British Airways Arrivals Lounge, Terminal 5, Heathrow

This has to be one of British Airways’ lesser-known lounges but for people ending their journey in London, it’s a hidden gem! Here’s why…

Access

AccessOneWorld Business Class and First Class ticket holders or OneWorld Saphire or Emerald status holders flying into London on a long haul flight.
Opening TimesMonday-Sunday 05:00-14:00
LocationOnce you pass through security head to the purple elevator and press for the second floor. Once you’re out of the lift, it’ll be on your left.

Luggage

First things first, before you even check into the lounge. On your left, you can dump your luggage and it is safely stored in exchange you will receive a wooden key with a number on it. Simply hand that over when you want your luggage back.

Shower

Having a shower when you get off the plane from an overnight flight is a pretty good way to freshen up and go about your day. Yes, they do look less luxurious and more clinical but they function rather well with a choice of jets, a largeish head and a handheld head all providing plenty of power and most importantly, heat. As is common British Airways use UK luxury brand Elemis toiletries throughout the company.

If you’re worried about being held up having to wait for a shower, I personally wouldn’t. In total, they have 96 shower suites in the arrivals lounge so the chances of a wait are slim to none. Also if you’re thinking “Who carries a towel in their hand luggage?” don’t worry, fresh towels are provided.

Sun loungers you say? I have no idea why these are in the shower suite area but they are, perhaps somewhere to unwind after a shower? very random indeed.

Bath

Now if not many people knew about the Arrivals lounge, even less know that there are bath suites. You know how I know this? because even members of staff in The Concorde Room (BA’s most prestigious lounge) didn’t know they existed. There are 6 of them and they’re pretty cool based solely on the fact that having a bath in the airport is cool.

Before I get carried away they are nowhere near as luxurious as Cathay Pacific’s in The Wing, they still have that clinical look to them, nonetheless, these aren’t just for first-class so that has to be factored in. A pretty neat feature about the bath cabanas is the ability to hang your clothes in the door and for a member of staff to access it from the other side so they can take it to be pressed and re-hung ready for you getting out of the bath.

There aren’t many airlines in the world that offer a service where you can land get through security and have a bath whilst your clothes are freshly pressed.

Dining

A free breakfast or dinner (depending on what time you get there) is always appreciated and truth be told the food is pretty good. You’d happily pay £15 in central London for a lesser quality breakfast. You aren’t limited to a full English either, there’s a whole range of food being served and best of all, you don’t need to leave your seat. It’s all table service and you can either order through an online portal on your phone, or a member of the lounge staff can take your order.

If you’re the type of person who can put back a fair bit of food, there’s no restriction so you could do a full English straight into some of my personal faves, Canadian maple syrup bacon pancakes. If you’re a functioning alcoholic who lives on hare of the dogs, there are plenty of drinks to choose from including Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle champagne which will set you back £120 a bottle.

Seating

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to getting comfy in a seat. At the top of the pecking order, you have what I would describe as salon-like chairs which freely rotate. I wouldn’t recommend trying to eat in them but they are the comfiest in the lounge.

Next on the pecking order are the 38 armchairs. Unlike the above salon-style chairs which are positioned in high traffic open areas such as when you walk in or the walkway to the toilets, these are much better placed in my opinion. Again these aren’t the best for consuming food in but you do have a little table to share with the person next to you which is big enough for a lite bite like a bacon sandwich and a drink.

Then if all see fails and for some reason the lounge is full you have this behemoth. It’s actually very comfortable, it’s just an awkward shape and offers zero privacy/personal space.

Office

In an age where everything is carried out either on a phone or tablet BA still provides office space. I’m glad they do, it is nice to have a dedicated area to get some work rattled off on a laptop and you can do so whilst charging everything up.

If you happen to forget to print your theatre tickets out or need to make a photocopy of your driving licence and passport there is a copier that’ll come in handy. There’s even a round office desk that can seat up to 5 people, you certainly won’t be having any meetings though as it really isn’t private.

One for the road

Union Roasted Coffee bars are standard across pretty much all British Airways lounges. I’m not a coffee aficionado so 🤷‍♂️ They do have plenty of fresh fruit and pastries so that’s good.

Final Thoughts

Yes. Just yes. It’s a cracking lounge for the purpose it was designed for. Let’s say you finish work in New York on a Friday at 18:00, you board BA114 in Business or First departing JFK at 21:30. You have a decent 6 hours of sleep telling the flight attendant you’ll skip breakfast so that you aren’t woken. You get into London at 09:35, by the time you clear security have a bath and breakfast in the lounge you’re looking at being in Central London by 12:00 noon feeling better than anyone else who took that route. The same goes for Buenos Aires, Jo’berg, Singapore etc. It’s starting your day right!

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