‘One lounge to rule them all.’ At least, that’s the case with Aspire lounge at Newcastle airport given that the only other 2 lounges, 1 British Airways – closed due to budget cuts and 2 the Aspire Plus lounge – won’t be open for the foreseeable future. Currently, then, it’s the best lounge in Newcastle airport but does that mean you should arrive early for your flight to make the most of it?
|Access||Flying British Airways Business Class or OneWorld Saphire/Emerald status holders|
Flying Air France or KLM in Business Class or Sky Team Elite Plus status holders
Flying Emirates in Business Class or Skywards Silver/Gold/Platinum status holders
Priority Pass members
Dragon Pass members
Alternatively, you can pay £32 to gain entry
|Opening Times||Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday 04:00-20:00|
Tuesday, Thursday 04:00-17:30
|Location||Down the escalator, through the double doors and it’s on your right.|
As you walk through the terminal, it quickly becomes apparent how bad the seating situation is. Newcastle airport doesn’t really have the best solution for storing passengers meaning people often resort to sitting on the floors.
A stark contrast when you walk through the lounge doors. Bench seats encircle a plethora of high and low back armchairs. Considerably more comfortable than prime real estate options like ‘Spoons… Plus every seat has access to a table.
Should you be in the mood for peace and quiet, perhaps you’re on an early morning flight or something then you’re sort of covered. There’s a quiet area that consists of a glass wall partition separating it from the main lounge. There’s no door or anything but it is a little bit quieter.
There’s quite a bit of space in there and rather than ram it full of seating to increase the lounge capacity and thus how much money they can make, the lounge owners have decided to go down the spacious route and only installed 12 chairs. A nice touch in my opinion.
The dining area is pretty small with only 12 seats however as mentioned earlier every chair has access to a table, it just means a longer walk for food.
Truth be told I’ve never visited the lounge after mid-day as I prefer morning flights so there’s only ever been breakfast options on offer. If I was to put a monetary value on it I’d probably say you’re getting about £12 per person of value based on how much hotels around the airport charge for their breakfast which offers the same selection.
That selection being fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal, sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes bites, tomatoes, baked beans and mushrooms. It’s probably as good as you’ll get at your hotel if staying nearby so probably worth getting room only and saving money on breakfast.
If you’re off on a stag/hen do you can easily rinse a few bottles from the top shelf, all complimentary of course. There’s enough selection of decent brands to cater for most people.
For those that prefer to fly on the t-total side, there’s fresh orange juice and chilled still water along with a coffee machine. I can’t tell you how good the coffee machine is as that’s not my jam.
That’s it then… To answer the original question the answer is probably no, I wouldn’t arrive at the airport early to make the most of the lounge experience as there isn’t much to make the most of. Sure if you’re on a stag/hen do and can go in on a few bottles of drink and have a bit to eat you can get value, other than that you’re essentially paying to be able to be seated comfortably whilst you wait for your flight.
There are no office desks to work at and I’m assuming if you want something printed you’d have to ask for the receptionist to print it. So that’s a 50/50 on whether you’ll be able to have something printed and it certainly won’t be private.
There are also no showers which may not be an issue for most but if you’ve had to drive 3 hours or so to get to the airport and are on let’s say an emirates 6+ hour flight, you’d want a shower just before you fly.
In fairness, it’s a small regional airport and if you’ve got access through Priority Pass or are flying a premium cabin, it’ll do. I certainly wouldn’t be paying £32 per person to enter.