Delta Moves All London Heathrow Flights To Terminal 3

Delta owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic (which they bought from Singapore Airlines), and uses that to their advantage on transatlantic flights. They have a strong joint venture, and have done a good job partnering to create a seamless experience for their customers. For example, Delta One passengers can use Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, and Delta Diamond members can even use their Global Premier Upgrades on Virgin Atlantic.

Delta-Virgin

However, up until now Delta’s operations at London Heathrow have been pretty scattered. Heathrow Airport has heavy slot and gate controls, so it’s often difficult for airlines to co-locate.

As a result, up until now Delta has had split operations at London Heathrow, and Delta flights have operated out of both Terminal 3 & Terminal 4. As it stands:

  • Delta flights to/from Boston, New York JFK, and Seattle, operate out of Terminal 3
  • Delta flights to/from Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Philadelphia, operate out of Terminal 4

Virgin Atlantic operates out of Terminal 3, and the great news is that as of September 14, 2016, all Delta flights will operate out of Terminal 3 at London Heathrow.

This is fantastic news for a few reasons.

First of all, it eliminates the confusion of an airline operating split operations at a single airport. While Delta did what they could to provide clear directions to passengers, it still creates confusion when an airline operates out of two terminals at a non-hub airport.

Second of all, it makes connections between Delta and Virgin Atlantic easier. Connecting at Heathrow is a pain even if you’re arriving and departing from the same terminal, but at least it’s easier than switching terminals. For example, if you’re flying Virgin Atlantic from Dubai to London, and then Delta from London to Atlanta, you won’t have to change terminals anymore.

Lastly, this is great news in terms of lounge access. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow is located in Terminal 3, and is one of my favorite business class lounges in the world. Passengers traveling in business class on Delta, as well as Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members can use the lounge (Gold Medallion members can only use the US Clubhouses).

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow

Furthermore, eligible passengers can also use the Upper Class Wing to clear security at Terminal 3, which really expedites things (it’s the best security process at all of Heathrow, and significantly better than what British Airways offers their first class passengers).

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing London Heathrow

This is a significant upgrade for Delta business class and elite passengers who previously departed out of Terminal 4, where passengers only had access to the very mediocre SkyTeam Lounge.

Bottom line

This is great news for Delta flyers, as it makes transiting one of my least favorite airports in the world a bit more pleasant. This is true no matter what cabin you’re flying, since connections between Delta and Virgin Atlantic will consistently be easier. Furthermore, for elite and business class passengers, this represents a huge improvement in terms of the lounge situation.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow hot tub

Comments

  1. Hate to be a negative Nancy, but my first thought is that the London Clubhouse will now be overrun and lose its mojo. Good luck getting a salon/spa appointment. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

  2. Note that Gold Medallions can’t use the LHR Clubhouse, though they can use Clubhouses in the US when flying to the UK. Plat/Diamond Medallions only at LHR Clubhouse, while Golds in economy are given access to a contract lounge.

  3. @Mike — a ton of airlines have moved out of T3 in the past couple of years to the new T2, so there is presumably a lot more capacity in T3 than there used to be.

  4. Good and bad news, more access to the Clubhouse…good, More people in the clubhouse…bad!

    Easier connections between Virgin and Delta, worse connections between Delta and other Skyteam Carriers.

  5. “Passengers traveling in business class on Delta, as well as Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members can use the lounge (Gold Medallion members can only use the US Clubhouses), guaranteeing an already over-crowded lounge at peak times now becomes over-crowded at *all* times.”

    Fixed it for ya’. 🙂

  6. “if you’re flying Virgin Atlantic from Dubai to London, and then Delta from London to Atlanta, you won’t have to change terminals anymore”

    @Lucky , if we are flying from dubai to atlanta wouldn’t we all fly through Doha on Qatar? 😉

  7. @Bgriff

    The move to T2 was before DL bought its stake in Virgin – when that happened, there was no available space for DL in T3. So it has to be someone else moving to T4 which will have cleared up the gate space.

  8. This seems like a middle-finger to Delta’s other Sky Team partners. Granted, not many are flying through London to Paris or Amsterdam but I’ve had some routings to/from London on KLM or Air France connections to the continent. Also, I disagree that the Sky Team lounge in Terminal 3 isn’t good. Sure, it’s not an international first-class lounge, but the food is generally pretty good, there’s heaps of complimentary newspapers, and I’ve never, ever had an issue getting a treatment in the spa.

  9. Skyteam elite plus flying Delta economy??what lounge access would they get??clubhouse or contract loinge.

  10. Gold Medallions on Delta don’t get access to the Clubhouse, they get directed to the (far inferior and consistently overcrowded) No. 1 Traveller Lounge next door. Not sure about SkyTeam Elites, but my guess would be no access to the Clubhouse (presumably get directed to the No. 1 Traveller Lounge as well).

  11. I too have to question where this space in T3 has come from, especially given Oman Air’s new second daily flight to Heathrow has to operate from T4 because there was no space in T3.

    T3 is a dump, and this move will only make the clubhouse (the best thing about T3) even busier and less special. Good luck to any economy passengers without lounge access!

    Regarding connections, this move won’t make flying DXB to ATL and easier – you’ll still have to clear immigration, collect your bags, go to a hotel, and check in again the next day, as Virgin’s Dubai flight arrives after all Delta’s Atlanta departures. For the return you’d have a ridiculously long transit time (LHR to DXB on Virgin is a late night departure).

  12. I agree with @Yahtzee.
    The London Clubhouse is fantastic but can get busy at times.
    More people = less attraction.

  13. I’m happy about this because it shaves off a fair amount of time to get into London on the Heathrow Express, which is kind of a pain from T4. That “shuttle” ride adds a significant percentage of time out of T4, especially on the weekends.

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