Empty Gesture: A Review of the SkyTeam Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4
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Heathrow’s Terminal 4 is home for many of the SkyTeam member airlines who fly in and out of the airport. Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Eastern, Garuda Indonesian, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Air all operate from this terminal. So, it makes sense that there’s a dedicated SkyTeam lounge in the terminal for the many SkyTeam elite members and premium passengers that pass through the terminal each day. It also happens to be a Priority Pass lounge, which made me think that it might be pretty rammed with people during my visit.
If you are flying in first or business class on any SkyTeam airline, you automatically have access to the lounge. The same goes for SkyTeam Elite Plus members flying in any class on any SkyTeam airline the same day.
The lounge is open from 5am until the last flight goes out.
The SkyTeam lounge was easy to find. Once I cleared security at London Heathrow (LHR), I simply turned right and followed the signs. I was only walking for a minute or two past the shops before I arrived at reception.
The reception area was bright and airy but felt more like the lobby of an office building than an airport lounge.
But there was a huge welcome wall with pictures of cabin crew from each of the SkyTeam member airlines. It was a nice touch and softened the corporate feel a bit.
The lounge was pretty much empty during my whole two-hour stay, which I found quite strange considering how many people had access to it at any given time.
There was a distinct theme through the several different seating areas: Circles, curves and beige with a splash of orange here and there I think may have been the interior-design brief.
There wasn’t a soul to be seen around the downstairs buffet and its pretty basic offering.
In fact, there was probably a surplus of chairs — empty seats as far as the eye could see.
The best spot was along the wall of the main room on the entrance-level floor. It looked out onto a fairly busy section of the airport and the end of one of Heathrow’s two runways.
There was a huge, orange area designed maybe for groups or families so you could all sit together. Again, absolutely empty.
At the very back of the downstairs level was a private room locked away. Not sure if it was up for grabs for reservation but it might be worth checking out if you decide to give the lounge a visit.
There was no shortage of power outlets with both UK and USB ports.
There were a few attempts at entertainment dotted around the place in the form of various gadgets including a computer that wouldn’t turn on, a console that also wouldn’t turn on and an iPad in a broken holder. These types of entertainment are seen less and less in lounges these days, as most people come with their own devices complete with hours of Netflix already downloaded, so I can see why these things felt neglected in this lounge.
It was more entertaining to look out of the window to watch the Queen of the Skies taking off.
The Clarins Spa was a great addition. I didn’t actually know that a treatment was included with my stay until the receptionist let me know as I was checking in. The treatment was great, and the aesthetician gave me advice on my skin as well as a sample of a moisturiser to matched my skin type. For a free, 20-minute facial, I thought this was above and beyond.
The space was immaculately clean and smelled great.
There was a small TV lounge tucked away at one end of the lounge. Like many similar features I have seen in other lounges, this was primarily used for people wanting to get some shut-eye.
The washrooms were also very clean.
Food and Beverage
Upstairs was the place to go for hot food. The options available were probably some of the least interesting I have seen in an airport lounge. There was a return of the cop-out bowl of pasta as well as a random vat of baked beans in the middle of the afternoon with potato wedge accompaniments — and those were probably the highlights.
Downstairs, the cold cheese and meat selection was similarly average, though I liked the fact that there was pâté.
There was also a small selection of pastries and other snacks, including fresh fruit and crisps.
Drinks options were pretty good. Plenty of soft drinks, coffee, spirits, beers and wines were available.
I decided I’d go for an Old Mout cider, a brand I’d never seen before in an airport lounge.
The lounge was perfectly clean, comfortable and spacious but lacked atmosphere through lack of passengers. Considering the potentially high number of guests who could have had access at any one time, I was surprised at how quiet the place was. I’d recommend it for sure for the spa treatment, which is a great bonus — especially if you have SkyTeam Elite status or are flying a SkyTeam airline in first or business class.
Would I pay the entrance fee just for that? Probably not. The food and drink available probably aren’t worth the entrance fee, and there is a much better Priority Pass lounge in the terminal, which I reviewed here.
All photos by the author.
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