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Bad news - BA's NCL lounge reportedly to close permanently

Bad news - BA's NCL lounge reportedly to close permanently

Old Aug 16, 21, 2:19 pm
  #196  
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Originally Posted by GiddyKipper638 View Post
I note @GingerLord was travelling CE. Do we have any confirmation that Silver up will have access irrespective of travel class as I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere?
I don't think there are any airports that BA offer lounge access at that exclude Gold and Silver members. There might be particular lounges within airports that do so (eg. the QR Al Mourjan Business lounge), but there's always at least one lounge that is accessible by status members.
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Old Aug 17, 21, 11:28 pm
  #197  
 
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No issues getting into the Aspire lounge (Gold and CE).

Basic food offerings.
Alcohol being served at the bar.
Prosecco seems to be £12.99 a bottle.
Coffee machine.
Air con pretty chilly
Staff came around asking if anyone wanted hot food I.e. sausage buns / baps / barms (whatever you call them!)
Quiet area and a couple of not that private booths.
Aspire Plus? closed.








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Last edited by xenole; Aug 17, 21 at 11:38 pm
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Old Aug 18, 21, 1:08 am
  #198  
 
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Originally Posted by xenole View Post
No issues getting into the Aspire lounge (Gold and CE).

Basic food offerings.
Alcohol being served at the bar.
Prosecco seems to be £12.99 a bottle.
Coffee machine.
Air con pretty chilly
Staff came around asking if anyone wanted hot food I.e. sausage buns / baps / barms (whatever you call them!)
Quiet area and a couple of not that private booths.
Aspire Plus? closed.








Thank you for the update - if only it was always that quiet
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Old Aug 18, 21, 2:25 am
  #199  
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Originally Posted by Brighterside View Post
Thank you for the update - if only it was always that quiet
Then it would very quickly close again!
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Old Aug 18, 21, 2:41 am
  #200  
 
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Originally Posted by xenole View Post
No issues getting into the Aspire lounge (Gold and CE).

Basic food offerings.
Alcohol being served at the bar.
Prosecco seems to be £12.99 a bottle.
Coffee machine.
Air con pretty chilly
Staff came around asking if anyone wanted hot food I.e. sausage buns / baps / barms (whatever you call them!)
Quiet area and a couple of not that private booths.
Aspire Plus? closed.
Although it's at least something, I don't think I've seen such a sorry looking bar in a long while. Although obvious, it's just not a patch on the old lounge. At least that had a lovely view too. Small mercies I guess. I'm tempted to stay in the main terminal. Let's hope in the future we'd have access to Aspire Plus, but plus what I'm not sure.
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Old Aug 20, 21, 4:27 am
  #201  
 
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I loved the little BA lounge, and last month when I flew out of NCL for the first time post-pandemic, being reminded of what a hellhole the main terminal is made me miss it even more. A few massive, empty food outlets blasting out headache-inducing music even though it was just morning, and barely anywhere else to sit down in peace or even at a safe distance from people (except downstairs en route to the gates, which I had forgotten about). So I was primed for delight at being told by the check-in agent that I had access to the Aspire lounge as an OWE, and willing to forgive it for being rather dark and somewhat depressing in style. But it was not crowded, pretty quiet (except for the silent zone), and they brought me a very nice bacon stottie, so next time I won't go out of my way to get to NCL as late as possible.
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Old Aug 20, 21, 5:28 am
  #202  
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The Plus area had the view and was set up in a way more suitable for singles and couples, as well as business travellers, less so for family groups. It also had complimentary Prosecco and whisky for the users. It overlooks the same area as the BA lounge, down the CTA pier. All the Aspire style lounges frankly were built for holiday makers, as evidenced by the TV screens in the booths.
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Old Sep 2, 21, 3:01 am
  #203  
 
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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
I don't think there are any airports that BA offer lounge access at that exclude Gold and Silver members. There might be particular lounges within airports that do so (eg. the QR Al Mourjan Business lounge), but there's always at least one lounge that is accessible by status members.
I'm currently in the Aspire lounge. I'd been in once years ago so didn't expect much. On that occasion they wouldn't serve a vodka on it's own. This time they did. Staff are quite attentive, but the bar is only manned when someone doing another job sees you waiting. I wasn't eating much and just wanted a packet of crisps. I looked around for self service but nothing around. I caught a staff member. They've said that they can't get hold of crisps at the moment. Blimey! No more comment. Next time I'm considering staying in the main terminal area. I think they're pushing it by naming themselves Aspire.
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Old Sep 23, 21, 4:32 am
  #204  
 
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Aspire (to better?)

Despite having flown through Newcastle several times with BA/Lufthansa during the pandemic, today was the first time I've been into the Aspire lounge.

The good news: apparently Star alliance golds do have access to Aspire flying Lufty - it wasn't on the website when I checked, and last time I wasn't that fussed either way as I met a friend travelling at about the same time on another airline. This time the check-in agent proactively said that he thought I had access and his colleague rang the lounge before confirming I could access it. When I mentioned to the gentleman manning the door that I'd not been told I had access before today, he said I was not the first person to say that.

The bad news: as many others have already said upthread, Aspire is not a patch on the dearly departed BA lounge. The food/drink selection is the same, as far as I can see, as what @xenole reported a few posts upthread. It has some hot food, which I guess is an improvement on the BA lounge if that's your thing, but the selection of cold food/snacks, and other drinks (alcoholic and not) is seriously subpar.

But the biggest issue for me is the almost complete lack of natural light, at least in the main Aspire area - the "Plus" section is not open. It makes the lounge feel dingy and claustrophobic, rather than cosy.

The only upside were the staff, who were all very friendly and helpful. If it is quiet, I can see it being a reasonable place to wait (better than the overcrowded departure hall, which has never been a great place to wait since the refurbishment in about 2013). There was a BA flight perhaps 15-25 mins before the Lufthansa one and the lounge almost completely emptied out at that point.

But overall, if I had paid the £32 door price (from memory), I'd feel rather ripped off. If you know which side of the pier your flight is departing from* or if the "no return past this point" doors to the pier are left open it's possible to just wait at an empty gate on the international side. This would give you more space, more light, and - especially if the Aspire lounge is busy - perhaps be more pleasant. The entrance fee could be used instead for food/drink at the terminal restaurants.

* usually international eg KLM/Air France/Lufthansa depart from Gates 15-30 on the left side of the pier while domestic/CTA is on the right side (Gates 1-14) with BA typically Gate 3. But my previous Lufty flight was from Gate 6, IIRC - which threw me as I was waiting by Gate 19, which is where today's flight is leaving from.

One thing that the check-in agent for my flight did mention (unprompted) was that the airport still plans to create a second lounge. He said where this would be but I couldn't quite hear him. I don't know what the potential timelines for this would be, though can't imagine it would be until traffic recovers. Perhaps those who fly through more often such as corporate-wage-slave know more. What the quality would be like, and whether BA would provide access is an entirely different question, of course!
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Old Sep 23, 21, 7:24 am
  #205  
 
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Originally Posted by squawk View Post
One thing that the check-in agent for my flight did mention (unprompted) was that the airport still plans to create a second lounge. He said where this would be but I couldn't quite hear him.
We were on a very delayed BA flight a couple of weeks ago, the flight was initially cancelled then reinstated bringing another aircraft up which eventually left 5 hours late.

Once we rechecked our bags in and went back through security we found ourselves back in the departures area, with Aspire now closed. BA did give us vouchers to spend in the terminal which we used in Cafe Ritazza. There used to be windows at the back of the cafe with apron views, but this is now boarded up. We had a chat with the lady who was working in there who said she believed it was for the new lounge but work stopped shortly after Covid hit. If it does eventually end up finished, to my memory it won't be that far away in terms of position from the old Cheviot lounge which had it's entrance next to the escalators down to the gates. It would also, by my reckoning, benefit from some natural light.
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Old Sep 23, 21, 7:50 am
  #206  
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Originally Posted by squawk View Post
One thing that the check-in agent for my flight did mention (unprompted) was that the airport still plans to create a second lounge. He said where this would be but I couldn't quite hear him. I don't know what the potential timelines for this would be, though can't imagine it would be until traffic recovers. Perhaps those who fly through more often such as corporate-wage-slave know more. What the quality would be like, and whether BA would provide access is an entirely different question, of course!
Yes I have heard that the NCL Airport Lounge is still "on" and that BA would use it. And yes it was kind of a bolt on to the side of the building not far from the Cheviot lounge previously used by AF-KLM (etc) by Dixons. No idea on time scales but 1 year is too long, 3 months is too short, so somewhere between these?

Im not too fond of the Aspire lounge style. The Club section is better. But it is a bit dark and pub like rather than professional and office like. If they just did some Nordic style lighting options it would help enormously. But better than nothing, just not as good as the old BA lounge.
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Old Sep 23, 21, 11:32 am
  #207  
 
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I was in there yesterday morning for an hour before my flight down to LHR and it was a bit of a madhouse with a few B&S flights due to depart. It calmed down a little once those gates were advertised. The food is back to being self-service / buffet style rather than table service. I had a couple of bucks fizz / mimosas (which - in my mind at least - counts towards my five a day) but didn't eat as I'd had a home-cooked sausage sandwich before setting off the the airport. Staff are definitely friendly and helpful. The general view from them is that it's either chockablock or deserted!
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Old Sep 23, 21, 3:46 pm
  #208  
 
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What is happening to that space where the former BA lounge is?

Must agree with other posters that waiting upstairs with all the outlets is not my idea of fun.
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Old Sep 23, 21, 3:51 pm
  #209  
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It's just an empty room, all evidence of there ever being a lounge there - let alone a BA branded one - has been removed. I'm not sure what use could be made of it, indeed if the airport wanted a quick and easy lounge option then this would be an option. However I imagine that because it sits on what is normally the domestic pier then it's in the wrong place for international departures.
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Old Sep 24, 21, 12:37 am
  #210  
 
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
It's just an empty room, all evidence of there ever being a lounge there - let alone a BA branded one - has been removed. I'm not sure what use could be made of it, indeed if the airport wanted a quick and easy lounge option then this would be an option. However I imagine that because it sits on what is normally the domestic pier then it's in the wrong place for international departures.
It would be a bigger project but I wondered whether it could simply be a sideways extension of the Aspire lounge, if the doors to the CTA corridor were removed - it would certainly allow a lot more light into that space. But as a stand-alone venue, BA were the only domestic-only airline from NCL who could use a lounge in that location.
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