This is our review of the Aspire Lounge at George Best Belfast City Airport.
After a fun flight on Flybe’s inaugural to Belfast and a quick lunch with lovely HfPers Eoin and Frank in town I returned to the airport to write up my flight review in the Aspire Lounge.
Covid has shaken up the lounge offering at Belfast City Airport a little. In March 2020, days before the first lockdown, British Airways handed management of its own lounge at Belfast City to Aspire. Aspire already had its own lounge next door, and it’s unclear whether the original plans were to combine the lounges to create a bigger space. In the end covid got in the way and Aspire now only operates a single lounge – the former BA lounge – under the Aspire brand.
To be fair, the ‘new’ Aspire lounge is a much better space, with windows along its entire length filling the space with light and offering views across the tarmac. The lounge also offers direct boarding to Gate 4, which is still used by all of the main (non-CityFlyer) British Airways flights, which is a big bonus.
The current opening hours are:
Monday 5.30am – 9.00pm
Tuesday 5.30am – 9.00pm
Wednesday 5.30am – 9.00pm
Thursday 5.30am – 9.00pm
Friday 5.30am – 9.00pm
Saturday 5.30am – 8.15pm
Sunday 5.30am – 9.00pm
Where is the Aspire Lounge at Belfast City Airport?
It’s very easy to find – it’s just on the left as you exit duty free, right by Gate 4:
Inside the Aspire Lounge at Belfast City Airport
Inside is a check-in desk with Aspire branding. The lounge is rectangular, and split between casual seating and a dining area:
The armchairs on the left had plug sockets between them which was very useful.
In the middle of the lounge is the buffet island. I was there around 3pm and, to be honest, the food selection was meagre, with just some pastries, crisps and soup on offer:
The drinks selection is much better, with self-pour alcohol plus the usual range of hot and cold soft drinks:
By far the best part about the lounge is that you can board straight to Gate 4. Very few lounges offer direct boarding (the Emirates Lounge at Heathrow is another) and it’s always nice to be so close to your gate – assuming you are flying British Airways.
How to get entry to the Belfast City Airport Aspire lounge
There are two ways to get access to the Aspire lounge at Belfast City Airport. One option is to book ahead on the Executive Lounges website here, with headline prices starting from £25.99 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 Belfast City Aspire lounge. Standard Priority Pass membership is currently £69 per year or you can get it for free via the following credit 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 I had no trouble on Wednesday despite fairly busy BA flights.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four 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 Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two 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.
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.