Just in the last couple of weeks we reported on the reopening of the Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge at London Heathrow’s Terminal 2, the only one on the global network outside Changi currently in operation.
We just reviewed the temporary (and sole) SilverKris lounge in Singapore earlier this month, so when reader Callum from CallumElsdon.com blog asked us if we wanted share his upcoming review of the Heathrow SKL, we were happy to bend our usual “no guest reviews” policy!
Over to Callum…
A guest review from CallumElsdon.com, a UK-based travel and lifestyle blog, for MainlyMiles.
Finally, after almost 10 months since last being open, the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 is back in business. Prior to its reopening on 1st September 2021, the only operational lounge has been Lufthansa’s in the A gates section of the airport – which is an average and underwhelming lounge to visit.
Despite not being the best lounge in Terminal 2, SIA’s lounge is a definite step up from Lufthansa’s.
Entry requirements to the lounge are out of step…
Although I welcome the stringent nature of the entry requirements personally, they are out of step with both UK and European regulations with them aligning closer to Singapore Covid regulations. To enter the lounge, you require:
- A Covid-19 PCR test issued within 72 hours of flight departure. Singapore and SIA require a Covid-19 PCR test issued within 48 hours of flights – so you will be fine to visit if you are taking one of SIA’s scheduled London departures.
- Temperature check at the entrance – although this is not strictly enforced.
- Face masks must be worn when not eating or drinking, in line with UK Covid regulation specific to aviation environments. They do not stipulate if it should be cloth, medical or FFP/N95/KF94/KN95.
Note: SIA removed the temperature screening requirement for access to this lounge on 27th September 2021, after Callum’s visit.
They also asked to see our Covid Vaccination status, in my case the UK National Health Service (NHS) Covid Pass, although this is not mandatory for access. I believe only private Covid-19 PCR tests are acceptable for access, this is due to the free NHS tests only being used for people who are symptomatic and them not issuing certificates which feature information like passport numbers for travel verification.
The primary issue for most travellers departing for Europe with Star Alliance partners is that you don’t need a PCR test for most destinations. If you are vaccinated, you will require a lateral flow test or proof of vaccination in order to travel to other countries – meaning that if you are planning to visit prior to travelling to a destination where you don’t need a PCR test, you will not be able to visit the SIA lounge.
I will find it interesting to see where this goes as the world opens up. Other airlines, such as Air Canada, Saudia and others, are currently using the SIA lounge so I assume their passengers must need a Covid-19 PCR test for their destination.
Who can access the lounge?
Lounge access has not changed since prior to the pandemic. The following passengers are able to access the lounge:
- SIA and Star Alliance Business Class passengers
- SIA and Star Alliance First Class Passengers
- Star Alliance Gold Status Holders
As noted previously, other airlines such as Saudia are currently using the SIA lounge under contract primarily due to Terminal 4, home to SkyTeam, being using for UK “Red List” or Hotel Quarantine arrivals. There is no definitive list available for non-Star Alliance airlines that are using this lounge.
The lounge is open between 06:00 and 22:00 every day of the week.
The First Class section of the Lounge is currently closed.
Note: SIA reopened the First Class section of this lounge on 21st September 2021, after Callum’s visit. Operation of that section is 6am to 11am daily, catering for SQ317 passengers.
How is the lounge ambience?
In short, this lounge has a great atmosphere. Although I prefer Cathay Pacific’s lounge design, SIA’s design dubbed “Home away from home” by ONG&ONG still looks fantastic and gives a really clear South East Asian aesthetic to visitors – even those of us flying to other parts of the world.
Firstly, SIA have a good range of seating options available whether you are looking to lounge around, get some work done or grab a bite to eat – perfect for any situation you will find yourself in whilst visiting this lounge. Below is the seating that is close to the lounge windows with views across a construction site on the apron.
I particularly liked these solo seating areas with a capacious table to work at which are seemingly inspired by the design of Singapore Airlines’ First Class suites.
Seated tables are available for dining but they are severely restricted in numbers when compared to the lounge area.
Bar style seating completes the options for seating and there is plenty of it – these are located at both the bar and along the corridor from the entrance.
Social Distancing is in place at the lounge, despite not being required by UK law, but the implementation is a little patchy.
Large notices are placed on the more relaxed chairs but then there was none in the dining area – this seems to make little sense, as you’re more likely to wear a mask when at the relaxed chairs versus dining area.
Charging and Wi-Fi
Disappointingly there was no charging points throughout the whole lounge. I initially thought it was just a problem with the point I was sat at – then I noticed the whole lounge had no places to plug into. Hopefully this problem is resolved before you visit. Just be sure to charge up your device before visiting or carry a power bank to stay topped up.
Wi-Fi was average at the lounge. It was serviceable but slow at times particularly when I attempted to upload an article with images to my website – it was struggling.
The below internet speed test was taken when the lounge was occupied by just me and one other passenger.
Food and beverages
Compared to the Lufthansa lounge, SIA excels in their food and beverage offering. We visited at breakfast time on a Sunday and the menu options were excellent. During out visit, the menu consisted of the following:
I opted to try the Nasi Lemak – it is far better than the regular “western” breakfast that is usually poor wherever you go.
The setup is a little odd. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 by touching the serving spoons or utensils, the hot food area is serviced by two attendants who will take your order and then return it onto a tray to take to your table. This is logical and follows what a lot of other restaurant or catering environments are doing.
What I do not understand is why some of the breakfast, such as continental options like croissants and pastries, as well as most drinks are self-serve with no protective gloves provided (despite notices saying otherwise). This makes no sense because at the hot food section we cannot touch the utensils to obtain hot food for health protection measures, instead needing a lounge attendant to support, but a couple metres away I can self-serve.
It is pretty illogical. British Airways, who have never had excellent food prior to the pandemic in their Business Class lounges, have a far better setup whereby you scan a QR code at your table to order food and drinks which applies to everything – not just specific types of food.
I will note here, as an aside, that all the staff in the lounge were excellent – very helpful, quick to clean and personable too.
The food itself was tasty, the Nasi Lemak was flavourful and similar to Malaysian restaurant standard in London. The pastries were of good quality and fresh whilst the coffee was the standard middle-of-the-road auto-machine brewed.
Other drinks on offer included wine, beer and soft drinks – although I certainly didn’t want any of this at 06:30. For cocktails and mixers, a server was available behind the bar to produce them after 08:00 until closing time.
I feel that Singapore Airlines could really improve the lounge experience by having a barista on offer during the early hours, instead of a cocktail maker, similar to Qantas and Air Canada’s lounges. This would elevate the lounge even higher because it is missing great coffee – but otherwise offers a decent number of options for food and drinks.
The second drinks station in the lounge was off-limits not due to Covid-19 but more likely due to electrical failure – which may have been why the electrical outlets did not work at the seating areas.
The showers are currently out of action due to Covid-19. I suspect that this is to save money, since it will require a dedicated attendant, as opposed to actual infection control and will likely be back in action when passenger numbers on SIA’s flagship route increases.
The toilets were clean but certainly nothing special.
Here I feel that SIA really need to up their game. Whereas Cathay Pacific has relationships with Aesop or, more recently, Bamford on-board and in lounges, SIA hasn’t done the same – at least in London. Instead, it featured a barely legible brand of moisturiser, which had clearly been refilled many times over the years, and a generic soap in dispensers.
This is extremely disappointing for a premium airline compared to others, even British Airways who use premium Elemis products across their network. Potentially there is some tie up here with their amenity kit partner Penhaligon’s in the near future to provide better bathroom amenities. Toothpaste and toothbrushes are available on request, although they were out of stock in combs and razors.
No physical magazines are available in the lounge – which has sadly become commonplace across all airlines.
Guests are instead advised to connect to Wi-Fi and download the Singapore Airlines app to access digital magazines. The selection on here was limited when compared to PressReader which is used by a number of other airlines.
How busy was the lounge?
When we entered, just after 06:30, the lounge was empty – and perfect for taking pictures. By the time we left, around 09:00, it was getting very busy due to a number of departing long-haul flights from Terminal 2 B Gates. With social distancing measures in place, almost all the relaxed seating was used and dining tables occupied. Speaking to lounge staff, the lounge then remains this busy for pretty much the rest of the day.
If the ramp up of flights increase any more, this lounge will be at maximum capacity very soon however I am sure that with Canada reopening to foreign tourists in September and the US reopening in November for vaccinated travellers, the Air Canada and United Club lounges will be available as options. This should then relieve some pressure on the Singapore Airlines lounge for a slightly more relaxing experience.
Should you be visiting?
Yes. As things currently stand, Singapore Airlines has the best lounge currently open in Terminal 2. Providing you meet their stringent entry requirements and even if you have a flight departing from the A gates, take a walk across to this excellent lounge for a more relaxing experience.
The only thing I urge SIA, please get rid of the “It’s a great way to fly” music – it is awful. I’d certainly prefer if they played their boarding music on repeat instead.
Thanks to MainlyMiles for allowing us to have this guest review spot. Please take a check at our articles for more on the British perspective in post-Covid travel at CallumElsdon.com where you can subscribe for updates. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram @CallumElsdonBlog or Twitter @CElsdonBlog