Helen and I recently upgraded from an American Express Gold card, to an American Express Platinum card. With this came a complimentary Priority Pass that provides us with access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world for free. I’ve been wanting a priority pass for some time now but struggled to justify the cost. However, with the benefits of upgrading to the platinum card from American Express, we found it to be worth it – for this year at least.
Which means we’re going to be doing A LOT of airport lounge reviews from different airports around the world. Airport lounges are in our opinion at least great value for money if you’re flying long haul or enjoy an alcoholic drink or two as a way to kick off your travels. Access to an airport lounge usually retails between £15 and £25 depending on the lounge you visit and different lounges offer different facilities and services.
In today’s review, we’re looking at Aspire Lounge 41 at Amsterdams Schiphol Airport. This isn’t our first experience in an Aspire lounge. In the past, we’ve been to the Aspire Lounge at Birmingham Airport, England. Aspire almost has 30 airport lounges within Europe, 2 of which are based in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport; this one (Lounge 41) and Lounge 26 which specialises in those flying to one of the Schengen countries.
Where To Find The Aspire Lounge 41 Inside Schiphol Airport Amsterdam
Let me start by saying… Schipol Airport is HUGE.
It wouldn’t feel quite as large if this airport had separate terminals, instead of everyone is thrown into one gigantic playpen of an airport meets shopping centre meets train station.
Aspire Lounge 41 is situated in the departures lounge once you’ve made it past security within ‘Lounge 2’ near the meditation centre and internet centre. You’ll see above head signs directing you through-out the airport to the lounge.
Aspire Lounge 41 is situated on the third floor of the airport so once you make it to the main area within lounge 2 here you’ll need to take the escalator to the second floor.
Once you get off you should see Starbucks situated on your right as well as a book centre and internet area to your left. Above your head, you should see signs for Airline lounges 40 and 41 (40 is the BA private lounge – by invitation only)
Head straight forward and then just before Frame turn right, here you’ll see stairs and two lifts that will be able to take you to floor 3.
Once you get out of the lift (or to the top of the stairs) at floor three you’ll see the BA Lounge (40) on your left. Walk straight forward past the toilets towards the Aspire Lounge 41.
Using Your Priority Pass in Amsterdam Airport
Despite a notice outside explaining about the busy periods in which Aspire Lounge 41 Schiphol Airport Amsterdam can experience we managed to get straight into the lounge (Tuesday 1.30pm – local time).
The staff behind the reception desk were welcoming and had no issues about accepting our priority pass. Here’s a quick look at the other forms of loyalty cards you can use at Lounge 41.
This lounge is without a doubt one of the biggest lounges I’ve been to in the world to date. As you arrive you’ll see the highly open plan reception area to your left with a small seating area (ideal for waiting for partners or finding your travel documents) to your right.
Once you’ve made it past reception you’ll find the long open plan lounge. On your right, you’ll find the amenities; food, toilets, magazines, departure screens etc.
On your left, you’ll see very large windows with a view out to the taxi-area and runway.
View from The Airport Lounge
I personally don’t believe that views from an airport lounge get any better than this one;
Through-out the lounge you’ll find a vast variety of seating arrangements and seat styles available;
As we chose to sit by the windows we were left with these weird pod style chairs. They weren’t as comfortable as I’d have liked but the view certainly made up for things.
All the seating area had ample power outlets;
Catering / Bar
We had a late lunch at Aspire Lounge 41 at Amsterdam Airport and was slightly disappointed by the lack of variety of foods available.
In this case, there was;
- A very small salad selection; tomatoes, cucumber, a range of coleslaw/sauces and leaves.
- Soup of the day
- tiny pizzas
- A small bowl of fruit; apples, oranges and bananas
- bags of crisps
- a tiny selection of biscuits
If the variety of foods wasn’t bad enough we found that despite the lounge only being around 30% capacity the food continued to run out. Especially the pizzas, they were so small most people were taking five or six at one time (this would equate to around 2 normal slices of pizza)
The drinks available inside Lounge 41 at Amsterdam airport were better with a range of soft drinks from a dispenser, self-pour spirits and beers as well as multiple coffee machines situated throughout the lounge.
Toilets & Showers
Male and female toilets are available within the airport lounge at the back right-hand side towards the smoking area. Showers are available upon request however they require an extra payment of €17.50 which in our opinion is frankly disappointing.
Basic internet services are available for free inside the 41 Airport lounge with premium packages being available for an additional cost. Despite 50% of those in the lounge at our time of visiting actively using an internet enabled device we experienced zero issues.
Despite the lounge being relatively open-plan, it is broken up at points with ‘half walls’ which have been used to embed televisions into either side. Each TV either showed the news ‘CNN’ or sports.
Books & Magazines
Just next to the service announcements board to the right of the lounge you’ll find a selection of newspapers and magazines. I personally couldn’t find any of interest during our visit.
Service announcements are not made over the tannoy within this lounge. However, there is one main board showing all the upcoming departures and any related information.
The reception staff at Aspire Lounge 41 inside Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport were great. However, my praise for the level of service within this lounge, unfortunately, ends there.
Again, during our three-hour visit to the lounge it remained at a capacity of around 30% and yet we found ourselves sitting with someone else’s empty dishes for the first 45 minutes of our visit. Despite me politely asking one of the staff upon arrival if these could be removed.
There was also a clear delay in proving replacement foods. Should a better variety of foods be available replacing the ‘main’ food options (basically, pizza and pasta) every 10 minutes wouldn’t be required.
By now I’m guessing you’ve realised I’m pretty laid back and chilled when it comes to things like this. In fact, it’s quite rare for me to really say too many negative things about anything – I’m so British!
Had this lounge been at a higher capacity – 70%+ then I probably would have mentioned these things but seemed much more forgiving. However, once again considering the level of capacity vs level of service I believe things could seriously be improved upon.
Aspire Lounge 41 Schipol Airport Amsterdam ended up being much more of a mixed bag than I first expected upon my arrival to the lounge. It benefits from the most fantastic view out onto the taxi-way of the airport but is let down by poor food choices and additional payments being required for additional services such as the showers.
Having not visited any of the other airport lounges at Schipol we’d love to know what you think. How does this compare to the other Schipol airport lounges? Let us know in the comments below.
Aspire Lounge 41 Schipol Airport Amsterdam benefits from one of the best views from a lounge I’ve ever experienced. However, it’s let down by poor food choices and the cost of additional facilities within the lounge.