Etihad is closing its London Heathrow T4 business, first class lounge

Etihad is closing its London Heathrow T4 business, first class lounge

Etihad Airways will abandon its London Heathrow business and first class lounge as the airline continues to tighten its belt, with independent airport lounge chain No1 taking over the upscale space this month.

The UK-based company also runs pay-your-way-in lounges at Heathrow Terminal 3, Gatwick, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Etihad's Heathrow T4 lounge will be rebranded as "The House – Home of Etihad Airways and Other Leading Airlines".

The airline says that other Etihad lounges around the world, beyond of its Abu Dhabi hub, could also be handed over to third-party operators, although a spokesman did not elaborate on the fate of Etihad's lounges at Sydney, Melbourne, Paris, New York and Los Angeles.

"Etihad Airways recently initiated a process of sourcing a reputable vendor to manage the airline’s lounge offering at key locations outside Abu Dhabi, starting with London Heathrow," the Etihad spokesman told Australian Business Traveller.

"No1 Lounges, a leading lounge services provider, was chosen as Etihad Airways' partner for this innovative project. With this partnership, Etihad Airways aims to utilise the proven expertise and experience of No1 Lounges to enhance the lounge experience for its customers, building on the acclaimed Etihad Premium Lounge offering, and providing even more choice and quality."

Read more: Etihad rethinks future of its airport lounges as it rolls out new The House brand

The spokesman told Australian Business Traveller that Etihad's first class, business class and Etihad Guest Gold-grade passengers will have complimentary access to the No1 lounge, along with frequent flyers of partner airlines such as Virgin Australia's Velocity Gold and Platinum card-holders.

No1 is expected to continue to offer a buffet with limited à la carte menu, along with a tended bar. The lounge company was approached by Australian Business Traveller but declined to comment.

AusBT review: Review: No1 Lounge, London Gatwick Airport South Terminal

However, Etihad has yet to advise if the elite Residence lounge-within-a-lounge will remain available to passengers booked in the Airbus A380's three-room penthouse above the clouds.

Although Etihad will be the No1 Lounge's primary client ahead of its own three daily flight – which run each morning, afternoon and evening – the lounge will admit passengers on any other airline departing T4, similar to arrangements at its Heathrow T3 lounge (which charges £32 per visit).

Etihad has previously closed the London lounge's Six Senses spa and allowed economy class passengers to pay their way into the lounge for £45 (A$80), while rolling out similar changes to its other lounges, axing inflight business class pyjamas and removing the complimentary chauffeur drive service for business and first class travellers.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

25 comments

  • russell

    russell

    2 Oct, 2018 06:30 pm

    Etihad didn’t invent the race to the bottom....but they sure as hell will make sure they win it.
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  • jubbing

    jubbing

    2 Oct, 2018 06:47 pm

    Wow, London is a big market for them. Shocking, I would have expected a pullout from Australia first, not London.
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  • Vik Jay

    MarkivJ

    2 Oct, 2018 07:02 pm

    When I saw Etihad in the the title, I imagined it would be bad news
    Member who gave thanks

    Neil R

  • PK

    PK

    2 Oct, 2018 07:42 pm

    To appropriate what was once said about Jeffrey Bernard’s columns, Etihad’s announcements are like a suicide note in weekly instalments.
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  • Oscarricher

    Oscarricher

    2 Oct, 2018 07:46 pm

    Was poor anyway not much food and pretty small only used the shower and left.
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  • Saab34

    Saab34

    2 Oct, 2018 07:54 pm

    Effectively guarantees the Melbourne lounge will go. They could sell it to VA who probably needs an Int Lounge now.
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  • tomJ

    tomJ

    2 Oct, 2018 08:01 pm

    Wouldn't mind if one of the airlines currently with a lounge in the dungeons take over the space.
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  • koji

    koji

    2 Oct, 2018 10:36 pm

    And maybe SYD for cx hopefully.
    No member give thanks

  • tomJ

    tomJ

    2 Oct, 2018 07:57 pm

    Must be getting pretty desperate if they're closing the LHR lounge. Usually one of the most lucrative/highest yielding destinations for the ME3 (in addition to many other airlines)
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  • Joanne Roberts

    Lily 15

    2 Oct, 2018 09:06 pm

    Emirates and Qatar,let the games begin

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  • Joe

    Joe

    3 Oct, 2018 04:38 pm

    Qatar are great in the air - that’s where it ends; on the ground they are mediocre. Doha airport is way too big - horrible for transfers and the most soulless I have ever encountered. The Al mourjan and Al safwa lounges are equally soulless and boring If you want an all round solid performer Emirates is the way to go. A good thing AJ saw the light early on and never partnered with Qatar despite them being oneworld brethren. A savvy decision.
    Member who gave thanks

    Walter

  • Bruce Seitanides

    Bruce777

    3 Oct, 2018 12:19 am

    Can't say I'm surprised.
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  • Joshua Teoh

    doctorjosh

    3 Oct, 2018 01:36 am

    I did not see that one coming. The situation must be pretty bad at Etihad HQ...
    No member give thanks

  • cssaus

    cssaus

    3 Oct, 2018 03:25 am

    I'm due to fly from LHR on EY on Oct 16. Based on this article I guess the new arrangement will be in place by then.

    Thankfully I have Priority Pass so I can use the Skyteam lounge or the Plaza Premium Lounge instead.
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  • James O'Mahony

    Ourmanin

    3 Oct, 2018 07:01 am

    It does feel with Etihad that it’s a question of when, rather than if, the whole thing falls apart. This will be yet another reason for some of their, presumably, higher yielding passengers to look elsewhere. With rumors of Emirates looking to “merge” it’s hard to see the value of Etihad doing anything other than continue to fall. It does remain a complete mystery why companies will persist with leadership for so long when it is so obviously taking them down the wrong path. It’s a shame, because on the few occasions I’ve flown them I’ve mostly enjoyed the experience.
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  • Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings

    3 Oct, 2018 09:02 am

    Flew from Manchester to Melbourne via Abu Dhabi last week. Discovered that the Etihad Lounge at Manchester had been taken over by a third party provider, 1903. Got in with my Gold Guest card no worries. The lounge was actually better with these guys. Really nice curries in Tiffan containers. The staff were very friendly. In the business lounge at Abu Dhabi, the spa had a huge waiting list for guests wanting a shower. They didn't have enough pagers. I have a business trip back to the UK next month and have decided that I have had enough of Etihad's scrimping. They are sacked. Will be going with Qantas/Emirates now.
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  • Matt

    SydneyTravels

    3 Oct, 2018 10:48 am

    This is just another nail in the coffin for my moving business travel to SIA
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  • AJW

    AJW

    3 Oct, 2018 02:45 pm

    People jumping to one too many conclusions. Re London they are handing it over to another company but for all purposes it is still their lounge, just that it can be used by others and is ran by a 3rd Party.

    So lets say thay did exactly the same in Australia, the lounges would still exist, just be branded differently. So doesn't mean the space is available for others to take.

    Now if they closed them totally different story, but that isn't what is being done in London.

    No member give thanks

  • Alex_upgrade

    alex_upgrade77

    3 Oct, 2018 03:59 pm

    The voice of reason. Thank you!

    The headline is also very misleading. There is a big difference between closing and changing management. The Etihad name will remain as will most of the interior most likely.
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  • Gerry van de Linde

    gerryvan

    3 Oct, 2018 02:55 pm

    This year we chose Etihad first class for our annual pilgrimage to England, we have been flying with British Airways but last year we had a very disappointing flight. I have to say that we could not fault Etihad, the cabin staff were perfect in every way, the plane was clean, the food was faultless and we were able to have a shower which was as good as any hotel shower. The chef came and discussed personal preferences and went away and produced restaurant class food from his cramped quarters. Absolutely amazing.
    However the lounges were very disappointing and sorry this is where BA left Etihad for dead. When we arrived at Sydney airport for our evening flight we were told that the lounge did not open until 6 pm. The London lounge was also very ordinary.
    In saying that, the lounge is not the most important thing, the flight is and this is where Etihad shone.
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  • xtfer

    xtfer

    3 Oct, 2018 03:29 pm

    Why not go the whole hog and just outsource the flights to Emirates? Oh, wait...
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  • FRANKLIN LOO

    Mdm Milton

    3 Oct, 2018 04:21 pm

    Everything is closing down for Etihad even the lounge. Poor dear. Why not maybe "SKYTRAX" should rethink and downgrade them to 4 STAR airlines. They are not 5 Star anymore. They expand too fast.
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  • Craig Willis

    Greg Willyflyer

    3 Oct, 2018 04:43 pm

    Such a shame to see Etihad sliding downhill slowly. Have flown First and Business with them over the years and thought they were excellent, but have noticed many reviews are not good on the Skytrax website.Perhaps Qatar will pick up a few passengers as they are excellent in so many areas
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  • bl812

    bl812

    3 Oct, 2018 06:01 pm

    You can predict financial trouble when they sell lounge passes to economy folks
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  • michael blazewicz

    blaz

    3 Oct, 2018 06:06 pm

    Who cares? As long as the lounge still supplies nice food, wine/spirits, a comfortable chair and decent toilet/shower facilities ,you will remain comfortable until you get the gate call. However, charging for extras such as champagne and certain foods (a no.1 practice) has to be removed....either supply it complimentarily to everyone, or no-one. I hate these "extras".
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Guest

15 Dec, 2018 04:08 pm

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