United asked a number of its UK based frequent flyers to a reception last week, for the launch of their new United Club and Global First lounges at the newest Terminal at Heathrow, Terminal 2. Due to open on 4 June, the lucky MileagePlus members were the first ‘passengers’ to experience the lounge.
The evening started with check-in at the Marriott Heathrow, where out ID’s were checked and we were able to enjoy a pre-departure drink.
There were noodles at the entry to the hotel you could enjoy on the way to/from the coaches.
We received special security badges to wear:
We were then transported on coaches to the Terminal
On arrival at T2, we were escorted through the full security process, x-ray, belts off, liquids out, to get airside to the new terminal.
After the long (20 minute) walk to the United Gates we arrived at the lounge:
The lounges are to the right when you come up from the escalators and are located one floor up, accessible via two lifts
On arrival there is a check-in desk and you turn right for Global First and go straight on for the United Club. At the reception we were met with staff holding trays of drinks, including some invented by the UK cabin crew and ground staff.
The lounge is huge with a window that runs along the full length and height of the lounge along one of the long sides of the room. Bright and light are the immediate reactions – coupled with lots of light, white, and gold surfaces, United’s signature blue is ever present.
In front of the windows is a large bar which reminds me of the Cathay Lounges in Hong Kong.
The room is cleverly divided in to different areas with large glass screen allowing in the light but creating at atmosphere of privacy. In the centre is a striking sculpture
The twigs are recreated in the reading room area towards the back of the lounge.
The loos are huge, able to accommodate a wheelchair it felt in each of them. Although with only 6 in the gents, I wonder if there will be queues.
(There is also a seat in the loo, great for changing without having to take over one of the showers, which are housed separately, in areas opposite the picture window).
There are several work areas with plenty of power and tall stools – I spent most of the reception sitting here as you got a great view of the lounge.
The United Global First lounge is behind the lifts and across the hall from the Reception desk.
A smaller, and more elegant space it speaks to a time when travel was genteel, classy and tranquil.
Large low level sofa areas are adjacent to the entrance:
Towards the back, again near the huge windows, is the signature reproduction of Big Ben, made by the same company that made the original
There is more seating in this area.
The signature structure in the room is a large circular area, that was being used for wine tasting on the night of the Reception. I am not sure whether this is to continue after the opening.
At the opposite end of the room from the clock are some comfortable loungers which I am sure will be popular:
There is an a la carte dining area
Throughout the lounge there are clear flight departure screens
As the evening went on the screens over the windows were raised giving a spectacular view of the airport and sunset
At the end of the evening there were speeches (No Mr. Smisek of course), and a prize draw. About an hour from the end we had the chance to leave, being escorted back to the terminal as if we were an arriving passenger.
A great evening where United made us truly feel welcomed to a great new lounge to their portfolio. For those that have been travelling since the days of the old Red Carpet Club at Terminal 3, the new Red Carpet Club at Terminal 3, and the Star Alliance Lounge at Terminal 1 – this new venue is so far above those it is hard to know how to describe it. Well done United, although my diet wasn’t helped…..
I do want to say a little about the food. I have no idea whether or not what we were offered was what it will look like at opening, but they have chosen Sodexo as their partner and there will be a resident chef, so I am hopeful the quality will be great.