I have been to most of the lounges at Heathrow. Amongst the remaining ones (that are still open) Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse definitely tops my list. I didn’t fly with them that much, and never from Heathrow with a qualifying ticket so had no chance of trying the Clubhouse out.
This June I bought a ticket in Premium to the States, and used my credit card voucher to upgrade to Upper Class. In fact I status matched to Virgin Gold last December so should gain access to the lounge anyway.
In short, the following passengers can access the LHR T3 Clubhouse:
- Virgin Atlantic Upper Class / Delta One passengers
- Virgin Atlantic Gold / Virgin Australia Gold or above, when flying with Virgin Atlantic
- Delta Platinum and Diamond / Flying Blue Platinum, when flying with Virgin Atlantic or Delta
What I find really confusing is, Delta and Flying Blue elite members can use the lounge when flying with Delta, but Virgin Atlantic Gold members can’t. It must be a mix-up?
The entry rules were once very generous to VS Gold, as they could use the Clubhouse no matter which airline they were flying with (even BA). Sadly due to the overcrowding issue introduced by Delta passengers, it’s no longer the case.
Similar to BA’s First Wing at T5, Virgin Atlantic has an Upper Wing at T3 as well. If I interpret it correctly, only Upper Class and Delta One passengers are welcomed here so elite members aren’t allowed. It even has a dedicated driveway, and they verify your name at the entrance.
Don’t quote me on this, but I think it’s outside the Heathrow £5 drop-off charge zone.
The inside is much smaller than First Wing though, with only a couple of desks.
Thanks to its exclusiveness the check-in is really fast. When ready you can proceed to the security checkpoint.
Unfortunately Upper Wing doesn’t have its own security check facility, and it’s simply a reserved corner of the T3 screening facilities. After it’s done, you’ll merge with the general public and find your way to the Clubhouse.
The experience is a bit underwhelmed and not comparable to BA’s First Wing, as the latter has their own security checkpoint and you arrive into Galleries First within seconds. If you are travelling peak times (for example half-term) it might save you significant time, but otherwise I’m not sure if it’s necessary.
The Clubhouse is nicknamed Lounge H. When you enter the area of airline lounges, Qantas and Cathay Pacific are on the left, whereas BA, AA and the Clubhouse are on your right.
It’s above American’s Admirals Club.
Today happens to be the Platinum Jubilee and they’ve added some special celebratory decorations.
I was a bit shocked by how busy the lounge is…
You should notice the very long bar right away, which is deemed as the best at Heathrow.
There are many different kinds of seats in the lounge.
Going past the dining area (I forgot to take photos there) and you’ll reach the quieter business zone.
You can watch TV here.
Behind the bar there are some window seats shielded by a glass wall. They are probably the best spot in this lounge for good privacy and runway view.
The lounge is very purple-y, just like Virgin’s planes. There is also a mini-gym with three Peloton bikes, although I don’t think it’s a good idea to exhaust yourself before boarding a flight.
This is the other side of the lounge, with a couple of hanging pods.
A very Instagram-able spot:
This is the very quiet relaxation area.
On the first floor there’s a small entertainment room with a pool table.
Further up there’s a nice terrace if you want to enjoy the sun.
Dining is mainly table service. You can either order from the waiter or scan the QR code.
I had a big breakfast here.
There’s also a deli counter where you can grab some stuff yourself.
What do I think? Well, don’t get me wrong – Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse at Heathrow T3 is still a pretty decent lounge, but it’s not at the same level as it was years ago. Before its partnership with Delta and Flying Blue the Clubhouse was a quiet paradise reserved for its own passengers and members only, and now it simply doesn’t feel exclusive at all anymore. In fact I find it even busier than BA’s Galleries First Lounge.
Virgin’s cost cutting measures in the past years are also to blame. The Clubhouse used to offer a hot tub, free haircut and massage services, yet now there’s nothing left besides food. Unfortunately it can no longer differentiate itself from the other lounges at Heathrow. In fact I probably prefer the Amex Centurion Lounge or Cathay Pacific Business Lounge unless I really crave an a-la-carte menu.