Reviews

Review: Glasgow's Priority Pass/Emirates Skylounge: nothing special

By John Walton, July 20 2011
Glasgow's Priority Pass/Emirates Skylounge: nothing special
Country

United Kingdom

City

Glasgow

Airport

Glasgow

Alliance

Non-aligned

Airline

Various

Cabin-class

N/A

Notes
The Good
  • better than the terminal
  • free wifi
The Bad
  • unexciting lounge
  • pretty bad wine
X-Factor
  • families are kept in the Holiday Zone: a benefit if you're travelling in business
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

In Glasgow, the contract Skylounge is used by Emirates, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Continental (United), US Airways and Icelandair as the only business lounge for their flights. The other premium lounge is British Airways' Galleries lounge -- so the Skylounge is it if you're flying on any other airline. 

On a UK domestic flight with easyJet, I used my Priority Pass lounge network card to get in. The lounge is the only Priority Pass lounge at Glasgow Airport since the Servisair lounge has shut down.

Location & Impressions

The lounge is all the way in the far left corner of the terminal as you come through security, up four short flights of stairs (or there's a lift if you prefer). It's a bit dismal to get to (dark, industrial corridors) but that's not exactly the lounge's fault.

On entry, the three rather dour Scottish receptionists deigned to look up long enough to swipe my Priority Pass lounge access card. I had to ask for information about the wi-fi Internet access.

Priority Pass members aren't given access to the business area (which is on the left as you walk into the lounge), but rather steered towards the Holiday zone, which is straight on past the loos. 

The seating and table options are the same -- and the food and drink options (including some mediocre wine and reasonably good spirits) are in the holiday zone. The only real difference is that the business area looks out onto the airport tarmac, while the holiday zone looks out onto the airport Holiday Inn hotel.

In the Holiday zone, here's a single flight display, a scattering of power points across the room, and a couple of Dell computers connected to the Internet. There's also a somewhat separate kids' play area, which is always a plus.

A TV sits in the far left hand corner of the holiday zone, which was annoyingly playing music videos at a headphones-penetrating volume while I was there.

Access

The Skylounge at Glasgow Airport is used by Emirates, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Continental (United), US Airways and Icelandair for their business class passengers and high-level frequent flyers. 

Access is also available for a £18 fee, which in all honesty isn't worth it unless the main terminal is absolutely swarming with people -- spend half that on a drink in the bar downstairs and buy some wi-fi access from the terminal-wide Boingo network, and set yourself up down there.

Emirates and Virgin Atlantic passengers in particular should note that the lounge isn't up to the airlines' own world-class lounges.

Dining

The food and drink options are okay, with white, rosé and two types of red wine (of a relatively cheap label I'd never heard of, though, but it was about as drinkable as regular economy class wine).

There's a good selection of decent branded spirits and mixers, but the only beer is Becks or Budweiser.

Top marks for a soda fountain with Coke, Diet Coke, Fanta and fizzy British lemonade, plus lime and orange cordials. 

Food options are almost entirely of the little-things-in-packets variety, with peanuts, crisps and bar mix. Perfect for pilfering for in-flight snacking if you're on an airline that doesn't serve a meal. (That's just about everything on an internal UK flight.) 

Bread rolls and little packets of cheese are your only option if you'd like something more substantial.

Work

The two-seater couches are the most comfortable for using a laptop (and are more likely to be located near a power point). The bucket armchairs are a little too high, and several people I saw using their laptop on them ended up having to keep the computer from sliding off their legs.

Internet access is reasonably fast and easy, although you do have to give them your email address. (I haven't been spammed yet, though.) Download speed on a busy Friday night with perhaps a dozen people using laptops and iPads was an okay 2.25 Mbps, with upload a slower 0.37 Mbps. 

Relax

The business area is obviously a better option for relaxation than the holiday zone, but passengers on evening flights should note that it closes down just after 6.30pm, with everyone there having to move over to the holiday zone (where there may or may not be seats).

There's not any really good quiet area to relax in, so best to pick a comfy sofa and put in the headphones.

Summary

All in all, the Skylounge is just okay. Internet access and the option of a gin and tonic makes it a better option than staying downstairs in the main terminal, but sticky beer stains on the floor (which I'm fairly certain weren't part of an authentic Glaswegian atmosphere), nowhere good to get some quiet time and fairly paltry food/wine offerings mean it's not somewhere to spend any great amount of time.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


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