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Review: the Aspire Lounge, Newcastle Airport (now used by BA)

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This is our review of the Aspire lounge at Newcastle 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.

Aspire lounge Newcastle corridor

Whilst the British Airways lounge at Newcastle Airport has now permanently closed it is still home to the Aspire and AspirePlus lounges, although the latter is still shut. Aspire is the lounge used by BA if you are flying in Club Europe or have BA status.

Finding the lounge is a bit of a challenge due to a dearth of proper signage. Once through security and duty free you are spat out into a concourse with a handful of restaurants and shops.

What isn’t very clear is that the lounge is on the way to the gates. You want to do an immediate u-turn when you emerge from duty free and head down the escalators to the lower floor and Gates 1-30. It is then in front of you:

Aspire lounge Newcastle entrance

Inside the Aspire lounge at Newcastle Airport

Checking in to the lounge is quick and easy – they just scan your boarding pass and booking number if you have one.

Aspire lounge Newcastle check in

The lounge is a fairly compact and does get pretty busy, especially in the run up to a British Airways flight.

Aspire lounge Newcastle inside

There is, unfortunately, no natural light in the lounge.

Right at the back are a series of booths with individually programmable TVs, which I’ve never seen in a lounge before:

Aspire lounge Newcastle booth

There is plenty of seating:

Aspire lounge Newcastle seating 2

and

Aspire lounge Newcastle seating 3

and

Aspire lounge Newcastle seating

On the right hand side you’ll also find a quieter zone, partitioned from the rest of the lounge by glass walls:

Aspire lounge Newcastle quiet area

You may have noticed by now that the lounge features the older style Aspire decor, much like the Birmingham Aspire lounge we reviewed here. In places it can feel a little dark and ‘underground,’ so I’d love to see Aspire refurbish the lounge with a brighter design which would also make it feel larger. It’s been over five years since the last refurbishment so it is probably due for another soon.

Sadly the AspirePlus portion of the lounge is still closed:

Aspire lounge Newcastle aspireplus

Food and drink in the Aspire lounge, Newcastle

If you have read my other reviews of Aspire lounges in Luton, Edinburgh and Birmingham you will know what to expect. Aspire does a very good job of maintaining an almost-identical food and beverage offering at all its lounges.

Over breakfast time you get a slightly more substantial food offering than at Luton, including sausages, bacon, scrambled egg, mushrooms, baked beans and tomatoes:

Aspire lounge Newcastle breakfast bfufet

Mini croissants are pre-packaged:

Aspire lounge Newcastle croissans

Whilst you get a few basic cereals including cornflakes, Weetabix as well as fruit and yoghurt pots:

Aspire lounge Newcastle cereals

Alcohol is not self-pour, and you’ll have to pay extra if you want prosecco or premium spirits.

The Newcastle Aspire is possibly the least attractive of the lounges I visited on my tour – the lack of natural light (or views of the concourse, as in the Luton Aspire) really hampers the experience, although the food and drinks available are virtually identical to any other Aspire.

I did like some of the unique touches however, including the booths, and they seemed equally popular with other guests.

Whether you will be able to get in on Priority Pass is a different question. The lounge gets very full prior to the British Airways departures (you may want to check ba.com if you are not flying BA to see if you will crossover) and you may find yourself being turned away unless you have booked for cash in advance.

Newcastle Aspire opening hours

The lounge is currently open:

Monday: 4:00am – 8:00pm
Tuesday: 4:00am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: 4:00am – 8:00pm
Thursday: 4:00am – 5:30pm
Friday: 4:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday: 4:00am – 1:00pm
Sunday: 4:00am – 8:00pm

These times are changing on a regular basis at the moment, so check the website before you visit.

How to get entry to the Aspire lounge at Newcastle Airport

There are two ways to get access to the Aspire lounge at Newcastle Airport. One option is to book ahead on the Lounge Pass website here, with headline prices starting from £26.49 per person. This guarantees you a spot at your booked time.

The alternative is to use a lounge membership program like Priority Pass and DragonPass, both of which are accepted at the Newcastle Aspire. Standard Priority Pass membership is currently £69 via this link or you can get it for free via the following cards:

Thanks to Priority Pass for supporting this series of articles.

Comments (30)

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

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Compared to the BA lounge we used to have access to, this is rubbish. Although the BA lounge looked nothing special (it was still based on the Terraces concept with furniture handed down from other lounges) the people who worked there combined with its location meant that it was really appreciated by the regulars. To be fair Aspire has better food but the drinks selection (both soft drinks and alcohol) is inferior and being able to see the gate your flying from made the BA lounge a much better choice. Of course it’s better than nothing.

  • ChrisBCN says:

    Sounds like another naff lounge that you’ll probably be turned away from with your non- Priority Pass…

    • Rob M says:

      Hahaha – I am at NCL right now… just been turned away as they are fully booked. I rate my priority pass with my Amex plat at almost worth £0. I’d seen you can book for £5pp + priority pass… tried looking for a way to do this and there wasn’t an easy way. Tried emailing and no response. I would never pay money for this card and isn’t a reason why I keep the Amex plat. Needs to be sorted out if anyone like me would consider paying for this.

      • Rob M says:

        Just a note that I happen to have dragon pass as well – it isn’t like it is just a priority pass problem that you get turned away when you can’t book in advance with the pass. At some airports dragonpass gives you access to lounges that seem to have more capacity/ are less busy – which aren’t accessible with PP.

      • Lady London says:

        Interesting that no one including HfP staff seem to have got a comment from the boss of Collinson as to their view on lounges turning away Priority Pass as the lounge is “full” but the person even after that being able to pay the £5-6 “reservation fee” offered by some lounges. And stroll in with that and their Priority Pass a very few minutes later?

        It’s almost as if Priority Pass is happy to let lounges add the lounge’s own “YQ” charge. And Priority Pass keeps its headline fare advertised rate low. But in reality the Priority Pass holder isn’t getting onto that plane…err…into the lounge…without paying the Lounge YQ.

        Priority Pass seems to have let this become a fait accompli for people who paid Priority Pass their subscription and want to use it to access a UK lounge particularly at a major airport.

        • Nick says:

          I have half a mind to be a test case, and next time my PP gets refused but I’m offered the chance to pay instead, to do it and try claiming it back from Amex (or maybe PP). Enough people doing that and I’m sure they’d soon be having words, Amex is known for playing hardball when they want to.

        • John T says:

          Why would Collinson admit the product they are selling is worth far less than they market it as?

          Priority Pass have done very well out of the pandemic collecting membership fees while delivering very little value.

        • ChrisBCN says:

          Lady London, I love the phrase ‘Lounge YQ’ – that should definitely stick!

  • Marc says:

    Agree that it’s a major downgrade from the BA lounge.

    I noticed that Aspire Plus was in fact open last Monday evening when arriving (it’s to the right of the old BA lounge and does have windows so you can see in). There was an Emirates departure that evening so it’s probably back open for that. I wouldn’t build up your expectations that BA will be paying for access to Plus though…

  • Travel Strong says:

    Good to see the opening hours increasing.

    Bristol aspire also has the individual TV’s on booths at the back …. Unfortunately BRS Aspire is barely open. This weeks updated hours are worse than last, totally closed Mon-Thu!

    • David D says:

      The older Aspire Lounge in Edinburgh (currently closed) also have a couple of these booths with a wall mounted television. Annoying, when someone decides they want to watch something annoying with the volume cranked up. Though good, when you can catch up with the news first thing in the morning.

  • Brian says:

    What other company offers their PAYG customers a better service than their paying subscribers? If I want to guarantee access, I have to pay twice. It should be the main benefit of my platinum Amex, but I’ve only had a 50% success rate so far.

  • Doug M says:

    The entry refusals are a constant theme here. Is this a problem in the UK, or more widespread. I didn’t use my PP (Amex version) much when I had it, the use I did have was in the USA and didn’t experience capacity problems. I wonder if Amex pay per entry, or a annual fee, or a mix of both. Turning away people does seem to be possibly losing income. It’s interesting they reserve capacity for airline contracts, yet don’t seemingly reserve capacity for their own paid for memberships, favouring cash now bookings. It does make the PP seem useless as part of the Amex Plat deal.
    It’s further interesting that PP have presumably invested something in this series of articles, yet all it’s really done is highlight the failings of their product and generated a lot of poor feedback via comments to the the articles.

    • Cats are best says:

      I’ve used PP 20+ years and at many airports, the only times I remember seeing refusals were at LGW S No1 lounge and the LHR T5 Aspire, and that was really only in the last 5-10 years.

      My impression is that UK lounges are increasingly tailored and promoted to leisure pax as an ‘add-on’ to the holiday experience, supplanting the, probably, business-oriented PP users.

      In the early days, PP (and similar) provided a useful revenue stream to the operators, once the paid entry volume increased, PP could safely be relegated.

      In Europe, the shared lounges accepting PP that I’ve used still feel more business oriented.

      • lumma says:

        From a random sample of many different European lounges, I don’t think I’ve ever been denied entry for capacity issues outside the UK.

    • Lady London says:

      Alaskan Lounges stopped accepting Priority Pass in the US, unsure if reinstated but as soon as the lounges get busy Priority Pass will get officially (or practically, unofficially) dropped again.

  • John says:

    It is atrocious.

    The breakfasts are scrappy bacon burnt.

    The place resembles the Benidorm.

  • S says:

    It’s absolutely crap if you can even get in. A complete cattle market in peak season. Stay in the bars upstairs.

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

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