Plaza Premium Group to manage new Cathay Pacific Heathrow lounge

Cathay Pacific Heathrow Lounge

Hong Kong independent airport lounge company, Plaza Premium Group, has been appointed to manage Cathay Pacific’s reopened London Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge.

The Hong Kong-based airline recently renovated its Heathrow lounge – which had its soft opening on November 28 and officially opened to customers today (December 7) – such that it now offers separate areas for first and business class passengers.

Plaza Premium will provide hospitality, bar, catering, front-of-house and housekeeping services at the new Heathrow lounge. The collaboration follows a similar agreement between the group and the airline for the Cathay Pacific lounge at Vancouver International Airport, which opened in May this year.

In addition to managing the Cathay lounge, Plaza Premium is set to open its own new lounges at Heathrow in Terminals 3, 4 and 5 next year, along with a new Aerotel transit hotel in a former office building attached to Terminal 3.

The group currently operates lounges airside and landside in Heathrow Terminal 2 and airside in Terminal 4.

plaza-network.com; cathaypacific.com

Plaza Premium Group plans further Heathrow expansion

Plaza Premium Lounge at Heathrow T4 arrivals

Lounge operator Plaza Premium Group has revealed further details of its forthcoming London Heathrow venues to Business Traveller.

As previously reported, the Hong Kong-based company is expanding its Heathrow operation considerably and will have a presence in each terminal once all facilities are open.

Song Hoi See, founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Group, told Business Traveller that in January, the company – which already has lounges airside and landside in T2 and airside in T4 – will open an arrivals lounge in Terminal 3, in the space vacated by Delta Air Lines in September. Seating 28 guests, it will have 11 showers.

Its forthcoming T4 arrivals facility (pictured above) will open in the first quarter of next year, accommodating 75 people and offering 24 showers. The company will also introduce its “healthy eating” Flight Club dining concept here, which it first launched in Kuala Lumpur last year.

A T5A airside lounge is due to be unveiled in the second half of 2017. It will seat 156 guests and offer runway views and “fresh ergonomic design”.

The group’s new Aerotel, a landside transit hotel housed in a two-storey former office building attached to T3, is also set to be launched in the second half of next year.

Song said that the property would have 92 rooms measuring 12-18 sqm, which would be a mixture of twins and singles. Bookable for a minimum of six hours, guests can then pay by the hour thereafter.

“We’re very excited about it – it will offer great value for the passenger,” he said. “We’ve invested heavily in the bed, shower and amenities.” The hotel will offer “similar quality” to the group’s existing Aerotels in Singapore Changi and Abu Dhabi, he added. It will have free wifi and a library lounge serving food and drink. Room service will also be provided.

In other news, the Plaza Premium lounge in the Satellite Terminal of Kuala Lumpur International will undergo a phased renovation from late December to the end of May, during which time the lounge area will be partially closed. After works it will seat more than 200 passengers.

The group is expected to open an Aerotel at Rio de Janeiro – where it recently launched three lounges – early next year.

Plaza Premium Group now operates 146 venues worldwide. Song said: “I think that before 2018 we will hit 200.”

plaza-network.com

Club Aspire lounge to open at Heathrow T3

Club Aspire 2 LHR T3

Lounger operator Swissport has announced that it will open a new lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 from next month.

Located near Gate 9, the current Swissport lounge, which is open to Priority Pass, Lounge Key and Lounge Club members as well as paying guests, will be replaced by the Club Aspire lounge.

With capacity for 120 guests, the new lounge will have free wifi, work areas with charging points, a Bliss spa, showers and “multimedia tables” where guests can access news and play games. Members will be offered free Prosecco for the first three months to celebrate the launch.

Dining options will include breakfast rolls, a salad bar and a deli counter. A premium menu with full meals will also be available for a small charge. Drink options will include premium brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, along with speciality teas and coffees.

Passengers without lounge programme membership can book in advance for a three-hour stay price for £24.99, or pay on arrival for £29.99.

Club Aspire will be the second lounge to open at Heathrow as part of a partnership with the Airport Lounge Development and Swissport, joining “Aspire, the Lounge and Spa at LHR Terminal 5”, which opened in 2015.

Club Aspire builds on on the Airport Lounge Development’s  portfolio of 12 airport lounges in the US operating under “The Club” brand as well as Swissport’s 15 lounges across the world operating under the “Aspire” brand.

British Airways to open First Wing at Heathrow T5

British Airways First Wing

British Airways will open its new First Wing at Heathrow T5 next year, providing dedicated access to the carrier’s lounges for First passengers and Gold Executive Club customers.

The new facility will be located next to the existing First check-in area at the terminal, and will see two new dedicated security lanes added, as well as a walkway taking premium passengers directly through to the Galleries First Lounge and onto the Concorde Room.

Many readers will be aware of the existing service dubbed “Millionaire’s Door”, which first class passengers to bypass the circuitous route through Duty Free to get to BA’s lounges at T5, and for which the carrier pays Heathrow an annual fee.

The carrier said that the new First Wing “is part of an investment agreed with Heathrow Airport, designed to improve Fast Track entry in Terminal 5”.

BA says that the new security lanes “will also reduce the number of customers using the current North and South security, speeding up the journey for all customers, especially those travelling in Club World, through Terminal 5”.

The First Wing will open in April 2017, for use by First passengers, Gold Executive Club customers, and Oneworld Emerald members.

ba.com

UK ponders expanding Payable Fast Track service

London-Heathrow-Terminal-3

A payable “fast track” service, similar to one operated at Gatwick airport, may soon be extended to other major UK airports.

According to ITV News, the UK’s Home Office has confirmed that it is working with several airport operators to introduce the service and reduce long immigration queues faced by travellers.

Currently, London’s Gatwick airport offers the “Premium Gatwick Passport Control service”, which costs £12.50 for arrival passengers (plus £5 for fast track through security on the outbound flight) and is limited to 50 people an hour.

Heathrow also offers a fast-track service, although this is limited to travellers flying in first or business class with participating airlines.

For more information, visit gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office

Priority Pass adds Sofitel Heathrow lounge access

Sofitel London heathrow

Priority Pass has added the Sofitel London Heathrow’s Club Millesime as its latest lounge partner.

Members can now access the lounge when travelling to or from Heathrow airport, between the hours of 0700 and 2130 daily.

Amenities include internet access, continental breakfast, complimentary snacks, wines and canapes, and shower facilities. Paid-for spa treatments are also available.

According to the Priority Pass website members should register at the hotel’s guest relations desk to obtain an access card, before heading to the lounge which is located on the ground floor.

The group recently reached the 900-lounge landmark, having added over 170 lounges in the 12 months to April.

prioritypass.com

Heathrow T3 baggage issues resolved

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 3, forecourt, November 2015.

Issues affecting the baggage sorting system at Heathrow T3 have been resolved, following reports of passengers departing on long-haul flights without their checked luggage.

Virgin Atlantic – one of the airlines operating out of T3 – apologised on its website for the issues which “resulted in many bags being delayed leaving London Heathrow”.

During the disruption the carrier had advised passengers that “If there is an option for customers to not travel with checked in luggage this may be preferable”, adding that travellers should “ensure any essential items to cover their needs on arrival, including any medication, are packed into their hand luggage”.

British Airways also advised its customers that “As a result of a fault with Heathrow Airport’s baggage system in Terminal 3 on Wednesday 20 July, several of our flights departed with lower than expected levels of baggage”.

“The fault has affected all airlines which use Terminal 3 for their flights.”

A spokesperson for Heathrow said that the baggage system was now working as normal, and that it was “working hard with our airline partners to reunite passengers with their bags”.

The airport was unable to give figures on how many passengers had been affected by the baggage issues.

The issues at T3 follow weeks of baggage problems at T5 as a result of a new IT system.

heathrowairport.com