This is our review of the Aer Lingus Lounge at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2.
It is, shockingly, almost five years since we last reviewed this lounge, and that piece was written by Anika. My last visit was even further back than that.
I was out in New York last week, getting my first experience of flying transatlantic on an A321LR aircraft. This aircraft, now being used by Aer Lingus, JetBlue and TAP Air Portugal amongst others, has larger fuel tanks than a standard A321 and is able to reach the US East Coast from Western Europe.
It is, of course, still a single aisle aircraft, despite having flat beds in Business Class. You’ll see how it turned out later this week.
My trip routed London Heathrow – Dublin (aircraft change) – New York Newark, although you can of course connect to Dublin from many airports in the UK.
I paid cash (£1,300 return) for my ticket with the UK to Dublin leg booked separately on Avios to avoid long haul premium Air Passenger Duty. Aer Lingus long haul flights are also bookable with Avios but Business Class seats between Dublin and New York appear hard to find.
My flight earned Avios but no British Airways Executive Club tier points – more on that in a later article.
Where is the Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2?
Terminal 2 is the newest of the four Heathrow terminals (Terminal 1 closed when the new T2 opened) and, whilst not as expensively finished as Terminal 5, is bright and airy.
The layout is similar to Terminal 5, with the main shopping area down one level. The lower level is also where the independent Plaza Premium lounge sits – review here.
The Aer Lingus lounge is located within the main departures area on the same level as security, so don’t head for the escalators. Instead, head to your right. You will find it next to the Lufthansa lounge. All of the other Terminal 2 lounges – Singapore Airlines, United, Air Canada – are in the T2B satellite terminal.
There is technically no Business Class on Aer Lingus flights from Heathrow, although an ‘AerSpace’ ticket gets you most of the benefits with an empty middle seat, no charge for buy on board snacks and lounge access. Apart from that, the lounge is mainly for the benefit of passengers connecting to Business Class long haul flights or who get in via status.
British Airways Gold and Silver cardholders can access the Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow when flying Aer Lingus, whether or not their ticket shows a British Airways codeshare flight number. You cannot bring a guest if getting access via your BA status. British Airways Gold and Silver cardholders are also allowed to access Aer Lingus lounges in Ireland but only when flying to London.
The first thing you notice when walking in are the large floor to ceiling windows. These run the full width of the lounge and flood the space with light. I’ve never been here in the evening so I don’t know how the atmosphere changes.
After many visits to the impressive Plaza Premium lounge downstairs – which is a windowless space – this lounge is a breath of fresh air.
Just after the reception and in front of the seating areas were the toilets and one shower facility. I’m not sure if the lack of more showers can become an issue at times, but the one shower they have looked impressive by airport lounge standards:
I was in the lounge around 7am, which meant that the breakfast buffet was out. This hasn’t changed from our last visit in 2017 – there is a selection of cereals, pastries, yoghurts, cheese and crackers as well as filter coffee, two coffee machines and juices:
No hot food is available. In general, the below-average quality of the food feels out of place given that the lounge operates at a high standard in all other areas.
The lounge was very quiet when I was there, with only around 10 guests. Irrespective of volumes, you are unlikely to ever struggle to find a table to eat at but, given the slim pickings available, you really don’t need to be sitting at a table anyway.
Whilst it is easy to miss behind the TV, there is a small private area with a meeting table and chairs for four people. This would also make a comfier place to eat, especially if you have small children.
The chill out zone!
Around a quarter of the space in the lounge is given over to a separate ‘relaxation area’. In terms of design, I’ve always found this quite impressive.
This area also has a row of five lounger-style seats facing the floor to ceiling window overlooking the tarmac. You get a good view of the aircraft parked at Terminal 4 from here, which included Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways when I was there.
The only other point worth mentioning is that, next to the buffet area and well hidden, is a small work area and a printer:
Is the Heathrow Aer Lingus lounge worth a visit?
The Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2 is spacious and well lit with a large number of seats. The interior is contemporary, mirroring the Aer Lingus colours.
Whilst the food and drink has always been a bit of a let down, the Aer Lingus lounge is a good place to spend some time before a flight and arguably better than it needs to be.
I won’t review the short flight to Dublin. If you are unaware, there is a US Customs & Immigration base at Dublin and Shannon, meaning that you complete all formalities in Ireland. US-bound flights land at domestic gates and, after your long haul flight, you walk straight out of the airport.
The next part of this series will look at Dublin’s US Customs & Immigration system and ’51st & Green’, the US pre-clearance departure lounge in Dublin.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 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.