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Review: the new-look Aspire Lounge at Luton Airport

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This is our review of the Aspire lounge at Luton Airport.

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

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.

Aspire lounge Luton airport entrance

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:

Aspire lounge Luton airport reception

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:

Aspire lounge Luton airport bar

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:

Aspire lounge Luton airport hot buffet

Cold items included some yoghurt and cut fruit, as well as cereals including cornflakes and Weetabix:

Aspire lounge Luton airport croissants

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:

Aspire lounge Luton airport quiet zone

and

Aspire lounge Luton airport view

and

Aspire lounge Luton airport seating

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:

Aspire lounge Luton airport seating 2

And looking back at the entrance:

Aspire lounge Luton airport 2

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.

Aspire lounge Luton airport snoozepods

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.

Opening hours

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 Executive Lounges 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 £41 per year (40% off) via this link, or you can get it for free via the following cards:

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.

Comments (42)

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

  • GM says:

    Not sure about Luton, but you can prebook Aspire in Birmingham for card access, so probably the same. Not easy like No1 (allows online) but have managed a few times and it was worth it – they kept sending people away. Contacted them on chat and they called to take payment details

  • MQ says:

    Whats the point of having a lounge open for 4 hours? Just don’t open at all.

    • Crowtravel says:

      Most likely to service a long-term contract with a carrier with Business class and elite passengers like, in this case, El Al. And they then find in the current climate it not profitable to remain open.

      • GM says:

        BHX one were turning people away because their morning rush is premium passengers from airlines, so think yes – they’re planning hours around those morning departures

    • FCP says:

      Maybe a high percentage of flights / users are in the morning hours?

    • Dominic says:

      Also helps PP claim they have a lounge at Luton Airport, even if nobody is there at the right time to use it.

  • Mike says:

    “‘SnoozePods’ – currently closed due to Covid” – I had no idea you could catch COVID whilst asleep

  • Gavin says:

    I don’t know how you can say Luton is the worst London airport, when Stansted exists.

  • Peter says:

    The problem, same with Stansted, are the extremely limited opening hours. I absolutely hate early morning flights and would always pick Ryanair or Wizzair over a morning BA flight, and both Stansted and Luton close their lounge in the middle of the day. I had over 10 occasions recently where I turn up and the lounge is closed. How can other airports run a lounge with just 1 flight a day yet Stansted Airport and Luton Aspire don’t find 20 flights an hour good enough?

    • Dominic says:

      Indeed. I’m reliant on public transport, so a 6am flight is a no go for me. Tend to fly after work finishes in the evening.

  • r* says:

    I dont know how anyone that has used stansted can say luton is the worst airport tho.

    Some points about the lounge –
    how the food seems to range from terrible to ok, they seem to use different bacon so some days its tasteless thin slices while othertimes its thick and nice tasting bacon

    They leave the bread rolls out in the air so theyre often rock hard and stale

    Theyre ofter very slow to replace food to the point im not sure they actually check as i seem to need to ask for stuff everytime im there.

    Also what i find really annoying is how their water is from a dispenser rather than bottles tho thats become common in a lot of uk lounges now

    It could certainly be improved

    • Paul says:

      agree, luton is superior to stansted imo

    • Chrism20 says:

      Re the running out of cooking if it’s anything like the older Aspire in Edinburgh the problem will be the oven thing they use to cook stuff. It can only take two small trays of stuff at a time so if they don’t keep an eye on it they end up in the situation where there is nothing.

  • flyforfun says:

    After 3 decades in London I have managed to avoid Luton so far with only 2 arrivals into Stansted, never a departure. I’ve even done Southend once! But good to know that there is a reasonable lounge there if the need ever arises.

    Not sure I’d get a Priority Pass again though. After getting turned away several time and then when I paid the extra £5 booking fee turning up and finding they didn’t need it I got hacked off with it. Dragon Pass have been really great in refunding the passes I’d paid in advance for prior to the Pandemic so I’m going to stick with them for a bit. When my flying starts up again. Work has a ban in place over Winter this year and my holiday destinations still have local quarantine regs.

  • krys_k says:

    Shame Clubrooms has closed. I liked the look, the whiskey sours, and the better than usual food. Was happy to pay extra for this and avoid the heave in the other lounge.

    • Rob says:

      Given that the basic kit is now in place, someone else may take it on. The cost of getting it back up and running would be relatively modest compared to what No1 had to spend.

      The bigger issue is location. You don’t know it’s there – it’s tucked away in a corner. There would be zero walk-up traffic. Aspire does quite a good of letting you know it exists, especially as those seated downstairs can look up and see the Aspire guests chilling out in relative luxury.

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

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