The Aspire Lounge is truly an oasis in the heart of Heathrow Terminal Five. It is open to Priority Pass and Lounge Club members, and anyone else willing to pay the fee. In my opinion, this new Heathrow T5 lounge is a welcome, and long overdue, addition to the terminal.
The terminal seems to have become ridiculously busy in recent years and it can be a challenge finding a quiet area to relax whilst you await your flight. Thankfully, I’m usually flying business (find out how you can too!) when I pass through and so I can avoid the chaos. But, for those short-haul flights, it seems like a waste of my AVIOS so I just have to put up with the overcrowded terminal.
T5 may have been just voted the world’s best shopping airport (how, I ask? There’s never anyone in the endless row of ridiculous, designer shops that mere mortals would not dare to enter!) but frankly I can’t stand it. Until recently, there was just one pub and a few restaurants to keep passengers entertained. The arrival of the Aspire Lounge definitely piqued my interest, as previously, the only lounges were for those flying Club or First. This is the only lounge in the terminal which allows guests to pay to enter, irrespective of flight class.
We arrive on Easter Friday, regarded as one of the busiest travel days of the year. I expect to be turned away, but instead we are told that it will be a twenty five minute wait. In fact, it turns out to be five minutes! Result!
For impatient people, like me, it’s easy to figure out when you will be allowed access as it works on a one in, one out policy. Silent cheers every time someone exits.
We use our Lounge Club passes (every American Express Gold card owner gets two passes a year with their membership) to enter and save almost £60. Entry is swift, with a swipe of the card and a quick signature. Impressed so far!
Adults and children alike pay £29.99 each. For an adult, £29.99 may be a price worth paying. Whilst you would need to be able to drink pretty quickly to get your money’s worth in food and drink alone, the additional comfort is worth a premium in my opinion. That price for children though, is a complete rip off, as a child will not be drinking alcohol and is unlikely to eat through £30 in three hours!
Location and layout
The lounge is tucked away beneath the British Airways South Concourse Club and First lounges by gate A18. It is L shaped and not the best designed.
Suspended above some of the departure gates, it has panoramic views of the outlying gates and runway. It’s light and airy and considerably less cramped than the main concourse, but the food and bar are squeezed into one of the narrowest parts of the lounge, meaning bottlenecks quickly form in these areas.
It looks smart and chic though, and frankly is considerably calmer than the terminal bedlam.
There’s plenty of dedicated work spaces and what I particularly like is that there are ample plug sockets. Our sofa alone has four U.K plug sockets, two European sockets and four USB ports. That is pretty impressive, especially considering I often cannot find one available socket in the British Airways lounges.
That said, your chances of getting much work done are slim as the internet connection is pitiful. It reminds me of the sufferance we had to endure back in the days of dial up connections. It is that SLOW and the connection is forever dropping.
Unlike in the Club Lounge, you cannot help yourself to drinks and instead have to queue at the bar. There, you have a choice of two white wines, beer on tap plus a selection of other soft drinks and spirits.
There are also a few fridges throughout the lounge, with a selection of tonics and bitter lemons, and coffee machines with a number of options. The coffee is pretty good too!
There’s a selection of hot and cold food options and crisps, buns and cakes. Again it is wedged into a tiny area so causes more traffic jams but the food is pretty good. It is fresh and tasty, consisting of different pastas, quiches and vol-au-vents.
There is also a salad, cheese and fruit bar but the food really could do to be relocated in a more spacious area.
There is a spa in the lounge, but don’t get too excited. It’s not complimentary! You really would be a fool not to pay the £29.99 entry fee if it was included, but sadly prices are £20 for an eye treatment or mini facial and £40 for a 40 minute facial. I think that is pretty reasonable value for an airport though.
The lounge looks very appealing, even more than the British Airways Club Lounges, but the sofas are pretty uncomfortable. I don’t think the decor has been designed with encouraging people to linger in mind.
Disappointingly, there are no toilets inside, meaning a long walk to use the facilities. Showers are available but these cost £20 to use and must be booked on arrival.
Value for money
Much as I enjoy the escape from the madness, I’m really not convinced that it is worth the price. There are some great features but the price is excessive for kids, it is not the most comfortable and it can get pretty busy in the food and drink area.
Have you visited?
Maybe you have visited the Lounge and would like to share your experience. Feel free to have your say below.