If you have been through Newcastle Airport in recent weeks, you may have noticed some activity in the old British Airways lounge space which is now abandoned.
We had heard that Aspire was planning to copy what it did recently in Belfast – take an empty British Airways lounge and expand its own lounge into it – and this has now been confirmed.
We even have some pictures of how it will look.
The work is expected to cost £1.7 million and will be completed early next year.
The new lounge will have a capacity for 320 people, which is 100 more than the 220 that can use the existing Aspire and Aspire Plus lounges.
Intriguingly, the space will – for the first time in an Aspire lounge – have three different areas:
- Aspire Business
- Aspire Premium
Aspire Business sounds as if it will have the standard lounge food and drink options whilst also giving access to private and shared work spaces.
Aspire Premium is more interesting. Aspire is promising a fully hosted ‘luxury’ table service which it claims will match the ambience of a ‘high-end restaurant’.
It’s not entirely clear who will get access to which areas. As the only lounge at Newcastle, Aspire has to juggle the needs of ‘pay as you go’ lounge visitors, holders of Priority Pass lounge club cards and passengers of scheduled airlines which are willing to pay for their elites to enter.
This includes Emirates, who I would expect to have exclusive use of one of the spaces for the 3-4 hours before their flights depart. First Class passengers would presumably get access to Aspire Premium.
Dean Ward, director of commercial at Newcastle International Airport said:
“This development is testament to our longstanding, and collaborative, partnership with Aspire and we are very much looking forward to passengers experiencing the final product. We are committed to providing the best possible passenger experience and this development forms an important part of a multi-million-pound investment in the security search area and departure lounge food and beverage facilities ahead of the Summer 2024 season.”
Those who commented on the story in the Newcastle Chronicle added their own insights:
[Money would] be better spent upgrading the toilets, they are shockingly dirty and lack in numbers.
The airport is generally dirty and very scruffy throughout. It is definitely spoiled by the drunks. It’s convenient but that’s the only thing in its favour.
[The lounge] needs to bring back a proper dress code. Some days it’s like being in a downtrodden Gateshead social club.
If you ever needed evidence that the North East has a very serious drink problem then go to Newcastle Airport. It’s really unpleasant and doesn’t reflect well on the North East at all.
Could spend some money on cleaning the toilets, they always stink to high heaven.
We will let you know when there is an opening date and try to squeeze in an early visit.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (December 2023)
Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £24. 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £24 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.