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Newcastle: Aspire unveils high-end plans to expand into the old British Airways lounge

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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.

New Aspire Lounge Newcastle Airport

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
  • 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.

New Aspire Lounge Newcastle Airport

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.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (February 2024)

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.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 £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.

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

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (29)

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

  • Gary says:

    The current Aspire Plus / Aspire set-up gets extremely busy during holiday season. Unlike AF/KLM/Emirates BA have not contracted to the Aspire Plus lounge.
    As a GCH with BA I’ve sneaked into the Plus side before only to do the walk of shame in front of those AF/KLM pax when asked which airline I’m flying with.
    Will be interesting to see if BA stretch to look after their frequent flyers in the new set up.

    • daveinitalia says:

      When did AFKLM start using the plus section? It’s really making BA look cheap if their direct competitors are doing this now

      • Arnie says:

        They’ve always used the plus side for biz and Skyteam Elites, as does Lufty with Star Gold. The old security was great. New security setup is probably one of the best in the UK. Edinburgh, however, is a better bet with BA.

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

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