United Airlines invited a small group of media folks (including The BAT!) to London Heathrow Airport this week for a preview of its two brand new lounges for premium customers – a United Global First Lounge and a United Club in the airport’s new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal. See slideshow
United will be the first airline to operate from Terminal 2 when it opens on June 4, finally bringing its 17 daily Heathrow flights – currently split between Terminals 1 and 4 – “under one roof.” Later this year, the operations of United’s 22 Star Alliance partners at Heathrow will progressively move to Terminal 2, the alliance’s new home at the airport.
The airport is moving airlines in slowly at T2– it does not want a repeat of the fiasco that occurred when British Airways moved into the massive Terminal 5 overnight.
Together, the two lounges occupy 22,000 square feet of space near United’s gates in Terminal 2’s T2B satellite concourse. Both feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of runways, modern décor and walls adorned with vintage black and white photos from United’s archives. Like T5, the Queen’s Terminal is comprised of a main terminal (T2A) and a satellite (T2B) connected by an underground walkway.
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Both the Club and the Lounge will offer elaborate meals (unlike anything you’ll see stateside), plenty of high end booze, wine and, of course speedy, free Wi-Fi. It remains to be seen whether the quality and quantity of the spread laid out for the media will be the ongoing standard.
Nearly every seat in the joint is within a foot or two of a power outlet. And there are seven private “phone booths” set up with desks and glass doors for private conversations. See slideshow
Global First Lounge
The United Global First Lounge is for United or Star Alliance customers traveling in first class. The centerpiece of the lounge is an oversized Big Ben-style clock in the tea lounge section. Other features include a buffet area, an intimate dining room, private phone booths and a quiet zone with loungers and privacy drapes.
The United Club is for United Club members, those traveling in business class and Star Alliance Gold members. It’s the first Club outside the U.S. to feature the new United Club design concept– which we’ll likely see at SFO when the new United Club opens by T3E in 2015.
The Club has a big bright and open layout with seating over 280 guests. Against a backdrop of runways is a 25-seat full service bar, two buffet areas, a TV lounge and seven private phone booths. See slideshow
There are eight spacious shower suites with complimentary toiletries and valet service– put your suit in the valet door while showering, and an attendant will press it and have it ready by the time you dry off.
While United executives would not reveal a dollar figure for the cost of the London clubs, they did say that this is part of a $50 million investment in club renovations across the system.
United operates 17 flights per day from Heathrow to six US cities: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C./Dulles. See slideshow
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