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Review: the Aspire Lounge at Belfast City Airport

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This is our review of the Aspire Lounge at George Best Belfast City Airport.

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

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.

Review: the Aspire Lounge at Belfast City Airport

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:

Aspire lounge belfast City airport entrance

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:

Aspire lounge Belfast City seating

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:

Aspire lounge Belfast City airport food

The drinks selection is much better, with self-pour alcohol plus the usual range of hot and cold soft drinks:

Aspire lounge Belfast City airport drinks

and

Aspire lounge Belfast City airport alcohol

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 Lounge Pass 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:

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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (December 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes 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 £20.  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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients 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 £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.

Comments (19)

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

  • Nick says:

    I also don’t recognise many of the comments above. Things I love about this lounge (in no particular order)
    – the lovely local gin and vodka (no need to go for Diageo mass-market stodge!)
    – unlimited Guinness (ok, back to Diageo for that)
    – delightful (and proper sized) scones for afternoon tea
    – lovely cute little teapots… that let you have a proper cuppa
    – decent hot food relevant to time of day (e.g. porridge in the morning and Thai curry in the evening)
    – always enough space, whether you’re entering on BA status or PP
    – staff who will (on request) come and tell you personally when your flight is boarding, saving any standing around in the cold corridor downstairs
    – enough room to spread out
    – private toilets so you’re not out in the main terminal

  • PSE says:

    I recall that when the lounges merged BA said that food offers would be enhanced to something similar to their own lounges. It sounds as though that is not the case. The food offerings in the Aspire lounge were always limited if you wanted more than processed cheese and biscuits or scones during the day and perhaps some soup. The BA lounge at least always had sandwiches in the afternoons and evenings.

  • Adrian Lim says:

    You can also use the lounge if you are flying BA and hold silver or above

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

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