One of the many unique things about London Heathrow is the sheer number of arrivals lounges.
Outside of London arrivals lounges are few and far between. The only lounges that immediately spring to mind are Cathay Pacific’s The Arrival in Hong Kong, Lufthansa’s Arrivals Lounge in Frankfurt and South African Airways’ Arrivals Lounge in Johannesburg.
At Heathrow, it’s a different story. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Star Alliance offer arrivals lounges at their respective hubs in Terminals 5, 3 and 2. Plaza Premium also offer paid-for arrivals lounges at Terminals 2, 3, and 4.
Qantas has officially opened its new lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3. The lounge opens to passengers on Wednesday 29 November 2017.
Designed by Woods Bagot the lounge is split over two levels and features:
– An at seat dining area with a la carte menus
– Hot and cold buffet food
– A marble cocktail bar, overlooked by a brass chandelier
– A separate gin bar
– An all day barista coffee service
– A “Quench” hydration station with tisane, fruit infused water, sparkling water
– Six shower suites
As you can see from the pictures and video below wood and marble feature extensively throughout. Whilst Qantas lounges outside of Australia are relatively few and far between this is a typically high quality addition.
The lounge is open from 8am to 8.30pm daily. Passengers flying business and first class on Oneworld airlines are eligible to enter the lounge as are Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald cardholders. Qantas Club members and Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold customers are also eligible.
BA has undertaken, to use its lexicon, a “refresh” of its Concorde Room at London Heathrow Terminal 5.
There are no structural changes to the lounge as such. The basic layout and services in the lounge remain the same. The main changes are the reulphostering of furniture and changes to the layout of the terrace area with the addition of new sofas, day loungers and cabanas. And duck feet lamps.
A set of press images and video is below.
To quote those well known Australian cultural commentators Kath & Kim: “It’s nice. It’s different. It’s unusual.”
On related news, London Heathrow Terminal 5 has gained its second paid-for access lounge with the opening of a Plaza Premium lounge.The lounge is next to Gate A7 in the main terminal. The lounge is open from 05:00 to 22:00 daily. It promises views of the runway, showers, and a full bar and fresh food. No press pictures are available but Plaza Premium has built up a highly regarded portfolio of lounges at London Heathrow so it should impress. Continue reading “BA “refreshes” its London Heathrow Concorde Room”
BA held a press event yesterday for a select number of travel journalists and bloggers (though someone at The Daily Telegraph clearly did not get an invitation).
Under the curious title of “#BAInvesting4U” journalists were ferried from London Gatwick to London Heathrow via a three and a half four flight on a brand new Boeing 787-900.
The whole event was something of a rearguard action in response to negative press coverage and a narrative of cut backs and service failures.
In truth much of what was announced today is known already: BA has opened new lounges at Gatwick, a new security channel for First Class passengers and BA Executive Club Gold Cardholders at London Heathrow, it’s adding WiFi and revamping its Club World service with a new seat to come with the Airbus A350 in 2019.
You can read BA’s take on yesterday’s announcements at ba.com
One point that did catch our attention is BA’s new lounge refurbishment programme.
There has been a lot of interest in the planned new British Airways lounges at London Gatwick’s South Terminal which, from today, is BA’s new home at Gatwick.
The lounges were planned to open today, Wednesday 25 January 2017. However, this has been delayed.
It is understood that construction work is complete and the official line from BA is that it is hoped that the lounges will open “soon”.
In the interim, passengers travelling in First Class on any flight and Gold Executive Club cardholders can use the third party operated No 1 Clubrooms.
In addition, all passengers travelling to Jersey, New York JFK and Bermuda who are eligible for lounge access can use this lounge. However, this will be subject to capacity constraints.
All other passengers who are eligible to access lounges (e.g. Club Europe, Club World and Silver Executive Club cardholders) can use a temporary “Speedbird” lounge operated by BA.
If you are flying BA from Gatwick you should be handed a letter at check-in explaining these options.
It is obviously disappointing that the new lounges are not open today. However, the problems associated with its opening do not seem insurmountable.
Update 7 February 2017
It is understood that the new lounges have undergone a “soft” opening ahead of a formal launch. However, not all facilities may be available at all times.
The new Club lounge is open from 05:15 until the last flight has departed. Passengers travelling in Club World on any long-haul flight and Club Europe to Jersey, and all British Airways Executive Club Silver cardholders travelling on long-haul flights or to Jersey are eligible to use the lounge.
The new First lounge is open from 07:00 until 20:00 and all passengers travelling in First Class and all British Airways Executive Club Gold cardholders are eligible to use the lounge. If there capacity constraints passengers will be invited to use the No 1 Club rooms.
All other passengers, e.g. those travelling in Club Europe to other than Jersey and on Business U.K. tickets and British Airways Executive Club Silver cardholders travelling on short-haul flights other than Jersey will be invited to use the temporary Speedbird lounge.
Update 20 February 2017
It is understood that the new lounges are now fully operational and all other temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.
Today, 25 January 2017, sees a significant reorganisation at London Gatwick. easyJet has consolidated its operations in the North Terminal.
To accommodate this move, British Airways has moved from the North Terminal to the South Terminal. Virgin Atlantic has moved from the South Terminal, its home at Gatwick since the airline first launched in 1984, to the North Terminal.
This move of course means new lounges for both BA and Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic has today opened its new Clubhouse in the North Terminal. It is located on level 4 of the terminal, after security.
Lounge features include:
A marble bar offering complimentary drinks including bespoke cocktails from East London bar The White Lyan
A complimentary to order brunch menu featuring popular staples such as Eggs Benedict
Floor to ceiling windows with views of the airport’s apron
A woodland themed play area for younger travellers
A Clubhouse spa with a selection of complimentary treatments such as facials and paid for treatments such as wet shaves and massages. The spa is open from 7.00am to 12:30pm
Virgin Atlantic has long been known for its small, but distinctive, portfolio of Clubhouse lounges around the world. That portfolio will be a little smaller shortly as its Clubhouse at Hong Kong International Airport is to close from Sunday 5 February 2017.
The reason for the closure is that the lease on the space occupied by the clubhouse has come up for renewal and Virgin Atlantic has decided not to renew the lease for reasons of cost.
Passengers travelling in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin and Flying Club Gold members will be able to use the third party Plaza Premium lounge.