The British Airways Galleries First Lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 5 South is no Concorde Room, but a nice step up from the crowded business class lounge one floor above.
British Airways Galleries First Lounge London (LHR T5 South) Review
My stay here was less than 10 minutes. Let me explain.
Access + Hours + Location
You’ll find this lounge in the south concourse of Terminal 5. After clearing security, head downstairs and turn right. You’ll walk past a busy gate area and some stores before reaching an escalator or elevator up to the lounge. If you are originating in Heathrow, you can access this lounge directly from the dedicated security line in the first class check-in area.
This lounge is currently open daily from 5:00AM to 10:00PM and serves the following passengers:
- oneworld emerald members (plus one guest)
- First class passengers traveling on a oneworld carrier
British Airways first class passengers are welcome to use this lounge, but also have access to the Concorde Room, which is a superior lounge.
I showed up with my wife, four-year-old son, and one-year-old daughter. I wasn’t sure how British Airways handled families and was politely told that I would need to use the business class lounge upstairs, as I was only allowed one guest. I knew my infant daughter did not count a guest, but I guess young children are counted.
This is probably a good thing as a young family behind us tried the same thing was also sent upstairs. We went upstairs and I dropped my family off and scampered back down to quickly review this lounge and then re-join them.
Unlike the Galleries lounge directly above, I loved that this Galleries First lounge was not nearly as crowded. It makes a huge difference in creating a premium experience.
As you walk into the lounge you pass those iconic British Airways horse lamps, which I used to find odd but now, due to their association with BA, I quite like.
Inside is a bar straight on, then seating off to the right and left. The wood floors are really showing their age and there are insufficient power plugs. That said, you typically won’t experience heavy crowding in this lounge, which will make it less of a scavenger hunt to find a plug for your device.
The lounge was scented by Charabanc.
Normally, a terrace is also available, though during my visit the Concorde Room was still closed so the terrace became the temporary Concorde Room.
Food + Drink
As this was several months back, there was no buffet (beyond crisps, muffins, and whole fruit), which has since returned. Instead, there was simply an a la carte menu via a sticker with QR code placed on virtually every table (to pinpoint your location for delivery). This remains even though the buffet has been restored.
A La Carte Menu
Here’s a look at the menu:
When I saw the sign for “coffee house” I got excited and hoped it meant barista-made coffee like in the Concorde Room. But no, it was just the same machines as upstairs and Union Coffee (not at all my favorite – I find it very bitter).
Further back in the lounge was another bar area, this one self-serve, that BA calls its Champagne bar. It was roped off, with a sign saying, “This area will be closed from 10:00 today. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
There’s a tended bar near the entrance and self-serve drink stations throughout the lounge.
Sleeping Area (Forty Winks)
In partnership with Restworks, BA has seven sleep pods in this lounge which constitute the quiet area. sleep pods were not fully flat and it was so bright I’m not sure I would have been able to sleep, even if I was tired.
It wouldn’t be a British Airways London lounge without the train-like restrooms. Showers were available down the hall.
T5 was crowded then and is even more crowded now. Perhaps the greatest benefit to this lounge is the availability of agents to help if your travel plans are disrupted. The British Airways app is light years behind that of its American counterparts so don’t expect to be able to rebook yourself if your flight is cancelled or severely delayed.
While I only stayed for a few minutes so I can get back to my family, I found this lounge to be a big step up from the business lounge upstairs and it would have been a comfortable place with plenty of food and beverage options to wait for my flight to Los Angeles. The buffet has now returned, offering even more options.
While the lounge is showing its age, it remains a welcome refuge from the hectic gate areas of Heathrow Terminal 5.