Review: Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

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I reviewed the Aspire lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 not long after it first opened and my thoughts on the offering weren’t exactly very positive. Since then I’ve had a number of readers ask me about the lounge so I thought that it was only right that, a year down the line, I give the lounge another try.

I’m fortunate enough to have OneWorld Emerald status so, when I’m traveling alone or even with Joanna, I don’t really have much need of the Aspire lounge at T5 – I can use any of the British Airways lounges that are dotted around the terminal – but that doesn’t mean that the Aspire lounge isn’t important.

a man in a suit talking to a woman

Until the Plaza Premium lounge opens up in Terminal 5 later this year the Aspire lounge is the only independent lounge in the terminal – that means that it’s the only option for travelers not traveling in a premium cabin or with OneWorld status of Sapphire or higher.

It’s also important for travelers (like me) who can’t guest more than one person into the British Airways lounges – when I travel with both Joanna and mini-Joanna the Priority Pass membership I have through the Citi Prestige credit card allows all three of us free entry into the Aspire lounge – so you could say that I have a vested interest in this lounge not being terrible 🙂

So what did I think of the Aspire Lounge at T5 this time?


The Aspire Lounge sits at the south end of Terminal 5 directly below the British Airways First Class lounge. The easiest way to find the lounge, after you’ve passed through airport security, is to make your way down one level to where all the A-Gates are and then to head towards Gate A18.


The walk will take you past the escalators to the British Airways South lounges and, when you reach Gate A18, you really shouldn’t be able to miss the lounge.

Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

Opening Times & Pricing

The lounge is open from 05:00 to 23:00 7 days a weeks 365 days of the year.

The lounge sells access for a maximum of 3 hours and, if you book in advance, will cost £29.99/$40 for adults and children alike (infants 0-2 years old get in free).

If you decide to drop by on the day the cost rises….but I can’t be sure by how much because the lounge’s website kept crashing! (I think it’s £35/$46 but I’ll edit this post once I know for sure).

If you have Priority Pass access your cost will vary depending on your membership and will range from free (i.e included with your annual subscription) to £15/$20 per visit. For my visit I used my Priority Pass select card that comes with the Citi Prestige card so I had nothing to pay.

Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

The Lounge

The lounge is laid out in a J-shape and the entrance is at the tip of the short side of the J.

As you walk in you’re immediately faced with the reception desk where you check in and, after you’ve been cleared to enter, you turn right to head down the short part of the J.

The corridor here is pretty narrow but they’ve still squeezed a few seats in on one side….

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-31Looking back at the entrance to the Aspire Lounge at T5

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-21Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

….while on the other is a small room that is laughingly referred to as a “spa”. This is all of it:

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The price charged for the use of a shower is still as extortionate as it was on my last visit – £20/$26 for 30 minutes. That’s 67p or 87c per minute!

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-27Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

Note: The lounge was very busy while I was there (as it was for Joanna’s visit a day later) so taking photos was pretty hard. I’ve used two photos in this post that are from a previous visit…just to help show the layout of the lounge.

Just past the spa you reach the bottom of the J-shaped lounge and, as you turn the corner, you’ll find a few tables and armchairs:

aspire-lounge-heathrow-t5-03Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

As you walk past this area you’re walking the bottom of the J-shape and, when you get to the end, the lounge opens up to the left (the long side of the J):

On the right side of this section are some small tables and seats and, in the picture below, you can see the full width of the lounge – that’s it.

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-16Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

There are also a couple of booths here…one of which was “reserved” during my visit (I had no idea you could reserve tables in advance!):

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-17Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

I’ve been to the Aspire website and, no matter how hard I try, I can’t see any way of reserving seating in the lounge…so I don’t know what this is all about. I can see that I can reserve a place in the lounge so I can get in if demand is high but I can’t see an option to reserve an actual table.

The reserved table really p****d me off.

The lounge was obviously very busy and yet here was a perfectly good booth (which could seat a good-sized party of people) not being used – why?

If there is a rule that allows people to pre-reserve seating it should be scrapped until the lounge has enough space to satisfy the people who want to use it and, if no such rule exists then what exactly is going on here?

Anyway…rant over and going back to the tour of the lounge:

On the left side of this part of the lounge is the bar…..

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-28Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

…where lounge users can get regular drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) free of charge and premium drinks at a price (I’ve listed out the drinks and food menus in the food section of this review).

Just past the bar is where the drinks machines are:

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-11Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-09Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

And this is also where the food is set out – more on that later in this post.

Just past the food section is a raised-bar work area where, if you get a seat and no one is seated opposite you, you can look out on to the airport apron….

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…or you can choose a seat which allows you to stare at the emergency exit stairs leading down from the BA First Class lounge:

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There isn’t much past this section except for the “Rest Pod Area”.

There are 6 rest pods in the lounge all of which have a funky-looking lounger and a small screen TV:

aspire-lounge-heathrow-t5-20Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

Guests are supposed to book these pods at the check-in desk but, as during my visit all 6 pods were occupied by children from the same family, I doubt this rule is being enforced.

Food & Drink

The lounge offers complimentary food and drink to all guests and, if you don’t like what’s on offer for free, you can pay a little extra for premium drinks and food.

I’ll start off this section with what the lounge says is served and then I’ll move on to what I found.

The Drinks

Complimentary Soft Drinks

The “help yourself” selection from the soda machine:

Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Lemonade, Still / Sparkling Water, Tonic / Slimline Tonic Water, Ginger Ale, Bitter Lemon, Soda Water

Juices: Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Pineapple Juice, Cranberry Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Tomato Juice

Tea & Coffee: Speciality Teas, Selection of Coffees

Complimentary Alcoholic Drinks

Beers: Draught Birra Moretti, London Pride Ale, Guinness, Selection of Continental Lagers

Wines: Cambio 7 Sauvignon Blanc, Conti Rossi Pinot Grigio, Argento Malbec Rosé, Saam Pinotage, El Collectivo Malbec

Spirits: Gordons Gin, Belvedere Vodka, Martell VS Cognac, Dows Ruby Port, Bacardi White Rum, Martini Rosso, Martini Extra Dry, Baileys Irish Cream, Spey Whisky 12 year old single malt or Chairmans Choice single malt.

Available to Purchase


  • Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut – £34.99
  • Coni Neri Prosecco – no price provided (Note: First glass of Prosecco is free of charge)

“Iconic Cocktails”:

  • Mai Tai – £5.99
  • Cosmopolitan – £5.99
  • Elderflower Collins – £5.99
  • Espresso Martini – £5.99

Wine Flights:

  • Sensational Sauvignon Blanc – £10
  • The French Affair – £13
  • Brave New World – £10
  • The Jet Set – £13

The Food


Available from opening to 11:00am

  • The Aspire Breakfast Roll: Choose a fresh crusty roll and fill it with Cumberland Sausage, Crispy Back Bacon or Scrambled Egg
  • Choice of Organic Yoghurts
  • Deluxe Granola
  • Fresh Fruit Salad: Juicy apple, orange, grape, melon and pineapple
  • Selection of Cereals
  • Freshly baked Danish Pastries


Available from 11:00am until close (unless otherwise stated)

  • Traditional Cream Tea and Cakes (served between 12:00 and 17:00): Enjoy a great British Tradition and choose a delicious scone with clotted cream or choose from a selection of cakes: Victoria Sponge Cake, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Cake
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Hot Miniature Pies: Choice of Beef and Ale or Chicken and Tarragon
  • Soup of the Day (served between 12:00 and 17:00)
  • Pasta of the Day (served 17:00 to close)
  • Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel
  • British Cheese Board: Choose from
    • Cornish Brie
    • Blue Stilton
    • Red Leicester
    • Cheddar
  • Fresh Salads:
    • Mediterranean Pasta,
    • Moroccan Couscous
    • Leaf Salad, Coleslaw
    • Potato Salad
    • Sliced Cucumber,
    • Cherry Tomatoes
    • Sliced Wiltshire Ham
  • Sweet Treats:
    • Scones, clotted cream and jam
    • Double Chocolate Muffin
    • Chocolate Muffin
    • Blueberry Muffin
  • Hand Cooked Crisps: Sea Salted, Cider Vinegar & Sea Salt, Red Leicester & Onion

It was before 11am when I visited the lounge so breakfast was still being served.

There were three hot items on offer….

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-07Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

…..and some cereals:

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-08Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

There was also a selection of yoghurts and a few other cold items which are not on the morning menu:

aspire-lounge-heathrow-terminal-5-13Aspire Lounge Heathrow T5

The juices were in a chiller cabinet under the counter:

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And there were a few snacks and muffins laid out to one side:

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There was a sign above the food area informing guest of what their options were if they wanted to upgrade their food.


All in all it was pretty underwhelming….especially considering the price that some are paying to get in.

Yes, the amount of food on offer was definitely better than what I saw on my previous visit…..but that’s not saying very much.

Bottom Line

I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I really don’t like this lounge. I didn’t really like it the first time around and, if anything, I like it even less now – at least it wasn’t so crowded on my last visit.

The biggest issue for me is that I find the cost of entry to be way too high for what’s on offer.

For £29.99 per person (if you book in advance) you get:

  • Mediocre food selection (at least in the morning – I wasn’t there in the afternoon)
  • Ludicrously priced showers
  • Overcrowded seating areas
  • No restrooms in the lounge

You’re much better off finding a nice eatery or bar in the Terminal area and spending the £30/person on food and drink of your choice. For families with kids and without Priority Pass membership that would almost certainly be cheaper.

The only people who may get their money’s worth in here are those that are going to hit the bar and hit it hard…and I wouldn’t want to have them on my flight after they’ve done that!

If you can get in to the lounge free of charge or at a highly discounted rate (thanks to a Priority Pass membership that you bought or have courtesy of a credit card) then this lounge may be a good place to kill some time at less busy times of the day….but I would never pay the asking price to get in.


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