham

The bar is staffed, and we were greeted by a friendly server who was happy to offer advice on the range of drinks available, as well as entertaining our crazy photo taking (all in the interest of a good review of course!)

There was, of course, a coffee machine, and a variety of teas as well as fruit juices and water that you could help yourself to next to the breakfast offering. After having downed our water bottles ahead of security, we were happy to be able to top these up with fresh lemon infused water to take on our flight with us.

Whilst we were there, there was a changeover in the food, as it was approaching lunchtime, which saw what my kids would call a ‘picky lunch’ with a range of salads, cheeses and meats, as well as a mixture of hot selections replacing the cooked breakfast under the hot plate.

The food available throughout was plentiful, with items being regularly restocked to ensure everything was always available to the guests.

Atmosphere inside the No. 1 Lounge

We found the atmosphere just right in the No. 1 Lounge, there was music playing gently in the background, a quiet buzz and excitement in the air, without feeling the noisy and sometimes chaotic sense that you get out in the main airport – something that is often reserved especially for Birmingham Airport!

Food at our table in no.1 lounge

This allowed us to fully relax and get ourselves well and truly into holiday mode before we set off!

I was also interested to notice the people around us, as I had a preconceived idea that the lounge would be full of ‘business types’ or perhaps rather fancy people, but actually our fellow lounge goers were much like us and included a real mix of people, such as grandparents with their grandchildren, solo travelers and couples looking to treat themselves to a special start to their trip.

All in all adding to the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that proved a great way to begin our three day vacation.

For the conscientious traveller it is worth noting there is a screen displaying all the flight and boarding information just to the left of the bar, so it is easy to keep track of where your gate is and when it is time to board.

How to gain lounge access

There are a couple of ways you can gain access to the lounges. Firstly, of course you can book and pay for your access at roughly ÂŁ28 per head, if you plan to stay there for enough time and eat and drink, it may well cost you less than doing the same in one of the other public bars or restaurants within the airport.

You can also purchase a priority pass. This was our method of entry, which starts at ÂŁ229 per year (for 10 visits) and gains access for you and one guest throughout the year. So if you travel a lot it can definitely be worth the upfront cost – if you travel even more then opting for the ÂŁ419 package could be even more worthwhile as it offers unlimited visits.

The priority pass also comes free as standard with a range of credit cards including the American Express Platinum Card, which will gain you world-wide unlimited lounge access for you and a guest for one year and the American Express preferred rewards gold card, which offers customers a free four visit priority pass, perfect for the less frequent flyers.

It is worth remembering that having a priority pass doesn’t automatically gain you access to the lounges as they operate on a first come first serve basis, so you may still be turned away at busy times. That being said, it is easy to see why many people think getting hold of a Priority Pass is worth it.

To guarantee entry you need to book in advance (usually at a cost of ÂŁ6 per person in the UK) for your desired time slot.

The No.1 Lounge at Birmingham Airport definitely added to our overall travel experience, making us feel relaxed and like we had enjoyed a bit of a special experience.

As a budget traveller and someone who doesn’t like to spend money unnecessarily, would I use the lounges again, absolutely! But I will be utilizing one of the ways listed above to be sure I am getting the best deal. 

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