This is our review of the Aspire lounge at Belfast City Airport.
We are still building our collection of UK airport lounges reviews. Today we’re running reader Vasco’s review of the Aspire lounge at Belfast City airport. You can find all of our other UK airport lounge reviews here.
We are still short of a few (you can see the current lounge review collection listed in one place halfway down this page of HFP) and if you’d be interested in contributing something we can reward you for your trouble! Drop us a note at anika at headforpoints.co.uk
Over to Vasco and his review of the Aspire lounge at Belfast City:
“Sadly, Belfast City has recently joined the trend of forcing you to walk through a meandering duty free shop before being able to access the main airside area—including the British Airways lounge (a HFP article on the British Airways lounge at Belfast City is here) and the Aspire lounge. These are the only two lounges at Belfast City and are located right next to each other.
Neither of the lounges has toilets, and guests at both have to use the set on the corridor. However, these are usually clean and far enough away from the busier departure areas that very few people who are not using the lounges end up there.
The Aspire lounge is part of the Lounge Club and Priority Pass networks as well as being used by KLM, FlyBe (for those travelling on their All In tickets), and oddly, Aer Lingus. As often seems to be the case, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at IAG, and despite BA having a perfectly good lounge a few yards down the hall, they prefer to pay Aspire for the privilege of using their lounge.
The lounge looks very pleasant, with an understated, grey décor which is common to other Aspire lounges around the country (this is a PR picture below).
The view is right onto the tarmac, giving you a great vantage point from which to watch planes land and take off—although as a major FlyBe hub, most of these will be Dash 8s rather than anything more exciting. You can see the Bombardier plant in the background and the Harland and Wolff shipyard cranes in the far distance.
I’ve used this lounge a few times before, and I’ve never seen it crowded, although that’s not to say it doesn’t happen.
There are quite a few seats with an even amount of high and low tables. There is also a quiet area on the left side.
The provision of power points is slightly lacking as not all tables have them.
As seems to be a theme across Aspire lounges, the food and drink selections aren’t ideal. There are what the HFP reviewer of the Birmingham Aspire lounge very aptly described as “entry level spirits, beers[,] and wines,” although the wine was pleasant enough. I do wish there was at least one real ale option, though. They could also have a bit more local fare: Bushmills and Tayto crisps wouldn’t have gone amiss!
In addition to the alcohol, there was a selection of non-alcoholic drinks, an espresso machine, peanuts, crackers, crisps, sandwiches and a “soup of the day,” but given the time of my flight, I didn’t indulge too much.
I’m happy to visit this lounge whenever I’m flying out of Belfast City on a non-BA airline. Whilst I’ve been in far worse lounges, I’ve also been in far better ones.
The British Airways lounge next door is just a cut above, although that’s probably more due to the selection of alcoholic drinks and direct boarding from the lounge. It’s not worth arriving early at the airport just to use the Aspire lounge but it is a pleasant place in which to wait for your flight and get that pre-flight work done.
I don’t want to finish the review without giving a shout out to the staff, who have always been uniformly friendly and professional, replacing food and drinks regularly and going out of their way to help whenever I seemed to have trouble locating anything.”
Thanks Vasco. You get into the Aspire lounge at Belfast City Airport using a Priority Pass, which comes with an American Express Platinum card (or you can buy one) and allows unlimited free lounge visits. It also accepts Lounge Club, which comes with American Express Gold (two free visits per year) or HSBC Premier’s LoungeKey card. You can also pay cash on the door, or pre-book a spot via the Aspire / Servisair website here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
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.
The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list. Additional visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card. There is no annual fee in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
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.