As departure day slowly approached I got more and more excited about this trip. A new airline, two new countries and to top it all off - Eva Air was one of the first airlines to move into the brand new Terminal 2 at LHR.
The entrance to the terminal features an enormous sculpture which looks amazing and is actually related to flight (DOH take note).
The terminal is arranged with bag drop kiosks for economy passengers first and behind these are the desks for J and F check in.
There is a fast track channel to the right of the regular ones. As always, check to see if it is actually quicker as LHR has a habit of only manning one scanner in priority lanes, a tradition which T2 hasn’t broken with.
We were spoiled for choice when it came to lounges. Our first stop was the LH lounge, immediately to your right once you clear security.
As soon as we walked through the door we were hit with an amazing ‘new car smell’. I guess this will be gone by now but it is worth noting how cool it was to walk through such a new terminal.
The lounge was BUSY. Crazily so. The decor and ambiance made me think of an upscale Ikea cafeteria. The pretzels and beer are pretty much the only defining feature that would keep you here, particularly if you are flying from one of the higher numbered gates used by the Asian carriers.
Still, we were hungry so we grabbed a plate of chicken tikka each before heading off.
Plaza Premium Lounge
The next stop was the Plaza Premium lounge. An intriguing proposition. Plaza Premium is a chain of very nice lounges based in Asia and this is their first foray into Europe. We accessed it via my priority pass (given to me as an Amex Platinum card holder).
This was a real contrast with the LH lounge. Leagues ahead of it in pretty much every way imaginable. The entrance and in fact the feel of the lounge as a whole are very much like a high-end spa.
There were far less people here, the decor - elegant, modern and inviting. The lounge feels really cosy and actually like a lounge as opposed to a cafeteria. There is a soundtrack of relaxing chill out music playing in the background, not something I’ve noticed in other lounges.
We sat in the atrium near the bar. The bar has a wide variety of complimentary drinks available as well as a few premium options, available for a surcharge. I downed a couple of Campari and sodas, which were great (particularly since I’d come straight from the office!).
If you wanted to get some work done you wouldn’t have any trouble as there are universal power points everywhere and plenty of suitable tables and sitting areas.
The buffet features a variety of salad items, including a variety of different proteins, some hot dishes (with vegetarians catered for too) as well as snacks and fruit.
My favourite part was the nod to Plaza’s Asian owners: the spicy thai soup stand.
There was a huge cauldron of Tom Yum Gai with a selection of garnish bowls surrounding it. They contained coriander, beansprouts, chilis and rice noodles. I pimped out my bowl of noodles and relaxed with K for half an hour before embarking on the seemingly endless hike to the BR gate and the remaining two lounges of our tour.
I love the open feeling to the Terminal as well as the effort that has been made with all of the art installations
The United Club is an enormous, sprawling lounge containing a variety of a different seating areas, a buffet room at one end and a large bar running the entire length of the room.
We sat at the far end of the bar, which was a quiet corner in what otherwise amounts to a complete zoo. I am not kidding when I say that the gate areas in T2 are actually quieter and easier to find power sockets in, than the United Club.
Much like the LH lounge, there were a variety of troughs of slop available, Chicken Tikka was once again the main (identifiable) protein offering.
Given the sheer number of people it felt a little intrusive to take lots of pics but I did manage to snap a couple at the bar. The layout of the bar was cool but the bar staff were quite surly; when I asked for champagne I was poured a glass of prosecco. Only later did I notice that the menu actually had champagne on it, the barman had just chosen to interpret my request to mean that I wanted the cheap stuff.
Bottom line: stay in the terminal, it’s a more pleasant experience.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
The maple leaf lounge was my favourite of the *A lounges (SQ just recently opened their lounge so this opinion may well change). The dragons were super friendly and welcoming. The decor was dark but soothing. Lots of glossy wooden surfaces, modern lighting and also great views of the tarmac! If connecting during the day, this would absolutely be my top choice. At the time we visited, the lounge was very busy but the staff were still very attentive and engaging.
I grabbed a quick double macchiato, as I was planning on staying awake for a while, to get my body clock in order for BKK. The macchiato was freshly made behind the bar and tasted great.
One thing I loved was how you actually felt like you were in Canada. Certain airline lounges really do feel like small embassies and Maple Leaf lounges always do this. Aside form the massively friendly staff the other obvious Canadian touch was the magazine selection.
With only twenty five minutes to go until departure we headed over to the gate, fully expecting boarding to have begun…