The nation's pay-as-you-go airport lounges have been inspected and ranked - and have been deemed fairly underwhelming for the most part, according to Which?.
Which? reviewers carried out an inspection of 20 lounges across eight UK airport, and said many do not offer more than a glass of cheap wine and a handful of crisps. The average score was 2.4 out of five.
While Heathrow's No1 T3 lounge came up top with a four out of five ranking, Southend Skylife Lounge was scored one out of five - in contrast to the airport which passengers had rates well-equipped and queue-free in Which?'s last annual airport survey.
|The best and worst of the UK's airport lounges|
|Heathrow No1 T3 - Four out of five|
|Manchester 1903 T3 - Three and a half out of five|
|Stansted Escape - Three out of five|
|Gatwick No1 South - Three out of five|
|Gatwick No1 North - Three out of five|
|Gatwick My Lounge North - Three out of five|
|Birmingham No1 - Two and a half out of five|
|Gatwick Clubrooms North - Two and a half out of five|
|Gatwick Clubrooms South - Two and a half out of five|
|Luton Aspire - Two and a half out of five|
|Manchester Escape T3 - Two out of five|
|Heathrow Skyteam T4 - Two out of five|
|Heathrow Plaza Premium T2 - Two out of five|
|Heathrow Plaza Premium T4 - Two out of five|
|Heathrow Aspire T5 - Two out of five|
|Edinburgh No1 - Two out of five|
|Edinburgh Aspire - Two out of five|
|Birmingham Aspire - Two out of five|
|Gatwick Aspire North - One and a half out of five|
|Southend Skylife Lounge - One out of five|
A score of one meant a sub-standard lounge considered "well below average", while four was an "excellent lounge, above average". None of the airports scouted were rated as "exceptional" and among the best.
Glyn Jones, chief executive of Stobart Aviation, owners of London Southend airport, said:
We fully acknowledge this report which points out that our airport lounge does not reflect the high standards we set ourselves in all aspects of our airport operation. We have been evaluating options for the lounge, but plainly too slowly. It isn’t good enough. We will improve, as a matter of urgency.
We have been ranked Best London airport by Which? magazine for five years in a row so the lounge rating is an anomaly, albeit an unacceptable one. We will now bring the lounge up to the extremely high standards that we expect from all areas and facilities at London Southend.
Heathrow's lounge fared best thanks to a cinema, a la carte menu, along with L'Occitane toiletries in "spotlessly clean" bathrooms.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said:
A pay-as-you-go lounge to start your holiday early might seem like a great option if you are willing to fork out a bit extra. But as our research shows, in many cases, you might be better off with a pie and a pint in the airport pub.