British Airways First Class Lounge at Heathrow Review: Runway Views and Quick Online Ordering

This sprawling lounge offers solid service and amenities, including online food ordering and buffets.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Published
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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From free-flowing Champagne to serve-to-your-table dining, there's much for travelers to like about the British Airways LHR First Class Lounge.

However, travelers should be prepared for crowds — from lines for the bathroom to struggles to find available chairs. Let's dig into all the pros and cons of the British Airways first class lounge in London Heathrow.

Location and layout

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

Travelers originating in London Heathrow can begin their journey in the first class check-in facility. There, first class check-in agents and dedicated security lines efficiently process passengers.

Despite a short line to access the first class check-in area, it took only 10 minutes from the time I arrived to check in and then enter the BA LHR lounge.

Connecting passengers don't have as smooth of a process or as grand of an entrance to get into the BA lounge at Heathrow. In the connecting area, you'll need to scan an onward boarding pass and then take an escalator up to enter the security line.

After clearing the difficult London Heathrow security process, you'll be directed left — away from the lounges and toward the airport's shops. Take the first escalator down and then circle backward to get to the British Airways south lounges.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

Then, take an escalator back up one level to access the first class lounge. There, you'll likely need to wait in a short but quick line to scan your boarding pass to enter the lounge.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

The lounge is large and sprawling with a variety of areas, from a lengthy dining room to a Champagne bar and even a still-indoor-but-more-airy terrace — all of which were packed to near capacity at all times during my most recent visit, in late February 2023.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

One incredible feature of the British Airways first class lounge — particularly for aviation geeks — is the runway views. During my visit for this review, I was lucky enough to get a front-row view of London Heathrow departures.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

At key intersections in the lounge, signposts point the way to the various areas of the lounge. Overhead boards will let you know when a gate is assigned to your flight.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

And there are even more zones than what appears on the signage. For example, toward the back of the dining area, the lounge offers a "Kids Zone" room with a couple of televisions and a few toys.

Food and drink

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

The British Airways first class lounge offers dining options to serve all types of traveler needs.

If you're on a short layover, you can grab a quick bite to eat from one of several buffet options — from small sandwiches and salads to a larger buffet with various main dishes.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

Travelers with a bit more time can order main dishes and drinks through the lounge's ordering app. To get started, scan the QR code printed on your table and enter your table number, your name and the secret code printed on placards throughout the lounge.

Lounge agents were very quick about delivering food and drink orders made through the app.

For example, when my wife and I ordered Champagne and a "Bucks Fizz" (mimosa), the drinks took just two minutes to arrive. The order of a specialized low-alcohol mixed drink was delivered in just five minutes.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

And when we ordered a Chicken Rogan Josh thali main course through the app, an agent delivered the platter of dishes just seven minutes after we ordered.

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

If you prefer to make your own drinks, the lounge offers a couple of extensive self-service bars with a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic spirits.

And if you prefer to cozy up to a bar to order a drink, you can do so at a staffed bar near the dining area.

Amenities

Sleep pods

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

In the far back of the lounge, British Airways offers seven "Forty Winks" sleeping pods. Although Restworks offers an app and purports to show live availability, the pods are effectively first-come, first-served and often all occupied in my experience.

While these sleeping pods look high-tech, they honestly aren't anything special. Both pods I tried didn't offer any white noise or other noise-canceling features. So, it's effectively just a reclining chair with a manually closed "privacy visor" — which is fine if you can nap anywhere.

Wi-Fi

British Airways offers dedicated lounge Wi-Fi networks in addition to the London Heathrow Wi-Fi network.

It was easy enough to sign in to the network, and the connection was generally speedy. A speed test recorded 24.18 megabits per second download speeds and 3.93 Mbps upload speeds with 31 milliseconds of ping. That's enough to tackle most tasks while you're in the lounge.

Showers

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

British Airways first class lounge guests can request a private shower through the online ordering system. Unfortunately, travelers can't waitlist for a shower if there isn't one immediately available. So, you might have to refresh several times to look for a shower room to open up.

Once you claim an available shower room, you have 10 minutes to get to the shower area — which is outside the lounge near the Concorde Room.

British Airways offers a total of 18 generally compact shower rooms — with a few larger shower rooms for those who need more space to maneuver.

Each shower room contains a toilet, sink, small shelf, hair dryer, fold-down stool and shower stall with an overhead showerhead. Shower rooms are stocked with a full-size body towel, a floor towel, hand lotion, hand soap, shampoo and body wash.

These shower rooms aren't luxurious by any means, but they are useful for those who need to freshen up during a long layover.

Service

With such a large and busy lounge, service is far from personal. But British Airways first class lounge service is still impressive in other ways.

The many agents working the lounge looked after their duties. Staff was generally quick about clearing dishes off a just-abandoned table to free it up for new lounge guests. And the drinks, snacks and dishes were never out of stock from self-service areas.

In the far back of the lounge, a guest services station offers at least one British Airways agent to assist with questions or issues.

During my visit, the solo agent juggled a couple of phone calls and made an announcement while checking whether my flight's two-hour delay would stretch longer. He quickly confirmed that a new aircraft had been assigned and we'd see a gate posted soon.

British Airways first class lounge access

(Photo courtesy of JT Genter)

Access to the British Airways first class lounge is pretty straightforward. In short, this British Airways lounge at Heathrow is for Oneworld Emerald elites.

Travelers flying in British Airways first class should head to the even-more-exclusive Concorde Room, while business class passengers ("Club World" and "Club Europe" in British Airways vernacular) are directed to the Galleries Club upstairs.

For reference, here are some of the flyers who have Oneworld Emerald elite status:

  • American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Pro.

  • American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum.

  • Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K.

  • Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K.

  • British Airways Executive Club Gold.

  • Finnair Plus Platinum.

  • Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo.

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum.

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum One.

British Airways first class lounge at LHR, recapped

The British Airways first class lounge in London Heathrow offers a surprisingly good experience — particularly for how many passengers stream through it.

Travelers have a wide variety of hot and cold dining options, many alcoholic and nonalcoholic drink options, access to showers and even sleeping pods. Plus, AvGeeks can enjoy watching the steady flow of aircraft that pass by the lounge’s windows on an average day.

With that said, don't expect personalized service or luxuries like spa services at the British Airways first class lounge. And, when the crowds are bad enough, you may struggle to find seats — particularly when traveling with a companion.

(Top photo courtesy of British Airways)


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