British Airways opened a new lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol earlier this year. At roughly the same time, a new Aspire lounge – accessible with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card – opened directly opposite.
Reader Alison was in both lounges recently and kindly sent me a report. I will be doing the same trip myself in June so I will see how my findings compare.
As usual, I have edited this article and any mistakes are highly likely to be mine.
“The good news is that the new British Airways lounge in Amsterdam is far more glam than the run-down lounge I visited a year or so ago. On that occasion, I had come straight to the airport after running the Amsterdam marathon and unfortunately for my co-passengers discovered no shower facilities available.
At the moment the BA lounge is very hard to find. This morning I had enough time to kill to make the search worthwhile – I gave up when I passed through on my way out of Europe a couple of weeks ago as I only had an hour or so to kill and had a bit of work to do before commencing 12 hours of offline bliss.
To get to the British Airways and Aspire lounges from the shopping area, it’s about a seven minute brisk walk with a trolley bag out of the terminal building and up an elevator (outside the building!) then along a long, deserted (at least it was deserted at 6:30am) pre-fab walkway.
Thankfully it has a reassuring number of signs indicating that, yes, even though you feel like you are in a restricted access area and should be wearing a hard hat, you are still on the right track.
There is a sign on the exit door from the terminal which leads to both the BA lounge and the Aspire lounge listing all the respective lounges’ member airlines. I hope this saves a lot of people from a fruitless expedition (though I suspect not as many people read it as ought to – I saw the lounge host refusing entry to several people to and directing them to go all the way back to the terminal). If you are in any doubt as to your eligibility to enter the lounge, I recommend a close look at the sign.
I was just starting to feel like Starbucks might be a better option than the long walk (which I was already imagining in reverse in a couple of hours, running short of time to board) when I saw a man coming toward me. I asked him if it was worth the walk. Like an encouraging marathon spectator he replied, “You are almost there. Keep going.” Not really an answer to the question I asked but he was right, just around the corner were two doors leading to two shiny new lounges.
I always ask when entering a lounge whether flights will be called – I relax better if I know a friendly voice will remind me when to stop what I’m doing and make my way to the gate. Otherwise, I’m prone to getting lost in my emails (or champagne) and needing to run as the signs blare Final Call.
The lovely Dutch BA lounge host replied with a smile that, yes, the flight would be called 15 minutes prior to departure. Hooray – now, where’s that champagne? But, hang on, it was a very loooong walk here. And I don’t know where the gate will be.
“How long will I need to get to the gate”
“About 20 minutes”
“Oh, so if I hear the announcement, I’m very late and need to run to the gate”
Not a touch of irony observed.
The British Airways Amsterdam lounge is fine, nothing special on offer but well decorated and plenty of seating and power points. A little detail I thought particularly well thought through was the inclusion of British power outlets as well as European – I’d imagine very useful for many guests. No shower facilities in the BA lounge. There is a set of washrooms outside the lounge.
I’ll let the catering options speak for themselves except to say: there was nothing hot to eat that I could see. Also no champagne. I was told that there was prosecco available – it was not on display though and it was too early, even for me, to test that.
At least until the permanent access route is open, you’ll probably be better off in a cafe near your gate than in either lounge if you only have a short while to kill. This is especially true if you want champagne (at least at 6:30 in the morning) or hot food.
Here are a few photos of the Aspire lounge (the first one shows a reserved area for Singapore Airlines passengers):
The Aspire lounge is not bad but probably not worth the current walk if all you want is a fairly quick coffee and some wifi. Schiphol has plenty of options for that and I’d suggest that spending a couple of Euros on your coffee to save the walk is a good investment. Though, of course, it depends what price tag you put on your time.”
Thanks Alison. I will be passing through during the afternoon rather than at the crack of dawn so it will be interesting to see what is different. In general, the feedback I have seen is that – if you are hungry and have a Priority Pass – the Aspire lounge is the place to be. Otherwise, for peace and quiet, you are better off in the British Airways facility.
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