One of my favorite benefits of Oneworld Emerald status is access to first class lounges when traveling internationally. These lounges aren’t always all that great, and due to potentially a lot of travelers with access, can be crowded. Still, I have enjoyed my visits to various lounges internationally. My favorite is probably The Pier in Hong Kong. I don’t connect in HKG all that often, but have been through Heathrow many times of late. I don’t seem to mind that airport as much as some others, and I generally like the British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5. There is also a Galleries First lounge in T3, but when departing that terminal, I strongly prefer the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge.
As an American Airlines flyer, with limited European routes, I often end up with connections at Heathrow and British Airways. I’ve also flown Air Berlin, but after that experience, I would still rather connect through Heathrow in almost all situations. If I’m connecting beyond Heathrow on BA, most of the time, those flights depart from Terminal 5, so when there I visit the British Airways First Lounge. I haven’t entered from landside at T5 in a while, so I haven’t been able to check out the newly refurbished First Wing which drops people off directly into the British Airways First Lounge. This seems to be a big improvement, although it seems to have made that area of the lounge somewhat busier.
Where is the British Airways First Lounge?
Terminal 5 has lounge complexes on both ends of the main terminal (T5A), however only the south side has the First Lounge and Concorde Room. When clearing from the main or transit security areas, turn right, head through some shopping areas, then downstairs before going up an escalator to the lounges. Once in the lounge reception area, go left to enter the First Lounge. I didn’t take that many photos of the lounge, since while large, it often seems crowded and at minimum busy. It is not tranquil like some First Class lounges. It is divided up into multiple areas, and I’ve never had a hard time finding a seat. On my recent visits it has been busy enough I haven’t taken a full array of photos. The lounge has large windows on the south side of T5.
What does the British Airways First lounge offer?
My typical visits are in the mornings or early afternoons. The lounge is divided into zones, with a dining area taking up a large portion of the lounge. There is a full buffet available, as well as several items available to be made to order. There are several drink stations, including a few Champagne bars, and a selection of wines, both of which are self-pour. Closer to the First Wing entrance is a large self-serve area for more drinks, with a selection of liquors. There are several pretty top-shelf options, at least for a notoriously cheap airline such as British Airways, Johnnie Walker Blue label, and Ketel One come to mind.
One of my favorite seating areas of the lounge is a terrace on one end, which while outside the main part of the lounge, only looks into the main terminal, as opposed to actually going outside with fresh air. I’ve noticed that the lounges seem to have a seasonal drink feature, and often these are offered on the terrace.
British Airways First Lounge showers (shared with the business lounge)
Access to showers is a necessity for a lounge serving long haul flights. There are a lot of shower rooms, maybe 20 or so, but at busy times, there can be a waiting list, so plan accordingly. These rooms are by no means luxurious, but perfectly functional to freshen up before or after a flight. I’ve heard them described as those one might find on a train, and maybe so, but they are clean and in good repair, which is sufficient for me.
The showers themselves are a bit complicated, with various shower heads. There are instructions available for those working through a fog of jet lag. Here are some photos:
British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5 Bottom Line
This lounge is by no means exclusive or tranquil, but I happy to have this option when departing from Terminal 5 at Heathrow. There is a good mix of food and drinks, and the showers are sufficient. I’ve never had a problem finding a quiet enough spot to relax or work, depending on my need. This lounge is a nice perk as a oneworld emerald, and is nicer than the British Airways business lounges. I haven’t visited the Concorde Lounge, which is more exclusive, in that only flyers departing on British Airways First Class can use it.