As the BA Galleries First lounge at T5 Heathrow is probably one of my most visited, I figured it would be a prime candidate for a review on this site.
The last few years have seen a few minor improvements, with new furniture, direct access from check in and slightly enhanced catering options. Although in my honest opinion, it could do with a more major refurbishment. Still, it still does the job very well. Read on to see what I think.
In days gone by, access was via the main South lounge complex. Where you would turn right and head upstairs to the Galleries Club lounge, access to the First lounge was to the left on the same level. Whilst this is still and option for connecting passengers, this review will feature the First Wing entry from landside, which is at the far end of the check in area in zone J.
When you enter The First Wing, more often than not you’re met by a member of staff to direct you – either to the left if you need to check in bags, or to the right if you’re heading straight through security.
First up is the BA desks where they check lounge eligibility, followed a few metres later by a further boarding pass scan as you head through security. Once these formalities are complete, you head left through a hallway to the lounge, which is part of The First Wing area, that opened in 2017.
You enter the lounge itself at the far end, past the main bar area to your left and the Gold Bar to your right. As you can see, there are a selection of spirits available on the top of the bar, along with soft drinks and beer in the fridges below. As I was passing through in the morning, there were also juices in this area. Also dotted around are a selection of bar snacks in the form or crisps, nuts etc.
Next up, you’ll find a reasonably long hallway with a pair of coffee machines and a reasonably new addition to this lounge – the bacon rolls that are found in the Galleries Club Lounge. In the afternoon, these are replaced with a selection of pies and pastries.
At the end of this area, straight ahead of you is the champagne bar with a choice of two varieties. To the left is a business centre featuring PC’s, printing and fax facilities. To the right is a customer service desk.
Heading back out of this area, you’ll pass the main entrance from airside followed by a rack of newspapers, consisting of a rapidly dwindling selection of UK publications and foreign titles.
Carrying on, you’ll see another area which is the main dining area. As you enter, there’s another recent addition – a table with pastries, muffins, breads etc.
As you carry on down to the left is tables and chairs and to the right there are a pair of coffee machines, fridges with a selection of canned drinks and juices, followed by an area serving cereals and porridge.
At the end of this area is a hot buffet. The breakfast items have been more or less the same for many years now consisting of the usual full English choices of sausages, bacon potato rosti, mushrooms, beans, toast and scrambled egg. However I tend to get the kitchen to make some poached eggs for me and its never been a problem, The lunch and dinner items on the buffet tend to vary now and again, although as I nearly always tend to pass through in the mornings, I can’t comment too much with whats on offer. From memory, its pasta, potatoes, rice and various selections of meat.
There is also a la carte dining available. Again, the breakfast menu hasn’t changed all that much in many years although the lunch and dinner menu tends to rotate on a monthly basis.
As you head back out of this area, you’ll see the wine gallery, featuring a selection of red and white, some more champagne, along with a further seating area and a couple of computers
The final area is an outdoor terrace type area – which is still inside the main terminal, but outside in comparison to the rest of the lounge. There are some good views across the apron and to the end of runway 27L/09R from this point too. Out on the terrace area is a island with chilled soft drinks. Also out here is a magazine rack featuring the BA High Life, Business Traveller and a selection of other publications.
And that’s pretty much it for this lounge. Also of note is that the BA provided WiFi isn’t the fastest in the world – in fact now that Heathrow has introduced its own super fast WiFi, its a better bet to connect to that if you can. There are no showers in this lounge as such, but more of a shared facility with both the Concorde Room and the Galleries Club lounge. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a good enough place to wait for a few hours, but in comparison to other First Class lounges out there, it’s not one of the strongest. Having said that, this isn’t a true First Class lounge anyway – BA’s First passengers can access the Concorde Room next door. This particular lounge is more for BA Gold’s and OneWorld Emerald card holders.