Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport
Based on last Visit: October 2022
This is a review of the British Airways Galleries First Lounge at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
I’d previously written about this blog, initially in January 2022 and updated in March 2022.
Since then, this lounge has come on leaps and bounds on the catering side, and I thought well worth an update!
The Galleries First is available to passengers who are either flying First Class or have become BA Gold Members and/or OneWorld Emerald Members.
I have to say, I don’t see the point in going to the First Lounge if you are flying First because you have access to the Concorde Room – which is by FAR more superior. However, that’s a review for another time!
How to Get There
There are two ways to enter the First Galleries Lounge:
The first is to use the First Check In area, which by a series of walkways takes you to the First Lounge, after Security.
The second is to check in via the Club World or regular lines, go through security, down an escalator, walk to the South of Terminal 5, then go up an escalator – and then have your boarding pass scanned (again).
Obviously, it’s a lot easier to use the First Check in area!
First Check In
The First Check In area is easily the easiest way to get into the First Lounge. It is also generally very quiet, so a LOT quicker.
To get there, you need to walk to the South end of Terminal 5. Many of the busses which go the Heathrow drop off at the South end – but if you’re getting a taxi it’s worth getting dropped off down at the South end.
You’ll then meet a host, who will take you to the desks and find you a Check In agent – usually there is no more than a 2 minute wait for this.
The Check In agent will quickly check you in, and then you go to First’s security lane. Here, after a quick scan of your passport, you’re at the security scanners.
I’ve never seen any more than about 10 people maximum in the scanner area – and because those who use the First check in are often regular travelers – the Security moves very quickly!
After Security, it’s down a tunnel of advertising before you’re placed into the First Lounge.
There is in effect a few different areas of layout;
- Lounge Area
- Dining Area
- Bar Area
- Business Area
- Sleeping Pod Area
- Gallery Area
The lounge area is pretty much your standard airport lounge area – there are QR Codes on the tables to order drinks to your table. I think this is a post-Covid thing, as before there were menus on the tables and self-service drinks.
The dining area is where you can sit ‘properly’ at a table and eat. Again, there are QR Codes for ordering food and drink to the table. There is also a barista area where you can get hot drinks and cookies.
Towards the back of the dining area is the self-service hot food stations.
The bar area is a full bar service. Drinks can be ordered via QR code, which I believe is encouraged – but if you’re old-school – you can get drinks directly from the bar!
The Business Area used to be where the Sleep area now is – and has been somewhat reduced in size!
When I attended, I had lots of work to do – and lots of printing! So I worked from a large boardroom table, using the printer for my printing.
The good news is that the printers were easy to connect to and once connected I had my office raring to go!
The bad news was the Wifi on that day which I detail below.
The sleep area is a really nice idea – and I really wish all airport lounges had one (he says as he sits in an Admirals Club trying to stay awake at 22hrs into the day)!
Because I usually travel from Heathrow I am generally well slept before, thus I’ve never used the sleep area – but it’s actually a really nice idea if you have long layovers, etc. In fact I may have a trip coming up where I may well make use of it!
The Gallery Area
This is a really nice and very quiet area on the gallery. It feels quite cosy and is really nice if you want to read a book or do something quietly.
Food and Drink
The First Lounge offers a variety of food and drink. Originally it was ordered via QR code and delivered to your table – but this has now been phased out for self-service. But there a few items on the QR code menu still.
One note is that to order via QR code you’ll need to find the card in the lounge with the month’s Wifi code on it before you place your order!
Predominantly, breakfast is via the self-served items.
There is a hot food station, which has a bunch of the usual ‘English Breakfast’ items.
If you’re minded to have something not cooked, there are plenty of options in cereal, cheeses, breads, fruit, etc.
As someone who doesn’t ‘do breakfast’, it seemed to me that the options for breakfast were actually pretty wide ranging and pretty good!
If you do want something delivered to your table, I found a very limited amount of items on the QR code.
At the coffee machines there are pastries being served.
Lunch & Dinner
The lunch/dinner I was very impressed with. Though the BA Burger is yet to make an appearance!
There were various hot options of curries, chilli, pasta and pies.
On the non-hot side, there was an impressive range of salad items – if that’s your sort of thing!
Another thing that I was impressed by was the desert options. There is a whole cheese station (with very nice cheeses), and also a large cake station.
Well done BA!
If none of that takes your fancy, there are a few items still available by QR code.
If you want something light, snacks are available from the fridges.
The food has really taken a step forward in October 2022 – and wasn’t like this the month before!
Drinks wise, there is a comprehensive drinks menu. You can order via the QR code or at the bar. I took some screenshots from the App as a non-exhaustive example.
The First Lounge has Wifi, and BA have cards around the Lounge which give you the password – usually a BA destination.
I’ve found the Wifi to be pretty reliable for everything I’ve needed to do – but I always use the don’t be unreasonable rule!
One of the great things about the App (wifi permitting) is that you can pre-order showers. When I decided to book mine, the App told me a shower was free immediately and held for 10 minutes. This of course wasn’t quite prime time for US flights – so you may need to wait depending when you’re flying.
The showers are actually located outside the First Lounge in the concourse between the First Lounge and Concorde Room. I think these showers are shared between Galleries First and Galleries (Business) Lounge.
I must be honest here and say that the shower looks pretty clinical – I could be in a in a plane or train! But for a quick refresher the shower was good, hot and comfortable – along with Elemis shower gel and shampoo.
I wasn’t offered an amenities kit – I will ask next time if they give them out!
Galleries First is not a bad place to be. In my experience Galleries (which is for Club/ClubWorld/Silver members) can get over-crowded and extremely busy.
The sleep pods make it really worth it’s while, as do the showers, and the bar service is pretty good.
The food upgrades make it a really worthwhile – but please bring back the BA Burger!