The San Diego Aspire Lounge experience (lower your expectations lol)

The San Diego Aspire Lounge experience (lower your expectations lol)

Shoutout to each and every one of you who arrived here from Google just now after searching for an honest and in-depth review of the San Diego Aspire Lounge.

Oh, this is gonna be honest all right. The problem is that this isn’t the kind of lounge anyone should be going ‘in depth’ on.

Of all the lounges at the San Diego Airport, this one is the worst (by a lot). It’s always crowded, there’s no privacy, and the selection of free food and drinks is mediocre at best. I almost felt embarrassed for them as I was putting this review together.

My full review of the Aspire Lounge at the San Diego Airport

The Aspire Lounge is essentially the lounge for “everybody else” at SAN. Both the Delta Sky Club and United Club over in Terminal 2 West accommodate SkyTeam and Star Alliance passengers. The Aspire Lounge is for Oneworld passengers (British Airways, Japan Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines) – plus all the credit card (and Priority Pass) folk.

Main entrance to aspire lounge san diego airport
Seriously. You still have time to hit the back button on your browser before you see anything you can’t unsee.


The Aspire Lounge is technically located in Terminal 2 East. The entrance, however, is located in a small dark corridor that connects Terminal 2 East and West. The closest security checkpoint is the one for Terminal 2 East.

Aspire lounge location Terminal 2 SAN

Entrance door to the San Diego aspire lounge
You really want to see what’s behind this grimy entrance door? What kind of sick and twisted individual are you anyway?
Sanspotter inside the San Diego aspire lounge
“My health insurance covers cooties, right?” There’s really no telling what kind of flesh eating bacteria I just infected myself with after touching that filthy door just now.
San diego aspire lounge reception desk
Lots of activity here at the reception desk! This guy was either digging through his bag for hand sanitizer or a Priority Pass card (I couldn’t quite overhear the conversation).


All things considered, the single room layout of the SAN Aspire Lounge isn’t all that bad actually. At least it doesn’t have the same (lame) “waiting room” vibe of the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club at the Honolulu Airport.

Overview of the San Diego aspire lounge
This looks like a really nice lounge upon first glance doesn’t it? Stay with me – I promise you’ll have a ‘who farted?’ kind of grimace on your face by the end of this review.
San Diego aspire lounge open floor plan
Every. Seat. Taken. At least with the open floor plan, it’ll be easy to scan the room and realize (instantly) that you’ve made a grave mistake by coming in here.


It’s the seating situation is what I dislike the most about this lounge. It’s tight. And extremely awkward. Seriously, this is not a lounge where the introverted will feel comfortable! The seating configuration is very dense, and there are no private nooks and crannies anywhere. It basically represents everything I hate about airport lounges.

Crowded San Diego aspire lounge
Isn’t the purpose of an airline lounge to escape the hustle and bustle (and uncomfortable seating) found out in the main terminal? This is basically #loungefail if I’ve ever seen it.
San Diego aspire lounge seating layout
I will admit that there are some chairs in here that are softer than anything you’ll find out the main terminal. That said, I’m not interested if I have to endure the pain of listening to the person sitting inches away from me yap on the phone (most likely telling anyone who will listen about now much the Aspire Lounge sucks balls).
San diego aspire lounge sit by the window
I found an open seat next to the window! Normally I would avoid any spot that is littered with someone else’s trash, but it’s either this or finding a comfortable (and friendly) lap to sit on.
View of terminal 2 from San Diego aspire lounge
Speaking of windows, the view is definitely worthy of taking any window seat you can find (even if it’s littered with someone else’s cootie-ridden trash).
San Diego aspire lounge views of airplanes
Another shot of the amazing view. See? I’m not a total curmudgeon.


I know. I’ve been pooping really hard on the aspire lounge so far in this review, and I’m awfully tempted to keep going in that direction in regards to the food. But you know what? The current food situation is a lot better than it used to be (there is now a full self-serve snack bar consisting of fairly decent amount of substantial food items). This is important, because San Diego airport food has always been pretty good. At least they have made an attempt to keep up with the competition out in the main terminal. 

Location of self serve food bar san Diego aspire lounge
Let’s say you’re (un)comfortably seated, but your grumbling stomach is becoming too annoying to ignore. Do you get up and walk over to that self service food station (and risk losing your seat to a poacher)? The following pics will help you make that decision…
San Diego aspire lounge self serve food bar
Wait, what? All that space, and it appears that the only thing available to nibble on is walnuts, brown sugar, raisins, sunflower seeds, and ice. Oh – and some big green leafy foliage.
San Diego aspire lounge fresh fruit and drinks
A walk around to the other side reveals apples (something which I don’t think anybody has ever asked for in an airport lounge) and a complicated looking beverage machine (which I couldn’t figure out how to use).
San Diego aspire lounge breakfast food items
OK, now we’re talkin’! Nope – this selection of food is nowhere near as impressive as what you saw in my review of the LAX Amex Centurion Lounge. However, it’s really hard for me not to give a virtual high five to the manager on duty (the one who didn’t think twice about bringing out not one, but *two* huge bowls of stinky boiled eggs). 
San Diego aspire lounge breakfast cereal and juice
There’s cereal and juice on the other side. Because I was going to complement my boiled egg with yogurt and a small bowl of cereal this morning, I think now is a good time to mention that there were plenty of forks and knives available – but no spoons. **** me!
San Diego aspire lounge coffee and tea
Those of you who only require coffee or tea to get you going in the morning will be happy to know that there’s plenty of both (along with what appears to be plenty of tiny paper cups as well).
San Diego aspire lounge bar
Perhaps the nicest (and most extravagant) thing about this entire lounge is the bar. Fancy a Bloody Mary to wash down your sorrows about the lack of spoons? Don’t mind if I do!

How to get in

Getting into the SAN aspire lounge far too easy for my liking actually. There are far too many ways to get in, which results in consistent overcrowding at all hours of the day. These are the people you’ll be rubbing elbows with once inside:

  • The most common way is to have a Priority Pass membership.
  • Since it’s a common use lounge, having lounge credentials on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, or Japan Airlines will get you complimentary access.
  • Another easy way to get access to this lounge (and all Aspire lounges) is with the American Express Platinum card. This card comes with complimentary access for the cardholder and two guests. A pretty awesome perk IMHO – even if this one is mediocre at best.

Pros and cons of the San Diego Aspire Lounge

As you read through the list of pros and cons below, you should know that this is a lounge that I consistently avoid. It’s the only lounge at the San Diego Airport that I have easy access to (thanks to my Amex Platinum card) – but it’s also the only one I never have any desire to go in. I really wish it wasn’t this way!


  • It’s extremely easy to get in. They didn’t set the bar very high (which is rare for an airport lounge these days).
  • The selection of complementary food isn’t all that bad actually. At the very least, it’s better than it used to be.
  • The bar is impressive (and well-stocked) for an otherwise generic airport lounge.
  • Believe it or not, there are showers in this place. 
  • The windows are huge! Not only does this let in of natural light, it’s a great place to do a bit of plane spotting as well.


  • It’s always so flippin’ crowded (which is the result of being so lax on the entry requirements I suppose).
  • The extremely dense seating layout is far too awkward for me.
  • It doesn’t appear to be maintained all that well – which I can only assume is due to being understaffed.

Comments (10)

  1. Dave

    September 24, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      September 24, 2023
  2. jackcracker

    October 5, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 6, 2023
      • Hector Torres

        October 18, 2023
        • Scott (SANspotter)

          October 18, 2023
  3. Hector Torres

    October 18, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 18, 2023
  4. Ray

    October 25, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 25, 2023

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