Lounge Review – MSP Escape Lounge

On a recent business trip, I had a layover at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. It was my first time at MSP and my initial impression of the airport was it was like a more complicated DTW. As a former Northwest and now Delta fortress hub their presence dominated the facility.  MSP has two Delta Sky Clubs which I visited on my morning layover as well as in the evening on my return. My reviews of those lounges will be in a separate article. One thing I will say is that in the land of Delta I’m glad there is another lounge option because the Sky Clubs were terribly overcrowded. I first stopped at the one at the foot of Concourse F but left shortly after due to the overcrowding.

Luckily MSP also has an Escape Lounge which I also spent time at during my layovers. It ended up being a nice escape from the hectic Sky Clubs.

Location

The MSP Escape Lounge is located on the mezzanine level above the entrance to Councourse E. It’s quite centrally located and within a 10 minute walk to most gates.

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Access & Crowd Level

Yet again, my Amex Platinum comes through with providing a benefit that not many other cards do. The Escape Lounges are third party entities which contract out to various airlines and credit card companies or offer pay per visit access. If access was not complimentary it would cost $45 to enter the lounge. Escape is not affiliated with Priority Pass as offered with many cards not the market but are part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection. I just needed to show my Amex Platnium card directly to gain access. Two complimentary guests are also included if needed. This is an improvement over the Delta Sky Clubs which charge Amex Platinum members $29 for each guest.

Due to the more limited membership base, the Escape Lounge was far less crowded than the Sky Clubs.

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Seating Areas

The lounge has several seating areas as well as a large dining space which is shared with the bar.

Electrical outlets were adequate and the seating was comfortable enough but some of the chairs were a bit rigid and under padded for my liking.

Luckily along the wall there were also seating “pods” which have become popular at many lounges lately. These offered nice padding and privacy.

There were several areas that offered good privacy and electrical outlets.

Natural light was also abundant thanks to an entire wall of windows on the outside of the lounge which also had some nice views of the Delta filled tarmac.

Food

At both breakfast and dinner time the lounge offered solid selections of hot food from a central buffet area.

The eggs were fresh and even the cold cheese and meat were a step above the typical selection at airline lounges.

The most interesting selection in the morning was the delicious breakfast taquitos severed in their own miniature cast iron skillet. Bonus points for flavor and presentation.

Beverage

The full service bar had a good selection of complimentary beer, wine and liquor plus an extensive list of premium beverages at reasonable prices.

Restroom

Normally a restroom wouldn’t warrant its own section but the peculiar process to access the facilities. The lounge doesn’t have its own restroom inside so you must exit the lounge to get to one. Fortunately, there is one just next to the lounge that you can get to by exiting through a back door.

Then walking across a shady looking hallway filled with trash and debris.

Before you exit through the backdoor however, be sure to take the key card hanging next to it so you are be able to get back into the door you exited.

Not really the best arrangement but it seems to be a theme at MSP because the F Concourse Sky Club also had restrooms closed for renovation.

Final Impression

The Escape Lounge was a nice respite from the hectic Sky Clubs. The food and beverage selections were above average and there were comfortable seats to be found without having to fight crowds for them. The only complaint I have is the awkward procedure to access the restroom.

Next time I have a layover at MSP I will definitely be making a stop at the Escape Lounge, probably skipping the Sky Clubs altogether. If I’m ever at one of dozen or so airports with Escape Lounge locations I will also make it a point to stop.

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