I usually cover the Clubhouse as part of my many trip reports. But I wanted to give it some of its own limelight because I think the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is the best departure lounge in the UK. This article details why.
Upper Class Wing
Before we talk about the Clubhouse, we have to talk about how to get there. Assuming you’re flying Upper Class, the best way to start your flying experience is by using the Upper Class wing. If the Clubhouse is the best lounge in the country, this is easily the best check-in experience short of flying privately.
It is clearly signposted and most taxi drivers know where it is. You’ll have to approach a barrier on the left before the main T3 drop-off area where you will give your name and flight details. The staff will verify you’re entitled to enter, then raise the barrier. Your car will drive up the ramp into the terminal building where a gold sculpture rises out of the floor to set the tone of your visit.
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing
The wing is located above the main check-in area at Heathrow Terminal 3, essentially a private drop-off point for Upper Class passengers. It can only be used by those flying Upper Class. Gold card holders can’t even use it, strictly Upper Class (much to my annoyance). It’s usually very quiet, but that can vary depending on your departure time.
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing Main Entrance
When you arrive at the wing, you’ll be met by a check-in agent and someone to take your bags. Usually, you just check in straight away, but if you need to sit down there is a large sofa. That’s useful if the wing is a bit busy or you’re waiting for other members of your party to arrive. There’s also a repacking area and some light refreshments on offer if you’re in desperate need.
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing Interior Seating
The Clubhouse is signposted within the terminal as Lounge H.
At the top of the stairs, you’ll be met by the smiling staff who will scan your boarding pass and check you’re entitled to enter.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Entrance
These are the entry requirements.
Passengers travelling in the following cabins:
- Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic + a guest.
- Delta One on Delta.
- Connecting to La Premiere on Air France + a guest.
- Clase Premier on Aeromexico.
Passengers with the following loyalty status:
- Flying Club Gold + a guest travelling with Virgin Atlantic, Delta or Aeromexico.
- Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallions + a guest travelling on Virgin Atlantic or Delta.
- Flying Blue Platinum members + a guest travelling on Virgin Atlantic or Delta.
- All other SkyTeam Elite Plus members + a guest travelling on Virgin Atlantic, Delta or Aeromexico.
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold, Platinum and The Card card holders travelling on Virgin Atlantic.
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold, Solitaire PPS Club and PPS Club members travelling on Virgin Atlantic.
- Air New Zealand Gold or Elite members travelling on Virgin Atlantic to San Francisco.
There is also an informal policy of buying access to the Clubhouse. But this is at the Clubhouse manager’s discretion and depends on how busy it is.
You can only purchase entry if you’re flying Virgin Atlantic Premium or in Upper and want to pay for additional guests. Unless you’re going to consume an amount of food and alcohol to make the entry worthwhile, it’s probably not a good choice. So really, this is a very limited policy.
There is one final way of getting into the Clubhouse if you do not meet the above requirements. Anyone who earns 1500 tier points on Virgin gets given two guest passes that they can gift to other flyers for Clubhouse entry. Rare as that is, I have an article coming soon that talks more about that.
Size & Design
The Clubhouse is situated inside Terminal 3 overlooking the apron of gates 18, 20, 22 and 23 & 25. Most of these gates are Virgin Atlantic gates too, so you always get a view of their red-tailed aircraft. It was designed by award-winning London architect Softroom. Completed in 2007, the 2,500 m2 Clubhouse is the flagship of the Virgin Atlantic brand. The architecture and design cross over with other smaller Clubhouses on the Virgin network.
It’s designed to accommodate about 365 people at a time and during the day serves anywhere between 1400 and 1600 passengers.
Entry & Concierge
As you enter the Clubhouse, there is a concierge desk on the left hand side. Usually, one of the agents or Clubhouse managers is around this area.
These are the people to speak to about upgrades, seat moves, and anything else you may need. I can say with 100% conviction that the concierge staff are fantastic. I’ve lost count of how many times these members of staff have secured better seats or an upgrade for me (for a price of course). Chat with them, they’re good people to know!
Behind the concierge desk to the left, there is space to leave your luggage. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s self-service, so drop your carry-on baggage here if you don’t want it with you for the duration of your stay.
Clubhouse Concierge Desk 2023
The Clubhouse has a ton of different seating areas. The Bistro is great for a sit-down meal, whilst the rest of the areas are more conducive to relaxing with a cocktail and snacks.
Behind the bar is one of the more sought-after areas. There are couches and chaise loungers with views of the aircraft outside. It’s hidden away enough that you forget you’re in a large lounge when sitting behind there.
Clubhouse Bistro Seating 2023
There’s plenty of seating between the bistro and bar, mostly chic sofa/lounger style. Most seats have access to a small table and charging point (but not all).
Clubhouse Seating 2023
Before COVID there was a hair salon & spa but that’s now gone and instead, there is a mini gym stocked with Peloton bikes. I’ve always thought it was a waste of space myself, but on the last occasion, I visited, two people were using it!
Clubhouse Gym 2023
Upstairs you have The Loft, which has a pool table, TV, some reading materials, and soft seating. There’s also a staircase with access to the outdoor terrace where you can watch the planes moving around the airfield. There is also partial views of both runways but as Terminal 3 is right in the middle of the airfield you don’t get a landing touchdown view. It is however perfectly located to see aircraft rotation for most short-haul departures on dry days.
Clubhouse Loft 2023
There’s also a cinema area and a dark room. You can find these on the right-hand side of the Clubhouse if you’re looking at the bar from the entrance.
The toilets are very high quality. There are two sets, one past the bistro area (left turn when you walk in) and one down near the cinema (right turn as you walk in).
If you need to wash, there are also bookable showers. I haven’t used them personally, but I know they’re high-quality steam showers. If you want to use one, speak to a member of staff who’ll get one booked for you. There are towels and amenities on hand in the shower rooms too.
Clubhouse Showers 2023
Food & Drink
As I said above, if you want a full meal, the bistro is the place to sit.
There is a set menu in the Clubhouse as follows.
Breakfast, served until midday:
Clubhouse Breakfast Menu Summer 2023
Lunch & Dinner, served after midday:
Clubhouse Lunch & Dinner Menu Summer 2023
Drinks, served all day:
Clubhouse Drinks Menu Summer 2023
There is also a full wet bar where the staff will make a multitude of cocktails to order for you. The bar staff are always nice to sit and chat with when you want a change of scenery.
My Food & Drink Choices
On my last visit I had scrambled eggs on toast, with mushroom on the side. On previous visits I’ve had the full English as well as the burger and chicken wings, pictured below.
Clubhouse Full English Breakfast Summer 2023
Food portions are on the smaller side, but this is done by design. Everyone who’s in the lounge is likely going to eat again in a few hours when their flight is in the air. Plus, if you want more food, you can just order again. I’ve spent many hours in the lounge eating and drinking and the staff are more than happy to oblige if you’ve got a big appetite.
Clubhouse Chicken Burger & Wings Summer 2023
For drinks, I generally don’t drink alcohol on flying days, but there is an extensive alcohol collection behind the bar. It’s not self-service, but the bar staff are fantastic and can whip up just about anything you can think of. The bar has a dedicated mixologist, and it’s this mixologist that designs the cocktails you’ll find onboard your flight too.
All food & drink orders can be done via a QR code on your table. Alternatively, there’s plenty of staff around who’ll be happy to take orders for you too. In all honesty, the QR code works well; if the lounge is very busy, it’ll be faster to use that than wait for someone to walk past.
In my experience, the staff in the lounge have always been fantastic. They’re happy to accommodate requests, including posing for photos, which isn’t part of their normal duties.
Recommended stay time
All in all, The Clubhouse is a fantastic place to spend a few hours. If you’ve never been to this calibre of lounge before, it’s easy to stay a couple of hours without getting bored. If you’re a very regular Virgin traveller, this all becomes “normal” quite quickly. So much so, that when you visit just about any other airport lounge, it’s a stark contrast and you realise just how good The Clubhouse is.
Virgin has an arrivals lounge in Terminal 3 landside. Revivals is a great place to refresh after arriving at Heathrow on an overnight flight. It’s much smaller than the Clubhouse and designed as a pit stop location for you to shower, have some breakfast and then continue your journey.
It has about two dozen shower suites with towels and amenities. I’ve never had to wait when using Revivals but when the early flights arrive it can get a little busy.
Revivals Entry Requirements
The Revivals lounge is above the Terminal 3 arrivals hall. Head to the elevators which go to the short stay car park. Come out of the elevator on the 1st floor, and turn right. There’s an unassuming frosted glass door straight ahead of you and behind there is the lounge.
Revivals is open from 5.30am to 12.30pm daily.
- Passengers travelling in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
- Flying Club Gold members travelling with us*
- Passengers travelling in Delta One
- Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion card holders**
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion card holders**
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Platinum card holders***
- Virgin Australia Velocity The Club card holders***
*When arriving at London Heathrow on a Virgin Atlantic or Delta Airlines flight
**When arriving at London Heathrow or Delta Airlines flight from the US
***When arriving at London Heathrow on a Virgin Atlantic flight
Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge 2023
I think the only thing that lets down the overall experience here is the brief time you have to spend in the actual terminal when moving from the Upper Class Wing to the Clubhouse. British Airways wing goes directly from check-in to the lounge.
Other than that, Virgin’s offering is stellar. The big difference you will see between Virgin Atlantic and operators like British Airways is the size difference. Because Virgin is a boutique airline, the lounge feels like a special place rather than a terminal within a terminal like the larger airline lounges. It’s not uncommon to know certain staff by name if you’re a regular visitor because of that smaller vibe.
If you haven’t tried the Clubhouse yet… I highly recommend you do. If you don’t, you’re missing out!