Northern Lights - Aberdeen Airport Lounge

Thursday 16 August 2018
Review post in collaboration with Aberdeen International Airport

Start your trip in style in the Northern Lights Aberdeen Airport Lounge. Located on the first floor of the main terminal, guests can enjoy a relaxed pre-flight atmosphere with a complimentary selection of proudly local Aberdeenshire food and drinks. Escape the hustle and bustle of the departure gates and chill out in style before you fly. The Northern Lights executive lounge is available to all airport passengers on a paid for basis and the entry price includes free food and drink. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Aberdeen Airport lounge discount codes and special offers for even better value.

The Northern Lights of old Aberdeen, mean home sweet home to me

The Northern Lights of Aberdeen are what I long to see
I’ve been a wanderer all of my life and many a sight I've seen
God speed the day when I'm on my way, to my home in Aberdeen 

Perhaps best known now on the terraces of Pittodrie sung by AFC fans, my Mum used to sing this traditional Scottish song to me as a lullaby. Alas despite a trip to Iceland I've never seen the Northern Lights so they remain on my bucket list. Something else that many folks may wish to tick off their bucket list is to make use of an airport lounge prior to a flight. Once seen as elite and exclusive, only for those travelling in first class or suited and booted business travellers, many lounges are now available to all airport passengers on a paid for basis. You too can escape the hustle and bustle of the departure gates and chill out in style before you fly whether that be for business or pleasure.

Opened mid 2017 as part of the ongoing Aberdeen Airport £20m development scheme the Northern Lights Executive Lounge can be booked by all travellers. Children under 3 years of age go free, age 3-11's are £15 and adult (age 12+) tickets £27. (Priority Pass holders and a number of airline tier customers are eligible for free Northern Lights Lounge access.) I've now had the pleasure of visiting the lounge on four occasions. Once for the official opening, twice on solo trips and last weekend for the first time as a family of four. Starting off your travels in a comfortable, relaxed and stylish lounge with food, drink, newspapers, magazines, charging points, TV, wifi and panoramic runway views is to be thoroughly recommended.  (For a review of the lounge with specific reference to kids, check out Scots2Travel who visited with her toddlers)

On arrival at Aberdeen International Airport we parked in the short stay multi storey car park, literally a 2 minute walk from check in. This is just one of the three onsite carparks the others being priority (1 minute walk from check in, undercover wider bays, includes priority security access) and long stay (regular bus transfers, ideal for a longer trip, the cheapest on site parking). By booking in advance online you'll save at least 50% on the roll up prices. As someone who doesn't usually use onsite airport parking I was pleasantly surprised that the prices were much more reasonable that I expected. Once inside the terminal building we checked in, headed through security and made our way to the Northern Lights. The lounge is located on the first floor of the main terminal close to the gate 1 area. Just follow the signage and head on up in the lift.

The complimentary food and drink on offer within the Northern Lights lounge is proudly local. This has been the premise from the very outset with the menu endorsed by kilted chef Craig Wilson of Eat on the Green. I've not as yet visited for a morning flight but understand that the menu on offer then includes both continental and hot dishes. Cooked breakfast comprises sausages, tattie scones, bacon, scrambled egg and beans. Yoghurt comes from my friends at Rora Dairy plus there's also fresh fruit salad, cereals and baked goods. Traditional Scottish porridge and Aberdeen butteries complete the offering. 

The Aberdeen airport lounge menu in the daytime includes salads, soup, hot dishes, cheese, biscuits, cakes and nibbles. Cheese comes from Cambus O'May, jam (to go with your scones and clotted cream) is from Barra Berries and to accompany your salad is local rapeseed and flavoured oils from Mackintosh of Glendaveny. I thoroughly enjoyed the vegetarian chickpea and spinach curry from Grants of Speyside and we all loved the mini Aberdeen Angus beef burgers. Completing the duo of filled brioche buns were smoked haddock fishcakes from my local award winning chipper The Bay at Stonehaven. Lastly I was delighted to see that the root vegetables hail from Benzies of Turriff. There's a family connection here. If you read my recent post Hush a bye, don't you cry, Mammy's off to the WRI you'll have been introduced to my grandmother Jean Benzie. Her great, great, nephew is Phillip Benzie who grows the veg at Gairnieston Farm. It's a small world.

Beers, wines, house spirits and soft drinks are all complimentary. However if you would like something a wee bit special then there is the opportunity to upgrade and purchase Prosecco, Champagne and premium branded spirits. You help yourself to Brewdog beers, wine and soft drinks from self serve fridges whilst spirits are served from behind a staffed bar the backdrop of which is a visually stunning whisky wall stocked with over 50 Malts. Summer House Drinks provide local craft sodas and I was delighted to see these served with paper rather than single use plastic straws. To accompany your drinks are a range of nibbles, the afternoon of our visit these were nuts, pretzels, olives and Mackie's crisps. My daughter was particularly delighted to find a Northern Lights sweet corner with a jar full of fizzy cola bottles. To go with hot drinks were shortbread from Deans of Huntly and scones with jam and clotted cream.

Give my own interests I was clearly taking special notice of the food and drink on offer, however there are a number of other factors which make an airport lounge an attractive proposition. In Northern Lights these included comfortable, relaxed and stylish surroundings, newspapers and magazines, charging and USB points, toilets (with products from Huntly's Gordon Castle), TV showing BBC news 24, wifi access, departure information screens, panoramic runway views and friendly staff. You should bare in mind that lounge access is only for 2 hours - although you will get longer if your flight is delayed. Opening hours are from 04:00 to 20:30, 7 days a week. You'll also need to keep a close eye on the board as there are no announcements so it would be all too easy to get caught up in food and drink and miss your flight!

So to the big question - is it worth it?
I suspect the answer is that it depends on the timing and the nature of your trip and what you would usually spend on food and drink onboard the aircraft and within the airport. It's perhaps not something that you would do for every flight, but if for a special occasion, a family holiday, girls weekend away or if you need a quiet working environment it certainly ticks the boxes and is a most civilised way to help take some of the stress out of air travel. Comparing the price you'd pay for a cup of coffee, a serving of hot food and a couple of drinks and snacks either within the airport or onboard your flight I suspect you'd have little if any change from the £27 price of entry to the Northern Lights Executive Lounge. However for teenagers who won't be consuming alcohol, the increase of price from £15 to £27 for age 12+ is harder to justify in terms of vale for money.

Be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for special Northern Lights Lounge discounts and promo codes. Signing up to the Aberdeen International Airport newsletter is a good place to start as is a flick through the UpBeat airport magazine or listening to radio adverts. Also worth checking out what deals are on offer via Holiday Extras.
Bon voyage!

♥ Pin me for later... Review of the the Northern Lights Executive Lounge at Aberdeen AIrport where you can start your journey in style. Located on the first floor of the main terminal, guests can enjoy a relaxed pre-flight atmosphere with a complimentary selection of proudly local food and drinks.

Disclosure: This is not a paid post. We received complimentary parking and access to the Northern Lights Lounge as guests of Aberdeen Airport. As always, all views expressed are my own. 

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  1. I've heard good things about the airport lounge and I'd be really tempted to book in as a treat the next time we fly somewhere <3

    G is for Gingers xx

    1. It's the perfect start to a holiday or special trip and great value if you'd be eating and drinking at the airport anyway.

  2. It's a real treat. I was planning to book in for my girly trip to Antwerp, but the flight route was cancelled (very, very sad face), so I'll have to hatch another plan. I've visited once, and I was impressed, especially if you're able to have a drink or too. So stylish compared to waiting at the gate!

  3. I love that the food is all local! I've never visited an airport lounge but like you say it's definitely something to consider before a particular trip like a girls trip or special family one!

  4. Glad I found this, we're considering flying Aberdeen to Austin instead of fighting with London airports. I really like lounges so I can get some work done before flying.


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