Virgin Atlantic Club House, LHR

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01. Introduction: Business class battle royale – British Airways vs. Virgin Atlantic
02. British Airways 747-400 Club World (business class) San Diego to London (LHR)
03. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London
04. Hilton London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 4
05. The 3 things that I love most about London
06. Virgin Atlantic Club House, LHR
07. Virgin Atlantic A340-600 Upper Class (business class) London (LHR) to New York (JFK)
08. InterContinental New York Barclay
09. jetBlue A321 Mint (business class) New York (JFK) to Los Angeles
10. Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class Los Angeles to San Diego

I’m being totally honest when I say that airline lounges aren’t really that important to me. Yes indeed, I’m that much of an airline nerd that I actually enjoy the ambiance of a busy airport terminal – and when I’m sitting in a lounge all I can think about is what I’m missing “out there”. However, there are times when I can highly appreciate the peaceful serenity of of a quiet lounge with decent food and this particular morning at LHR was one of them. It was early, I was tired and hungry, and a proper airline lounge was exactly the thing I needed to get my day rolling.

Since I stayed at the LHR Hilton the night before, getting to the airport that morning was very quick and effortless. So effortless, as a matter of fact that I found myself at the dedicated Virgin Atlantic check in lounge (Departures Clubhouse) well before it had even opened. Yes, that’s right – Virgin Atlantic has a dedicated check in lounge for business and first class passengers, which allows passengers ticketed in those cabins to bypass the main check in area at terminal 3 altogether. It’s so well designed that I actually walked into it thinking it was the actual departure lounge – so I was a bit confused at first as to why I was the only one there…

virgin atlantic check in clubhouse elevator

Take the elevator from the main T3 departures hall to reach the Departures Clubhouse.

Welcome to the Upper Class Wing LHR

Welcome to the Upper Class Wing. Oooh, this is going to be good!

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Check in lounge LHR

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Departures Clubhouse (check in lounge). Check in here before heading through the dedicated security line!

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Check in lounge LHR

The check in lounge is so well designed that I actually thought this was THE lounge.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Check in lounge LHR

I was the only one here this early in the morning, and I was starting to wonder if I was some place that I shouldn’t be and that security was about to be all over my case…

dedicated security checkpoint virgin atlantic upper class LHR

Follow the signs to the dedicated security checkpoint.

Luckily it only took a few minutes for the dedicated security lane to open, and I was the first one to go through. Actually, I was the only passenger there and I didn’t have to wait for anything, so I felt a bit special – at least for a moment. To be honest though, at this time of the morning, the normal terminal 3 security line looked to be fairly empty as well, so it didn’t even matter which line I used. But it was still fun to use the dedicated line!

I had assumed the dedicated security checkpoint would dump out into the actual Virgin Atlantic Club House, but to my surprise, the exit leads out to the main terminal, and then from there it requires a fairly long walk to the lounge itself. Not a big deal, but it did feel like a somewhat disjointed experience.

I arrived at the entrance to the lounge shortly after 6am, so I had to wait a bit since it didn’t open until 6:30. At least there was really nice and comfortable seating just outside so waiting was a non-issue.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge stairs

Walking up the stairs to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge entrance LHR

Where is everybody this morning? This is the entrance to the lounge at the top of the stairs, but it looks like I’ll have to wait here until they open.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge entrance LHR

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this lounge, so I was really hoping it was as good as they said it would be!

Once inside, I was blown away at how large and diverse it was. I knew it would be highly stylish (this is Virgin Atlantic after all), but I had no idea it would be broken up into so many different sections with everything from wide open communal seating to private quiet rooms.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge LHR

Welcome to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge here at LHR!

Heathrow Upper Class lounge

Right away I knew I was in for a treat. The Heathrow Upper Class lounge definitely lives up to the hype.

Heathrow Upper Class lounge

As you can see, it’s a very big and bright space with a lot of nooks and crannies.

Heathrow Upper Class lounge

The thing that stood out to me right away was the vide variety of seating options – swanky chairs included!

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge LHR

Boring and sterile this lounge is not. Everywhere you turn there’s something cool to see.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge furniture

Yeah baby! No, I didn’t try these swinging chair pods but they sure did look fun.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge Heathrow

The mix of dark and light materials works very well. Whoever designed this place receives a big thumbs up from SANspotter!

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge Heathrow

The entire space is essentially one big room, but the way it’s sectioned off into different areas felt very natural.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge Heathrow

+10 points for having a full size pool table in the lounge. How cool is that?

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge LHR

All the colors and textures work so well together. I need to get the number of whoever designed this place…

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge Heathrow

I love how every corner of this place looks different.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge Heathrow

Quiet areas were sectioned off from the main room with curved glass. Very futuristic looking.

irgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge salon LHR

There’s even a full service Salon in here.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge LHR

Upstairs, it’s dark and very “bar” like. So many good places to hang out in style in this lounge.

Food options were quite impressive as well – especially the complimentary/free food. There was a fully stocked (and staffed) breakfast bar stuffed to the gills with cereals, breads, and fruits that was really nice to see – it was exactly the kind of breakfast I was looking for.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge food

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge complimentary food bar.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge food

This hit the spot!

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge food

Nom nom nom…that’s me trying to eat in moderation. Saving room for the meal service on the plane was very important!

There was also a full restaurant with food for purchase, but the food I got from the breakfast bar was all I needed to hold me over until lunch on the flight to JFK.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge food

Full-service restaurant section with food-for-purchase menus.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge food

There were also several carts located throughout the lounge with complimentary light snacks.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare this Virgin Atlantic Club House as the best airline lounge I’ve ever ever experienced. Yes, even better than the LAX Star Alliance First Class lounge – which wasn’t really all that impressive anyway (but it should have been, on principle). The LHR Club House is large, stylish, very diverse, and well staffed with friendly attendants. A very nice introduction to the Virgin Atlantic experience, that’s for sure.

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