Delta Elites Will No Longer Get Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Access At London Heathrow

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, Delta is moving all their flights to Terminal 3 at London Heathrow Airport. Delta owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic and has a transatlantic joint venture with them, though up until now Delta’s flights at Heathrow Airport have been split between Terminals 3 & 4 due to space limitations.

Delta-Virgin

Overall this is a great move for Delta passengers, given that it will reduce confusion at Heathrow Airport, will make connections between Delta and Virgin Atlantic easier, and will lead to enhanced lounge access for Delta passengers (or so we thought).

That’s because up until now Delta business class and elite passengers have had access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow, which is one of the best business class lounges in the world.

A lot of people expressed concern about Delta moving all their flights to Terminal 3, given that it would cause the Clubhouse to become even more crowded. The lounge is typically already pretty close to capacity, though when you add in the new Delta business class and elite passengers, it will become even more crowded.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow

Well, it looks like Delta has a solution for this… and it’s not good news for elite passengers. Per the Delta SkyMiles News & Updates page:

Starting September 14, Delta and Virgin Atlantic move into one convenient, shared home at London-Heathrow’s (LHR) Terminal 3, meaning simpler departures, transfers, and arrivals plus access to exciting new amenities. As a result, lounge access is also changing in Terminal 3, and Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members traveling in Delta Comfort+™ and Main Cabin will lose access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

What’s changing:

  • As of September 14, 2016, Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members will no longer have access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse if not traveling in Delta One™ or Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.  Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion Members traveling in Delta Main Cabin or Virgin Atlantic Economy cabin will be directed to use No1 Lounges, Heathrow located in Terminal 3.
  • Delta’s Arrivals Lounge in Terminal 3 will be closing on September 20, 2016. So, starting September 14, 2016, all Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members will receive complimentary access to the Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge upon arrival at London-Heathrow Airport regardless of cabin of travel. The Revivals lounge will also be complimentary for Delta One™ and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers.

So as you can see, effective immediately Delta SkyMiles Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members will receive access to the No1 Lounge Heathrow Airport, regardless of whether they’re flying Delta or Virgin Atlantic economy.

The No1 Lounge Heathrow Airport looks decent as far as contract lounges go, though it certainly doesn’t compare to the incredible Clubhouse.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse-London - 65
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow

Interestingly, technically Delta doesn’t grant elite members access to third party lounges:

SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits do not include access to third-party business lounges

So given the capacity limitations at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, I guess they’re technically going above and beyond here. Technically. Hopefully this benefit sticks around since it’s not that there isn’t a lounge, but rather that it’s too full, and therefore access to a third party lounge is a reasonable accommodation. But we’re talking about Delta here, so…

Bottom line

While this is a devaluation for Delta elite passengers traveling in economy out of London Heathrow, I can’t really blame Delta and Virgin Atlantic for this change. There’s not really room to expand the Clubhouse and it would no doubt be way overcrowded with this change, so they didn’t have much of a choice.

Will you be impacted by Delta no longer giving elite passengers in economy access to the Heathrow Clubhouse?

(Tip of the hat to @semajkung)

Comments

  1. Excellent news.

    By allowing DL elites access to the clubhouse the potential to dilute the experience was always there.

    Glad it’s now reserved for VS golds and premium passengers only.

  2. @ Ben — Sadly, this is the right move by Delta. Maybe they can expand the Virgin lounge, which is too crowded and a bit dated anyway?

  3. Sure it’s disappointing for Delta elites but I’m sure they saw how the crowds would get out of hand. They weren’t interested in the ridiculous overcrowding like you see in the Centurion lounges.

  4. YAY ! Good move there, the lounge needs to try and be exclusive or it will just be as crowded as the galleries lounges in terminal 5 which are horrible.

  5. Totally off topic, but of the 8 or so times I’ve been in the Clubhouse, the hot tub/spa has been emptied of water and not it operation once. Not a single time. Has anyone else experienced that? I keep seeing this picture of it and them am consistently disappointed when I can’t take a dip. What gives?

  6. They have also eliminated Delta Diamonds, etc. from Zurich lounges which are rarely crowded. Very irritating as there is not another lounge choice and ZRH options for sitting, dining, and so on are limited and expensive. World’s largest airline does not pride itself on global service quality.

  7. So, if I am flying Delta One to LHR and then connecting to PVG on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class in November, this doesn’t affect me and I will still have access to the Clubhouse (even though I don’t currently have status on either airline)?

  8. The No1 Lounge Heathrow Airport is already full to capacity, with CX elites having access there whilst the CX lounge is still under renovation (though it’s due to reopen very soon). I was there last week and unfortunately was curtly declined entry (using Priority Pass). I was directed to the Swissport Lounge next door, which was also totally full. After about 20 minutes, I decided that it was probably less claustraphobic in the main terminal area and left.

  9. I can also see why they did this, but @TC is right; if you thought the Clubhouse was crowded you should go try getting denied entry to the No 1 Traveller Lounge sometime. I haven’t once been in there when it was less than 90% full. There’s too many companies sharing contract status with the one lounge. And it’s made so, so much worse by the fact that the lounge continuously keeps more than half their space “reserved” for “meetings.”

    Every time I’ve been in the lounge they’ve had at least three large, separate rooms roped off as “reserved” and also completely empty. Has anyone else noticed this?

  10. Last year, transiting LHR from Africa, the VA Clubhouse was packed full and very noisy. Clubhouse may have already lost its cache

  11. Well of course the Virgin elites are happy, the references to basically snob status though are pathetic. I never saw the Virgin Lounge overcrowded, I never struggled for a seat, and especially after lunch it is quiet. Knowing Delta this is likely cost saving. At T4 elites didn’t even get priority security, and I notice that Virgin elites are denied access to Delta lounges in the US unless travelling in Delta One or First Class. This looks like a domestic spat to me

  12. I think it also has to do with the Clubhouse going for refurbishment which starts very soon. The combination of Delta elites now all being coalesced into T3 and having access to the Clubhouse was probably too much considering the numbers of UC passengers and Gold card holders that the Clubhouse usually deals with. Its absolutely packed in the mornings and I’ve been here 10 times this year (VS Gold card holder disclaimer) at different times for different flights. Only the afternoons does it calm down and lots of seating appear.

  13. Hello! Now I am confused about what lounge I can access as a arriving passenger at Heathrow.

    I will be flying Upper Class LAX-LHR next week, and was hoping to access the Virgin Clubhouse at LHR when I arrive. Can I not access that club on arrival? Is only the lounge available for arriving passengers the Revivals lounge?

    Thanks for the tips!

  14. Just flew back from Heathrow last week on Virgin Atlantic economy. I’m a Delta Diamond medallion and when I inquired with the check-in agent about the access to the Clubhouse lounge, he mentioned that the Clubhouse is going through an expansion and as such space is limited now. However, once the expansion is complete, he mentioned Delta Elites should have access back to the Clubhouse irrespective of the class of travel.

  15. I’m a DL DM and flying economy on DL from LHR-ATL. I had no issues getting myself & my wife (GM, also economy) into the clubhouse.

  16. I am more annoyed at Delta and Virgin Atlantic moving from T4 to T3. I had booked a Delta ticket going ATL – LHR on VR which was going into T4 when I booked but was changed to T3 before my trip. I also had a KLM flight booked from LHR and now had to rush to T4 from T3. So I missed my connection because of delays and a broken sky bridge at LHR. I guess the promised seamless travel between SkyTeam airlines is a big lie. London has one of the worst airports in the world and the highest airport taxes. Never again will I book any flight through London. The dirty SkyTeam Lounge at T4 and the crappy No1 lounge at T3 are as everything at LHR on the bottom of my list of places to visit.

  17. Mark, where you able to access the Virgin Club as an arriving passenger? I was told recently that it is for departing passengers only and the Revival Lounge was my only option.

  18. This is no longer accurate. Delta Platinum and Diamond have access to the Virgin Clubhouse. Gold have access to the No. 1 Lounge.

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