Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport (MSP) has an Escape lounge that American Express Platinum Card holders are entitled to access. This is not a priority pass lounge, so please be mindful of the fact that access is only permitted if you show your Amex Platinum card. The lounge discontinued the access abilities for Priority Pass holders earlier this year.
Access to the Lounge
The lounge is located on the sterile side of Terminal 1 – which is the Lindbergh terminal at MSP. Most of the full-service carriers depart from Terminal 1, including Air Canada, American, Delta, United, Air France, KLM, and Alaska, along with Spirit and Frontier, and soon JetBlue, come May 2018.
If you are flying out of MSP on Southwest, Sun Country, Condor or Icelandair, then you will be at the Humphrey terminal 2, which is a separate building altogether and you will not be able to access this lounge.
The Escape lounge is located on the second floor in between concourses E and F. After you go through security on the far east side of the terminal, you can proceed straight ahead and it is located right at the entrance to the E pier.
Layout and Design
One of the first things you’ll notice about this lounge is how spacious it is. There is ample room to spread out, with lots of comfortable, modern furniture. It is also laid out really well, in that you can navigate your way to the kitchen area, the living room areas, the workspaces, or the dining facilities very easily.
There are also great views of the tarmac and terminal areas, even though it was gray and cold on this Minnesota morning. There is also a lot of unique Minnesota-themed artwork that adorns the walls. As a former Minnesota resident, I appreciate this a lot. You’ll notice in the shelf space that there are some creative touches like including vases and other artwork, as well as books, in the cubbies, which I thought was neat.
The kitchen area is very bright and cheery with gray hardwood floors, countertops and green paint on the backsplash. It just feels very homey and cozy.
Food and Beverage
This is where the lounge really “Wowed” me: there is a really incredible spread of food items available, and as the millennials would say, it all looked really, “chic” and “#foodporn” worthy. So, maybe there wasn’t avocado toast, but there was a charcuterie board. Oh, hell yea!
There was a salad bar that didn’t have your standard, boring DIY items: this one had chopped cucumbers, marinated olives, teriyaki mushrooms, banana peppers, pico-de-gallo, cubed cucumbers and grated carrots. There were tons of pastries as well as hot sammies (as they say in Minnesota) with panini ingredients. Like, when could you ever get a Cubano at an airline lounge, unless you’re ordering it at one of the AA Flagship lounges at JFK or the United Polaris lounge?
Can we Taco bout the Taco bar for a second? It has barbacoa and chicken tinga. Oh, and before you ask, yes, you could get all of the works on it: sour cream, cheddar, limes, salsa verde, GUAC and sriracha.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Now, onto the dranks situation: there is a bar, and everything that is on the middle shelf is complimentary, whereas top shelf comes with a bit of an upcharge. That’s cool! Since I was coming off of a wedding and had already brunched that morning at Revival in Minneapolis (sidebar: best hangover meal in the Twin Cities to date!) I had already taken care of my hair of the dog needs, but I did take a peek on the selections on hand:
- Complimentary liquors: svedka, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, Bacardi, kalua, baileys, jack daniels, Johnnie Walker red, Jim Beam, Canadian club, house wines, beers and prosecco
- Top shelf: 1800 Tequila, Grey Goose, Titos, Hendrick’s, Ketle One, Bombay Sapphire, Myers, Captain Morgan (weird), Crown Royal, Dewars, Jameson, Campari and other Liqueurs
As far as complimentary beers go, I do believe that you can get your craft Minnesota beers for free, like your Surly’s, Summits, etc. Knock your IPA self out!
I mustn’t forget the coffee! Big coffee machines with all of the fixings, along with a great selection of Teas.
Work All Day
There is a printer where one can print off any important documents that they need. I also really like how there are high tables with a really unique function to be able to charge devices, plug into USB-outlets and turn on these small reading lamps.
Escape Lounge MSP – Bottom Line
There are not very many escape lounges in the U.S. – right now, there are only lounges in MSP, Oakland, Reno, and Hartford – Bradley, to my knowledge. According to Treasure, who was the manager on-site at the lounge, the Escape lounges concept is more popular abroad in the United Kingdom, and so the smaller airports (although I would hardly consider MSP airport small) are among the first to try out the prototype in the United States.
Although it is a shame that this lounge no longer accepts Priority Pass, it does appear to have helped minimize traffic and crowding. Best of all, the staff at the lounge was superb: very friendly, courteous and professional people.
The one downside is that there is somewhat of an unusual bathrooms situation – you have to actually exit the lounge in order to use the restrooms here. But, all you have to do is walk around and come back in through the front.
The lounge is open from 4 AM until 8 PM, so you can access it if you have an early morning flight or a late evening departure. For those who do not have AMEX lounge access, you can buy a day pass at the airport for $45, or $40 if you purchase online in advance.