Exclusive: Etihad Heathrow Terminal 4 lounge takeover by No 1 Lounges confirmed

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The Etihad Airways lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 is to become a No 1 Lounges facility.  The move is imminent, with the opening date potentially as early as Saturday.

Rumours of a switch were circulating over the weekend.  Etihad contacts of mine in Abu Dhabi have now exclusively confirmed that it is going ahead.

The switch is part of Etihad’s attempts to reduce its cost base in the face of recent losses.  The Heathrow Terminal 4 lounge has already seen the Six Senses spa removed and ‘pay to enter’ options for Economy Class passengers.

More recently, the Etihad lounge in Manchester Terminal 1 was handed back to the airport.  It is now being run as a premium ‘1903’ lounge – we covered that story here.

Etihad lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 to close

My understanding is that the Heathrow changes will go like this:

Etihad will continue to be the core user of the lounge, with Business Class, First Class and status passengers guaranteed access

No 1 Lounges will admit additional guests for cash as capacity allows

It is not clear yet if the lounge will be open for Priority Pass or Lounge Club guests, and if so whether it will be included in the list of No 1 Lounges where you can pay £5 to guarantee entry

Priority Pass cardholders (free with American Express Platinum, or buy one here) already have access to the impressive two-level SkyTeam Lounge in Terminal 4.  There is little benefit in using the Etihad facility instead unless flying with them, with the lounge is literally 30 seconds from the Etihad gates.  We reviewed the SkyTeam lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 here.

Both Priority Pass and Lounge Club (two free visits with the free American Express Preferred Rewards Gold) cardholders can also access the impressive Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 4.  I reviewed the Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 4 lounge here.  To be honest, it is a nicer space than the Etihad lounge and I don’t see any reason to switch even if you can.

Etihad lounge Heathrow Terminal 4 to switch to No 1 Lounges

What do I think?

I liked the Etihad Heathrow Terminal 4 lounge – my last review is here – but it was never as good as the Qatar Airways facility.  I imagine that the waiter-service dining will go.  My biggest concern is how passengers in the First Class Apartments or even The Residence private suite will be treated, since a No 1 Lounge running at full capacity is rarely a premium experience.

I think this move is disappointing and one which Etihad may, in time, regret.  It only takes a very small number of premium customers to move from Etihad to Qatar Airways or Emirates because they have a better Heathrow lounge to make the ‘savings’ from this switch disappear.

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  1. Jovanna says:

    Who bases their travel plans on the lounge?

    • BSI1978 says:

      It’s never the primary factor for me, but assuming a relatively LFL flight experience subject to carrier then it can sometimes make a difference. Particularly if travelling for holiday as the holiday begins at the airport!

    • People who read HFP!

      That’s why I did an article on BA T3 routes last year, at reader request.

    • the_real_a says:

      If you live a distance away from LHR it is very much a consideration. I often plan 3 hours of contingency for any travel drama… so provided the cost of flight was similar the lounge would definitely sway me.

  2. Bit of a shame. I quite liked the Etihad lounge and I do worry that No1 will struggle to compare in comparison. It feels to me like a bit of a false economy.

  3. Dominic says:

    The lounge itself closing isn’t the end of the world. It is very concerning to see the airline seemingly forced into a position where it has to make these kinds of cuts, however.

  4. I’ve just booked 2x Business to Male with Etihad ( non flexible ) for next month. I for one will be switching airlines in future if this is still in place next time I head east! Awful decision effecting it’s premium passengers! What are they thinking?

    I will vote with my feet!

  5. Preparation for their merger with EK no doubt.

  6. Not a bad result if you’re flying from terminal 4, otherwise have no lounge access and they do the bargain cheap entry plus virgin miles deal in this lounge

  7. O/T. Is there still a bonus for a supplementary cardholder on Amex Gold? I read there was but haven’t had it arrive several weeks later. Thanks

  8. OT: What is the bonus referring from Gold Amex to Plat? Is it the same 9000 points? Thank you.

  9. The lounge will be known as ‘The House Lounge.’

    This isn’t going to be just taking place at LHR, I know of at least 1 other airport where it is changing to No1.

    In answer to “Who bases their travel plans on the lounge?”

    I was at a well known airline in T3 when their lounge was extended/refurbished. I cannot begin to describe the uproar from the premium passengers whilst this was ongoing. Depending on airline/route/profile, I would say a lot of people.

    • Dominic says:

      As in, another Etihad lounge? Spill the beans?

      • Bonjour…

      • We have forced Etihad into making a public statement. It does say the London lounge will be called “The House – Home of Etihad Airways and Other Leading Airlines”. It also confirmed that ALL other lounges outside Abu Dhabi will be sold off.

        • “The airline says that other Etihad lounges around the world, beyond of its Abu Dhabi hub, could also be handed over to third-party operators, although a spokesman did not elaborate on the fate of Etihad’s lounges at Sydney, Melbourne, Paris, New York and Los Angeles.”

          For sure, Paris is going too.

          If LHR and CDG have gone, it is more than definite that SYD, MEL, JFK and LAX will go too.

  10. Nigel Gates says:

    Air Malta business class passengers used to use the LHR T4 Ettihad Lounge. Dies anyone know which lounge Air Malra will be using in future?

  11. OT: I switched from my old Amex Gold charge card to the Gold credit card a month or so ago and have been noticing many fewer offers available to me since. Has anyone else also made that card switch and noticed the same thing? Is there rhyme or reason to it or does the offer selection depend on a number of factors?

    • My Gold credit card has 4 offers on it whereas my platinum charge card has 30+.

  12. OT, but Vueling and earning Avios…. now that the non-BA Avios scheme has (sort of?) closed, how do I earn on Vueling? Can i just use my BAEX number now?? Thanks.

    • No, you need to open a Vueling Club account (or give them an Aer Lingus AerClub number). This will have a 3081xxxxxxxxxx number and you can log in at avios.com as you always did to spend your Avios or transfer them.

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