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

By David Flynn, October 2 2018
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 is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

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

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 273

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

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 99

When I saw Etihad in the the title, I imagined it would be bad news


03 May 2012

Total posts 121

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

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

02 Oct 2018

Total posts 1

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

08 Sep 2018

Total posts 26

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

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 34

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

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

11 Jun 2018

Total posts 25

And maybe SYD for cx hopefully.

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 34

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)

02 Oct 2018

Total posts 1

Emirates and Qatar,let the games begin


03 May 2013

Total posts 673

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.

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

17 Sep 2017

Total posts 17

Can't say I'm surprised.

10 May 2018

Total posts 12

I did not see that one coming. The situation must be pretty bad at Etihad HQ...

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 157

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.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 91

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2012

Total posts 1

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2015

Total posts 20

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


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 585

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 236

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2017

Total posts 3

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

14 Mar 2017

Total posts 152

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

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

01 Jun 2015

Total posts 28

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 May 2017

Total posts 4

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

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 192

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

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 49

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".

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 178

Has anyone in AUSBT or the AUSBT community been through here lately? Have an evening flight out of LHR in J with Etihad and just wondering what it is like since opening. Cheers LTF

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