When flying, I don’t really like spending much time airside at airports. Hardly a shock, as I bet only about 1% of the population does. It’s busy and cramped; the seats are uncomfortable; the shops get boring pretty quickly; the food and drink is overpriced – and that’s at bigger airports with something to do. About 10 years ago, someone recommended to me that I look into airport lounges. For what might at first seem a hefty upfront sum, you get about three hours in relative comfort, usually with free food and drink, magazines and newspapers, decent wifi, and charging points.
Once I used a lounge for the first time, I didn’t want to go back to the main concourse. I have since used lounges whenever I could, as the per stay rate is well worth it for the more relaxed atmosphere (almost) alone, and if you like to eat and drink before you fly, you may find you even save money.
Club Aspire is the new Swissport lounge at Terminal 3 of Heathrow. It has everything you would expect: a food selection, with hot dishes such as pasta and quiche under a hot light, salads, crisps, nuts and olives; a bar with service rather than self pour (I prefer self service, though I’m not ashamed to ask for several drinks), which had a small range of beers including one on tap, one brand of each of the major spirits, and soft drinks; a quiet area; just one TV tuned to BBC news; a small selection of newspapers; and power sockets at almost every seat. In addition there is a rest area with about 8 beds, and a Bliss spa which offers treatments at a rate of a pound a minute. If you don’t want the snack food available or prefer a premium drink, you can pay extra for a small range of meals and fancy beverages.
I paid £25 in advance for 3 hours (my sister told me afterwards that she could have gotten me in for £16…thanks…), and I think it was worth it. Not too busy, quite comfortable, enough food and drink to easily cover the cost were I to have bought it outside the lounge, and good wifi. It’s somewhere in the middle of the lounges I have used, but so much better than being outside. The walk up rate is £30.
Address: Near gate 5, Terminal 3, Heathrow Airport