Tried & Tested

Lounge review: Harrods Aviation Terminal

24 May 2017 by Tom Otley

What’s it like?

There are two private jet terminals at Luton Airport: The Signature facility, and this one. They are close to one another, and offer similar facilities, although the Signature Flight Support facility has recently been refurbished.

Luton is the busiest private jet facility in the UK, and because of the length of the runway and the fact that it has no restrictions on night use, is popular with larger jets as well.

You can read the details about the Night Flights here.

First impressions:

On arrival there is a gated barrier and then a good-sized car park. Reception will take your details and confirm the flight you are on, and then you walk through to the main room of the lounge.

The lounge:

The lounge consists of one main room with a kitchen area to one side on the right as you enter and ends with the doors out to where the aircraft are parked.

There is a high ceiling and windows reaching to this ceiling meaning it is very light and quite uplifting compared with many lounges.

Food and drink:

There is a good choice of coffees from the buffet which you can prepare yourself using the Krupps machine, as well as soft drinks and some alcohol, though this was locked for our early morning Sunday flight.

As you’d expect, the white wine, red wine and Champagne was all Harrods-branded, but not having tasted any I can’t comment on its quality.

I didn’t see any hot food on offer. I doubt that many use the lounge for a long period unless there is an unexpected delay, since security is quick and flyers will time their arrival so they can spend as little time as possible in the lounge but instead go straight out to the aircraft.

 

 

There are several discrete (not discreet) seating areas with screens, large potted plants and a good view across to the private jets parked on the apron.

There aren’t a huge amount of power points (plugs) but since it was quite empty I found a chair to work from. At some point (if you are part of a group) an attendant will come and check your passport details.

Washrooms are off to one side, and there are shower facilities.

You can view a brief tour of the lounge – taken using a mobile phone – below. Everything but the washrooms, that is.

 

Verdict

Obviously the comparison of flying from this private terminal should be compared with the experience of flying from other private terminals around London rather than flying low cost from the main Luton terminal. Having said that, it would be a shame if the thought of choosing Luton was affected by any previous experience of using the main terminal.

This facility neatly avoids almost everything that is unpleasant about the main airport. At the main airport the approach traffic is heavy, the drop-off facilities (and pick-up – it’s the same area) are charged for and are chaotic at most times of the day and night, and the terminal and surrounding area is being completely rebuilt leading to pinch points for the crowds and long queues both incoming and outgoing depending on the time of day. Then, once airside, the terminal is hopelessly crammed – one oasis is the Aspire lounge (see below). Luton Airport  might be good when it’s finished, but right now, it is not. However it fulfils a vital role in facilitating the travels of millions of passengers to and from Europe for work and leisure every year on low cost airlines.

The Harrods Private Terminal (and the Signature one) can be approached by other roads, and of course there are no crowds. There’s always the possibility that your flight might have to take its turn among the Easyjet and Wizzair flights (Luton denies this, other airports insist it is true) but the experience of flying private from Luton when compared with some of those other airports is very good. I’d recommend the Harrods facility.

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