United reveals Newark Polaris Lounge

United has revealed details of its new Polaris lounge for premium international passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport which opens on Monday 4 June 2018.

London Air Travel » Lounges

United Polaris Lounge Entrance Newark Liberty International Airport (Image Credit: United Airlines)
United Polaris Lounge Entrance Newark Liberty International Airport (Image Credit: United Airlines)

United has today, Thursday 31 May 2018, released press images of its latest international lounge under the “Polaris” brand at Terminal C of Newark Liberty International Airport.

At 27,000 sq ft in size, the lounge features:

– A light installation in the entrance by Richard Clarkson

– Seating for 455 passengers across 15 different types of seats including the Polaris seat which features a privacy divider, an integrated table and personal lamp

– No less than 570 power outlets and 450 USB ports

– 10 private day beds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding

– 10 shower suites with Cowshed bath & body products

– A private dining area with table service for 48 guests

– Self-service buffet

– A staffed bar with a dedicated cocktail menu

The lounge officially opens to passengers on Monday 4 June 2018. It follows a recent Polaris lounge opening in San Francisco. New Polaris lounges are due to open in Houston and Los Angeles later this year. United will open a new Polaris lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 2 in the next couple of years.

Under United lounge access rules passengers must be travelling in business or first class on an international flight on United Airlines or a Star Alliance member airline to be eligible to access the lounge.

The lounge does make United a much stronger competitor on the London – New York route. It is relatively weak in terms of frequency with 5 flights a day versus 16 joint American Airlines & BA flights, and 9 joint Delta & Virgin Atlantic flights.

It certainly raises the bar for BA at New York JFK Terminal 7, where it is due to open new lounges later this year. Many readers may recall United once had a lounge at JFK Terminal 7 which was dimly lit with terrible coffee.

More general information on the Polaris airport and in-flight experience is available at United.
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BA opens new Aberdeen lounge

British Airways has opened a new lounge in Aberdeen, the second lounge after Rome to showcase its new lounge concept.

London Air Travel » Lounges

British Airways lounge at Aberdeen International Airport (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways lounge at Aberdeen International Airport (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

British Airways has this week opened its new lounge in Aberdeen.

It follows a similar design aesthetic to its recently opened Rome Fiumicino airport. As with Rome there is a distinctly Scandinavian feel. It is a sharp contrast to the rest of BA’s lounge portfolio.

At 380 m2 in size, the lounge features a wide variety of seating options, with views of the runway. The centrepiece of the lounge is a self-pour granite topped bar. BA also promises food appropriate to the time of day.

The lounge also includes posters and art work from the airline’s collection and “The Long Winding Shores” by artist Maddie Rose Hills.

As is clear from the images below, there is no shortage of powerpoint throughout the lounge.

The new lounge is part of a rolling worldwide lounge refurbishment programme at BA.

Passengers travelling in Club Europe and Executive Club Silver and Gold cardholders are eligible to use the lounge. BA flies from London Heathrow to Aberdeen up to eight times daily.
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American Airlines London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge Review

Our review of the recently refurbished American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3, which is also open to eligible passengers flying on British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

London Air Travel » Lounges

American Airlines Arrivals Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

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.

American Airlines has long had an arrivals lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3 and this week we had our first visit since the lounge closed for refurbishment in 2016.
Continue reading “American Airlines London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge Review”

Qantas opens London Heathrow lounge

Qantas has opened its first dedicated lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

London Air Travel » Lounges

Qantas London Heathrow Lounge (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

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.

Qantas London Heathrow Lounge (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

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BA “refreshes” its London Heathrow Concorde Room

BA has “refreshed” its Concorde Room First Class lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5.

London Air Travel » Lounges

British Airways’ Concorde Room at Terminal 5, London Heathrow on 07 November 2017 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

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.
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BA’s lounge plans for Heathrow, the UK, Europe, USA & South Africa

BA is to refurbish lounges at Heathrow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Geneva, Rome, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami & Johannesburg airports.

London Air Travel » Lounges

British Airways Lounge - London Gatwick South Terminal
British Airways Lounge – London Gatwick South Terminal (Credit: British Airways)

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.

Continue reading “BA’s lounge plans for Heathrow, the UK, Europe, USA & South Africa”

The delayed BA lounges at Gatwick are now open

London Air Travel » Lounges

British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)

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.

British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, South Terminal, London Gatwick (Image Credit: British Airways)

Virgin Atlantic unveiles its new London Gatwick Clubhouse

Virgin Atlantic has opened a new Clubhouse lounge in London Gatwick’s North Terminal.

London Air Travel » Lounges

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

Here is the spa treatment menudining menu and cocktail menu.

First impressions are that the lounge looks bright, spacious and, at least when the weather’s good, the floor-to-ceiling window views should put passengers in the right frame of mind for a holiday.

Here are some official pictures released by Virgin Atlantic:

Passengers travelling in Virgin’s Upper Class cabin and Flying Club gold cardholders are eligible to access the lounge.

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Gatwick to Antigua, Barbados, Cancun, Grenada, Havana, Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Orlando, St Lucia, Tobago and Varadero.

Virgin Atlantic’s Hong Kong Clubhouse is to close from Sunday 5 February 2017

Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse lounge in Hong Kong has closed.

London Air Travel » Lounges

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Hong Kong
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Hong Kong (Image Credit; Virgin Atlantic)

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.

The Plaza Premium lounge is located near Gate 40 on Level 7, Departures level of Terminal 1. The lounge is open 24 hours a day. Facilities include showers, a bar, and a private resting area.
Continue reading “Virgin Atlantic’s Hong Kong Clubhouse is to close from Sunday 5 February 2017”

BA to open new lounges in Gatwick’s South Terminal on 25 January 2017

London Air Travel » Lounges

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

In January 2017 there will be a significant re-organisation at London Gatwick. easyJet will consolidate all of its operations in London Gatwick’s North Terminal. In order to faciliate this move both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will swap terminals. BA will move the from North to South terminal, and Virgin Atlantic vice versa.

BA’s lounges in the North Terminal have long been closed due to construction work with passengers being required to use the No 1 lounges as an interim measure.

Details of what BA lounge arrangements there will be in the South Terminal for business and first class passengers and Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders have long been anticipated.

BA has now confirmed some initial information, short of releasing final images of the lounge, for both check-in and lounge facilities.

Check-in and security

  • There will be dedicated premium check- in area in Zone A of the terminal for Club Europe, Club World, First Class and Silver & Gold Executive Cardholders.  This will feature dedicated seating, power outlets and bespoke furnishing.
  • There will be a dedicated premium security facility on Level 3 of the South terminal.

Lounges

  • Capacity for 477 passengers, which BA say is 40% larger than the former North terminal lounge
  • A separate First Class lounge with upgraded seating, finishes and lighting. It is assumed that Gold cardholders will have access to this lounge as some recent BA lounge developments in Dubai and Singapore feature a “Concorde Bar” for passengers ticketed in First Class only
  • Floor to ceiling windows with views of the runway
  • A “beautifully curved” staircase overlooking the main lounge
  • Full kitchen facilities in both lounges giving an upgraded food & beverage offering. Details of menus are to confirmed
  • A ‘kidszone’ room for children
  • Shower facilities

We will post images of the lounges as soon as they are released.

It is also worth mentioning that prior to the formal switch of flights on 25 January 2017 some flights will move in advance on a trial basis.

Update 25 January 2017

Whilst the Terminal switch has taken place today, 25 January, the opening of the lounges has been delayed.  In the interim, passengers travelling in Club Europe, Club World and Silver Executive Club card holders can use s temporary “Speedbird” lounge. Passengers travelling in First Class and Gold Executive Club cardholders can use the third party No 1 lounges.

Update 7 February 2017

It is understood that both of the lounges have now undergone a “soft” opening. However, not all facilities and amenities 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

It is understood that the new lounges are now fully open and operational and therefore the temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.