UNWIND AT UNITED’S BEST CLUB – IN LONDON HEATHROW TERMINAL 2
The grand re-opening of Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 in 2014 brought with it a large number of brand new, modern lounges to London’s premier airport – the United Club being one of them.
As United only has a handful of lounges outside of the US and just one lounge in Europe, we were eager to review the lounge at Heathrow to see how it stacked up to its US based counterparts.
Not only did the United Club at Heathrow stack up, but this lounge left its US-based colleagues in the dust, rivaling the lounges of some of its international competitors. And we don’t say this lightly – having very high standards for lounges when it comes to non-US based carriers.
This is because international carriers often offer considerably more in the way of complimentary food and beverages in their lounges compared to their domestic rivals.
We’ve found that with US carriers, although light snacks are available during the day within their lounges, travelers are almost always charged for full meals and drinks in US airports. And even then – the food quality is often mediocre.
Thankfully, that’s not the case here in the London club. United raised the bar considerably – offering such quality that most of their US lounges pale in comparison.
So, what makes the United Club at Heathrow so special?
Overall, the lounge is groundbreaking for United with its airy, open, welcoming feel. Floor to ceiling windows let in ample natural light whilst minimizing glare – ideal for assisting the body clock with jetlag.
Set against the backdrop of the full length windows and offering a view of the gates and runways, is the club’s signature bar. The bar itself is extremely long – apparently the longest at Heathrow – with plenty of seating and spans the entire middle of the club.
If you want to relax with a drink and unwind with some TV, there is also a spacious, semi-enclosed lounge area with tables and seating toward the back of the club.
The entire club is office-friendly if you need to get work done. Offering outlets (UK and US) and USB charging at every seat and table, it’s easy to plug in anywhere and get to work. But in the event you need privacy, there are seven private booths with desks and even glass doors – ideal if you need to take a phone call.
If you fly out of Heathrow and enjoy preflight dining, this club is a must-visit. Food is served buffet style and is of course, all you can eat. Dishes rotate throughout the day in accordance with meal times.
There are 2-3 hot meals on offering at all times – chicken curry, shepherd’s pie, and a pasta dish on the day of our review – along with an all day salad bar, featuring numerous fresh vegetables, assorted salads, and various breads. All food is freshly catered and was quite good, beating most airport lounges by a fair margin.
The aforementioned bar also offers an very impressive wine/liquor list and a wide range of handcrafted cocktails. You won’t find many bars in airport lounges capable of offering mixed drinks of this level, not to mention bartenders capable of making them, and making them well (drink list below) – but the United Club have managed to pull it off in style.
Like the Delta SkyClub at JFK, travelers have access to individual private bathroom shower suites – ideal for freshening up prior to or between flights. Shower suites feature a toilet, shower, sink, and flat bench/changing area. All amenities – including toothpaste and even slippers are provided.
The shower suites are impressive. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a hotel as it’s easy to forget you’re in an airport. These are some of the nicest airport showers you’re ever likely to see.
Dehydration is one of the primary causes of jetlag – and the longer the flight, the more important it becomes to stay hydrated. But with free, unlimited booze available in most lounges, it’s easy for travelers to knock back more than a few drinks.
Although a lounge wouldn’t be a lounge without drinks, United has really emphasized hydration for long-distance travel with its drinks setup in this club.
In addition to the standard juices, sodas, and still or sparkling water – the United Club in Heathrow Terminal 2 offers their very own juice bar of handcrafted fresh fruit/berry teas and juices.
All are excellent and specifically optimized for travel – with a low sugar content and plenty of flavor, you’ll avoid that nasty sugar crash and glycemic spike prevalent in so many other airport drinks. Next to each cooler is a nutrition card, with a description of the drink and its nutritional content. Fresh fruits and mint are also available to accent your drink, and there are even 5-6 syrups/cordials to add in or mix with sparkling water.
Try one of these and you’ll be impressed. It’s a unique and interesting addition to a lounge from United – one we’d hope to see more of in their current renovation/modernization of their United Clubs in the US.
Provided you have time, this United Club is worth any effort to visit, even from another terminal between flights. A heads up for travelers – this United Club is located in the B Gates section of the new Terminal 2. Accessing this part of the terminal is requires some distance and even for the fastest walkers, can easily be a 10-15 minute walk post-security. Allow yourself ample time if visiting between flights.
Finally, it’s worth noting this United Club does not do flight announcements, even for United flights. It’s easy to drift away into the pleasures of a good airline lounge, so keep an eye on your phone and your watch.
We strongly recommend checking out this new United Club the next time you fly from/through Heathrow. With outstanding food and a world-class airport bar all combining into a great atmosphere, it epitomizes the excitement of travel and the lounge experience – so much that you won’t want to leave.
This is one of the most impressive lounges we’ve ever seen from a US carrier and when it comes to United, the crown jewel in their portfolio – quite simply the best United Club we’ve ever visited. It’s truly worth the walk.