British Airways Heathrow Lounges Maxed Out! (What We’ve Learned from 12 Years of Using Them).

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12 Years of British Airways Heathrow Lounge Experience

Having travelled extensively out of the UK for 12 years I’ve had the privilege of British Airways Galleries lounge access in terminal 5 at Heathrow, almost since the terminal opened.  The BA Galleries’ lounges are for business class passengers, and gold and silver level British Airways frequent flyers.  If you have Oneworld emerald status you can also access these lounges.

In the early days, a visit to the British Airways Heathrow Lounges (North, South or B Gate) was a privilege.  As a relatively young business traveller I enjoyed space, decent internet access, and of course depending on the flight time, a tipple or two.

High Quality Design Despite Overcrowding

The British Airways Heathrow lounges themselves have remained high quality, decorated with the signature Osborne and Little exclusively designed fabrics.  They offer a good selection of food and drink, which I appreciate as a frequent traveller.  Some even have entertainment zones and mini cinemas to watch sport or movies.

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Staff at British Airways Heathrow Lounges

The staff are helpful and always welcoming.  However, over the years one major factor has changed, the volume of travellers accessing the business class lounge facilities has risen astronomically.

Oneworld Alliance Impact

With more airlines joining the Oneworld alliance partnership, and British Airways themselves seemingly having more silver and gold card members than ever before, the business class lounges are now a hive of activity.  Whereas they used to be ‘calm and tranquil’, which is the atmosphere still promoted on the British Airways website.

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Visit in Less Crowded Times

The only time I am now able to enjoy the very pleasant surroundings of the British Airways Heathrow Lounges, is when I take one of my late night flights out to Latin America or Asia.  At this time most travellers are either 38,000 feet up or already at their destination.  In the late night hours I can actually enjoy the lounge experience, without the hoards!

British Airways Heathrow Lounge – North

I often find myself in the North Lounge, as it is usually a shorter commute to my departure gates. Entering the North Lounge, I always find myself engaging in a game of seat lottery. On the way to the lounge I find myself contemplating whether I’ll be lucky enough to find a comfortable seat.  If not, I will once again be stuck on the stools at the far end of the lounge, overlooking security.

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Seating and Eating

Once I’ve found a stool to perch on I go through the ‘to eat or not to eat’ question.  This inevitably ends in an ‘eat’ answer!  So then I find myself having to patiently queue to get some cheese and biscuits, or a portion of their delicious chilli and rice, from the rapidly evaporating buffet. Let’s face it, queuing is not a favourite pastime of any business traveller!

High Quality Drinks

The selection of beverages is something that has remained of a high standard however at each of the British Airways Heathrow Lounges.  Thank goodness!  Whether you fancy a coffee, specialist tea, or something a little stronger, you can always find something to satisfy.  Be prepared to have to wait for ice though!

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All Genders Queue for the Loo

Queuing doesn’t end at the buffet either.  In all three British Airways Heathrow Lounges I find myself queuing to use the restrooms! Not a major issue, but in a business class departures lounge it isn’t something you’d expect to happen more times than not. The restrooms however are well maintained and clean, which is an achievement due to the volume of users!

Internet is Sloth Paced!

Then we come to the internet, which historically has been excellent.  Now, however, it is sketchy at best.  I presume this is due to the volume of users. Whether the login is Singapore , Budapest or LasVegas, recently I’ve found the wifi drops in and out more times than a high school student!   This has made it increasingly frustrating to manage any work when I’m in a lounge.

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British Airways Heathrow Lounge – South

The south lounge, in my experience, is worse than the North Lounge.  I avoid the South Lounge at all costs.  Being the closest of the British Airways Heathrow Lounges to security, means during peak periods, it’s busier than a football stadium on match day!

British Airways Lounge at B Gate

The lounge at B Gate, the smallest of the three, can be the quietest.  If your flight leaves from B or C gates, it’s well worth taking the short train journey to enjoy the relative peace this lounge can offer.  Believe me, you will be glad you did!

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Expert Traveller Recommends…

If you are visiting the British Airways Heathrow Lounges you can expect a good selection of food and beverages.  However, you’ll need some serious good luck to find somewhere to sit and enjoy them!

This is definitely a time when airline status is important!  If you have Oneworld Emerald status you can enjoy the quiet, and the high quality amenities of the British Airways’ First Lounges.  Read all about that awesome experience here – You Must Try a Champagne Breakfast at British Airways’ First Lounge Heathrow!


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