Feast your eyes on United’s new London lounges (PHOTOS)

United's big bright new Club at London Heathrow Terminal 2. CLICK ON PHOTO FOR SLIDESHOW

United’s big bright new Club at London Heathrow Terminal 2. CLICK ON PHOTO FOR SLIDESHOW

United Airlines moves into London-Heathrow’s spiffy new Terminal 2 (The Queen’s Terminal) today and will open up its posh new business and first class lounges to passengers for the first time.

Last month United invited a small group of media folks (including TravelSkills!) to London for a preview of its brand new  United Global First Lounge and a United Club.

United is the first airline to operate from Terminal 2. Starting today it will 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.

Conversation nook in United Club along with vintage photos (Chris McGinnis)

Conversation nook in United Club along with vintage photos (Chris McGinnis)

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.


Warm canapes from the elaborate United Club buffet (Chris McGinnis)

Warm canapes from the elaborate United Club buffet (Chris McGinnis)

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

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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.

United Club

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 well-appointed and spacious shower suites

There are eight well-appointed and spacious shower suites

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

United laid out quite a spread for the media— and we’ve yet to determine if food of the abundance and quality we saw (See slideshow) during the media visit will be the standard. Let us know what you see! Does the addition of lounges like this make you more likely to choose United when flying to London? Please leave your comments below. 

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Chris McGinnis


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  • cageordie

    Pfft. Big deal. Most people will never see this, it’s just for the over compensated with expense accounts and money to burn. Meanwhile United provides terrible, uncomfortable penny pinching service to the majority of passengers back in cattle class. Disrespected, crammed in and overcharged so their dishonest CEO could get another huge bonus for running the airline in to the ground.

  • Arthur

    I agree (or at least it is cheap compared to buying business class). I flew plenty of economy international when I was younger and still do domestically. But I suspect that the attraction of blogs like this is to frequent travelers who are trying to figure out how to make travel less of a pain, and for me the best way to do that is to figure out how to upgrade or use awards to get into the front of the plane. I daresay a lot of the people in economy, especially the ones who read blogs like this, tried to get an upgrade. And I might not go so far as to say lounges of this sort make loads of travel enjoyable (though they certainly render their moments), but they makes it much more tolerable.

  • TheWoolseyMammoth

    I’ve been to this lounge. It’s nice, and a key factor is that it has showers (a rarity at LHR). For those arriving at the new United gates at LHR, be prepared for a long walk to customs. My pedometer measured it as 7/10ths of a mile. It’s worse if you have to connect to flights leaving from the same terminal, as you have to walk all the way in, then all the way back to the gates. The lounge is after the long walk back to the gates, so at least you don’t have a half mile walk from the lounge to the gate.

  • TheWoolseyMammoth

    Not all business travelers fly business. Talk to any employee at a start-up, government employee or contractor, sensible self-employed business, or someone who works for a University or an NGO. I’ve met many entrepreneurs seated in Economy Plus, and consider business class to be full of people who are simply there due to the size of the corporation they work for or bill. Having said that, articles about the lounges are fair game since many of us who are permanently in the back of the plane still access the lounges.

  • Rob philip

    Lounge access isn’t “high end”. I mostly travel economy, and a lounge membership makes it all bearable. It’s also pretty cheap.

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Thanks, Chris! TravelSkills is primarily a business travel blog, so our emphasis is on the front of the plane. But I hear ya about coach…I fly it about as often as I get to ride up front. Stay tuned for a post about premium economy. — chris

  • Chris M

    You know, there are 20 economy seats for every business class seat but for some reason there is entirely too much emphasis on the high end by travel bloggers. I suppose it is due to the fact that they get biz or 1st class for free.I love to travel and I have been to Europe 3 times since September. But I could never pay for business class (or justify it if I had the $) so why read about it?

  • Scott

    Love the use of “white” furniture, wonder how long before that looks old and tired.. I can’t seem to understand what this airlines “image” is, every single thing is a different colour set, their seats are multiple colours, there is no singular image of what United is… it’s a mishmash of crap.

  • Global1st

    Real food in the United Club as well? if they are the ante is being raise…as UA Clubs usually crackers, cheese and some nick nacks….but NRT UA Club has food so I guess no surprise

  • kirkwoodj

    Global Services flying BusinessFirst will have access, as in HKG and NRT, and in US

  • Lives to Eat

    Too bad I’ll only have a two-hour layover on my trip home in October! However, it makes using my miles for Global First worthwhile!

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Good spot! United told me that the outlets pictured would be swapped out for universals. — chris

  • Nick

    I cannot believe that they have not used the single universal plugs that you find in hotels around the globe that cater for a multitude of different electrical connection plugs, in a single socket!.

  • Scott Willoughby

    Amazing photos! Any idea how crowded these will be? The new seating is awesome but a little moot if it’s all taken! Also 8 showers does not seem like a lot given the likely number of interested visitors.

    Will Global Services passengers traveling in Business Class have access to the Global First lounge like they do stateside?

    Finally what is the reason that United’s US lounges for international travelers (ie in SFO International terminal) have no decent food options and showers? Such a disparity and I’ve always wondered why.

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  • kirkwoodj

    Very well done, thanks very much!

  • Kacee

    Thanks for the report!

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