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Tuesday 30 April 2019

How much would you pay for lounge access at an airport?

How much is lounge access at an airport worth to you?

I ask after seeing a press release announcing airport lounge operator No.1 Lounges has announced a new location at London Luton Airport - a facility largely used by low-cost carriers and charter flights including RyanAir and EasyJet.

The new lounge will open in July as the Clubrooms, with an introductory rate of £29 (just over $53) for all comers, not matter what airline they are using, or their class of travel. From September 30, the price will rise to £36 ($66).

Now that seems like quite a lot for the average leisure flyer to pay for a couple of drinks, a meal, and wifi when a flight to Dublin only costs $72. Oh, but also throw in the peace and quiet, with children under 12 barred from entry, the power-charging facilities, glossy magazines and a personal waiter.

I can see business travellers splashing out on somewhere to do some work, but $66 seems like quite a lot for someone flying to Canary Islands for a week of sunshine. 

Particularly as you might get kicked out - or asked to pay more - if your flight is delayed by a couple of hours. But I may be wrong.

The new lounge is located next to the main departure area, with easy access to all gates.

But wait, guests can also upgrade their visit in advance with free-flowing Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot Champagne packages for an extra £10. That sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, with free drinks often leading to free drunkenness.

No.1 also operates at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Edinburgh airports. Its arrival at Luton comes at a time of rapid expansion for the company, which also recently opened lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.

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