Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 (December 2022)

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four 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 four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

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

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Rob mc says:

    OT is the new lounge in the Gatwick South Terminal open for those with priority pass? I can’t see it on the app and No1 definitely won’t be letting people in without paying the £5 fee as they will be “fully booked”

    • Polly says:

      Grain store is fabulous and you can re use the PP again after a first go with it, and stock up at the counter…really nice but expensive stuff to buy with the card…menu really nice.

      • Rob mc says:

        Thanks Polly. Will go to the grain store but like to go to the lounge as well.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      They don’t accept PP unfortunately.

      I went in yesterday having paid 15 GBP with 400 Virgin miles offer. I quite liked the set up in there but the food wasn’t great, just breakfast stuff until 12pm on the dot by which time most people were on alcoholic drinks and looking for nibbles.

      Pleased I read the HFP review before going there, I went prepared with some plastic cutlery to avoid the wooden utensils (sad I know!).

      They had the capacity tracker up on their computer when I went in and they seem to have been at 60-70% so far this week, so don’t think it gets overcrowded there yet.

    • paul says:

      Managed to get into no1 yesterday using PP at 6.30 am…we always fly early from Gatwick so touch wood normally can get in. We had eaten at the grain store first tho 🙂

  • Roger says:

    Rob.

    Is this a TYPO? Third Para
    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 to a high quality space.

    Thought you can only have one free guest per PP, so you need a platinum supplementary card to take 2 additional guests.

    • paul says:

      That’s what he means, he is assuming one of the three guests is also a supp…

  • marcw says:

    Did you not enjoy the oxygen bar?

  • Yawn says:

    Interesting. Last time I was there, which was around lunchtime during the Christmas holidays it was quite full and I struggled to get a seat by the window. Agree that it is a bit lacking in character, but I’d choose it over the overcrowded BA lounges at T5 any day.

  • Max says:

    Thanks for the article. I was there last Friday afternoon and it was actually very busy over the two floors with only a few seats remaining, so quite a lot of people given how big the lounge is. I agree with the poor food selection though.

  • Phil Huff says:

    I’ve enjoyed this lounge a few times, but always before a Korean Air flight to Seoul. At that point it really does get busy, with one level (usually the lower level) often being full. Food and drink is served on both floors at that point. That’s the real peak, I’d imagine.

    Never tried the Plaza Premium lounge in T4 as I’m always catching up with colleagues in the SkyTeam lounge. I’ll pop in next time.

  • Lili says:

    I was there a few months ago in the evening and it was quite packed. Judging by other comments here, maybe your visit was a fluke rather than the norm? I can confirm food was not amazing but better than many outside of London BA lounges (although, admittedly, that does not set the bar very high).

  • Empers says:

    I visited this lounge just before Christmas for an early morning short haul flight to Rome. Rob certainly captures my experience of the lounge. The breakfast offering was bland and looked worse than you would find at most budget hotels. I saw one lady stand at the buffet counter for 15 minutes waiting for some form of fried or scrambled egg to be replenished, as both dishes were empty. The staff really were invisible, not in a good way!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.