I’ll be honest we are relative newbies when it comes to using airport lounges, we seriously did not know what we were missing out on. However, since our first experience in the Aspire Lounge at Birmingham Airport last summer we now try, where possible, and when we remember, book our places in a lounge, especially when we are taking a long flight. We learnt quickly that lounges are not just for the elite but for everyone and if you shop around and buy in advance you can normally get lounge access for a very reasonable price and for what you get for the price, makes it very good value for money.
Before our recent trip to Abu Dhabi, we had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours in the Aspire Airport Lounge in Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport and here are our reasons why we think visiting it started our holiday the right way and would certainly use it again should we fly through the terminal in the future and why you should too.
An Oasis In The Middle Of A Super Busy Terminal
If you have ever flown from Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport or any major international airport, in fact, you will know how busy they are, and in turn noisy, all of the time. Departure lounges can be crazy which in my opinion as a nervous flyer is not conducive when trying to deal with my anxiety about flying. Therefore, airport lounges are the perfect place to head and chill out for a couple of hours before my flight and the Aspire Lounge was no different. Walking through the door, I instantly felt more relaxed as no one was shouting, there were no tannoy announcements and no one barging past me to get to their gate – bliss. I could breathe and start to relax. The lady on reception was beyond friendly and at 7.00am in the morning and dealing with the general public, I imagine is tough. But she was lovely and instantly made us feel welcome.
I worked like an absolute trojan before our trip to ensure I had met all my deadlines and had posts scheduled for the duration of our trip (go me!), even travel bloggers deserve a holiday. Therefore, I did not have the need to use one of the workstations available in the airport lounge, however, I did make a note that they were available should I need to use one during a future visit. People were quietly tapping away on their keyboards, deep in concentration, something that they certainly would not have been able to do in the main departures lounge. Therefore making the Aspire Airport Lounge a great place to head prior to your flight regardless of whether you are travelling for business or for pleasure.
All The Food
As we visited at breakfast time all the breakfast goodies were laid out and available. The food in the Aspire Lounge is buffet style where you help yourself to the offerings. I must admit I’m not a fan of breakfast however even I was tempted by the pastries on offer. Mr ESLT opted for a bacon butty and confirmed it was a great way to start the day. Of course, we saw people piling their plates sky-high and eating it as quickly as they could. Yes, you can eat as much as you like, but come on guys it’s not a challenge, just imagine being stuck on a plane with severe indigestion – not my idea of a fun time! As things were being eaten they were being replaced almost instantly, the staff certainly had their eye on the buffet at all times to ensure nothing ever ran out. There was also plenty of cereal options and fruit available if you like to lead a healthier life than us.
I’ll be honest, I do usually indulge in a drop of Dutch courage before I take any flight, one or two maximum and never to excess, it just helps me unwind and not obsess over the thought of something terrible happening mid-air. Therefore, whilst in the lounge, I did have a couple of vodka and diet cokes, which did go down an absolute treat. It did feel weird knocking back spirit at 7.00am, however, I convinced myself it was for medicinal purposes of course. The bar is manned in the lounge which is a nice touch and it also stops the people who cannot control themselves from drinking too much, which I imagine is actually quite easy to do. In fact, the couple in the next booth to use where slamming back bottles of beer at an alarming rate. I’m glad I wasn’t sat on the plane next to them for 8 hours getting up and down every 5 minutes to use the loo or worst still, getting rowdy!
Charging Points and TVs
As someone who always has their phone in their hand, my battery is always low. I use my phone for everything – making calls, sending messages, updating social media and of course listening to music. When we arrived at the Aspire lounge I was already down to 34%, which I knew for a fact would not last the whole 8-hour flight. Therefore, I made a beeline straight for a booth at the back of the lounge which had a plug socket to charge my phone whilst we enjoyed our breakfast. Most airports have a bank of plug sockets and charging points somewhere in the departures lounge, however, I have lost count the number of times there has not been a spare one or I have had to battle with someone, so it was actually nice to be able to charge my phone without having to go in elbows first. Also, each booth had a TV in it allowing the people in each individual booth to watch something different, we opted for the breakfast news and caught up with what was going on in the world.
- Our experience on this occasion was complimentary. However, we would happily pay in the future, it was the perfect start to our trip!