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Comparative Review of Five Different Star Alliance Lounges at Heathrow T2

Comparative Review of Five Different Star Alliance Lounges at Heathrow T2

Old Jan 2, 18, 12:45 pm
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Comparative Review of Five Different Star Alliance Lounges at Heathrow T2

I pay annually for United lounge access (via the Chase Mileage Plus card) so that’s usually where I spend my airport time. However, during a 2-hour delay at Heathrow, as a fun activity (and with the intent of writing a FT review), I accompanied my spouse (who is UA Gold therefore gets in to a wide range of lounges) on a *Alliance Heathrow T2 lounge tour, taking in five lounges: Singapore, Air Canada, Lufthansa Business, Senator, United). I focused my review and photos on the following things (a) comfort of seats/general ambiance, (b) quality of food offerings (c) coffee, specifically lattes, (d) any extras that I noticed.

I haven’t commented on the following aspects because I didn’t notice much difference across lounges: cold food/drink offerings, availability of clocks and boards, friendliness of front desk staff – they all seemed good to me on those scores. Finger sandwiches, a British lounge staple, were also about the same across lounges except for the Wensleydale cheese standout in the Senator lounge (see below). I didn’t have time to include a detailed look at number/placement/convenience of sockets, bathrooms, availability of shower rooms or napping areas etc. and I’m not much interested in alcohol so didn’t look at the bars.

Review organized lounge by lounge, least preferred first.

(a) Singapore Airlines: Mildly dated feel to this lounge, especially in the table/chairs eating area. Decent, comfy seats in the lounge area, particularly those within little cubbies/banquettes. The usual selection of finger sandwiches, meats and cheeses (present in all lounges), plus hot soup and a curry dish or two. Interesting offering was Singapore Sling ice-cream in a cardboard tub in a freezer (clearly marked “alcoholic”). Didn’t have any though, since I wanted to taste a little hot food in each club. I sampled the curries which were salty. Coffee here was the worst I tasted in any of the lounges, tasted like extremely cheapo/older beans even though the machine was modern. Empty apart from one other older couple.

(b) Air Canada: A very attractive, architecturally interesting wood-covered walls ambiance with sparkly lights and friendly staff. Comfortable seats and relatively spacious feel around the tables, both where you eat and where you work or relax. Not much to see out of windows. Average food, nothing out of the ordinary. Hot soup, bland hot dishes. Coffee was good in flavor, but lukewarm and the cups were cold. Not many people in there, nice and clean, esp. the food areas.

(c) Lufthansa Business lounge. Nice, spacious area but a bit dark around the comfortable seats, and not much to look at out of the windows. Remarkably decent food offerings with separate stations for coffee and various deserts (including seasonal British Xmas offerings like Xmas cake, and warm mince pies), and several hot dishes as well as the usual cheese, meats, finger sandwiches etc. Bowls of child-pleasers like jelly beans and jars of popcorn scattered around. Not very busy.

(d) Senator lounge. Consistently my spouse’s number one favorite. On entry into the Lufthansa business lounge, Golds receive as part of their status, specially printed bar codes for them and one guest, which gain entry into the separate Senator lounge (see photo) entered via the business lounge. There, we found similar food offerings to the main Lufthansa lounge, but expanded. Especially good was a finger sandwich with wensleydale cheese (any Wallace and Gromit fans know about wensleydale) and chutney. Good curries too. Although I was trying to just eat a few bites here and there, for comparison, this cheese sandwich was the second best thing I tried across all the clubs (best was the curries at the United club). The coffee was hot, and a bit more milky than a latte from somewhere like Costa in the UK or Peets/Starbucks in the US, but still very good and cups were warm. Ambiance was the nicest of all lounges, with a sort of forest effect wall (soothing effect), very comfy seats, individually controlled lights. Somewhat crowded though.

(e) United lounge. I tried to be objective even though this is the one I pay for and you know what they say about preferring the devil you know. First thing to note is that relative to the other lounges the United lounge was mobbed at this time (4pmish weekday). I’m used to the United lounges and their hustle and bustle, their lounges are always busy when I am there, and so the other *Alliance lounges seemed very empty to me (except for the ambassador lounge). I know this particular United lounge at Heathrow consistently has good curry dishes (one beef, one vegetarian on this occasion), and I liked these hot dishes better than any of the other Alliance lounge offerings. Coffee was also the best in this United lounge, hot and appropriately strong/great flavor. It’s illy. or at least that’s what the (nicely warmed) cups say. I find the food service staff very warm/friendly in this lounge too (much nicer than in US United lounges). Spouse had pocketed a chocolate mousse (yes, seriously) from the ambassador lounge and brought it into the United lounge to eat, and a staff member came right up to offer a small spoon of just the right size (because the spoons on the food display were ether big). She obviously knew it wasn’t one of their offerings, and rather than tell us the no external food rule, she brought a spoon. Kind. There is more to look at out of the window at in the United lounge, along with more activity in general. Ambiance is not quite as nice as the Senator lounge, no soothing forest walls here, and the food lacks the wow factor of and variety of cakes, mousses, etc., and huge dome-like silver servers in Lufthansa. I like the sparkly décor in this lounge though. So it’s still my favorite, which is good, because I worked out I was paying approx. $50/visit due to flying less frequently in 2017 (ouch!) Finishing review with a slightly bad taste in my mouth since it was followed by one of the worst UA flights I have ever taken for customer service (in J).

Singapore Airlines lounge


Singapore seating


Singapore airlines food, Singapore sling ice cream freezer in back


Singapore Airlines coffee machine (awful)


Air Canada ambiance


Hot food at Air Canada


Air Canada coffee machine


Lufthansa Business lounge with Senator lounge inside it (access via separate bar code reader).


Slightly dark Lufthansa business seating


Senator coffee machine (identical to one in Lufthansa Business)



Standout Senator finger sandwiches


Relaxing forest wall at Senator


Attractive United lounge seating


United view


United lounge coffee machine - the winner!!


Hot food at United
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Last edited by yaromac; Jan 2, 18 at 12:46 pm Reason: text wrapped incorrectly
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Old Jan 2, 18, 1:24 pm
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Thank you for the reviews. I'm going to move it to the Star Alliance forum. Please follow it there.

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Old Jan 3, 18, 9:53 am
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This is very interesting and helpful. Just to say it though, I'm not sure why anyone would visit the LH Business lounge when they can get into the Senator lounge (and that's even true to some extent when it comes to business class lounges vs the Senator lounges for some A* partners, like Swiss in Zurich). So I thought I'd shortcut that decision process here.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 10:10 am
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very true.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 12:09 pm
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Originally Posted by joelax View Post
This is very interesting and helpful. Just to say it though, I'm not sure why anyone would visit the LH Business lounge when they can get into the Senator lounge (and that's even true to some extent when it comes to business class lounges vs the Senator lounges for some A* partners, like Swiss in Zurich). So I thought I'd shortcut that decision process here.
Since you have to go through the Business Lounge to get to the Senator lounge, I usually do check out the food in the Business Lounge. Some things are only available in one lounge or the other, so grabbing a plate of something from the Business Lounge and then head into the Senator Lounge is a good way to do things.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
Since you have to go through the Business Lounge to get to the Senator lounge, I usually do check out the food in the Business Lounge. Some things are only available in one lounge or the other, so grabbing a plate of something from the Business Lounge and then head into the Senator Lounge is a good way to do things.
Sure, if you're forced to go through the Business Lounge, that's a different story.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 8:17 pm
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I have to say, United's lounge was not bad at all, SQ was dated but quiet and AC not bad. Did not try the others.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 11:58 pm
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I am just wondering why all the carriers do not operate ONE Star Alliance lounge with a great standard incl an FCL section rather everybody his own.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 5:45 am
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Originally Posted by HKG1111 View Post
I am just wondering why all the carriers do not operate ONE Star Alliance lounge with a great standard incl an FCL section rather everybody his own.
Waiting for the day that SQ and UA "partner" to jointly open a lounge!
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Old Jan 4, 18, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by HKG1111 View Post
I am just wondering why all the carriers do not operate ONE Star Alliance lounge with a great standard incl an FCL section rather everybody his own.
As discussed in other threads, T2 is huge - really two terminals, a 10-minute walk apart. They would need at least two lounges at a minimum, so it's easier for the different carriers to have their own lounges.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 6:04 pm
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I literally agree with everything OP said. Skip SQ and AC. Eat at the LH Senator lounge and then go relax and take a shower at the UA lounge. Perfect layover.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 12:57 pm
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I had a layover at LHR a couple of weeks ago. My departing flight was LX. If I had known about the layout of T2, I would have gone to the Senator lounge. Instead, I walked all the way to the other side and hit the UA, SQ, and AC lounges. None of them were anything to write home about, but I have to commend the attendant at the MLL because she was the only one who told me I would likely be departing from the other side of T2 (I hate the fact that they would only reveal the actual gate 60 minutes prior to departure).
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Old Jan 8, 18, 6:24 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I had a layover at LHR a couple of weeks ago. My departing flight was LX. If I had known about the layout of T2, I would have gone to the Senator lounge. Instead, I walked all the way to the other side and hit the UA, SQ, and AC lounges. None of them were anything to write home about, but I have to commend the attendant at the MLL because she was the only one who told me I would likely be departing from the other side of T2 (I hate the fact that they would only reveal the actual gate 60 minutes prior to departure).
It's sort of common knowledge that long hauls depart from the B gates and shorthauls depart from the A gates. There's a reason the LH lounge is on the A side and the UA, AC, and SQ lounges are on the B side.
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Old Jan 8, 18, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by zeer0 View Post
It's sort of common knowledge that long hauls depart from the B gates and shorthauls depart from the A gates.
Common knowledge to whom? This was the first time I have even been in T2 (last time I flew *A to LHR was five years ago, and that was T1), and there was absolutely no signage indicating where my flight would depart from.
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Old Jan 10, 18, 3:06 pm
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The SQ lounge is often overcrowded before SQ flights depart, and I have normally found the AC lounge to be quieter, with more seats offering a window view. The UA lounge is the best of the three at the B gates, definitely. The Plaza Premium Priority Pass lounge (for those that have access) at the A gates is not bad either, though not all drinks are free.
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