Heathrow Airport confirmed the story yesterday that I originally ran on Head for Points on April 1st – that an independent airport lounge will open in Terminal 5 this Summer, possibly July.
It will be operated by Swissport / Servisair under the ‘Aspire’ brand. It is NOT confirmed at this time that Priority Pass and / or Lounge Club and / or Airport Angel cards will be accepted, but it seems likely – especially Priority Pass. (Priority Pass has a bigger network than its sister Lounge Club and I get a sneaky feeling that it pays more to lounges. More importantly, Collinson Group – who own Priority Pass – are joint venture partners in the new lounge.)
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).
I think that British Airways will be generally happy with this lounge. Apart from any embarrassment should the food turn out to be better, it will be a lifesaver for anyone who can no longer retain BA status following the tier point changes later this month. It may even persuade some people to continue to fly with BA who would otherwise defect to an airline in a different terminal which does have a Priority Pass lounge.
The interesting statistic will be the number of BA passengers who have BA lounge access who still use Aspire! They may, of course, simply be popping in to get a Lounge Miles stamp so they can earn a £5 shopping voucher for every seven visits …..
(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.)
That is the good news of the day. Now the bad news.
This will be a major blow for anyone who uses the United Club lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2 on the B concourse. Heathrow’s United Club is a fantastic lounge as I reviewed here. It has the longest bar in Heathrow (photo above), it has an amazingly large range of free food and it has free-flow champagne!
It is not the end of the world for Priority Pass holders, of course. The Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 2 is also very impressive, and of course you don’t need to head all the way out to the B concourse. Plaza Premium is more of a relaxing contemplation space though, whilst United Club was a better option for those who wanted to maximise their food and drink before a flight!