- Inviting, living room-like atmosphere
- Can be somewhat noisy when adjacent gate in use
- Limited opening hours, dining
- Tarmac-side position delivers a great view
International jetsetters bound from Brisbane once again have a choice of two independent pay-per-use lounges, with the long-shuttered ‘My Lounge’ finally back open for business and pleasure – and it’s now sporting a new name too: Aspire Lounge.
Aside from the revised moniker though, little has changed in the pre-flight hangout, which is a good thing. The eclectic decor of old remains, while the casual vibe and open plan layout still lend it a more relaxed feel than some of Brisbane’s other lounges.
Add in barista-pulled coffee, a self-service bar featuring Australian wines and popular spirits, plus the ability to freshen up with a shower and you have an inviting space which ticks plenty of boxes. If only it were open longer.
Location & Impressions
Tucked alongside Gate 77, just a minute or two walk from the main departures hall, Aspire is a lounge without walls. Staff have nicknamed it a ‘loft lounge’, and walking by you could easily mistake it for a duty free store or gift shop, or even a furniture showroom.
Instead, it’s separated from the main thoroughfare by partitions. Some are clear glass, others vertical timber slats. This means you can hear everything going on in the wider terminal, including announcements for flights (which admittedly is quite handy).
That said, it’s been cleverly done – it feels like a self-contained lounge, even if occasional awkward eye contact with those seated outside the lounge can be a common occurrence.
Aspire Lounge Brisbane welcomes passengers travelling on any airline. Current opening hours are seven days from 4:30am to 12pm, with visitors able to enjoy the space up to three hours prior to departure.
Entry can be pre-booked via the Swissport Executive Lounges website for £29.91 per adult (AUD$54) or £19 per child (AUD$35). It’s the same price at the door.
Priority Pass, Lounge Key and Dragon Pass members are also welcome.
Given the current morning opening hours, dining slants heavily towards breakfast, though there are a couple of all-day options. Most importantly though, there’s quality barista coffee.
On the brekky hotplate are the usual suspects of baked beans and chipolatas, while freshly scrambled eggs can be whipped up on request. These are replaced by a not-quite-lunch selection of snacks – mini pies, sausage rolls and quiches et al – in the late morning.
Assorted pastries, bread and individual serve cereals, as well as some ‘smoothie shots’, natural yoghurt and a bowl of salad greens round out the offering. It’s very limited, but hits the spot.
Those after a pre-flight tipple are in luck, with complimentary beers and ciders (Peroni, 5 Seeds, Jams Squire 50 Lashes) plus wines and an array of spirits for you to mix up your preferred cocktail.
Four McPherson Wines are ready to pour: a grenache rose, shiraz and cab merlot, as well as a sparkling chardonnay pinot noir.
Non-alcoholic options take the form of soft drinks and juice, plus Byron Bay teas and coffee. A self-service coffee machine is available when the lounge (and barista) is busier.
Executive Traveller can confirm a premium cocktail upgrade option is also being worked on, with espresso martinis just one of the favourites likely to make an appearance.
While there’s no dedicated WiFi network within the Aspire Lounge, Brisbane Airport offers a fast and free service regularly clocking in at more than 200Mbps, so you can still stay connected.
AC and USB power points line the skirting boards throughout the lounge (these are black on black, so you may not notice them immediately), and are also found under the desk at the upright workbenches. Wireless charging ports are embedded in these desks too.
Lounge access includes complimentary use of shower facilities (these are discreetly tucked around behind the breakfast buffet). Fluffy towels and L’Occitane toiletries are supplied.
Directly beside the entrance is a small games nook housing an Xbox, bean bags and a foosball table. However, it does feel a little odd using the space with non-lounge guests sitting at the gate (a metre or two to the closest seat) able to see directly inside through a slat wall.
VIPs and families can make use of a small roped off area right next door.
As an added perk, Pressreader access unlocking thousands of newspapers and magazines is available via QR codes on the tables. This code is valid for up to a week, meaning you can potentially snap a photo of it and put the service to good use on your travels.
Brisbane Aspire Lounge is an excellent option prior to your flight, with a decent drinks selection and a small-yet-adequate meal offering. It will be interesting to see how the latter evolves as lounge opening hours are no doubt expanded in future.
The tarmac-side location, resulting view and light really set Aspire apart though, as all other lounges at the airport – Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and Plaza Premium – overlook the departure hall, with the runway glimpsed beyond.
Previous tenant Virgin Australia had a real winner in the ‘My Lounge’. But though it’s a shame the airline has no plans to return to it, confirming to Executive Traveller that international lounges remain off the cards for now, its loss is other travellers’ gain.