Review: Swissport Lounge London Heathrow

Introduction
Virgin Atlantic 207 787-9 Economy Class Hong Kong to London Heathrow
Swissport Lounge London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic 206 787-9 Premium Economy Class London Heathrow to Hong Kong
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong
United Club Hong Kong
Swiss 139 777-300ER Business Class Hong Kong to Zurich
Swiss Arrivals Lounge Zurich
Glacier Express 902 Zermatt to Andermatt
Hotel Victoria Jungfraujoch
Touring the Hotel Schynige Platte
Hotel Baur au Lac Zurich
Swiss Senator Lounge Terminal A
Swiss Panorama Business Class Lounge Terminal E
Swiss 138 777-300ER Business Class Zurich to Hong Kong


Before I carry on with the lounge report, my time at Oxford was amazing. Yes, it was education-based, but I also got to know the town really well during the period, as well as lots of new people. This isn’t an ORA review site, though, so I won’t be talking about that a lot – just email me if you want to know what it’s like, as it’s not really that much of something I’d write about on the blog.

I went into check-in at around 2 PM for my 10:30 PM flight, as that was as far as the buses left. The check-in agent confirmed my assigned seat, and while she didn’t tell me I soon found out that visiting the Clubhouse unaccompanied would require me to be 16+, so even with £60 I couldn’t pay myself into the lounge. I went to the Royal Jordanian counter to find my friend Emile (who has a Lounge Club card for unlimited members), and we were on our way.

I lost Emile on the way to the lounge, but soon we managed to catch up, as they had to go through secondary screening by security. We went and found the lounge area, and made our way to the Swissport lounge, located in aisle F with the pay-in lounges.

DSCF9186London Heathrow Terminal 3 Lounge Aisle F

From there it was stairs up to the lounge. The lounge is located next to the No1 lounge, which Cathay Pacific and Finnair use, and above the British Airways Galleries lounge that as one of the above airlines’ eligible passengers you can technically get into.

DSCF9187Lounge Index Aisle F London Heathrow Terminal 3

From there it was a short walk to the Swissport lounge, which has a normal entry fee of £20 for three hours, which I later used after my first session that Emile’s lounge card ran out.

We were checked in by a friendly agent who reminded us about our three hours and scanned our passes.

DSCF9202Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Entrance

The lounge was basically a long room, which I did expect for an entry fee of £20. It was partitioned into three areas, separated by frosted glass. The outermost area featured bar seating, as well as a few couches inside.

DSCF9189Swissport Lounge London Heathrow

DSCF9190Swissport Lounge London Heathrow

There were blinds by the window, but not many people used them – while the tarmac views were obstructed, at least you could still see planes taxiing around the tarmac.

DSCF9191Swissport Lounge London Heathrow

This area of the lounge featured a basic food spread, with some cold pastries and options, as well as cold drinks. There was also hot food on offer – potato and leek soup in the afternoon, and pasta at night.

DSCF9197Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Food Spread

DSCF9188Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Food Spread

While the food was limited, the drinks spread was surprisingly extensive for a pay-in lounge (I don’t think any airlines contract the Swissport Lounge at London Heathrow).

DSCF9198Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Food Spread

DSCF9199Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Food Spread

DSCF9200Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Food Spread

DSCF9201Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Food Spread

Past this was a little area where I stayed for the first three hours of my stay. It seemed like more of a “work area”, as even though it was completely open, it featured magazines and no TVs, etc.

DSCF9205Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Work Area

DSCF9194Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Work Area

DSCF9193Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Work Area

DSCF9196Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Magazines

By the side were some chairs, which weren’t taken until at night, when the lounge filled up.

DSCF9192Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Connecting Hallway

At the end was an area with a TV and pretty nice tarmac views (whereas in the other areas they were largely obstructed).

DSCF9210Swissport Lounge London Heathrow TV Area

DSCF9195Swissport Lounge London Heathrow TV Area

So was this lounge a place I’d voluntarily spend time in? Hell no. But it wasn’t like I could get to the airport any later, so for three hours, it’s definitely a better place to spend than the airport. I definitely appreciate Emile’s Lounge Club card and his generosity, but I would’ve gone for an extra £20 to spend three more hours in the lounge if I did get into the same situation again. The lounge also had toilets, which was a blessing (I couldn’t get any pictures, as there were people there whenever I was inside).

Once I sat down I went and grabbed some potato and leek soup, which was on offer. The soup itself was bland, but the croutons were well seasoned and with a little salt and pepper I actually found it rather delicious.

DSCF9203Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Potato and Leek Soup with Croutons

WiFi at the lounge required signing up – while it took a long time to get the signup page loaded, once it did WiFi was free and fast. It was a blessing, as I was there for a very long time, so I could catch up on some work that should’ve been done a long time ago.

Parked outside at the time was a British Airways A320, which was interesting. Some bigger heavies such as Qatar/British Airways A380s rolled behind a few times, but I failed to get photos.

DSCF9204Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Tarmac Views

DSCF9206Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Tarmac Views

I left the lounge between sessions to wave goodbye to a few friends who’d be leaving a little early. Emile and his friend left a bit before the first three hours ended, which was sad. Fortunately the second goodbye was a little bit softer on me, as they lived in Hong Kong too (and were just on an earlier Cathay Pacific flight).

DSCF9207Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER London Heathrow Airport

To everyone who finds Terminal 3 depressing, I do agree that the gates 23-42 are located in a very depressing space. The ceilings are very low (apart from near gate 40, where it widens up a bit), and it almost feels like a little airport, and definitely not the second largest in the world (in fairness, the other terminals are all nicer).

DSCF9209London Heathrow Terminal 3

As the cheapest pay-in lounge I got back to the Swissport lounge, along with the fact that I really wasn’t in the mood to take more pictures, especially of the very crowded No. 1 lounge. I went back to the TV area, put on my headphones and worked until my flight was about to leave.

DSCF9211Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Tarmac Views

DSCF9214Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Tarmac Views

DSCF9213Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Tarmac Views

For dinner there was pasta arrabiata, which was actually very good with the amount of cheese I added. I also had a decent hot chocolate along with it, made out of the machines.

DSCF9212Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Pasta Arrabiata

DSCF9215Swissport Lounge London Heathrow Hot Chocolate

By 9:20 I left the lounge for the gate, which was located in what I think was the Virgin Atlantic wing. Since boarding just started into the holding pen, the whole area was completely deserted, which I found really charming. Add in that the hallways were completely deserted, and it was actually really charming.

DSCF9219London Heathrow Terminal 3 Gate 17 Holding Pen

It soon filled up, and after the unaccompanied minors were taken to their seats, by 9:45 Gate A was opened. It was a free for all, but I was the first onboard, so it was all good.

I was on an older 787 this time, Mystery Girl, and I was interested to see how this flight compared to my outbound economy flight, also excited about my first longhaul premium economy experience.

DSCF9217Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 London Heathrow

Bottom Line

Would I get to the Swissport Lounge early? Definitely not.

But it was a good place to kill time, and for £20/three hours was an amazing deal, especially compared to everything else at Heathrow Airport. It’s not worth visiting if you only have under an hour to spare, but if you get stuck in my position it’s useful to get lounge access no matter how the lounge is like.

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