While most airlines generally reserve their best lounges for business class passengers, Lufthansa does things a little differently, by having one lounge for business class – as you'd expect – but another, the higher-tier Senator Lounge, kept for Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers, even if travelling in economy.
Here, the range of food and drinks on offer is a little more extensive, and the space is generally just that bit quieter given the shorter door list, encouraging regular travellers to fly with Lufthansa and its Star Alliance partners over what can be fierce competition from other European airlines.
Australian Business Traveller stopped by the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at Heathrow Airport on a recent journey to London to put this 'better than business class but not quite first class' lounge through its paces.
Location & Impressions
After proceeding through fast-track security at Heathrow T2 as a Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer, take a sharp right to find the Lufthansa lounge complex, which houses both a Business Lounge and the Senator Lounge, marked 'A1' on airport maps.
You're greeted at reception in what is the Business Lounge, and if eligible for Senator Lounge access, you'll be given a barcode slip to scan for entry at a separate door inside, which sits at the back of the Business Lounge.
The arrangement is similar to the old Qantas Club and Qantas Business Lounge arrangement in Melbourne – where the Business Lounge used to be inside the Qantas Club – and once inside the Senator space here in London, you'll uncover a light and bright area with a variety of seating...
... including a dining room, although all food and drink comes from the buffet.
As with the Lufthansa Business Lounge next door, the Lufthansa Senator Lounge opens from 5am until 10pm daily.
With two London Heathrow lounges, Lufthansa's Senator Lounge caters to the following guests:
- Miles & More Senator and HON Circle frequent flyers departing on a Lufthansa, Star Alliance or eligible codeshare partner flight the same day.
- Other Star Alliance Gold cardholders departing on a same-day Lufthansa or Star Alliance flight.
- Lufthansa and SWISS first class travellers connecting to or from a same-day flight – such as flying Lufthansa to Frankfurt in business class or economy with an onward connection in Lufthansa first class (or vice versa).
- Other Star Alliance first class passengers departing from London (although the United Global First Lounge and Singapore Airlines SilverKris First Class lounges await).
Take note that a Lufthansa or Star Alliance business class boarding pass does not provide access to the Senator Lounge unless also holding Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status – so if that describes your journey, you can visit the Business Lounge next door instead.
On the dining front, the Senator Lounge is much like the Business Lounge, but with a slightly wider variety of dishes and drinks to choose from.
During a recent mid-afternoon visit, the choices available included a delicious chicken curry with steamed rice, which I enjoyed as a late lunch...
... joined by soups and accompaniments...
... penne pasta with cheese, a range of salads...
... small bites like sandwiches, yoghurts, desserts and apricot cake...
... other sweets such as popcorn and lollies, joined by pretzel-like bites and olives...
... and a selection of pastries, adjacent to the self-serve espresso machine:
That's where you'll also find a range of juices...
... spirits with mixers, with red wines not too far away...
... beers on tap, beside a soft drink dispenser...
... and a variety of white wine too, including both a Prosecco (Italian, naturally), and a German sparkling wine...
... and, table whites:
Regular travellers with a keen eye might have spotted that the menu and catering here is provided by Do&Co – the same company that supplies British Airways' all-business-class flights from London City Airport to New York JFK – so although the dining range isn't overly extensive, the food that is provided here is of a reasonably good quality.
However, with the airport's other Star Alliance lounges offering a mix of tended bars, cocktails, hand-crafted espresso coffee, broader selections of hot food and more (depending on which lounge you visit), we can't give this space more than three stars on the dining front, particularly when positioned as a better-than-business-class lounge.
Given most passengers visiting this lounge will be taking shorter hops across Europe as opposed to longer international (sleeping) flights, there's a good amount of space for business travellers, beginning with a dedicated working room.
There's room for working on your own laptop in booths – complete with good lighting and access to power, with both UK-style and European outlets at each desk – and a couple of seats with computers provided...
... while for shorter stays, this bench by the buffet area proves adequate for a little laptop work, and allows you to easily keep an eye on your belongings while fetching a coffee or snack:
Beyond these areas, most of the seats provide easy access to power – even if just to recharge your smartphone – with UK and European outlets at the ready, although no USB sockets:
WiFi is shared with the Business Lounge next door and offered downloads speeds of 16-22Mbps during my stay, with uploads measuring at 5-8Mbps: perfectly ample for most tasks.
Away from the working and dining spaces, there are plenty of comfy seats here, which again feature power outlets. These include loungers that could double as a day bed for those settling in for a longer stay...
... and there's no shortage of more traditional seats, too – plus booth seats with cocktail tables aside, as shown at the top left below, which were very popular on this weekday afternoon:
Finally, natural light is abundant, given one side of the lounge offers floor-to-ceiling windows, with shutters outside to help avoid heavy sunlight or too much heat, without plunging the lounge into darkness:
Overall, the Lufthansa Senator Lounge is more than adequate for passengers taking short flights across Europe, and for regular travellers such as Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers, it's nice to see that loyalty recognised with a slightly better lounge than provided to regular business class travellers sans status.
For passengers jetting further afield and arriving at Heathrow feeling a little peckish, this lounge's location right next to security proves a good place for a pitstop and a bite to eat, even if departing from the terminal's B pier where the other Star Alliance lounges are located.
Of course, eligible passengers flying with Lufthansa – and all other Star Alliance airlines – could also choose to visit the terminal's Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and United Club/Global First lounges, so if there's plenty of time before your flight, take your pick!
Chris Chamberlin travelled to London as a guest of Star Alliance and Lufthansa.