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SkyTeam and Malaysia Airlines lounges in Terminal 4 will not re-open

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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.

SkyTeam lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 closed

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 Heathrow Terminal 4

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.

Plaza Premium also has a decent Arrivals lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 which we reviewed 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.

Etihad lounge

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.

Heathrow 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.

Conclusion

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.


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 (28)

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

  • Andrew says:

    Won’t the Virgin Clubhouse at T3 become a bit overrun if it accepts short haul passengers to Paris and Amsterdam? And as a result a lowering in the catering offer to be similar to what one expects from a short haul lounge? Although as a Virgin gold that would make me choose AF to fly to Paris if I could use the Clubhouse.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    So AF-KLM are staying in T3? Is that a definite? There was signs up saying Korean Air have moved to T3 (from T2). I suspect T4 may remain closed for a while if T3 and T2 is enough. Not good news for the hotels that have sprung up on the footbridge to T4.

    Alitalia cease to exist mid October and will be replaced by ITA which are currently bidding on the Alitalia brand (forced to by the EU, they said the Italian government couldn’t just sell the Alitalia brand to the new airline, they had to bid). Even if this new airline keeps the brand, it doesn’t mean they’ll still be in SkyTeam.

    Would it be possible that SkyTeam could fit in T3 and then they set up a new lounge? As VS is not in SkyTeam there’s no obligation to open their Clubhouse to AF-KLM.

    What’s the current lounge situation in T3? The KLM lounge finder still says Plaza Premium in T2 for AF and KLM so hasn’t been updated for their move. Delta is listed as No1 lounge which suggests they shove status passengers into the contract lounge and reserve the Clubhouse for business passengers

    • Andrew says:

      And the Clubhouse for Virgin Gold passengers travelling on VS and DL.

    • Sam says:

      To be fair the design and interior is quite depressing and since the opening of T5 it has made T4 really isolated. I am under an impression of travelling on a second-class airline when flying to/from T4 so the move to T2/T3 will be a good sign though. I am not sure how T3 can cope with the passenger feed of all Skyteam members if they ever decide to consolidate their operations into one terminal.

    • Blair says:

      No1 Lounge for AF-KLM

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    I clicked through to the Art and Lounge review. Had forgotten how funny that review is 😂

  • Stuart says:

    If AF and KL remain at T3 due the the trans-atlantic joint venture with VS and DL and as ME has never moved from T3 to T4 then what will happen to the other SkyTeam airlines at LHR? Will they stay at T4 (once it reopens) and use a 3rd-party lounge? Pre-covid at T4 there were some that only did daily (or nearly daily) flights: AM, CI (if they do not return to LGW), KE, KQ, MU and VN and some that did multiple daily flights: AZ, RO and SU and SV (unknown what AZ to be ITA will do with regards to SkyTeam). Could all these move to T3 and use a 3rd-party lounge. Good job GA no longer fly to LHR as they changed from T4 to T3 (and between CGK/DPS) depending upon the wind direction!

    I always found getting to T4 but easier than T2/T3. For me M25 J14, along to Southern Perimter Road to the long stay and a short bus hop to T4. Only the found the usual M25 snails pace abeing a hold up and getting off at J13 cut some of that out. Quicker than similar to T3.

    Oh well, resigned to never returning to the good life had pre-covid.

  • Polly says:

    Used to ask QR to give me an invite for sky team lounge instead of their own classy one, as ST had the great free massage facility. That was such a treat, far better than the miserly BA one. Food and booze choice was always quite good too.

  • Dominic says:

    There goes another T4 lounge for priority pass, then…

  • marcw says:

    It’s a shame. Always found the SkyTeam T4 lounge solid, spacious and quite pleasant.

  • Mikeact says:

    I guess a lot could still happen before the official re-opening of T3 and the Virgin lounge…July 15th 2021.

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

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