LHR: London Heathrow United Airlines Unitedclub Business Lounge
The United Airlines lounge Heathrow occupies over two thousand square yards, and with floor to ceiling windows offering a great view of the apron, good seating and free food & drinks. Indeed, it is one of the nicest Unitedclubs on the whole of the United Airlines network. It is famous for having the longest cocktail bar at London Airport, and the third longest in the world behind Swiss at Zurich and Cathay at Hong Kong.
First, however, you need to walk to it. And it is some walk. From check-in and through security, you have to walk through the central circular well of LHR Terminal 2, down into the tunnel via the escalators to the underground tunnel to T2B, up into the satellite, along past WHSmiths, and up in the escalator. At the top there is a small corridor, with Singapore Airlines at one end, and the reception desk for the United Club at the far end.
At the desk you turn left for the United Global First Lounge (with its famous BigBen teatoom) and right to the United Club LHR, if you are in Business or are a paid for membership United Club.
The London Heathrow United Airlines Business Class UnitedClub LHR was besigned by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, which had a brief to create a distinction between the clubs and to make it as a unique experience. It's not - as the lounge itself is rather dull and anaemic - but it is very good for a United lounge.
The Heathrow UnitedClub has the new United design concept for lounges, which SCB helped create. Taking similar design cues to the new London Lufthansa lounges, the new UnitedClub has a large 'open' concept, with it must be said rather unimaginative light grey seating for 280 passengers.
There is a lot of light, polished, marble, and several pieces of art, including by reception what has come to be known already as the 'three spoons of Heathrow', a pun on the usual watering hole at LHR of the 'spoons, or Wetherspoon's Heathrow pub.
Around the centre of the United Airlines lounge Heathrow, a section houses iconic lounge pieces such as egg and Platner chairs. Blue screen dividers and a sculptural piece topped with twigs are designed to segment the spaces.
Further into the lounge, behind the 'twigs', is a large TV lounge and the rather quaint private phone booths for those passengers who want to make a phone call in private.
At the end of the LHR UA lounge is a small circular reading nook, with newspapers from the UK and a few - a very few - magazines (hint: nip next door to the Air Canada lounge if you want a decent magazine).
At the other end of the London Heathrow United Lounge is the buffet - and some buffet. Large refectories offer an all you can eat buffet, and there are hot dishes too. Unlike most Unitedclubs, all hot food is complementary.
However the highlight for many United visitors to the UnitedClub Heathrow is the 25 seat full service bar, and although not the shiniest or brightest of lounge bars at Heathrow, it offers house wines and spirits, and cocktails.
In the United Airlines lounge Heathrow, opposite the bar, are small low down 2+2 seats, however a much better bet if you don't want to sit at the bar is to sit at the stone benches at either end of the bar, or at the armchairs which run at right angles to the window: this in itself is also a bit odd, as there is nowhere to really sit and admire the view. That's probably why most people just sit on the strange cross in the middle of the lounge among the 'twigs'.
Another place to sit, if you have work, are at the long dull 'university' benches, either side of the bar, with 20 seats in a row on the same bench, opposite a row of plug sockets. It's neither particularly private nor comfortable.
Finally, another place to sit in the United club lounge London is right up against the retro airline posters, where there are much more comfortable bucket seats.
The United lounge LHR varies between nice and empty, to heaving without a spare seat, generally around 2 to 4pm when there are lots of flights, with all six United destinations (Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington) having departures around the same time.
Therefore, if the United LHR lounge gets busy, just decamp to another lounge: Star Alliance Gold should get you into any of the four Star Alliance lounges at Heathrow. Lufthansa run the main London Lufthansa lounges in the T2A terminal, while the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge and the London Heathrow Singapore Airlines Lounge is also right next door in the T2B satellite terminal.
FoodThere is a large L shaped buffet, plus two other smaller buffet areas at either end of the lounge.
There is hot food at lunchtimes and in the evenings, with typically a curry, pies, and a pasta dish, in three large silver serving trays. There are bowls of mixed vegetables, and a hot soup of the day.
In another open top fridge there are trays of sandwiches, and six wooden bowls of salad, with a thin tray of cold cuts and cheese. Don't miss the vast number of salad dressings, from French to Ranch.
Don't miss the small number of deserts, in mini pots, in the fridge next to the sandwiches.
The dining area is quite pleasant, inland from the bar, but oddly it seems very dull, like visiting an office canteen in Slough.
BarThe bar at the new UnitedClub London Heathrow is by far and away its standout feature.
Although not the most trendy of airport bars, it's huge with a great range of cocktails, and seats 25 if you want to sit down and muse over a cocktail while admiring the view over the airport.
Beer, wines, spirits, and cocktails are all complementary. Definitely, don't tip.
Behind the bar is the most amazing array of bottles, with about fifty different spirits on show, and these go to mix up the cocktails on offer. Normally there are four, with the Signature Cocktail of the UnitedClub London Heathrow the Rhapsody in Blue. Cosmopolitans however are more the go, along with non-alcoholic Californian treats. There is a big book of possible cocktails in the menu, which also has wine tasting notes.
The bar also has a great wine list with three reds and three whites, all very old world. Wines are on a tasting rack at the front of the bar, next to the visitor's book.
As for beer, you have to go to the bar to even order this. It's Beer is Becks or Bud, Heineken or Guinness, along with good UK ales like London Pride. There is also Bulmer's cider.
Business FacilitiesBusiness facilities are pretty much absent from the London Unitedclub. The assumption is you'll bring your own device, so there are no computers, but there is free and fast wifi.
Plug sockets are dotted around the lounge, with one UK style, one USA style and two USB ports. There are no euro round pin sockets.
Newspapers are in the circular reading room at the far end of the lounge. UK papers are the FT or Telegraph. There are some American papers, such as the International Herald and USA Today. Magazines are however very poor.
Adjacent to the United Club are eight shower cubicles with complimentary toiletries and garment steaming.
AccessYou can access the new London United Airlines United Club LHR Business Class lounge at Heathrow if you are a United Club members, or in business class (what United call BusinessFirst), plus Star Alliance Gold in economy, and business-class customers operated by other Star Alliance carriers from Terminal 2.
You can also buy a daypass to the LHR United Club for US$50 on the door. However Priority Pass membership will no longer get you into the London United Club, or indeed an Unitedclub worldwide.
You cannot access this lounge on arrival. for Arrivals there is a new United Arrivals Lounge Heathrow, if you arrive on United at T2 in a premium class. It has showers and a buffet breakfast
However, if you have a first class ticket, head to the much more upmarket United Global First Lounge Heathrow, which is just for passengers in First Class (United Global First). The main area is a bar, called a tea lounge, with an oversized Big Ben-style clock. Next to this is a wine room, and a buffet area, although there is also pre-flight dining from an a la carte menu.
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