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Review: the Aspire Lounge at Inverness Airport

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This is our review of the Aspire Lounge at Inverness Airport.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK. You can see all of the reviews here.

This is the final article from my short trip to Inverness to check out the new Courtyard by Marriott Inverness Airport hotel, which I reviewed here.

After checking out, I took the 90 second walk back to the airport.  Security was, unsurprisingly, empty as was the terminal.  I was therefore in for a shock when I walked into the lounge and found it virtually full.   Luckily, a few minutes later, the easyJet flight to Gatwick was called and it emptied out.

Here it is tucked away in a corner of the terminal:

Review Aspire Lounge Inverness Airport

When we ran a reader review of the lounge three years ago, it was described as “a bit like being in someone’s living room”.  You can’t argue with that.

Total seating capacity would be around 25, as long as people were happy to get cosy on the sofas.

This is the best shot I could get showing the whole thing:

Review Aspire Lounge Inverness Airport

One side is glass walled, which is the saving grace of the lounge.  It floods the space with light, making it feel a lot larger than it is, and lets you watch the aircraft a few feet away.

Review Aspire Lounge Inverness Airport

You may think, looking at the top picture above, that the lounge would have minimal food and drink.  You would be wrong.

It is surprisingly well equipped, although clearly nowhere near what you would expect in a Heathrow or Gatwick lounge.  You need to check the fridges because that is where most of the food is hiding.

At 3pm, there was cake, jam and cream scones, yoghurts, crackers and cheese, sandwiches, pastries, fruit, crisps and soup (‘soup of the day’ was Highland Vegetable).  I think everyone would find something to suit.

Review Aspire Lounge Inverness Airport

There was no shortage of drink, with a selection of white, red and rose wine, beers, spirits and soft drinks.  Everything is free.

What also surprised me was the huge range of magazines available.  Newspapers were, admittedly, in fairly short supply and well-thumbed at 3pm but there were around 15 different magazines to pick up, albeit only a handful of copies of each.

Review Aspire Lounge Inverness Airport

Wi-fi was strangely weak given that the lounge has its own password-protected network and there only appeared to be two of us using it once the easyJet flight had boarded.  If you need electrical power, be aware that not all seats are near a plug socket.  Where there is a plug, it comes with a USB socket too.

There are, unsurprisingly given its size, no toilets inside the lounge.  The ladies is just outside the entrance in the main area of the terminal whilst the gents requires a 30-second stroll.

That’s about it!  It may possibly be the smallest airport lounge you’ve ever visited, but if I’m honest it did the job perfectly well.

Opening hours vary by season, but it should be open if there are still flights operating.  It opens at 5am throughout the year.  Latest opening during the Winter season is 6.30pm on Thursdays and Fridays, whilst during the Summer season it goes as late at 8.40pm on Wednesdays.

I got in with my British Airways Club Europe ticket.   The Aspire Lounge at Inverness Airport is also part of Priority Pass (buy one here, or get one free with an Amex Platinum card), Lounge Club (two free passes if you get an Amex Gold card) or LoungeKey if you have a HSBC Premier credit card.

If you want to book entry for cash, you can do so via Lounge Pass from £20.99 per adult.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (December 2023)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit 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.

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 £24.  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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. 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 £24 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (19)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • The Original David says:

    I spy one of those woeful Nescafe “all-from-powder” coffee machines. What is the point?! AA T3 has one too (although of the Douwe Egberts variety IIRC). Why are lounges happy to provide alcohol but can’t spare more than pennies for the marginal cost of a cup of coffee? They might find their alcohol spend drops if they provided a palatable coffee option…

    • C77 says:

      No – it’s a bean to cup machine.
      If you look carefully the beans go into the clear plastic box on the top. Perfect for Coffee snobs David!

      • Matty says:

        Is it the caffeine causing you both to be awake before 5:00 am?

        • The Original David says:

          Which photo can you see the clear plastic box in? If the sideways-on one, I think you’re looking at the lampshade on the wall behind… The design of those buttons on the front mark it out as a “cr*p coffee” machine to me…

          And no, I’m currently 7 hours ahead of GMT in Thailand, so wasn’t awake before 5am my time! Although I had been fuelled by a mug of “powder to cup” coffee from my Ibis Styles when I wrote the comment…

          • The Original David says:

            And it’s not so much “coffee snob” as “extensive coffee machine experience” – so far in 2020 I’ve had 59 hotel nights and visited 14 different airport lounges, so I’ve seen a good spread of the coffee machine market.

          • Matty says:

            Coffee machines are the future, Lynn. Kettles are sad.

      • Heathrow Flyer says:

        I’ve visited this lounge a few times in the last year.

        Staff are brilliant. Friendly and welcoming every time.

        The coffee machine, from memory, is Douwe Egberts. Sadly no bean-to-cup and was poor coffee.

    • Harry T says:

      I’m a big fan of the barista coffee bar in the Melbourne Qantas Business Domestic Lounge.

  • Rich says:

    I do like this little lounge – early on a Summer’s morning in full sunshine, waitiing to board the 07.10 BA to LHR…..and then onwards to “wherever”. Beautiful way to start a holiday. However I wont be staying at the Marriott supermarket thing at the airport anytime soon (even at £50 a night). I would much prefer one of the two pub hotels in Ardersier which is £10 away by taxi each way. In fact we may even stay up there 2 nights before and hire a car as it’s so pretty up around these parts!

    • David the 1st says:

      Thank you – it is a grand part of the world indeed. I won’t be staying in the hotel either – for a £10 taxi fare I can stay at home 🙂

      • Dalcross babe says:

        Me too. Don’t forget to visit Fort George at the far side of Ardersier. Place of my birth the days when it had a 2 bed maternity unit. Great Military museum and just a fabulous architectural achievement.

  • Preeminent David says:

    I love what we are doing with the names.

  • Mark says:

    Visited here a while back but sadly had to grab a bacon roll to go as Inverness Airport hadn’t quite opened its fast track security at that point and time was tight!

    • Jill(Kinkell) says:

      Inverness doesn’t do FastTrack. Huge queue recently. I politely made my way to the front, flashed my boarding card which stated FastTrack, to be told ‘ we don’t do it’ oh, the embarrassment of having to walk back the length of the queue.( which was almost to the cafe at the other end of the terminal).

      I think Michael is the chirpie chappie who keeps the lounge in order. Bright, cheerful and very helpful.
      It’s a great wee lounge and certainly ‘does the business’

      • Rob says:

        It does have Fast Track.

        • BJ says:

          In theory, not in practice from my limited experience.

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          Well, you must be special! I’m a fairly FF from Inverness , have been silver/ gold for about 5 years, Often in the pointy end and never used Fasttrack as it’s not / never available.

  • Nathan says:

    A lovely little lounge. The staff are a delight.

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