British Airways vs Aspire – which is the best lounge in Amsterdam?

A couple of weeks ago I ran a review from reader Alison on the two new(-ish) lounges at Amsterdam Schiphol – the British Airways lounge and the Aspire lounge.

I got the chance to try both myself last week.  The first thing to note is that the huge diversionary route to the lounges, caused by building work, has been drastically reduced.  There is still a diversion in place but it only adds 1-2 minutes to the walk.

The second thing to note is that the lounge is on the way to the BA gate (usually D26).  Whilst it is a long walk to the lounge and then a whopping 9 minute walk – even with my long legs – from the lounge to the gate, you need to do this walk whether or not you visit the lounge!  The extra time taken to divert upstairs is modest by comparison.

Let’s look at the British Airways lounge first.  The good news is that everything is brand new, as you would expect.  There is also a lot of light and views of the apron, eg:

British Airways lounge Amsterdam Schiphol

and

British Airways lounge Amsterdam Schiphol

and

British Airways lounge Amsterdam Schiphol

Let’s not talk about food.  This is all they had at 2pm in terms of fresh food:

British Airways lounge Amsterdam Schiphol food

although there was no shortage of drink:

British Airways lounge Amsterdam Schiphol

There are no computers, if that is important to you.  In need of sustenance, I hit the Aspire lounge next door.  You can get in with a Priority Pass (free with Amex Platinum) or a Lounge Club (two free visits with Amex Gold) card, or with cash.

The first thing you realise is that this lounge is b-i-g.  Big, light and, obviously, with all-new furnishings.

Aspire lounge Amsterdam Schiphol Priority Pass

and

Aspire lounge Amsterdam Schiphol Priority Pass

The mid-afternoon fresh food offering was better than British Airways (not hard!).  There were also a series of hot food trays which gave me the impression that more substantial food would have been available in the evening.

Aspire lounge Amsterdam Schiphol Priority Pass

Good news – they have stroopwafels as well!

Aspire lounge Amsterdam Schiphol Priority Pass

Bad news – the newspaper and magazine selection is woeful:

Aspire lounge Amsterdam Schiphol Priority Pass

There are a number of computers to use.  These are, oddly, chargeable.  However, they are part of the Boingo network so if you have an American Express Platinum card registered with Boingo, as I do, you can use that log-in and not pay.  Wi-fi is free.

Overall, the only reason to visit the British Airways lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol is to get a British newspaper.  Once you’ve done that, there is very little reason to hang around if you have access to the Aspire lounge.

To be honest, if I was BA and had seen the plans for the Aspire lounge, I wouldn’t have bothered building my own.  Aspire could have added in the space being used by British Airways and BA could have saved the capital expenditure.  Instead, BA appears to have blown its budget on the building work with no money left for food!

If you are planning to visit the Aspire lounge and do not have a Priority Pass, your best option is to book in advance and guarantee admission via the Aspire website here.

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Comments

  1. It’s amazing to see how much contract lounges have improved over the recent years. The ones in Schiphol were woeful and made the old BA lounge look great by comparison.

    With a shorthaul product now tending towards easyJet (unable to select your seat on the cheapest fares, no extra legroom in the front (potential CE section) the lounges were the only real incentive to stay loyal. If the Priority Pass options in most airports are decent (outside of London, although there’s a few BA lounges like AMS left, a lot of the time the contract lounges BA use are accessible by Priority Pass anyway) it may for many just be cheaper to pay £450 for a Platinum Amex (remember you get two PP cards each allowing a free guest) and book the cheapest flight options.

    Try as I might I did want BA to work for me for trips to Newcastle! But a bunch of delays coupled with the fun of getting to Heathrow put me off this idea. If the experience had been better on board I’d have been happy flying, but I couldn’t find anything compelling enough to stick with BA even though, for me, the removal of East Coast Rewards created a much more bitter feeling than the drop of Avios earning.

  2. Dynamo says:

    Went in the Aspire lounge when connecting to a KLM flight to Dubai. That was in an evening and they served chicken and black bean along with egg fried rice and crackers. The quality was good for a lounge.

  3. Worzel says:

    The Aspire Lounge:

    ‘Bad news – the newspaper and magazine selection is woeful:’ .

    Clearly the ZAKEN REIS magazine is popular-as shelf 2 has been restocked! :) .

  4. Any ideas which lounge Qatar uses at Amsterdam?

  5. andystock says:

    The aspire lounge ams is a nice lounge! Food was fine just like Gatwick were the 3rd party lounges are better than the BA ones. Another nail in the CE coffin!

  6. Another nail in the BA coffin, as others have said the quality of contract lounges has improved and in Europe many BA lounges are now accessible with priority pass. Every day it becomes more difficult to justify BA fares and their low quality service don’t give a damn attitude and cramped conditions.
    I can’t justify Easy jet as it would mean driving past LHR and the only real answer is to allow Ryan air and Easy jet access to LHR……..actually only answer is to bulldoze LHR and build something new allowing unfettered access to the ME carriers SQ and CX along with anyone else wanting to flying across the pond. You would then see significant improvements in quality and an end to the shockingly high fares demanded in the country.
    Would also like details of the Qatar lounge in AMS please

    • RIccati says:

      There is a grain of truth here.

      Heathrow renovation followed its existing layout with sparse terminals and did not resolve the common problems: efficient security screening, connection experience and time. Very long walks to arrivals practically for every terminal. There is intra-terminal train at T5 but not between the terminals. There are moving crosswalks in T2.

      Altogether it does not make the airport to be a smooth, flowing experience.

      T2 and T5 look great but 10 years from now it might be necessary to bulldoze the whole thing and build a modern, consistent airport.

  7. Looks like you got lucky and visited at a quiet time. I used the Aspire lounge in the morning and it was packed with no spare seats.

  8. gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

    I visited the AMS BA lounge on Sunday morning. My main take-away was the slightly unfriendly manner in which I was greeted. I was told that my flight would be boarding soon – was I sure that I wanted to come in?

    I stayed for 5 minutes, made a beeline for gate D53 (just as far as D26) and then didn’t board for another 10 minutes. When we did board we all got on early, but I could have stayed an extra 15-20 minutes in the lounge without a problem.

  9. i do not know what ba is doing but it looks each day less service less loyalty to the members dirty plane no news papers in the concorde lounge i try this already 3 years and Always inform them but nothing has been done and sorry to say i was not big fan from klm. but step by step they do better.

    i think we need to forget Ba for the future but i remember the good old days and their service

    • Yeah, simple stuff like the cleanliness is a big problem. On my last F flight I got to my seat and found some dried wine smudged on my side table, which came off with a quick wipe – so much for them ‘going over the F cabin with a tooth comb’ that they showed in that BA documentary last year :)

  10. Blackberryaddict says:

    According to oneworld.com Qatar will use the Aspire lounge.

    When I was in the AMS BA lounge back in January, they did have stroopwafels as well – I do hope they restocked after I left. 😉

    • Great news that it’s aspire, we’re also BKK bound on QR at the end of this year thanks to this site!

      • Im a bit disappointed with it – I’ve already got access to that, I was hoping for something different.

  11. They don’t offer any additional food in the evening in the aspire lounge BA say they put sandwich later but I’ve never seen any