Delta Elites Get Expanded Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Access At London Heathrow

Delta and Virgin Atlantic have a transatlantic joint venture, and as a result they’ve tried to create as much “metal neutrality” as possible, including with lounge access, upgrades, gates, etc.

Delta-Virgin

As of September 2016, Delta and Virgin Atlantic fully moved in together at London Heathrow Terminal 3, while previously some of Delta’s flights also departed from Terminal 4. This was great news because it made connections easier, and also good news because Virgin Atlantic’s incredible Clubhouse is located in Terminal 3.


Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow Terminal 3

I consider the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse to be one of the world’s best business class lounges. It has a la carte dining, a spa and salon, an outdoor terrace, and more than anything else, a really fun vibe. It’s simply a fantastic lounge.

However, it’s not surprising that Delta and Virgin Atlantic had to put some access controls in place, given the number of people who would have access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. At the time Delta said that Diamond, Platinum, and Gold members would be advised to use the No1 Lounge at Terminal 3, rather than the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.


No1 Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3

However, Virgin Atlantic has slowly been undoing these access limits. Today it was announced that Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members flying in economy or premium economy on Delta or Virgin Atlantic out of Heathrow will once again have Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access.

Diamond members actually had reinstated Clubhouse access as of February 2017, so what’s new here is that Platinum members once again have access. Per Delta’s announcement:

Starting June 1, 2017, Platinum Medallion Members plus one guest who are traveling in Delta Main Cabin, Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy or Virgin Atlantic Economy cabin are able to access the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse located in Terminal 3 in London-Heathrow. As a reminder, Diamond Medallion Members began receiving the same level of Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access on February 16, 2017.

The full suite of London-Heathrow lounge benefits for SkyMiles Medallion Members and Delta One® customers are as follows:

  • Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members traveling in Delta Main Cabin, Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy or Virgin Atlantic Economy cabin and passengers traveling in Delta One or Virgin Atlantic Upper Class are all eligible to access both the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and No1 Lounges, Heathrow, both located in Terminal 3.
  • Gold Medallion Members traveling in Delta Main Cabin, Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy, or Virgin Atlantic Economy cabin are eligible to access No1 Lounges, Heathrow.
  • All Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members receive complimentary access to the Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge upon arrival at London-Heathrow Airport regardless of cabin of travel. The Revivals Lounge is also complimentary for Delta One and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers.
  • Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion Members also enjoy access to the SkyTeam lounge located in Terminal 4.


Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow Terminal 3

This is awesome news for those members, though I do wonder how this change is being accommodated. Presumably the lounge still has the same crowding issues, so I’m not sure how room is being made for additional passengers. Is overall demand for the lounge down, are they just fine letting it get more crowded again, or…?

Regardless, this is good news all around, as visiting the Clubhouse is a real treat.

Comments

  1. Hardly “good news all round” when the experience for Upper Class passengers is being eroded by an overcrowded lounge full of Delta Elites.

    Don’t really see this as positive at all!

  2. Was in the lounge yesterday and it looked like the refurbishment works were fully completed, which was probably main reason for the restrictions. Notably the dining area has virtually tripled in size with many more dining tables added, stretching all the way around into what was previously the library area.

  3. Bang goes the neighborhood!

    Does this mean that VS elites will get Sky Club access whenever they travel regardless of cabin??

  4. As I understand it they’ve added a lot more seats. Haven’t been recently so not sure how much those added seats may have detracted from the experience.

  5. The last photo in the review shows the hot tub which is ironic as it was one of the things removed to make way for the hordes of Delta elites.

  6. Hey, on the news of carriers to Europe, anytalk on the LEVEL inaugural flight to LAX?? ik u touched on LEVEL a bit ago but it had its inaugural flight to LAX today and is going to have another one tomorrow.

  7. @Chris_IOW +1
    This is NOT “good news all around” – it’s good news for those previously not allowed, but terrible news for the rest of us.

    Though maybe I’m not Virgin’s core market. Not being as young as you, I struggle to find a lounge chair that’s high enough off the ground and with adequate back support. The “fun vibe” is just not my cup of tea.

    It’s similar to you raving about the wonders of bars on planes: I hate them. Last month returning from Miami, the only free Upper Class seat was right next to the bar. Two loud-mouthed oiks spent the entire red-eye mouthing off at each other about football while waving metaphorical willies at each other, cackling as they got ever-drunker on free booze. Their (empty) seats were at the front, of course – why would they choose a seat next to that bloody bar? I grumpily watched the entire season of Westworld, before getting off exhausted to connect to my next overnight flight.

    And having used the LHR T3 Virgin/ Delta arrivals lounge, that’s in desperate need of an overhaul. At the moment it’s destroying the Virgin brand rather than adding to it.

    No, I’m not happy with Virgin at the moment.

  8. Is there anyway to shut off the annoying advertisement? It also makes my page scroll down while I am trying to read the piece. I don’t know if I am the only one experiencing this but it certainly makes me want to avoid this blog.

  9. Lucky,

    Your views on lounge access seem inconsistent across airlines. Why is that?

    Delta Platinum members (equivalent to American “Platinum Pro”) traveling in any class can access the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. This is an expansion of access to Delta Platinums, and you say that is “good news all around.”

    American Platinum and Platinum Pro (along with EXP) traveling in any class can access the new JFK Flagship lounges, which is an expansion of access to American Platinum and Platinum Pro. Yet this expansion creates a “zoo” situation at the lounge.

    IMO, the expansion of benefits for “mid-tier elites” (AA Platinum/Platinum Pro, Delta Gold/Platinum, OW Sapphire, United Gold+, etc) should be viewed positively in general. Airlines shouldn’t only recognize top tier status, and top levels already get significant benefits such as upgrade certificates that lower levels don’t.

  10. Ben,

    What are your thoughts on possibly a post or a few posts about the best, most unique lounges in specific airports?

    For example, for someone who is flying out of Heathrow, would there be a specific must-see lounge? As well as DXB, Singapore, etc? Just like you have your best business class products posts, I would love to see a “best most unique lounges around the world” type thing.

    Thoughts?

  11. Whether it’s good depends mostly on whether you had access before the policy changed. Most people love having anything that looks exclusive, that’s why so many people become irrationally excited about a metal credit card and why Lucky gets a little chubby when he has an entire first class cabin to himself. Neither of these things mean anything at all, but some people decide to infer that they are reflections on their superiority over the rest of society. When things start to feel less exclusive those same people become depressed and sad because no one is making them feel special and different.

    I bet if Virgin set up an 8×8 room within the Clubhouse with opaque glass and a door and only admitted people in Upper Class – no elites in economy allowed – that room would have 10 people in it because they would want everyone to know that they had something that was not widely available

  12. Wow, what a load of complainers? I think Virgin/Delta have tried hard to be fair,? I fly out of Manchester, Usually Upper class, or Premium economy, so don,t feel so hard done to, plus I have seven kids, under age nine, so think your self lucky, plus a diamond member, Ha Ha kidding about the seven kids, only six,

  13. Ugh. I feel sorry for any business travelers or business-class travelers going through London this summer as that Clubhouse lounge is going to be really, really crowded with families and vacationers. I imagine it’s going to be much more difficult to take advantage of the unique Clubhouse services, unless you get there at 6 a.m. for a flight at 11 a.m.

    I don’t understand why Delta can’t have actual international business-class lounges? It has done such a good job at improving its premium but, but time after time its lounges fall short, especially compared to most other major airlines that have some sort of international business-class lounge.

    On a side note, while Virgin Atlantic is consistently better than Delta in terms of soft product, that’s really only the case at Heathrow and J.F.K. I know many a Delta customers who were disappointed with their Virgin experience when flying into say Manchester.

  14. It would be nice if delta also reinstated Elite+ access to the the HKG Clubhouse. The T3 Clubhouse is way better than the AA Flagship Lounge below it which is scheduled to get the AA makeover in the next year. (Someone needs to tell the staff b/t/w.) Even then the VS Clubhouse will still be better than the AA Flagship (first class) lounge. No sympathy from me for highfalutin business class passengers in the Clubhouse feeding on the company teat.

  15. @chris_IOW:

    “Hardly “good news all round” when the experience for Upper Class passengers is being eroded by an overcrowded lounge full of Delta Elites.”

    Do you seriously view yourself to be that superior of a human being than everyone else? Gaming points is fun. Being a self-important prick isn’t.

  16. Robert,

    Chris was right. Delta elites should stick to their own crummy lounges. I have no interest in sitting next to those unwashed peasants.

  17. I use this lounge very often by flying Delta One and I agree it is a great lounge. However, it is always crowded and it will now get even worse. Biggest problem with Delta when flying from or to their hubs is that almost everyone is an elite member. Giving access to Platinum member + 1 guest even when flying coach on Delta is a bit too much. I am pretty sure Delta does not give the option for Platinum members flying coach to access Delta lounges.

  18. This lounge access is basically just aligning with Skyteam Lounge access for elites flying international. I’m a Delta Diamond. If I am flying Delta Comfort+ from SEA->AMS RT, I have access to the KLM lounges in AMS because I am Skyteam elite on an international ticket. This is the same thing.

  19. Am I the only one who wishes that when this previously great lounge was thrown open to many more users, the wash rooms were not expanded ?
    Most lounges have this problem – example new BA First lounge at LGW S- but considering the size of the new Clubroom and the number of users- it isn’t for me!

  20. @Robert

    Wow, angry much?

    No I don’t consider myself superior in the slightest, however if I’ve paid £7k for a flight expecting a quiet area to relax prior to the flight is not I would suggest “being a prick” but instead a reasonable request, particularly when it was provided previously and the joint venture with Delta has not resulted in lower fares with which to compensate for the impaired experience from overcrowding in the lounge.

    I’m quite happy to sit in a busy terminal if that’s what I’ve paid for, I would suggest though it is not how Virgin market their upper class product.

  21. This announcement leaves out an important word that the staff at the LHR Clubhouse have been using since I’ve been entering as a Diamond this spring. They are quite strict that Diamonds (and now I assume Plats) need to be flying on a same day *transatlantic* flight – although in my personal experience this has been interrupted by Clubhouse staff differently and I’ve been denied entry as a result. For example, I’ve been told we can only enter when flying to the USA but on a different visit was told connecting onward from the USA to JNB, DXB, etc is ok. Definitely confusion. Also, Delta’s FAQ on VS lounges still hasn’t been updated for the LHR change back in February. I hope they fix this soon.
    The issue of who can and can’t enter lounges, especially nice ones like the Clubhouse, is super complicated, made even more so by not having clear policies for passengers and staff alike.

  22. The Feb 2017 access for Diamond is not accurate. In March 2017 I was flying VA and was denied access to the clubhouse because I wasn’t flying Upper Class so this is welcome news.

  23. Hey Lucky. I think a huge reason for this is because the clubhouse is getting a big make-over, i have visited twice now in the past year and they have added lots of new seating etc. So perhaps this is why they can accommodate more people. There is now around twice as much seating as before I think.

  24. I was there in May and noted that the pool table/games/library area had all been replaced with restaurant seating (pool table and arcade games gone for good??). They were also playing rather loud and intrusive music, and some of the waiters seemed a bit miserable (can’t say I blame them with all that noise and their new workload). Eating and drinking no longer allowed on the outdoor terrace (although I wasn’t challenged when I went out with my champagne glass). Toilets seemed busy for the first time I can remember, and you now have to dodge your way though the extended dining area to reach them.

    It all seemed a bit more functional and regimented than in the past – somewhere to pass the time, rather than enjoy yourself. In other words, more like an airport lounge, rather than a ‘Clubhouse’.

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