A passenger lounge at London Southend Airport has been ranked the worst out of 21 pay-as-you-go facilities in the UK.
Which? inspectors found the Essex airport’s Skylife Lounge had no hot food, no runway view and no sparkling wine, earning the facility just one star out of five.
Reviews described the lounge as having “stained carpets” which were “dusted with crumbs”, while the food offering was a “sad-looking buffet” of “unripe bananas” and “pastries cut into halves”.
Access to the lounge costs nearly £20 when booked in advance or £24 for those paying on the day.
The airport’s website claims the lounge is “smart and sophisticated”, urging passengers to “start your journey in real style”.
Edinburgh’s Aspire lounge received the second worst score with just one-and-a-half stars.
Although the facility did include a hot food menu, an inspector described a salad as having “a past-its-best tang” while a pasta dish “looked like cat food”.
Joint third worst were London Luton’s Aspire – which offered “congealed eggs” and “stale bread rolls” – alongside Belfast International Causeway and London Heathrow Terminal 5 Aspire.
Complimentary sparkling wines and a la carte dishes helped London Heathrow Terminal 3 No 1 lounge share first place.
It was described by inspectors as the best-equipped facility, boasting a cinema, free showers, private sleep pods and hot food options made to order.
Also sharing the top spot were the Manchester Terminal 3 1903 and London Heathrow Terminal 4 The House lounges.
Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “Battling through security queues and the maze that has become duty-free can be such an ordeal – it’s no wonder that the promise of an oasis of calm in a pay-to-enter lounge is so appealing.
“But with lounges charging up to £50 for what might amount to little more than a seat on a stained sofa and a soggy pastry, passengers might be better off saving their cash to treat themselves once they reach their destination.”
Which? reviewed 21 pay-as-you-go lounges at nine UK airports between September and December 2018.