After my time in the British Airways Galleries Club North Lounge, it was time for me to go to the Aspire Lounge which is located by gate A18. More free food and drink I thought? Sure, why not!
Entry to this lounge is different to the British Airways lounge. You can gain access with the ‘Priority Pass‘, ‘Lounge Club‘, and good old fashion cash, however I’d recommend to book online to save money. I’ll cover these lounge passes in another article. As you enter the lounge, you pass the showers, which whilst very nice, cost an extra £20! This can easily bring your visit to over £50, but maybe that’s worth the price? You tell me. As I had a shower in the morning I passed on this opportunity, but during a long layover I can see it having some value.
Once you pass the showers, the lounge opens up to the main seating and and bar area. Apologies for the stock picture, but it was rather crowded in this section and I was getting some strange looks taking so many pictures. I guess not everyone understands that a lounge can be a tourist destination?
Now whilst it was still very early in the morning, around 7:30am, being British and enjoying free things even more, I decided to have a pint of draft beer. I’ve been to the lounge many times before and the bar has been manned at all times, but clearly they think that 7:30am isn’t prime drinking time and thus it wasn’t manned. It took literally 10 minutes before I could find someone to serve me, who then very reluctantly grunted and asked ‘what do you want?’ Maybe she didn’t like mornings?
If you pass the main seating and bar area you get to the self service food. What’s better than free beer, you ask? Free food. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Now let me explain that I do not eat pork, so the only hot food I could have consisted of scrambled eggs and pecan danishes. You can choose to order and pay for a more substantial meal from the menu, but I wasn’t in the mood for spending any money. Instead I went to find the delightful member of staff and asked her if it was possible to have a couple of vegetarian sausages. It’s safe to say this really wasn’t her morning and she barked a very stern ‘NO’. I decided not to push my luck and instead settled on a scrambled egg muffin which was rather meh.
If you continue past the food, there is even more seating. This is where I made my nest for the next hour. It was comfortable and provided fantastic views! The only downside was the lack of plugs. In this entire section, there was not a single plug to be found which I consider a must in any airport lounge.
Earlier I mentioned that more substantial food could be ordered from a menu. Not only that, but you could also order Champagne and cocktails. Whilst I didn’t partake, all items were reasonably priced on their own, but if you’ve paid £30 to gain access to the lounge I’d be rather miffed at paying for anything else. Even with airport prices, £30 can get you a decent meals and a couple of drinks elsewhere. Whilst not covered in this post, you may notice the ‘Bliss Spa’ page on the menu below. If you so wish, you can choose to have a spa treatment at an extra supplement (of course) during your time in the lounge.
Overall, I feel this place is a cross between Marmite and Ryanair. Firstly, you’ll either love it or hate it and I think that depends on if you’re a seasoned traveller and have visited the world’s best lounges, or if this is your first lounge experience and sitting down in a real chair in an airport is exciting enough. Secondly, I use the Ryanair analogy because it feels that everything is an extra. Yes, these are first world problems that Champagne, cocktails, showers and spa treatments are all extras, but if you want the equivalent of an airline owned lounge, you need to pay for it. Otherwise, if you’re happy for just the basics, then you’ll pay your £30 or use your lounge access card and enjoy it. I gained entry using my Priority Pass, so in short I didn’t pay for the visit. Had I paid, due to the poor service throughout, I may have complained. All hypothetical though and just my 2 cents. Up next, the dreaded ‘Bus A Gates’ and Club Europe to Berlin.