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Review: the SkyTeam and Priority Pass lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4

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This is my review of the SkyTeam lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

EDIT: This lounge was permanently closed in 2021.  It is possible it will reopen at some point under new management but you cannot use it at present.

It is over four years since I last reviewed the SkyTeam lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal 4 so I thought it was time to go back.

Very surprisingly, despite being an ‘official’ airline lounge, the SkyTeam lounge is also part of Priority Pass.  This is fantastic news for American Express Platinum card holders, as they now have free unlimited access for themselves and up to three guests (if you are travelling with your supplementary cardholder) to a high quality space.

As you will see, though, I would be tempted to choose the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 4 instead, which I reviewed here.  Plaza Premium is also your only option if you have a free Lounge Club pass via American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.

You can also buy one-off day passes for the SkyTeam lounge via the Lounge Pass website.

Overview

As you would expect from the flagship Heathrow lounge for the entire SkyTeam airline alliance, a serious amount of money has been spent here.  Unfortunately, at least at 7am in the morning, you could almost see the tumbleweed blowing across the floor.

A few years ago Delta moved its flights from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3 to co-locate with its partner Virgin Atlantic.  This seems to have sucked the life out of T4.  It is now driven, in terms of passenger numbers, by Qatar Airways and Etihad.  Whilst Qatar Airways sends its non-Business Class passengers with status to SkyTeam, the lounge is still virtually dead.

I looked at the departure board.  Between 8am and 8pm, there were just 45 departures.  A lot of these were short haul and many were non-SkyTeam flights.  The lounge, at least during the morning, does not have the passenger numbers to fill it.  It wasn’t very busy back in 2014 but now it is virtually deserted.

The first thing to note is that the lounge is very big, over two levels.  At 7am on a Tuesday, the huge lower level had effectively been abandoned.  Food was only available upstairs and the buffet area downstairs lay empty, as did the bar:

No food here …..

…. and no people either:

The key design feature here is plants.  There is a lot of (real) greenery behind the seating which is slightly surreal but not ineffective:

The only areas of interest downstairs were the Clarins spa area:

…. and the decent newspaper selection.

There is also a small private area which I imagine is reserved for First Class passengers on long haul flights:

Back in 2014 there were some cabanas / day rooms and a yoga room.  I didn’t see these on my latest visit – I’m not sure if I missed them or if they have been removed.

Here is part of the breakfast buffet upstairs:

Unfortunately it was a very weak selection.  Think of the food you’d expect on the breakfast buffet at a Holiday Inn and you’ll get the picture.

Of course, when you only have this many customers to serve …..:

and

….. you can’t blame them for skimping.

Conclusion

When my inbox is continually filled with complaints from readers who cannot get into Priority Pass lounges in Gatwick, Luton and Stansted due to overcrowding, it is weird to visit a lounge at a major London terminal which is running at literally 5% of capacity during the morning peak.

At the very least, SkyTeam should open it up to Lounge Club members.  I’m slightly surprised that the upstairs area has not been closed and handed back to the airport, or offered to another operator – Aspire does not have a Terminal 4 lounge, for example.

If you were travelling First Class on SkyTeam you would be unimpressed.  For a Priority Pass lounge, it is worth a visit although you would have a better time in the newer Plaza Premium lounge at the other end of the terminal.  This is a far smaller lounge – perhaps 20% of the size – but on my last visit the food was far better and it has a lot more life.

If you plan to visit the SkyTeam lounge and do not have a Priority Pass you can book entrance in advance for cash via the Lounge Pass website.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a special 30,000 points sign-up bonus until 9th November 2021.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (26)

  • Roger says:

    I will be visiting this in a couple of week’s time.
    Any complimentary spa offers for Sky Team elite flying on Sky Team J?

    • Rob says:

      Not sure, sorry. Seemed dead when I was there with no-one on reception.

    • Craig says:

      I flew Qatar last October and went into the SkyTeam lounge to ask about a spa treatment. I was given a time slot an hour later, so returned after a few cocktails in the Qatar lounge. They only have one treatment available, but I’m not complaining as it’s free and I got a slot!

  • Stuart says:

    I have used this lounge many times and, yes, the morning (7am in your review) is quiet but then there’s just the AF/KL/AZ flights for SkyTeam. Go in the early evening when you also have the SkyTeam flights to Asia (KE to ICN, CZ to CAN/WUH/SYX, GA to DPS and MU to PVG) along with the SkyTeam European flights AF/KL/AZ/SU and I have found it to be packed and only bothered with a post-work/pre-flight shower since there’s no seating to even have a drink at.

  • Russell Evans says:

    I use it (via LoungeKey or Priority pass) on evening (20.30) departures to Malta, frequently. I prefer it to the Plaza Premium lounge at the other end of the terminal. Evening food offering is usually pretty good and in my experience is better than the T5 Galleries Club lounges. It’s always very busy in the evenings, both floors, and they tend to close the downstairs earlier so as soon as we arrive we always head up the stairs. Drinks are pretty good too, there are a selection of wines, beers and spirits. They also have a bottle or two of cava in the fridge for self pouring which is a nice touch.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    I don’t stay in many Holiday Inns but I’m pretty sure the ones I’ve been to in the UK have offered a full breakfast buffet (sausage, bacon, hash browns, sometimes black pudding) whereas in your photo I could only see scrambled eggs, beans and tomato.

    • Tom1 says:

      Holiday Inn express tends to be more limited. Sausage/bacon/scrambled normally.
      Holiday Inn you get a wider choice but it’s not free.

  • Alex Sm says:

    “Aspire does not have a Terminal 3 lounge, for example.“

    Did you mean Terminal 4?

  • rj24 says:

    “It is now driven, in terms of passenger numbers, by Qatar Airways and Etihad.”

    Have Etihad started sending passengers to the Sky Team lounge? I thought they had rebranded their lounge (The House?) underneath the Sky Team lounge in partnership with No. 1 Lounges?

  • Lynn Ako says:

    I am surprised by this review as I have used this lounge quite a few times when travelling through T4. The breakfast offering is usually a full breakfast plus yoghurt’s, waffles and other pastries. Shame your picture didn’t show the whole buffet bar. Usually busy with passengers too.

    “Very surprisingly, despite being an ‘official’ airline lounge, the SkyTeam lounge is also part of Priority Pass” – I don’t think the Skyteam Lounge is part of Priority Pass although Priority Pass members can use it.
    I have to say my experience using the lounge and the spa have been very positive each time. I haven’t tried the premium Plaza lounge myself but would recommend the Skyteam Lounge.

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