Review: Aspire Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 5

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My British Airways flight to Dublin was departing at 8:20AM, though I decided to get to Terminal 5 plenty early so that I’d have time to review a new lounge. We’ve reviewed the British Airways business class lounge, British Airways first class lounge, and British Airways Concorde Room, so this time around I figured I’d review the Priority Pass option in the terminal, which is the Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5. The number of Priority Pass members has increased greatly the past couple of years, since now there are quite a few credit cards with lounge access, so it’s easier than ever to gain entry.

The lounge is open daily from 5AM until 10:30PM, so it’s open just about anytime you’d want to use it.

As a reminder, the following are some of the popular premium US credit cards that come with Priority Pass memberships (along with their respective guesting privileges):

Card# of Complimentary GuestsAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
Chase Sapphire Reserve®2Yes$75 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Credit Card2Yes$75 Per Person
The Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That (Rates & Fees)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$300 Per Person (Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2No$0 (Rates & Fees)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2No$0 (Rates & Fees)

The Aspire Lounge Terminal 5 is located to the left of gate A18. Once you clear security you’ll want to turn right and walk to the far end of the terminal.


London Heathrow Terminal 5


London Heathrow Terminal 5

This involved walking past the escalator leading up to British Airways’ South Lounges.


London Heathrow Terminal 5 lounges

At the end of that hall you’ll want to hang a left, and then you’ll be dropped right at the entrance to the lounge.


London Heathrow Terminal 5


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 exterior

There I presented my Priority Pass card and boarding pass, and was welcomed in and told that no boarding calls would be made in the lounge. I managed to get to the lounge only shortly after it opened, so it was still quiet.

Inside the entrance was a narrow hallway with a few booths along the wall. Along the other wall was the spa and showers, which I’ll talk more about in a bit.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 seating


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 seating

At the end of that hall was a bunch more seating, consisting of two types of seats facing one another around small coffee tables.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 seating


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 seating

Then at the end of that area was the largest part of the lounge, which featured a long booth along the wall, a couple of circular booths, and then quite a few chairs.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow seating


Aspire Lounge Heathrow seating


Aspire Lounge Heathrow seating

The circular booths were all marked as reserved — I’m not sure who they’d be reserved for?


Aspire Lounge Heathrow seating

Then at the end of that room were some communal tables.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow seating

It looked to me like the lounge continued past that, though there was a rope indicating that people shouldn’t pass that point. So I’m not sure if they only open that part of the lounge during certain hours of the day, or what? Towards the end of my visit the lounge was packed, but the rope was still up.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow seating

The entire lounge had views down towards the gate area, and of planes in the distance.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow view

The bar was sort of the centerpiece of the lounge, and I believe most of the alcoholic drinks were for purchase.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow bar


Aspire Lounge Heathrow bar

Past the bar was the buffet.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow breakfast buffet

To drink there was juice, a soda fountain, and two Nescafe coffee machines.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow coffee machines


Aspire Lounge Heathrow soda machine


Aspire Lounge Heathrow drinks

Then in terms of food there was scrambled eggs, sausage, baked beans, croissants, ham, etc. As someone who despises English breakfast (which I realize is 100% my problem when I’m at a lounge in London), this wasn’t at all appealing to me.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow breakfast buffet

Then there were a couple of types of yogurt, cold cuts, cheese, a fruit salad, and cereal.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow breakfast buffet


Aspire Lounge Heathrow breakfast buffet

There was also a station next to that with some fresh fruit, chips (or crisps, if you prefer), and nuts.


Aspire Lounge Heathrow fresh fruit


Aspire Lounge Heathrow snacks


Aspire Lounge Heathrow snacks

On each table was a menu with the food and drink selection available for purchase:

There was also a menu for the Bliss Spa (though it’s only open from 9AM until 5PM daily, so wasn’t open during my visit):

I thought it was pretty funny that the pamphlet had an area encouraging people to eat as little as possible before the flight to fight jet lag. That’s convenient. 😉

Here are the pictures I was able to snap of the outside of the Bliss Spa:


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Bliss Spa


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Bliss Spa

The lounge also has showers, and the cost is 20GBP per 30 minutes of shower use. That’s not exactly a bargain…


Aspire Lounge Heathrow showers


Aspire Lounge Heathrow Bliss Spa

Ridiculously the lounge doesn’t have any toilets, so if you need to use the loo you’ll have to go into the terminal.

I couldn’t get the lounge’s Wi-Fi to work, though fortunately Heathrow has free and fast Wi-Fi, so I had no trouble getting work done from the lounge.

While the lounge was pretty empty for the first hour I was there, after that it filled up, to the point that almost all seats were taken.

Aspire Lounge Heathrow bottom line

I’ve never been terribly impressed by British Airways’ Heathrow lounges, though they are significantly nicer than this lounge. If you don’t otherwise have lounge access then the Aspire Lounge is a good option. However, it otherwise can’t really compete with the British Airways lounges — the Aspire Lounge has no bathrooms, no free showers, a fairly limited food & drink selection, and gets really crowded.

If you’ve visited the Aspire Lounge T5, what was your experience like?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).

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Comments
  1. I was there a couple of months ago (via priority pass access). The lounge was so busy that I was put on a waiting list and we had to wait outside the lounge in the terminal (on a thursday afternoon). After 15 minutes my name was called en I was invited to come inside. Indeed the lounge was crowded, but it is light and the views are nice. Wine and beer were free of charge as well. The overall experience was ok, but I prefer to depart from T4 (with a larger Aspire lounge with more food options as well).

  2. This is a pretty awful lounge but then again most PP lounges in London are. I realise they didn’t have much space to work with but it is so horribly cramped – look how narrow those aisles are an add lots of luggage and oblivious, bumbling English travellers. When I was there at 7am on a Saturday there were hardly any seats and people crowding and pushing around the f&b areas blocking the already narrow aisles. There is simply not enough room. There was nothing relaxing, premium or exclusive about it. Its simply a place to shove some food down your throat as you rush through T5.

  3. “oblivious, bumbling English travellers”. Wow, it’s good to get all your ethnic prejudices out of the way early, I guess. But as an FYI Americans often come across very similarly.

    That said, the BA lounges are all crowded there as well, except the Concorde Room. It’s a busy terminal, and of course far too many people qualify for lounges these days, between the credit card mob and the “work buys my ticket” freeloaders. If only people who paid themselves for premium tickets could use the lounges, they’d be a lot nicer.

    So yes, these lounges are packed (not shown in the pics, oddly) but that is because of people like you!

  4. @Martin – I’m an Australian, who lives in London. I deal with British crowds every single day. What made you assume I was American? Your own prejudice?

  5. I was also there over Thanksgiving. Late morning around 10:00 and was mobbed. They started a queue right after I arrived.
    The place inside was mobbed — not a single space to sit and at times felt like a crowded mall food court.
    What was nice, having several attendants to keep things mainly orderly and cleaned up.
    By about 11am, the place emptied significantly and there was ample room.
    Yes — it was a pain to have the bathrooms outside. I was appreciative having access via PP.
    However, a couple months earlier I was flying BA business and had access to the lounge upstairs — quite a bit different!. Very very nice

  6. I used the Aspire lounge in T3 in October. I was flying VS PE. I found a nice corner spot and except for a brief wifi outage it was loads better than being in the terminal. The bathrooms were not that clean unfortunately and of course a lower grade f&b experience, but I was very comfortable during my 2+ hour layover.

  7. I guess we’ve been lucky on our timing, as we’ve never had to wait, or even queue, to get in, and always found a table and chairs available.

    Unless they have changed their policy since last Summer, the first glass of Proseco is complementary. After that the quite nice house Scotch is free and unlimited. 😉

  8. I’ve tried to get into this lounge at least ten times. There was always a long line to even get on the waiting list. Then you had to wait.

  9. @Martin:

    So you think making generalizations or stereotyping is a bad thing unless, of course, you’re the one generalizing, yes? “[C]redit card mob and ‘work buys my ticket’ freeloaders” – all of which are folks who have earned the right to utilize a lounge – are utilizing the lounge by legitimate means.

    Or, perhaps, you’re meaning to be classist – which is just as bad – by insinuating that you’re somehow better because presumably you buy your own ticket? I’m reminded of the adage about throwing stones whilst living in a glass house. I’d get rid of all those stones in your pocket; they’re surely no good for your glass domicile.

  10. The lack of warm bodies in this lounge is the most astounding part of this review. Even if you get into the lounge, trying to find 2 seats together is an absolute mission impossible. It’s great to have an option in T5, but it’s such a ridiculous after thought. That being said, during peak periods, the food is really quite good and they keep the place very tidy to turn it over as quickly as possible. So I have to give credit – it’s as good as it could be, and I can’t fault its popularity.

  11. @Ben (Aussie): LOL I didn’t think you were American at all. Generally, Americans stereotype the English as sophisticated. Rightly or wrongly, who can say? I’m a fan of the BBC.

    @Martin: Us Americans would say “you just got served”. As Catherine Tate would say, “take the shame.” I get your point though. Traveling is stressful and the airlines, lounges, airports have no guilt about treating humans like cattle.

    Happy Holidays Everyone!

  12. @Ben (Aussie) …I think you will find more Chinese travellers in T5 than English…indeed ‘English’ are in the minority.

    @AdamR – I think because the creditcard mob is largely American. You should see the antithesis expressed in HK against AA flyers using CX…

  13. Adam

    There’s a difference.

    Describing a particular race, ethnicity or nationality as having some negative characteristics is, at best, stereotyping. And at worst, bigotry.

    On the other hand, trying to explain why many lounges are over-crowded involves classifying the different types of users. And yes, premium credit cards with their “free” lounge access has massively increased demand. As does the fact that some employers let their employees keep their miles and points, rather than have them accrue to the business, i.e. the entity paying the fares.

    And the irony should not be lost of people complaining about overcrowding when they are the very same people causing it!

  14. Greg,

    Good points. In fact I wonder how Ben claims to know the nationality of someone just by looking at them?

    And no, Ben, that is not an invitation for you to utter more ethnic over-generalizations.

  15. It’s a decent lounge, but often very crowded. Once I’ve been put on a waiting list. I was told to come back in 30 minutes. I sat down on the chairs outside the lounge, and 5 minutes later they told me I could come in.

  16. Wow, no bathroom in the lounge? So, since you need to exit the lounge to use the bathroom, you essentially just gave up your space to someone else waiting to get in. Seems like a huge design oversight.

  17. Plaza premium lounge terminal 5 has just opened which should alleviate some of the overcrowding at this lounge. It’s not accessible on priority pass yet bit you can get in with an Amex platinum card. They’re both extremely expensive to pay full price to access though. Would rather buy a decent meal in one of the restaurants in T5 than pay £40 to access them

  18. Used this lounge in October and it was very crowded. No two seats together so I removed the reserved seat sign from the booth and sat down with my wife (no one said anything). Food was nothing to write home about. We also used the shower that was overpriced and very small. The private shower area had a sink and toilet, but after a 12 hour flight made us feel half human again.

  19. I agree with WilliamC.

    For the record, the Aspire lounges at Manchester are just as cheap and unwelcoming. Really not sure how the operating company came about choosing such a name – I understand that the definition of the word “Aspire” is to want or hope to achieve something very much. You wouldn’t want to shoot for a short stay in these places – and some people even pay UKP 20 for the experience!

  20. Visited the lounge last year encounter to South Africa from the USA. It was about a 20 minute walk from our terminal to the lounge and when we got there it took nearly half hour in the line just to get in. Once inside it was uncomfortably crowded. Probably the least favorite Priority Pass lounge Inhave ever visited.

  21. The thing which annoys me about this lounge is they still allow people to walk up and pay for access even when there is a waiting list. they seem intent on having their cake and eating it too . I like the food though particularly the sun moses

  22. Sound pretty awful, just slightly better than nothing.
    To all the snippy commentators above, realise than the average American traveller aims to travel for free, or as closely as possible. No doubt fees & taxes on award travel are a major irritation. All this is possible through enablers, the US banks, who hand out credit cards (with ridiculously high sign-up miles) like cookies. The mild downside I guess, is travelling with more cards than luggage, and remembering which unlocks what benefit. #firstworldproblems

  23. @glenn t

    And Americans are always the ones throwing hissy fits in Hong Kong if something goes wrong on CX. There was one loud American in the lounge who was apoplectic because he missed his flight, even though it was his fault.

  24. I spend several hours in this lounge in August, both coming and going on layovers at Heathrow. Both times it was over crowded. The reserved seats are annoying since they were always empty. The food is nothing special, but the worst part is the lack of bathrooms inside. I’d rather they give up the “spa” which no one seems to use, and put restrooms in there.

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