Pre-covid, we used to describe Heathrow Terminal 4 as having more high quality airport lounges than any other airport terminal in the world adjusted for passenger numbers.
With only around 50 flights per day, there was no doubt that it had an impressive ‘great lounges to flights’ ratio.
Whilst Terminal 4 may soon re-open to passenger traffic, with the ‘Red List’ expected to shrink aggressively this week (T4 is currently reserved for ‘Red List’ arrivals), we will not see all of the existing lounges return.
Business Traveller reported yesterday that the SkyTeam lounge will not return. The lease has expired so this seems pretty final unless a third party takes it on. An image is above.
We can also confirm that the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge will not be back. Our review of the Malaysia Airlines lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 is here.
The SkyTeam lounge was one of the largest in Heathrow, spreading over two levels. Our last review of the SkyTeam lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 is here. It was a little eclectic in decor and facilities but was a more than satisfactory place to spend time.
Air France and KLM have now moved to Terminal 3. The two airlines have their joint venture with Virgin Atlantic and will be feeding a lot of connecting traffic to and from Virgin Atlantic services, so it makes sense that they share the same facilities.
Without Air France, KLM or Delta traffic (Delta moved to Terminal 3 some years ago when it acquired its 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic) the SkyTeam lounge in Terminal 4 was always going to be quiet going forward. It had been accepting Priority Pass guests for a number of years in order to fill the space.
What about the other Heathrow Terminal 4 lounges?
These were – pre-covid – your other lounge options at Terminal 4. Which will return?
Qatar Airways Premium lounge
The Qatar Airways Premium Lounge is, in my view, the classiest lounge at Heathrow. An expansion plan had started pre-covid and I would expect Qatar Airways to be keen to return here once Terminal 4 re-opens. Our last review of the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at Heathrow is here.
Plaza Premium lounge (departures)
Plaza Premium has a very smart lounge at Terminal 4 which sits on the floor above the Qatar Airways facility. A photo is above. Qatar Airways had been using this for Economy passengers who had lounge access via their airline status. Our last review of the Plaza Premium lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 is here.
Gulf Air lounge
Situated near the Malaysia Airlines lounge, this facility was used primarily by Gulf Air and Oman Air. In the post-covid environment this is, arguably, a luxury that Gulf Air may not want to fund, especially as Plaza Premium offers high quality facilities just a few seconds away. I reviewed the Gulf Air lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 here when I was reviewing Oman Air.
The future of this lounge was already up in the air before covid. Etihad had leased it to No1 Lounges, along with its Australian lounges, when it went into cost cutting mode. No1 rebranded it as The House and accepted paying guests as well as Etihad passengers. The experiment did not work and the lounge passed back to Etihad’s control. Our last review of the Etihad lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 is here.
Going forward, Etihad is likely to have enough daily flights to justify using its own lounge. With SkyTeam closed it would struggle to find an alternative facility that could easily handle its volume of passengers. I expect it to re-open when Etihad moves back to Terminal 4.
ART & LOUNGE lounge
This is an odd one. In 2019, El Al gave up its lounge in Terminal 4 and handed it over to a niche US operator called ART & LOUNGE. ‘Niche’ is perhaps being polite – it only ran one other lounge, in Newark.
The new operator did not make any changes – they certainly didn’t add any art – but did open up the facility to Priority Pass cardholders. The lounge is still listed on the ART & LOUNGE website so it may re-open. My wife made a rare appearance on HfP and reviewed ART & LOUNGE for us here.
Even with the loss of the SkyTeam and Malaysia Airlines lounges, passengers to Heathrow Terminal 4 will not be short of decent lounges in the future. Even if the options eventually narrowed down to just Qatar Airways, Etihad and Plaza Premium, it should be enough.
Priority Pass will want an option for its cardmembers, however. It wouldn’t surprise me – assuming that ART & LOUNGE remains closed – if Club Aspire (which shares a shareholder with Priority Pass) swooped in to pick up one of the empty spaces. The Malaysia Airlines lounge even comes with distant views of Windsor Castle.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (October 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 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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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 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 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.