The Causeway Lounge opened in its current form in 2016 and is the only lounge at Belfast International Airport, which owns and operates it.
It is open daily between 0500 and 2115. Access is £27.50 for adults and £15 for children aged 2 to 17, which can be paid in advance or at the door subject to availability. Under-twos go free. Causeway also partners with Lounge Club, Lounge Key, Lounge Pass, Diners Club International, No1 Lounges, Lounge Buddy, Dragonpass and Priority Pass.
The dress code is “smart casual or business attire”. It’s a relatively relaxed space so I can’t imagine staff are overly strict. Just don’t wear fancy dress or a neck-to-heel tracksuit.
You will be allowed in 3.5 hours before long-haul flights and 2.5 hours before short-haul ones, which the majority of flights from Belfast International are.
What’s it like?
I was through security by 1430 ahead of a 1605 flight to London on a Sunday.
Getting to the lounge is a straightforward walk, both because it’s a small airport and because this is the only lounge, so it’s easy to spot the signs. After walking all the way through duty free you enter via a glass door next to gates 16 and 17.
The queues from these gates were snaking down the corridor when I got there, so I sheepishly edged my way past to escape into the calm of the lounge.
I was given a friendly welcome and told that I had just missed a busy period. There were about 10 people in the lounge (the picture above is from the website) and it could probably have fitted 10 more before people would start having to share tables. This was my first visit so I can’t speak to how busy it normally gets.
I took a Sunday paper – they had a selection including the Times, FT, Daily Mail and Belfast Telegraph as well as children’s books – and made a beeline for a sofa with a table. There were two sets available so I didn’t feel too greedy.
Once past reception you are left to your own devices, though staff were coming through regularly to check if plates needed clearing.
The TV overhead was quietly playing Sky Sports, but there wasn’t much other noise.
Next to me there were a couple of UK-style plugs, as there seemed to be near most (though not all) seats.
There are three different types of seating; the sofas, regular dining tables/chairs and then taller bar-style chairs next to single high tables.
Food and drink
Go in ready to snack rather than devour a main meal. I tried a bit of everything that was on offer and was still ready to eat again by the time the plane landed.
There was a vat of spicy root veg soup, which was nice, although there was only one type of bread roll to go with it. Then there were two wraps, one with chicken caesar and one with falafel. I tried the chicken, which was also nice, if a little supermarket ready meal-esque.
Then I had some olives, cheese and crackers. I couldn’t tell you for sure what cheeses they were and there wasn’t a sign to tell you.
The best bit was the chocolate brownie, which was fresh and gooey.
There was also a stack of pastries and a coffee machine that could make lattes and cappuccinos.
There are three wines; Vina Maipo Merlot, Vina Maipo Sauvignon Blanc and Ca Del Lago Pinot Grigio Rosé. The selection won’t satisfy the wine snobs out there, but it’s fine if you want an inoffensive glass of your colour of choice.
Two fridges are stocked with the white and rosé along with bottles of Beck’s and Miller beer, Britvic juices, Ballygowan mineral water, soda and tonic water by Club, Coke and Diet Coke.
Spirits are Jules Clairon Napoleon Brandy, Bacardi white rum, Two Trees gin, Two Trees vodka and Bushmills Irish whisky. Next to all this is an ice container.
Champagne can be purchased for £45, or a bottle of prosecco costs £25 for a bottle or £8 for a quarter bottle.
I had read online that there was a drinks limit but I wasn’t told about one and at the time didn’t see a sign about it. However, now that I look closely at the image I took of the wines and spirits, I can see that there is indeed a sign behind the bottles of red which probably mentions this.
Unless you started getting rowdy I doubt they would strictly enforce the rule, and I imagine it’s more to discourage hen and stag parties from using the lounge as an all-you-can-drink challenge. If not, you could just blame your ignorance on the obfuscating red.
The Causeway Lounge got a bit of a kicking from Which? earlier this year, with inspectors bemoaning a lack of made-to-order dishes, sparkling wine/champagne, spa/shower facilities or fast-track security. If you’re expecting any of that then you will be disappointed.
However, I had no complaints. OK, the food’s nothing to write home about and the decor is a little drab in parts. But there was a range of seating, it was smart and clean, there were friendly and attentive staff, and airfield views (even if you’ll be watching A320s roll past rather than A380s).
If you want a space to work or relax for an hour or two while helping yourself to snacks and drinks, it is a pleasant space. Which is lucky because lounge-wise, there’s no other choice.
Opening hours 0500 to 2115
Price £27.50 for adults, £15 for children