Review: United Lounge London Heathrow Airport

Introduction: Journey To Kazakhstan
Review: Korean Air First Class 747-8 Vancouver To Incheon
Review: Nest Hotel Incheon Airport
Review: Asiana Business Class Lounge Incheon Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 767 Incheon To Almaty
Review: Ritz-Carlton Almaty
Review: Air Astana Lounge Almaty Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class A321 Almaty To Astana
Review: Marriott Astana
Review: Air Astana Lounge Astana Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 757 Astana To London
Review: Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5
Review: United Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Singapore Airlines Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: United First Class 777 London To Los Angeles


As I mentioned in the previous installment, I got to the airport way early. I arrived at around 5:30AM for my 12:20PM flight. I couldn’t sleep and the wifi at the Sofitel was unusable, so I figured I might as well lounge hop at the airport and take some pictures before the lounges filled up.

Terminal 2 has a fairly nice check-in area, though I already had a mobile boarding pass, so didn’t need to go to the check-in counter.

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London Heathrow Terminal 2 check-in

Security was an absolute breeze, which I don’t often say at Heathrow. There’s a Star Alliance fast track lane, so not only was there no wait, but the security process was painless, and they weren’t even especially strict about liquids.

The main area of Terminal is pretty impressive-looking, with high ceilings and tons of seating. While the terminal looks nice, the distance between some of the gates is sort of unreal (then again, that’s true at most terminals at Heathrow). While the Lufthansa and Priority Pass lounges are located in the main part of the terminal, the Air Canada, Singapore, and United lounges are in the satellite part of the terminal, since that’s also where those flights depart from.

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London Heathrow Terminal 2 airside

So I followed the signage towards the far gates, which requires taking an underground tunnel. Walking at a fast pace, I made it to the other side of the terminal within about 10 minutes. Upon arriving at the other side, the United lounge was located to the right, while the Air Canada and Singapore lounges were located to the left.

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London Heathrow Terminal 2 airside

Upon turning right, the United lounge was a couple of hundred feet down the terminal and on the left.

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London Heathrow Terminal 2 airside

The signage indicated that there was both a United Global First Lounge and a United Club.

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United Lounge London Heathrow exterior

Accessing the lounge required taking the elevator up a level.

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United Lounge London Heathrow elevators

Once there I was welcomed by the friendly associate and directed to the United Global First Lounge, located behind the elevators.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow entrance

The friendly lady at the desk introduced herself as one of the Global Services concierges, and noticed how early I was for my flight. She offered to give me a tour of the lounge, which she clearly took quite a bit of pride in. I don’t blame her, because the lounge is gorgeous.

Near the entrance was an “L” shaped couch with some aviation-themed art on the wall.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow seating

Then behind the entrance and to the right was a room with some dining tables and couches, as well as a self serve food area.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow seating

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow seating

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow self serve snack & drink area

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow self serve snack & drink area

I loved the quirkiness of the snack and drink selection. As you’d expect, there was a large selection of self serve liquor.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow liquor selection

Then there was also a cute station where you could make your own bloody mary.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow bloody mary station

Then there was a selection of self serve soft drinks, beer, wine, etc.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow drink selection

There was also a cappuccino machine, though personally I think it’s a bit disappointing when a first class lounge doesn’t have barista-made espresso drinks (the Air Canada business class lounge next door has a barista).

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow espresso machine

The snack selection was kind of cute, with both packaged and fresh snacks.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow snack selection

There were even some individually packaged snacks like gourmet popcorn, brownies, etc. While I realize snacks in lounges are typically intended to be consumed within the lounge, they were almost packaged as if they were wanting you to take them with you.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow snack selection

Then there was a fresh breakfast selection, including smoked salmon, cold cuts, yogurt, fresh juice, fruit, etc.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow breakfast selection

There were also scrambled eggs, baked beans, sausage, mushrooms, muffins, croissants, danishes, etc.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow breakfast selection

Behind the self serve dining area was more traditional lounge seating, with conveniently placed outlets at every seat.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow seating

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow seating

There was a circular a la carte dining area that separated this section from the rest of the lounge, with an impressive wine display in the middle of the room.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow dining area

There were more leather chairs on the other side of the dining area, and then behind that there were a handful of daybeds.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow seating

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow relaxation area

Across from that was another area with dining tables.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow dining area

Further into the lounge was a partitioned off TV room, which had both couches and dining tables.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow seating

I liked that rather than having gender-segregated bathrooms they just had several private bathrooms.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow bathroom

The bathrooms featured Cowshed toiletries.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow Cowshed toiletries

Perhaps most impressive was the great condition in which they kept the bathrooms. They were spotless every time I visited them.

I was quite hungry by the time I got to the lounge, so I sat down at one of the dining tables to have breakfast.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow dining table

The menu read as follows:

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While I wasn’t there when lunch was served, that menu read as follows:

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The wine list read as follows:

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I ordered the “fresh fruit salad with seasonal berries” to start, which was quite underwhelming. It tasted like canned fruit, and there were no berries in sight.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow breakfast — fruit salad

I also ordered a cappuccino, which tasted better than the machine made one. Perhaps the ability to make proper bastia-made cappuccinos in the back?).

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow breakfast — cappuccino

Then I ordered the eggs benedict with smoked salmon, which was surprisingly good.

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United Global First Lounge London Heathrow breakfast — eggs benedict

Before the lounge filled up I figured I’d take a look at the connected United Club, which is open to Star Alliance Gold passengers, business class passengers, and United Club members.

The lounge itself was also beautiful, and a good size. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves as far as the decor goes.

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

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United Club London Heathrow

Towards the back of the lounge were a couple of stations with drinks.

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United Club London Heathrow drink selection

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United Club London Heathrow drink selection

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United Club London Heathrow drink selection

Then the main buffet area was located near the front of the lounge. The selection was quite good for a business class lounge.

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United Club London Heathrow buffet

There were more drinks as well as the same espresso machine found in the first class lounge.

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United Club London Heathrow buffet

There was a selection of cold cuts, cheese, and veggies.

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United Club London Heathrow breakfast buffet

Then there was a fruit salad, yogurt, and muesli.

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United Club London Heathrow breakfast buffet

There was also a selection of cereal.

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United Club London Heathrow breakfast buffet

Then there were several hot options including scrambled eggs, hash browns, baked beans, sausage, ham, etc.

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United Club London Heathrow breakfast buffet

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United Club London Heathrow breakfast buffet

There were also pastries, bagels, toast, etc.

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United Club London Heathrow breakfast buffet

Both the business and first class lounges were beautiful. One thing I’d note is that the business class section got quite full as the day progressed, so at around 10AM it was a bit chaotic. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the first class lounge was how it always stayed quiet. Even at around 10AM there were maybe only a dozen people in the lounge.

I visited the Singapore Airlines lounge for a couple of hours during my time at Heathrow (which I’ll cover in the next installment), and headed to the departure gate at around 11:15AM. Boarding was scheduled to begin at 11:35AM from gate B31, located at the far end of the concourse.

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Heathrow Terminal 2 gates

The flight to Washington Dulles was boarding from the next gate over, so there were quite a few announcements in the gate area at once.

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United 777 taking me to Los Angeles

United’s boarding process is almost like Southwest’s, in the sense that they have a bunch of different zones in which they have people queue. When I showed my boarding pass I was directed to a separate first class queue. Once there a guy came over to introduce himself as the “first class agent for the flight.”

I’m really impressed by how United takes care of first class passengers on the ground at Heathrow, as he came over and addressed each first class passenger by name and shook their hand, and generally had some pretty funny banter with everyone. Sure enough at around 11:30AM boarding began, starting with first class.

United Club London Heathrow bottom line

Color me very impressed by this lounge. The lounge had gorgeous decor, among the nicest of any lounge at Heathrow. I was also impressed by what an oasis the first class lounge was, as it was empty for most of my time there, which wasn’t true of the business class section.

How does this lounge compare to others at Heathrow?

So kudos to United on this very nice lounge!

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. Seriously, you need to stop complaining about liquids in european/uk airports. It’s the security procedure, and it’s probably worrying if someone doesn’t enforce it at Heathrow Terminal 2. You gave Manchester airport a lot of criticism for enforcing the rules they are supposed to enforce. You don’t find the rest of the world complaining about the shoes thing in US airports. It’s getting just plain weird….

    BTW, if you want to complain about weird airport procedures, Germany used to force you to turn on all electronic devices at security to make sure that they were as advertised, thus a device out of batteries risked getting you refused on the plane, or it binned. This was around 2000, didn’t seem to do it recently…

  2. >There was also a cappuccino machine, though personally I think it’s a bit disappointing when a first class lounge doesn’t have barista-made espresso drinks (the Air Canada business class lounge next door has a barista).

    Lucky, I love your reports, but sometimes they make me just shake my head. First, the cappuccino machine is fine for what it is, a quick and easy way to get an espresso drink. More importantly, though, down the report you say that you were able to get a handmade cappuccino from the waiter that was fine.

    This sort of comment just comes across as effete, like you feel like there has to be something to complain about, but you actually couldn’t come up with something. Is there something magical about the presence of a “barista”?

  3. @Matt – from the Rolling Stone article:

    “He was banned from flying [United], he recalls the letter saying, unless he paid the company $4,755 — the amount it claimed as losses through Schlappig’s techniques.”

  4. @ Matt – He is banned from MileagePlus (not from flying United metal), though I’ll leave that to Lucky as he hasn’t shared his side of the story yet. Interesting stuff.

    United seems to be upping their game – their renovated United Club at HKG is also beautiful.

  5. @ greg99 — My goal is to share both the positives and negatives. My reports are super detailed, so I share all the things I pick up on. I do think there’s a taste difference between a cappuccino made automatically from a machine, vs. one where the milk is steamed fresh, the espresso beans are freshly grinded, etc. Sorry if that’s too much detail.

  6. I know your post said you were departing, but do you have any insight to the Arrivals Lounge? I assume the GF Lounge is inside security and the Arrivals Lounge is outside, like at SFO, correct?

  7. I don´t understand why the lounges on an outstation are way better than the ones on United main hubs (ORD, IAD…).

  8. Thrilled to hear that you breezed through security. Isn’t it wonderful? I routinely receive the same treatment when simply flash my Press Pass at most US airports. London does need to catch on however. They don’t seem to fully appreciate the power and importance of members of the US Entertainment Media.

  9. That’s if you can even use the United Lounge when you depart LHR T2. In August I was brusquely turned away from the United first class lounge at LHR on an Air China First ticket as they claimed they were closing early due to a lack of staff. This was at 6pm. At least you never have this problem with BA at LHR T5!

  10. That second cappuccino isn’t hand made – you can tell from the two-pronged entry mark in the milk (i.e. where the dual spouts of a typical auto machine have poured coffee into the milk). A handmade cappuccino would be made the other way around (coffee first, milk second) – even if it weren’t, I think it would be physically impossible for a barista to achieve that pattern!

    Sorry to be such a pedant…

    Great report though. Thank you!

  11. How can you not comment on the main feature of the United lounge, which is the beautiful bar and extensive list of cocktails they offer?

  12. What’s ironic is that in a couple years, there won’t actually be any UA Global First pax using the UA Global First lounge…will just be OAL F pax and GS.

  13. @James @Chris which just goes to show @greg99’s comment is even more on-point. Lucky is the type of person that could be served Kritter and told it’s 2002 Dom and not notice something was off.

  14. I wasn’t all that impressed with the decor, particular the small round tables in the dining areas. Made me think of a corporate cafeteria. Anyway my two cents.
    But I do agree with Lucky’s comments about the outdated Concorde room. Not only do the furnishings look past their pull date, there is no food buffet just the restaurant;-(

  15. You forgot to mention the bar in the united club lounge. It’s great! Bartenders will make up a premium spirits cocktail etc to order. Didn’t spot one in the first lounge; assume there’s waiter service in addition to self serve?

    Bathrooms look way better than those BA provide over in T5, which are well past needing a refurb!

  16. I’ve used the UA Global First lounge regularly since it opened (I’m GS flying on upgraded tickets). They were super proud when it first opened, and it showed in the service quality. I never once had to go get my own beverage in those early days and they were super-attentive. Lately the service is lax, which is completely dependent on who is working that day. The training standards and pride come into play. It’s still a great lounge – the best in UA’s system by a wide margin. But they’re letting their standards slip.

    Someone mentioned the UA Arrivals Lounge in the comments above, which is a vastly underappreciated facility. Coming from California, I can land in the early morning and head straight to the Arrivals Lounge (just to the left after exiting customs), take a shower, and head straight into meetings all day. The shower rooms are equipped with a double upper door, allowing you to place your clothes for the day on the hanger provided, then close the inner door. The attendant then opens the outer door and by the time you’re out of the shower your clothes are professionally pressed, hanging in the gap between the inner and outer doors. You walk out and nobody would ever know you just slept in those clothes 😉
    Ron

  17. This lounge is certainly the best of the Star Alliance lounges at the new Queen’s terminal. The Air Canada Lounge is tiny, the Singapore lounge (if I remember correctly) has no view, whereas the United Lounge has: Great food, a proper bar (like the Cathay lounges in Hong Kong); plenty of seating; and good showert facilities with nice effects like LED lighting.

    The Queen’s terminal also has excellent facilities for Star Gold members, including automatic fast-track and priority check-in and priority tagging of all bags.

    The lounge is also easier to get through than LHR terminal 5, which unless you get to turn right immediately after security and go to the Concorde room (BA first only) you have to walk through a vast shopping mall to get anyway. You also have the inconvenience of often having to take the train to their satellite terminal. I like the United lounge because Air China almost always board from a gate immediately outside the lounge.

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