Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Getting to Christchurch, New Zealand from Manchester. September 2011.

Terminal One at Manchester Airport has 4 lounges. This concept of having to purchase a space in a comfortable Airport Lounge, as opposed to it just being what an Airport seating area should be, seems to have appeared in recent years as yet another way of getting money from travellers.
This ‘Lounge experience’ is now being sold as a ‘Holiday Extra’. The prices vary from upwards of £17.00, and are included in the ticket price for many Business and First Class Passengers. Some lounges are operated by the airport such as BAA but others are owned by the airline and the Emirates Lounge at Terminal One in Manchester is ‘by invitation only’; used by both Business class and First Class Travellers as well as Skywards Members. When I booked the flights to New Zealand, Emirates or the Travel Agent, I cannot remember which, was running a special offer, giving entrance to the Lounge as a booking incentive.
So, it is with excitement that I entered the Emirates Lounge at Manchester Airport. The lounge is situated on the second floor of terminal one. It is bright, the windows along its length overlook the runway so you have a good view of the incoming and outgoing aircraft.
It was very busy, but retained a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. The interior decor is in true Emirates Style, a lot of gold, beige and brown tones. It is not old fashioned looking, but verges on it! At one end there is a large screen TV, with 24 hour news on. I do not know if you could change the channel.
The leather chairs and sofas are set out in small cosy groups, but most people bag the ones facing the windows to plane spot. The business centres with its computers was, busy with clients accessing Facebook and MSN. The lounge had free Wi-Fi (remember I learnt about that in Greece?).
There are drinks stations all around offering all beverages from tea , coffee, and soft drinks to beer, spirits & champagne. Most people were having champagne. Magazine racks were well stocked with newspapers and magazines to help yourself to.
Food is served in a restaurant type area, however many people were eating in the more casual seating areas. Lunch was the choice, I don’t know why but because it was 11.00am I had expected breakfast to be on offer!
The selection of cold starters looked very tempting; the soup was a Butternut one. The main courses were Fillet of Beef, A curry, Lancashire Hot Pot, a prawn dish, pasta and a vegetarian offering. I had the individual hot pot, and it would have been a good hot pot had it not been very salty. The desserts and cheese board were sensational.
The toilets were clean and had shower facilities: dressing gowns and slippers included. All in all, fantastic! I have to say that the lounge was a real experience for me and I would recommend this to anyone, it really is a relaxing start to your travels. The choice and quality of food was good, and it saves you struggling trying to eat in a confined space offered in Economy class. It was the fastest 2 ½ hours I have ever spent at an Airport.