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.
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:
Just out of sight here is the childrens room which is, given the overall size of the lounge, pretty decent:
On the other side as you enter is the bar. As it still very early I didn’t feel like taking a stool:
If you need to work there is very small business area tucked away in a corner:
The seating around the corner by the buffet is more leisurely:
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
- 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:
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.
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
- 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:
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 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.
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.
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.
If you want to read my review of Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment, click here.
How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (June 2021)
Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Etihad Guest miles
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 5,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.
Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent).