I complained about the crowding in the British Airways’ T5 Galleries Lounge last week, but that was like a New York subway compared to the nearby Tokyo Subway, aka Aspire Lounge. In fact, I’ve never been in a more crowded lounge than this.
It’s too bad the lounge is so crowded because it has a lot going for it. But let’s start with the crowding. With access available to Priority Pass members and to the general public for £40 it gets crowded. VERY crowded.
The lounge is open from 5:00AM to 10:30PM daily. I arrived just after noon and struggled to find a seat, let alone a seat with a plug. With apologies for the privacy violations, I simply want to demonstrate how crowded this lounge is. Take a look at these pictures:
At least the tarmac views are attractive:
If that isn’t enough to turn you away, there are no restrooms in the lounge and the showers cost £20. Spa treatments are available…for a fee, of course.
But the lounge has a few things going for it. First, the food looks a lot better than the BA lounge. The salads appeared fresh, the pasta smelled good, and I loved that there was clotted cream and scones. The buffet is complimentary. However, if you are looking for a more substantial menu an a la carte menu is available with entrees for purchase. Finally, there is a wide-selection of alcohol available, both for purchase and complimentary (beer and wine). If I was hungry, I’d rather come to this lounge than the BA lounge.
Honestly, though, it seems absolutely impossible to escape the crowds in Heathrow T5.
The real solution is to fly out of Heathrow T3 instead. It’s not like the BA lounge is any less crowded, but the American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas lounges are. Too bad it is not easier to get from terminal to terminal.
If you have some time before your flight, I recommend the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge in T2 or T4 before going to your departure gate. Those will be less crowded than the Aspire Lounge in T5.