British Airways Galleries South lounge, London Heathrow T5

Lounge Review: British Airways Galleries South lounge, London Heathrow T5

Country:
United Kingdom
City:
London
Airport:
London Heathrow
Cabin Class:
Business
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
BA (British Airways)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • A solid buffet selection at dinner time
  • Tarmac and terminal views
  • Power plugs for multiple countries

What's Not

  • Round-about walk from security to lounge
  • Dirty plates go uncollected for long periods

X-Factor

  • Champagne is available, if you know who to ask...

Introduction

Boasting tarmac views and even a 'secret' Champagne, British Airways' Galleries Club South lounge at London Heathrow's Terminal 5 welcomes the airline's business class passengers and eligible Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers.

For Aussie travellers brandishing a Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold card, it's where you'll relax prior to BA's flights from London to both Singapore and Sydney, or indeed when jetting onward to destinations such as Aberdeen, Berlin, Edinburgh and Zagreb – not served by the joint Qantas/Emirates network – or to other cities including Rome, Paris, Frankfurt and Vienna.

Location & Impressions

On clearing Fast Track security at Heathrow's Terminal 5, you'll need to descend through the chaos of duty-free and then take a second set of escalators back upstairs in a move clearly designed by an airport bean counter intent on pushing every last bottle of perfume and whiskey.

A model British Airways Airbus A380 stands near the entrance, joined by a horse wearing a lampshade hat which we'll file under the 'must be a British thing' category...

... while the lounge itself provides tarmac views at one end and a perch overlooking the terminal at the other:

Divided into several zones including a buffet area in the centre with a bar or cafe at each end, there are various spots throughout for working, dining and relaxing.

Access

  • British Airways and Iberia first class and business class (Club Europe, Club World) guests
  • Passengers connecting to or from a 5+ hour business or first class flight on any Oneworld airline (including Qantas and BA), even if the shorter leg is in economy
  • UK domestic economy passengers with a fully-flexible 'UK Business' fare
  • Executive Club Gold and Silver members flying with BA or Iberia
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers plus other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members travelling onwards with the same

Top-tier frequent flyers including Executive Club Gold, Qantas Platinum/Platinum One and other Oneworld Emerald members can also make use of the nearby Galleries First lounge, while BA's own first class passengers can too visit The Concorde Room.

Dining

Slim pickings of cold yet tasty sandwiches greeted our afternoon arrival but were replaced with more comprehensive choices at 6pm...

... with selections including a wild mushroom penne pasta; a slow cooked potato and butternut squash curry; harissa chicken with chickpea stew and a beef chili con carne, plus other basics like baked beans, baked potatoes and rice:

On the lighter side, frittatas and salads...

... soups, packets of chips (crisps, as you'd say in London) and crackers with cheeses and accompaniments.

There are plenty of tables nearby tailored towards solo travellers with seating on only one side, although we struggled to find one that didn't already boast dirty, uncollected plates...

... flanked by wine cellars breaking up the expansive space which are very much 'look, but don't touch'...

... but you won't go thirsty with several wine bars throughout the lounge and a larger, dedicated bar area to the far left which stocks a wide range of spirits...

... and both still and sparkling water:

Psst: Taittinger NV Champagne – the same as you'll get in the Qantas first class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne – is also available 'by request' here in the bar area, but there's actually no signage to advise as much.

You'll need to flag down one of the staff in the striped uniforms to get a glass, but who are often busy re-stocking the bar and cleaning up stemware left by previous travellers, which does make you feel like an inconvenience. Still...

Coffee, however, is self-service from any number of machines throughout the lounge...

... although true barista-made beverages are unfortunately absent.

Work

Free wireless Internet blankets the lounge with our tests revealing average download speeds of 3.88mbps, uploads of 1.97mbps and ping speeds of ~8ms: that's enough for basic web browsing and email tasks, or even a standard video call on Skype.

However, with access to Vodafone Australia's $5/day 4G roaming in the United Kingdom (which we pay for, just like any other traveller), tethering this to our laptop instead delivered download speeds roughly four times as fast, which does wonders if you're dealing with streaming video or a hi-res presentation.

You'll also find a dedicated business area to the right of reception with Windows-based computers at the ready...

... joined by a selection of power points both near the PCs and at further desks with working space for using your own laptop:

While you won't find an Australian plug here, each row of power points offers two US/Japan-style plugs, two UK/Hong Kong slots and two European outlets – a perfect range given BA's extensive network of non-stop flights to these markets from London Heathrow.

Printing facilities are also available and boarding announcements aren't made which keeps the lounge relatively quiet and distraction-free.

Missing are dedicated USB power outlets to charge your smartphone or tablet, although if you're stuck without an AC adaptor you could always connect your gadget to one of the computers.

Relax

There's plenty of space here to unwind before your next flight, whether that's in a group in the cafe zone overlooking the terminal...

... in the TV/cinema area, when the TV is actually turned on (?)...

... with a magazine or newspaper from the racks with funky blue lighting...

... or with a glass of wine and your tablet in one of many comfy seats:

Private shower suites with supplied amenities are of course available, as you'd expect of an airport like Heathrow.

British Airways' first class and Club World guests – that's BA's term for long-haul business class such as to Singapore and Sydney – plus Executive Club Gold members stuck in economy or premium economy on the same can also enjoy a complimentary 15-minute treatment at the nearby Elemis Travel Spa.

Unless booked in Club World business class or first class, Qantas Platinum members and other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers don't make the cut, in which case feel free to order another glass of Taittinger or explore BA's separate Galleries First lounge.

Also read: Inside British Airways' Concorde Bar at Singapore Airport

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

 

8 Comments

  • simon drakeley

    simon drakeley

    4 Nov, 2015 09:09 am

    have spent many an hour in T5 lounge - and solid review - very accurate - i loved the showers as well to be honest as although unsightly and odd nice to relax

    No member give thanks

  • madge

    madge

    4 Nov, 2015 09:57 am

    Worth noting that the showers are actually downstairs next to the Galleries First lounge.

    No member give thanks

  • davar98

    davar98

    4 Nov, 2015 12:33 pm

    Really not one of my favourites. Although the bacon and egg sandwiches they sometimes have are good. Showers are aweful, like some really bad B&B or one star hotel, compared to almost any lounge showers in Asia. Good tip about the champagne - now the challenge will be to find a staff member and get their attention.

    No member give thanks

  • davar98

    davar98

    4 Nov, 2015 12:33 pm

    Oh, and the horse with lampshade is really a French thing - Phillip Starke piece.

    No member give thanks

  • SoftBedPlease

    SoftBedPlease

    4 Nov, 2015 02:34 pm

    You picked a very fortunate time to review the lounge! The buffet can look a lot more empty than you found it at other times. Went there one time to find a smattering of salads, and only starches from the hot buffet save for a few spoons left of a rather unappealing chilli con carne.

    Also, seats can get rather limited at these busier times - no jokes, it can be a struggle to find a spot. People should be obliging to move their belongings off seats to free them up, however.

    Worth noting that, if I recall correctly, there are toilets available in Galleries Club (unlike showers), but they are all a closed room style (a bit like every toilet is configured to be accessible friendly). This might be slightly nicer than banks of cubicles and allows more space for your bag if you have it with you, but it also means a rather limited number of them available.

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    Chris Chamberlin

    4 Nov, 2015 04:35 pm

    Hi SoftBedPlease, my visit was from roughly 4:30pm until around 8pm on a Sunday evening, and while the lounge was initially very 'busy' it wasn't hard to find a seat – at least on this occasion, and was considerably quieter after about 7pm.

    No member give thanks

  • Ryan Hogan

    Ryan Hogan

    4 Nov, 2015 08:33 pm

    I'm actually here right now, on a Wednesday morning at 9am and have been here since about 7.30. It's busy, but plenty of seats available. I can imagine that in the afternoon peak it will get a bit crazy.

    No member give thanks

  • NEquine

    NEquine

    4 Nov, 2015 10:51 pm

    I wonder if the food menu ever changes because what you pictured was exactly the same as what I had when flying to IAD last May!

    No member give thanks

Guest

1 Oct, 2016 03:07 pm

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