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EXCLUSIVE: Aspire (Servisair) to operate the ‘Priority Pass’ Terminal 5 lounge

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I have been told by a well-placed source that the tender to operate the new independent lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 was won by Swissport / Servisair.

Despite the word ‘exclusive’ in the headline, I should stress that this story remains unconfirmed.  I asked PR contacts at both Swissport and Heathrow to comment –  Swissport said “At this current time I am unable to comment with regards to your question” and Heathrow told me “We will be putting out a release updating on lounges at Heathrow on 13 April” (EDIT, 13th April – which was actually about the new Singapore Airlines lounge).

My understanding is that the lounge will be an Aspire lounge.  This is brand that Swissport has been using on its refurbished Servisair lounges which are now operating at Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Gatwick North, Manchester T1 and Newcastle.

It will be situated by Gate 18 / 19.  This means that it will be underneath the Galleries South complex (Gates 18 / 19 are around the corner as you go past Paul Smith and past the escalators that take you up to Galleries South).

Aspire lounge Edinburgh 1

This is the review I published of the newly refurbished Edinburgh Aspire lounge (photo above) last year.  It doesn’t look at all bad, although it is a bit more mass-market than the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2.

I believe that the lounge is due to open this year but that is still to be confirmed.  Of course, it is still to be confirmed that Aspire will be operating it and that it will be down by Gates 18/19!

Aspire lounges are generally accessible with both a Priority Pass (which can be purchased outright or which comes free – with unlimited free visits – with an Amex Platinum) and with Lounge Club passes (two free visits come with Amex Gold).  We need to wait and see, however – it may be that opening it up to both Priority Pass and Lounge Club causes overcrowding.

The winners here are BA Executive Club members who were worried about not retaining Silver under the new tier point system which starts on April 28th.   It looks like you will be able to retain some sort of lounge access in Terminal 5.

The other winner is American Express which will see a surge of interest in its Platinum and Gold charge cards once the new lounge opens and the access rules are confirmed.

British Airways will win a bit and lose a bit.  Some non-status passengers with a Priority Pass who fly other airlines because they operate from terminals with a Priority Pass lounge may come back.  This will be offset by people who decide not to chase BA status now they realise they can get Terminal 5 lounge access anyway.

You will even be able to collect Lounge Miles when you visit – even with a Priority Pass – and earn £5 of shopping vouchers for every seven stamps.

(EDIT:  August 2015 – the lounge is now open!  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.)

Comments (21)

  • Tom says:

    Shame it isn’t a No. 1 Traveller lounge.. but then maybe not because one of those would likely always be full in T5!

  • RIccati says:

    It occurred to me that for Heathrow, it would make sense to strengthen the partnership with Plaza Premium brand and quality of a lounge and open another one in T5. Singapore Airlines used impressive Plaza Premium lounge in T2 before their was ready. I wonder if the lounge quality/passenger experience matters at all to the airport.

    It would be a strategic decision, rather than a series of ad hoc ones. Hub airports end up with a zoo of lounges of mixed quality.

  • Jonathan says:

    Does today’s date have anything to do with this announcement?

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        Dammit. ServiceAir: The La Guardia of Airport Lounges

        • Rob says:

          I have never been in an Aspire so will reserve judgement. I still get bad dreams where I find myself in the Servisair T1 lounge 🙂

          • Alan says:

            I’ve been to the Edinburgh one a lot (collecting the free points and thus M&S vouchers everytime I passed through the airport!) and still find it pretty nice – hopefully this will be much more along these lines than the T1 Servisair lounge! Agree Plaza Premium would have been nice though.

        • sandgrounder says:

          I’ve got my first trip to LGA next week- it can’t be as bad as a Servisair lounge???? Surely not!!!!

          • Alan says:

            Given the range of food and drink in many AA and UA lounges I’ve been to in the US, sadly even the rubbish old Servisair ones had them beat! The best ones I’ve been to domestically in the USA are the new Amex Centurion ones – they’re excellent and a nice perk of the Amex Plat!

        • Daniel says:

          Servisair and “World Class Airport Lounges” are not found the same sentence in my experience. Let’s hope that this lounge breaks the mold of their current lounge portfolio.

  • Geoggy says:

    Well this would be good news given my Amex Plat Cathay Gold card expired end of 2014 (I wish I’d known about status matching routes back to OW before I let it lapse but never mind)

    I use T5 for mostly domestic though to be honest so can they not build it North?!

  • Neil says:

    This is a win-win on all fronts for me – one of the few remaining perks of Club Europe without Silver is lounge access. With this lounge I definitely won’t need to pay for CE and just book the exit row seat in Y.

    And unlike the Manchester T3 lounge there will be no airline contract passengers to worry about so access shouldnt be restricted at any time ie they’ll welcome my PP or DC anytime.

    • sandgrounder says:

      I am fortunate enough to have never been turned away from MAN T3. My biggest gripe is that it is often stuffed full of stag and hen parties trying to get maximum value!

      Plus points are the view, and the swirly tomato/bread thingies.

  • Susan says:

    I can see this being a win for BA as well as it will not only bring non-OW status passengers back to T5 but also (probably) reduce over-crowding in GC. Wish it were a No.1 though 😉

  • Koshka says:

    This would be good news for me. I joined Priority Pass as I’ve had to switch back to Heathrow since BA dropped LCY-ARN. It’s meant that I often use SAS so being able to use PP in T5 will be a bonus. That said, my main gripe with BA is that the 20.20 nearly always seems to run late so I might as well take the 21.05 with SAS and keep using Plaza Premium (or United Club if I fancy some exercise).

  • Lady London says:

    I’m thinking of flying with the airlines that are switching this year out of T5 into T3 anyway. Faced with a choice between an Aspire in T5 and the T3 lounges, and no loyalty benefits worth having to encourage me to fly BA anymore, I’m looking forward to the choice of lounges in T3.

    Was in Aspire Edinburgh a few times this year. Found they have lovely staff, but the premises are a bit spartan.

    If Plaza Premium open anything in T5, I’ll be there right away and might even switch flights to suit.