During peak summer, 100,000 passengers pass through British Airways Terminal 5 in London’s Heathrow airport every day. Queues for baggage, queues for boarding passes, queues for security. Then when you get through all of that to the other side, you’ve got kids running around, struggling to find somewhere to sit, queueing for a table to grab food, whichever way you spin it, its carnage.
From stepping out of my Uber kerbside, I was sipping on this very glass of champagne on the lounge terrace whilst waiting for a free massage, all within 6 minutes.
Upon arrival, you are greeted in a warm professional manner, your passport is checked and you are entered into The First Class Wing. Here is where you drop your bags, get your boarding pass, ask any questions or make any changes. All of the staff you will encounter are typically the longest-serving staff within British Airways and as such, know how to deliver impeccable service. If there’s an issue or a question, chances are they’ve probably answered it or dealt with it many times before.
There’s a small seating area should you be waiting to meet someone, say if you were guesting them in or someone in your party was offloading all of the luggage.
Next up is security, a dedicated area with 2 conveyor belts. There’s only once or twice where I’ve actually had to queue, even then there was only a handful of people in front.
With BA, you are greeted by a black horse when entering their lounges, not sure where that all started but hey ho.
The first area you will see is the self-service bar with 3 varieties of champagne on offer. Encapsulated by plenty of comfy seats it’s a great place to people watch. Because you’re right next to the entrance from The First Wing if you sit there for a few hours, chances are you’ll spot some form of a celebrity walking through. The downside to this is, of course, lots of foot traffic so can get fairly noisy.
Still waling in a straight line from the entrance you come across another bar. Again with the 3 varieties of champagne but this time with the adage of 2 white wines and 2 red wines.
On your left, you’ll see the newsroom, no audio but subtitles on all screens. Politics, current affairs, global news etc. Then you have an eclectic selection of print from around the world.
The final area you will come to opposite the entrance is the terrace. With few walls, the ceiling being the terminal ceiling and views out onto the runway it’s very open. Giving the illusion of being outdoors whilst still being inside. Unfortunately, it is the furthest part of the lounge from any food (There’s still access to champagne) so I’d recommend for breakfast to grab it and bring it out here and watch the sunrise as the floor to ceiling windows give a great view.
The Champagne Room
When you enter through The First Wing to access the lounge, take the first left and head all the way to the end, there you will find the champagne room.
Canard Duchene Leonie Brut, Charles VII Blanc De Blancs and Champagne Jeeper Cuvee Grand Rose on offer by the plentiful. Though the entrance may be grand, it’s a fairly cosy room which feels almost isolated from the rest of the lounge. Perhaps it’s the lighting or the comfy seats, I’m not sure.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but there’s a bit of a trend…
Just as you leave the champagne room you will find the office. It’s fairly basic but has all of the essentials; scanner, printer and fax machine in one, quick ethernet ports, power sockets, etc.
Less restaurant, more dining area. The food is a self-service buffet which changes throughout the day. In all fairness, it’s actually pretty good. For breakfast you can go large; British back bacon, Old English pork sausage, black pudding, free-range eggs (fried, poached and scrambled), baked beans, Portobello mushrooms, potato rosti, Grilled vine tomatoes, toast.
Above was the dinner options; Salt Beef Brisket with Pickled Gherkin Jus, Rice, Beef Shin Barley and Spelt Risotto and finally Herb Roasted Paymaster Potatoes.
There’s always cheese and crackers on hand no matter the time of day which is always a win.
On the other hand, if a salad is more your kind or snack, you’re covered.
No matter what you drink, there’s something for you in the First Galleries lounge, all served with ice and garnished.
Plenty of fresh pastries to grab if you’re in a hurry.
There is also a á la carte menu that changes through the day should you want a more sophisticated table service dining experience.
If you’re travelling with little rugrats the soundproofed kids zone will make life a little easier. Alternatively, if, like me, you are clearly a big kid and you find it empty, you can easily kill some time on the PS4.
Psych. The showers aren’t actually in the lounge they’re in the Elemis Spa.
In one word, functional. Whilst the wing entrance is pretty cool and it’s comfy no matter where you sit, there’s no actual wow factor. The lounge is listed as First Class but realistically it serves a specific client, the frequent traveller. You see if you have a first-class ticket, you’d go to the far superior Concorde Room, that just leaves BA Gold and Oneworld Emerald members.