Review: the Aspire Lounge at Manchester Airport Terminal 1
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This is our review of the Aspire Lounge at Manchester Airport Terminal 1.
All of all our UK airport lounge reviews are here and there is a summary list on our ‘Favourites’ page. If you visiting a UK lounge we haven’t covered yet (Humberside anyone?) and would like to write a review in return for a small reward, please let us know.
Reader Sam kindly sent us a review of the Aspire Lounge at Manchester Airport Terminal 1. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.
“Visiting the Aspire lounge at Manchester Airport Terminal 1 was a new experience. Having used Aspire lounges at other UK airports before, I knew what to expect, and had an idea in my head what to compare it to.
The lounge opens at 4 AM, and since I had an early Monday morning flight, I arrived at about 4:20 AM and left at about 5:40 AM.
As it turned out, the lounge was a little busier than I expected but not completely packed.
Getting to the lounge
The Aspire lounge can easily be found past security and the obligatory walk through the duty-free shops.
Along with all the other T1 lounges the Aspire lounge is on the second floor at the end of the corridor by Dixons. You can access the lounge using stairs or a lift.
Upon entering the lounge a collection of newspapers and magazines can be found on the left-hand side. They were not out yet when I arrived at 4:20 AM but they were made available about half an hour later.
The lounge is quite spacious with a long rectangular shape. There is a full size glass front on one side which offers a great view onto the tarmac at Manchester airport – and the obligatory rain.
The lounge was reasonably well provisioned with power outlets, including USB chargers, as well as some European two-prong power outlets.
The Aspire lounge has plenty of comfortable seating in the lounge with several booths at the back and some nice bar style seating overlooking the tarmac.
Surprisingly for the early hour, there were quite a few people in the lounge and it got progressively busier as time went by.
When entering the lounge, the first thing you encounter on the right is the staffed bar area, serving beers and spirits as well as self-service tea, coffee, various fruit juices, and soft drinks.
The food area is on the left side in front of the bar. This early, the usual collection of breakfast items was on display, including various cereals, jams, and fruits. Next to the cereals were bread, croissant, butter, and the cutlery counter.
There was also a hot food section with a selection of bacon and scrambled eggs.
Having left the hotel before the start of the breakfast service, I opted for a bacon sandwich, which overall was very nice, although the bacon was far thinner cut than I am used to!
The only real issue with the Aspire lounge at Manchester T1 is the lack of basic facilities: toilets. You have to exit the lounge to use the toilets that are directly opposite. The toilets are relatively small and can only accommodate 2-3 people at any one time. This is the case for both the male and female toilets as both myself and my wife found out. Having to leave and come back can be a pain, especially when the lounge entry is busy and you may have to check back into the lounge.
Although I visited the lounge soon after its opening early in the morning, it was already getting quite busy. When you consider that this lounge is a member of various lounge programmes – as well as being contracted to Lufthansa, Swiss, TAP Portugal, and being open to Star Alliance Gold Status holders – my guess is that it gets really packed at peak times.
Despite my early visit, the overall experience was pretty good. While it is not one of the best lounges in the UK, it is spacious, offers a good service, and the staff are very pleasant and professional. Thanks to fast internet speeds, it is a great place to catch up on some work for a couple of hours before taking your flight.”
Thanks Sam. You can access the Aspire lounge using a Priority Pass (free with Amex Platinum or you can buy one here) or Lounge Club card (two free visits with Amex Gold) or LoungeKey if you are a MasterCard World Elite holder.
You can book for cash via the Lounge Pass website here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges. Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.