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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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…
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)