Are airport lounges worth the money?

Britain's airport lounges often provide limited food and mediocre facilities, an investigation has found.

Consumer group Which? said its reviewers "weren't very impressed" by the venues, which charge up to £40 to use.

The average score given to the 17 lounges assessed was just 2.6 out of five.

The report for Which? Travel magazine stated: "The decor was often low-rent rather than ritzy, and the buffets were basic.

"And, having paid an average of £25 to enter, the consensus was that you would need to eat and drink an awful lot to get your money's worth."

My Lounge at Gatwick's north terminal - which costs £18 if paid in advance - was found to be the worst lounge, scoring just 1.5 out of five.

Reviewers warned that "the floor was grubby and the facilities were basic", and were left "wishing we'd stuck to the seating outside".

The vegetable chilli on offer "didn't look especially appetising" and there were not enough easy chairs or sockets for laptops, they added.

A number of lounges fared only slightly better, with scores of two out of five, including Edinburgh Aspire, Heathrow Skyteam T4, Heathrow Aspire T5, Manchester Escape T1 and Manchester Aspire T2.

The No1 lounge at Gatwick's south terminal earned the highest score at 3.5 out of five.

With an advance fee of £30, it was found by Which? to be "classy and comfortable" and "worth paying the little extra for".

A spokeswoman for No1 Lounges Ltd, which operates My Lounge at Gatwick's north terminal, said: "We take hygiene extremely seriously. We believe the review must have taken place last year at a time when the lounge was particularly busy, due to us accommodating the airline moves programme at Gatwick Airport.

"Our satisfaction scores for My Lounge are now significantly higher.

"Regarding food choice, we are about to launch our summer menu which includes a more comprehensive offering, including a wider selection of sweet and savoury options, including additional hot choices and a pancake machine. We are also introducing a make-your-own cocktail station."

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