Back in the Etihad First & Business Class lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4

This my review of the Etihad First and Business Class lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 4.

The good thing about getting the 9am Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi is that you arrive in the Middle East at a fairly sensible time.  The first British Airways flight to Dubai doesn’t depart until 12.55 which means a very late arrival and even later check-in at your hotel.

The downside of the 9am flight is that you need to get up early!  At 5am my driver was outside my house.  I could have pushed my pick-up back to 6am but I wanted to try out the Instamiles app as well as visiting the lounge.

Etihad Guest (and Emirates Skywards, as we will see later this week) include their chauffeur car service on redemptions in First Class and Business Class.  The only exception is when you book an Etihad redemption via a partner such as American Airlines.

Virgin Atlantic, for comparison, does not include its chauffeur service when you book an Upper Class redemption.  You can redeem an additional 17,500 miles each way to add a car but that is only likely to be of value if you live at the far end of their catchment area.

The Etihad car was not the fanciest I have ever been sent by an airline but it was punctual.  A few minutes after setting off, my driver received a call from Etihad to ask if I required a concierge to meet me at the kerb and escort me through the airport.  As I had no baggage to check in and had my boarding pass on the Etihad smartphone app, I declined.  Arriving at Terminal 4 I headed straight to security, which was deserted, and was soon airside.

The Etihad lounge is situated to your right as your enter the terminal, directly underneath the huge SkyTeam lounge.  (I reviewed the Heathrow Terminal 4 SkyTeam lounge here, which also happens to be a Priority Pass facility).

Etihad has recently started allowing Economy passengers to use its lounge at a cost of £45 per person (see this article).  This isn’t cheap but – assuming you take advantage of their waiter-service food – it isn’t terrible value if you have no other lounge access.

The lounge

Etihad has taken the ‘small but classy’ approach to their lounge.

It could, to be honest, be a little larger.  All of the Etihad services from Heathrow are now A380 so, when you add in the number of First and Business Class seats plus Etihad status members, you have quite a few people who are allowed access.  The Etihad lounge is also used by other airlines in which the group has an economic interest, such as Air Malta and Air Serbia.

This is the area to your right as you enter:

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

Just out of sight here is the childrens room which is, given the overall size of the lounge, pretty decent:

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

On the other side as you enter is the bar.   As it still very early I didn’t feel like taking a stool:

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

If you need to work there is very small business area tucked away in a corner:

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

The seating around the corner by the buffet is more leisurely:

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

Food and drink

Tucked into a room to your left behind the bar is a buffet.  This contains (and I quote from the menu):

  • home baked breads, viennoiserie and local preserves
  • cereals
  • Severn & Wye smoked salmon and turkey ham
  • blueberry muffins
  • Littletown dairy natural and fruit yoghurt
  • seasonal fresh fruits
  • selection of British cheeses

It looks like this:

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

There is, however, no need to order from the buffet as a separate waiter-service breakfast is available.  Because the menus are not left on the tables you may not be aware that this is an option – only when you sit down does a member of staff appear with the menu.

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

A la carte breakfast options are:

  • eggs, cooked to your preference, with optional chicken sausages, turkey rahsers, grilled tomato, baked beans, sauteed button mushrooms or foul medames
  • shakshuka
  • eggs benedict with turkey rashers
  • Belgian waffle with fresh fruit
  • organic porridge with caramelised bananas and honey

I went for a waffle and an eggs benedict, which they made with salmon at my request:

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t on a par with the breakfast served in the Qatar Airways lounge on the other side of Terminal 4.  The orange juice did not appear to be fresh despite having a slice of fresh orange floating in it.  It was minor differences in food temperature, taste and portion size (that it not the biggest eggs benedict ever in the photo) that meant I didn’t get the same ‘wow this is good’ feeling that I’ve always had from Qatar.

The spa

The good news is that the Etihad lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 has a spa, run by the renowned Six Senses group.  The bad news is that treatments are no longer free unless you are travelling First Class or are a top-tier Etihad Guest.

A therapist walks around the lounge inviting people to book treatments.  I was not best pleased on asking ‘are treatments free?’ to be told ‘ only if you are flying in First Class’ – with the undertone that I probably wasn’t.

As I was, I booked myself a 15-minute neck and shoulder massage that would otherwise have cost £15.  Having suffered a bang to the head in Austria in February (I am the only person who is capable of going on a skiing holiday, not skiing but still injuring himself!) I had some residual muscle pain around my shoulders and this did a good job of easing it off.

Etihad lounge review London Heathrow

Video

Here is a short video of the Etihad lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4.  If you can’t see it, click the YouTube icon in the sidebar (desktop / tablet) to visit our YouTube channel and watch it.

Conclusion

The Etihad lounge at Heathrow remains an impressive facility, with better food, higher quality staff, a better kids room and a better spa than any British Airways lounge.  I feel that they need to up their game a little with the a la carte breakfast food, however, which is not as impressive as the presentation implies.

Charging for spa treatments has also taken an edge of a visit here for business class passengers.  Virgin Atlantic, for example, still has a small range of free treatments including haircuts at its Heathrow Clubhouse even though there are more complex paid treatments as well.

The Qatar Airways lounge in Terminal 4 which I reviewed here still has the edge for me.  Both Etihad and Qatar are better than the Emirates lounge in Terminal 3, however, which is too busy and only offers buffet food irrespective of which class you are flying.

You can find out more about Etihad lounge on their website here, including the ‘pay for entry’ scheme, on their website here.

If you want to read my review of Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment, click here.

Bits: BA long haul buy-on-board confusion, interesting Accor / Economist deal
What is the best hotel scheme? - Hilton Honors - The Opinion
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Comments

  1. As it might be useful for some readers, applying for the Amex Platinum complimentary Gold in advance appears to gives you a soft landing if you have a Diamond status match:
    – I had Diamond status (matched to free Accor platinum) until March 2017
    – Since I had a Amex Platinum last year, I applied for the complimentary Gold despite being Diamond at the time
    – Cancelled Amex Platinum in December 2016
    – Last month, I dropped from Diamond to Gold (should have been Silver based on my stays)

  2. the real harry1 says:

    for thoe hat were wondering: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ful_medames

  3. What radius does the driver operate to?

    • It’s 100 miles. Anything over that is paid directly to driver (either cash or card). I live in Nottingham and in March the extra 40 miles resulted in £80 charge each way.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      On the other end, it was ‘anywhere in the UAE’ last time I checked.

    • I live 97.4 miles from LHR (according to AA) so would be useful if they ever fly to somewhere I want to go.

  4. Is it just me or is anyone else not digging the ground product by etihad? I’m sure in the air its a great offering but the average car and average lounge food and looks makes me want to stick to qatar.

    • Qatar don’t give you a car at all! EY lounge still better than Emirates by a wide margin if you want classy and quiet.

    • James A says:

      This. When I flew EY F the aircraft and on board service was top notch, but the ground product at LHR is way below that. Ground facilities at AUH are vastly better though.

  5. “Etihad Guest (and Emirates Skywards, as we will see later this week) include their chauffeur car service on redemptions in First Class and Business Class. The only exception is when you book an Etihad redemption via a partner such as American Airlines.”

    When did this change I had the chauffeur service twice last year using AA miles.

    • Longer than last year. Was it reversed? Will check.

      • Whiskerxx says:

        I got the chauffeur to and from London, Beijing and Bangkok using AA miles on Etihad In July last year

    • I’m sure it changed for new bookings from August last year. Our redemption was booked days before the AA devaluation and the chauffeur booking was made soon after. This meant that even though we travelled in March this year the booking was honoured. According to AA forum on FT, a number of people had their car booking cancelled when Etihad changed times of flights or they amended the ticket themselves.
      There are also rumours that Etihad is stopping the free chauffeur service for all bookings. Apparently the only chauffeur service will be within UAE and nothing at any other location.

  6. barnaby100 says:

    Odd choice of toys in the children room.

  7. I spent a couple of hours here last year over lunchtime. It’s a very nice lounge and close to the gates that Etihad depart from, though it is quite small (although i can’t imagine it ever gets that busy). I hadn’t realised there was an a la carte option in the dining area – i just ate from the self-serve section with the comfy chairs. Next time….

    Shakshuka = N. African and now Israeli. I guess hard to find much that is genuinely from the Gulf given the tiny population. Ful is Egyptian.

  8. We did it from Oakham yesterday, the excess charge was 29.40. They arranged a Mercedes MPV, it was a very good trip down to Heathrow.
    Lounge is very good, service also good. We were in there for quite a while and forgot we were in the terminal. Massage was very good.
    Have to say it was a very good trip. Arrived at the Marriott Lapita hotel, next to Legoland and water park. Only staying 1 night on the way to the atlantis, have to say, though, initial impressions of the hotel and room are very good 😉

  9. Unfortunately I think your information re the chauffeur service is wrong. Unless its been recently changed, there is no chauffeur service based on Etihad Guest status. This used to be the situation, but changed a few years ago. I have Platiunum status, and if I book a cheap business class ticket, there is no offer of a car service, and trying to book online you are blocked and it says the fare doesn’t qualify.. You need to book the higher fare class to have access to this service. Additionally, I just used miles for a “free” first class round-trip on Etihad from London to Sydney, and paid part miles / part cash (Etihad Guest allows you to spend 25% cash and save miles). The cash component used to earn miles when you flew, but I just discovered this is no longer the case. Etihad apparently changed the rules in January, and typically, never told anyone. Even today 11 April, you can go to their website and book without being told, and other pages on their site quote that this is a unique feature of their program etc. How is a pax supposed to know things when they are changed without advice, and when their websites are never updated? Some of their pages even refer to Eithad Gold Elite status – a status level which disappeared to become Platinum about 2-3 years ago – but some of their website is still not updated..It’s a great airline, particularly in business and first class, but they do have a habit of changing things without telling you, making offers and then continually changing the rules of the offer while its still open, switching the operating aircraft – but keeping the same aircraft and seat map – but totally removing the seat you booked months beforehand.

  10. Great review. I was massively out off trying EY F as they kept switching my aircraft to the non Apartment product. Maybe worth another try.

  11. Andrew says:

    Agree this is a much better product than the Emirates lounge. On both occasions, I had a BMW 520d pick me up (albeit basis spec). The lunch/dinner food (on the 2pm/8pm departures I did) included seafood so would appear better than the breakfast offerings. Also, if you’re a sports person, the A380 streamed live premier league games with no buffering and no lag.

    OT- I passed through Qatar and used their lounge for Saphire oneworld members (nb not the same as Qatar business lounge), very poor food (cold offerings with only soup as a hot option) and very crowded. Shower facilities ok though.

  12. NigelM says:

    Good review!
    Typo: turkey rahsers

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