New lounges at Leeds Bradford Airport

The lounge at Leeds station has for some reason always been the worst of the lounges at the major stations, even GNER didn't give it much love. When Virgin Trains East Coast refurbished all the lounges in March 2016 the Leeds lounge got a bit of a spruce up but it was still fundamentally lacking.

Now with the journey between Leeds and Kings Cross not much longer than two hours and frequent services (every 30 minutes most of the day) for travel between the two city centres flying can't really compete. To make things worse British Airways has cut the number of flights between Leeds Bradford Airport and Heathrow, some days now only have a single flight. The main purpose of these flights is for people with connections but if the timings suit (less likely now due to the lower frequency) they can work if your final destination is west of London (e.g, Windsor, Reading, etc).

A new development at Leeds Bradford Airport means that the lounge experience is going to be much better than what Virgin Trains East Coast can provide. It's a shame that BA reduced frequencies before these lounges opened as it's likely BA passengers would appreciate this improvement. A possible better alternative for those who are connecting to a longhaul flight is to use KLM via Amsterdam, they fly to Leeds three times a day.

The three new lounges will replace the Yorkshire Premier Lounge (which is already fairly decent) and the space used by this lounge will be used for commercial space. From the booking page it appears the new lounges will open on Wednesday 11 April.

The three lounges will be

The Yorkshire Lounge

The 'leisure' lounge, it's the most basic offering of them all but will still include snacks and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Admission is £24.95 per person. A sample menu is available here.

The White Rose Suite

The business lounge, and the lounge that British Airways and KLM are most likely to use. This offers freshly prepared food, barista prepared coffee and a more extensive drinks range including local craft beer. Admission is £29.95 per person. A sample menu is available here.

The 1432 Runway Club

The first class lounge. It's unlikely that BA will give admission to this lounge but there's rumours that access will be available for a small supplement. As far as I know there's no carriers from Leeds Bradford that operate first class so it'll be exclusively paid access. It builds further on the menus of the other lounges offering a more extensive range. Admission is £34.95 per person. A sample menu is available here.

Verdict

The lounges sound promising but unfortunately with such infrequent flights to London this is unlikely to encourage Virgin Trains East Coast to improve their Leeds lounge. The lounge in Leeds station is so forgettable that my last few visits to Leeds I've preferred to wait in a nearby pub! 

The Yorkshire Lounge is aimed at the leisure traveller, most of the flights from Leeds Bradford are holiday flights from the likes of Jet2 and being able to start the holiday off with unlimited drinks and snacks will appeal to many. Having a separate business lounge means that those who want peace and quiet won't get disturbed by those in the holiday mood. It'll be interesting to see if there's a market for people to upgrade to the 1432 Runway Club first class lounge, we may even get a surprise and find BA gives access to it for gold cardholders (unlikely as none of the other regional domestic lounges have a separate first class section).

It's likely at least one of the lounges will be accessible for people holding one of the various lounge access cards such as Priority Pass.