Working in our Heathrow Clubhouse: A waiting game

By: Dave Gunner

October 13, 2017

Jaz ready to serve

Jaz ready to serve

sarah serves one of our customers

Our Heathrow Clubhouse is a calm oasis amid the hustle and bustle of Terminal 3. It’s where our Upper Class customers and Gold Card holders go to relax before their flight, and enjoy fine dining, carefully curated cocktails and some pampering at our Clubhouse Spa.

But what is it like to work in the best airline lounge in the world? And what does it take to become a member of the team who looks after our Clubhouse customers? We spent some time at Heathrow with two of our long-serving Clubhouse waiters, Sarah and Jas, to find out more.

It’s all about teamwork

Anyone can work in a team, so what makes ours so special? Speak to any one of them and the first thing they’ll tell you is what a close-knit group they are. It’s all about getting on, sharing the load, knowing exactly what’s expected and a willingness to help others. “Everyone is lovely and together we can solve almost anything,” says Sarah. According to Jas, it all starts with a daily management briefing that covers how many guests are expected, including any VIPs, as well as promotions, new menu items or anything else they need to know. “The morning briefing starts the day off so well. Our managers are totally approachable and supportive,” says Jas.

A passion for service

When our customers walk into our Clubhouse, they have very high expectations. And rightly so. After all, this is the most talked about airline lounge in the world. So how do Sarah and Jas meet and exceed those high expectations? It all boils down to one of the oldest and most overused sayings in the book: Treating our customers as we would like to be treated ourselves. And the result?
“Most people don’t want to leave,” says Sarah. “They often joke that they’d like us to delay the flight so they can spend more time in the Clubhouse.”
Little extra touches can also add a lot to the service. “We know a lot of customers who order alcoholic drinks ask us for a glass of water soon after. We now offer both at the outset,” explains Sarah. “Customers love that attention to detail.”

You can cancel your gym membership

This is physical work. With early and late shifts spread between 6 am and 11 pm the team are on their feet all day. The role involves greeting guests, showing them around if it’s their first visit, sorting out any spa appointments, and making sure they have everything they need. Essentially, our customers need to be happy, and always topped up. While the number of people in the Clubhouse ebbs and flows depending on the time of day, the waiters are always busy. That all adds up to over 20,000 steps on a longer shift.

A pretty impressive office

Ask Sarah and Jas to describe the Clubhouse and they’ll tell you it’s simultaneously vibrant and chilled, yet never hectic. Jas says most customers tell her it’s the best lounge in the world; something backed up by the stack of awards it wins every year. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago our Heathrow Clubhouse won the Drinks International award for Best Airport Bar. There are always interesting people to meet and there’s always something going on such as the current ‘Best Bars VR Experience’.

A customer enjoying the VR cocktail experience

A customer enjoying the VR cocktail experience

Perks. We all love perks.

Waiters at the Clubhouse are rewarded with a huge range of perks and benefits including some unique training sessions, often by luminaries in the food and beverage world. All waiters also receive the huge list of other Virgin Atlantic benefits, alongside our super-generous flight concessions. And many of the Clubhouse waiting team, like Jas, are part-time. This can be good for those with children, and team members can also swap and change shifts, which can be really beneficial for those who need a bit of extra flexibility.

But Sarah and Jas both agree the best perk is the buzz they get from knowing our guests have received the very best service. Nothing beats sending our customers off to the four corners of the world with a smile on their face, ready to face whatever adventures await them.
Find out more about the Heathrow Clubhouse on our website.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be part of our Clubhouse waiting team, we’re looking for people to get a real buzz from a high-energy fast paced environment and have a passion for delivering outstanding customer service now! Keep an eye on our careers website for more information.

Dave Gunner

Dave Gunner

I love telling the story of our people, our planes, our places and our planet through Ruby Blog.