This is our review of the Aspire lounge at Luton Airport.
All this week, in partnership with Priority Pass, we are reviewing some of the best independent airport lounges outside London. All of these lounges can be accessed with a Priority Pass membership, which you can buy here with a 40% discount or get for free with selected UK credit and charge cards (click here to learn more). You can also pay cash, of course.
We last reviewed the Aspire lounge at Luton in 2016, shortly after it reopened following a full refurbishment. It has since been refurbished again and re-opened in 2020 although clearly it hasn’t seen many visits since then.
Luton is possibly the worst of the ‘London’ airports, as anyone who has had the pleasure of passing through can attest.
It truly is a no-thrills airport for budget airlines (although I admit I was surprised by the range of shops to be found in the terminal concourse) and I highly recommend bypassing the terminal altogether and using the Signature ELITE private jet lounge (review here) instead which you can do if flying with easyJet! The cost may put you off unfortunately …..
The other independent lounge, the Clubrooms Lounge which Rob reviewed here, has become a casualty of covid and will not re-open. The site was not included when owner No1 Lounges was sold earlier this year so the decision seems final unless a new operator picks it up.
Fortunately there is light at the end of the tunnel. Luton is expected to open its Direct Air-Rail Transport train in 2022, which will allow better for connections between Luton Airport Parkway train station and the airport terminal. This will replace the shuttle bus.
The good news is that anyone who is forced to fly through Luton can enjoy the newly refurbished Aspire lounge which was the picture of pre-flight relaxation on my early morning flight to Edinburgh.
Inside Luton Airport’s Aspire lounge
Finding the Aspire lounge is easy at Luton. The main entrance opens directly onto the
passenger-holding-pen main concourse.
The lounge is on the first floor. When entering you are asked for your boarding pass and booking number:
The lounge is not massive but it was fairly empty when I went during the peak morning rush. There were just a handful of other people using it at the time. The bar and buffet are immediately in front of the entrance:
If you are a regular lounge user, you will see that the refurbishment has brought the lounge into alignment with the design of other recent Aspire lounge openings.
Breakfast service was in full force, and the hot selection included scrambled eggs, baked beans, sausages and bacon:
Cold items included some yoghurt and cut fruit, as well as cereals including cornflakes and Weetabix:
The bar is also open although I thought it was a little early at 7am, even for me. Prosecco and champagnes are available but at extra charge.
Whilst a range of seating straddles the windows overlooking the concourse:
It is a good spot for people watching and I was particularly mesmerised watching the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels staff hand roll the pretzels!
Here are some more photos:
And looking back at the entrance:
The wifi was decent for emails and browsing, and Press Reader is also available in case you want to download magazines and newspapers to your device.
There are also ‘SnoozePods’ – apparently the first UK airport lounge with a napping area – although these are currently closed due to Covid. I believe these are similar, if not identical, to the ones British Airways recently installed at Heathrow.
Shower facilities are also available, for an additional £15 per person.
Aspire has done a good job refurbishing what is probably its flagship UK lounge (the Club Aspire lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow have a different ownership structure). If you are not a fan of Luton Airport then I would encourage you to think again if you can get access to this lounge, because it really does transform the Luton experience. Throw in the new DART train from 2022 to guarantee a seamless ‘train to terminal’ journey and things are really looking up.
At present, the Aspire lounge is operating with reduced hours:
- Monday – 6am – 12pm
- Tuesday – 6am – 12pm
- Wednesday – 6am – 12pm
- Thursday – 6am – 12pm
- Friday – 6am – 2pm
- Saturday – 6am – 2pm
- Sunday – 6am – 2pm
It is getting better though …. when I was there last month, it was closing at 8am (not a typo).
Keep a careful eye on the lounge website as these hours are liable to change at short notice.
How to get entry to the Luton Aspire lounge
There are two ways to get access to the Aspire lounge at Luton. One option is to book ahead on the Lounge Pass website here, with headline prices starting from £20.99 per person. This guarantees you a spot at your booked time.
The alternative is to use a lounge membership program such as Priority Pass or DragonPass, both of which are accepted at the Luton Aspire lounge. Standard Priority Pass membership is currently £69 via this link, or you can get it for free via the following cards:
- The American Express Platinum Card with Priority Pass membership with unlimited lounge visits for you and one guest at 1,300+ lounges globally
- The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card comes with a FREE two-visit Priority Pass membership (and Amex Gold is free for the first year too)
- The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard comes with a LoungeKey card, and offers unlimited lounge visits, although you will be charged for bringing in guests.
Using a Priority Pass or LoungeKey membership doesn’t guarantee you a spot – it is first come first served – but given how empty the lounge was on a Monday morning during half term this probably won’t be an issue at Luton.
Thanks to Priority Pass for supporting this series of articles.