Stepping into the No.1 Traveller lounge at Stansted Airport is like entering a world of serenity and relaxation despite a nearby bubbling swarm of stress. Panic stricken mums, struggling with babies and bags look at you with pleading, forced smiles. Hoards of European travellers fight with the bursting suitcases, trying to cram more things into their luggage. You hurry straight pass them. You quicken your pace not wanting to let their stress seep into your holiday bubble. Admittedly you have quite a walk to the far end of the concourse and then all the way to near gate 49. However, you have just fast-tracked it all the way through the priority lane of the security checks and as soon as you arrive at No.1 Traveller your shoulders instantly relax.
As everyone else in the airport perches on the awkward barriers as all the hard chairs have been taken by delayed passengers, you simply ease yourself into a soft leather armchair or onto one of the sofas. You plug in your almost dead phone and watch in delight as the little charger symbol appears. And then the friendly staff member glides over offering you a drink. ‘A coffee’, you reply. ‘But what kind of coffee would one like?’ You grin as your chocolate sprinkled, frothy cappuccino appears in an instant.
You settle in next to the floor to ceiling window and watch the planes taking off. The anticipation of a new destination grows in your tummy. Then just as you start to wonder if it’s in fact rumbling with hunger, you’re offered vegetarian or beef pasta and salad, or chicken pitas. Yes, the vegetarian selection isn’t huge and nor is the portion size, but as the cost is included in your pass, there’s nothing to stop you going for seconds or thirds. Oh, and don’t forget the cold buffet, as well as the sweet cake nibbles and crisps. You are on holiday, so calories and being healthy don’t count. Honest.
You will most definitely never be thirsty in the No.1 Traveller lounge. Soft drinks, hot drinks, alcoholic drinks – they’re all covered. If you fancy something a little bit more glitzy like a Prosecco, you’ll need to pay a bit extra. The only downside is that you’ll drink so many ‘free’ drinks that your bladder will soon be full and then you’ll have to leave the lounge for the short walk to the bathroom.
Safely returned, you pick a newspaper or two for your flight. You get comfy watching the hushed TV from afar, with the melodic sounds of Jessie Ware playing in the background. After a little while, your freshly charged phone pings into action and you happily log onto the free wifi. Cheery Facebook updates, last minute language prep, or perhaps a look at the weather forecast for your destination. Whatever it is, you feel content that you can surf the net whilst you sip your fifth Coca-Cola, waiting for boarding to start. You collect a second plate of chocolate squares and pause mid-bite near the front of the lounge to check the departures screen.
You laugh at the upgrade you’ve given yourself. A cheap RyanAir flight out of Stansted means you’ve spent less than £100 on your return flights (£72), the priority security lane access and the lounge pass (£17.50). It’s certainly a good way of glamming up a cheap break. Ideally placed near the RyanAir departure gates, you only have a two minute laidback stroll to the boarding queue. You beat most of the other passengers to the front of the line, as it takes them at least five minutes from the main concourse. On board you pull out your newspapers and settle in for your flight, well and truly in holiday mode.
Seven Pearls of Wisdom (#7POW) for using No.1 Traveller:
♥ Book online and in advance to ensure availability.
♥ Buy your bottles of water and snacks for your flights before you enter the lounge.
♥ Scope out the seats near the plug sockets so you can charge your phone ready for when you land in your new destination.
♥ Keep an eye on the departures board (at the entrance to the lounge) so you know when your flight is boarding (the flights are not announced).
♥ Help yourself to the cold buffet/snacks and go up to the bar to request hot food (or ask one of the staff when they pass).
♥ Take a complimentary magazine/newspaper with you.
♥ Find the wifi code on the back of the menus (found on the tables).
Have fun! Wishing you a lovely holiday. X
I was a guest of No.1 Traveller.