News

Star Alliance lounge, Heathrow T1

13 Aug 2008 by Mark Caswell

Background The new Star Alliance lounge at Terminal 1
opened on July 4, the same day member carriers United and Air New Zealand moved into the terminal from T3. Other Star
carriers will follow from Terminals 2 and 3 over the coming months, but for
now, the lounge is being used by the two aforementioned airlines, as well as
South African Airways, US Airways, Asiana and LOT (which were already located
in the terminal) and Bmi, which also has its own Diamond Club lounge at the
opposite end of the terminal.

Where is it? On the same floor as departures, in the
former British Airways lounge, to the right of the duty-free area.

Who can use it? First and business class passengers,
invited guests and Star Alliance gold-card holders travelling on any member
carrier from Terminal 1.

What’s it like? Business class is to the left of reception,
with a self-service dining area with high chairs and tables immediately past
the entrance. There is a good range of food options, including sandwiches,
salads, curries, fresh fruit and cakes, and a choice of beverages including
fruit juice, alcohol and mixers, and a coffee machine.

Décor in the lounge is smart, with
slate-coloured flooring, white walls and two-tone wood panelling. Past the
dining area is a TV zone with flatscreen televisions (showing BBC news when I
was there), a couple of seating areas (one raised section with lots of natural
light, and another with wooden artwork on the walls), and a children’s area in
one corner. There are also 13 shower cubicles with hairdryers and Gilchrist and
Soames amenities.

At the opposite end of the lounge is
another seating area and a business centre with ten booths. Facilities here
include a photocopier/fax/printer, power sockets and wired internet inputs. Computer
terminals are due to be added in the near future for those without laptops.
There is wifi internet access throughout the lounge through T-Mobile, free for
first class and Global Services passengers (United’s highest tier in its frequent
flyer scheme), and chargeable for business class customers.

Other features include several shelves with
a good selection of newspapers and magazines, bowls of fresh fruit, departures
boards in each seating area, and the odd flower arrangement. When I arrived on
a Monday afternoon at 1530, the lounge was almost empty, although it had filled
up considerably by the time I left at 1700.

The separate first class lounge is to the
right of reception, and is smaller but fairly similar in feel. The premium
lounge has its own shower facilities, and a slightly enhanced choice of food
and drink. There is a total of 300 seats across the two lounges, which occupy
1,650 sqm of space.

Verdict Modern and bright with a good range of
eating and drinking options, lots of showers, and plenty of separate areas to
either work, relax, eat or watch TV in. My only gripe would be that wifi internet
access is chargeable for business class customers (BA now provides this free in
its T5 Galleries lounges – see online news March 28).

Mark Caswell

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