Home Airline Loyalty My first-world lounge problem when traveling as a family

My first-world lounge problem when traveling as a family


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I’m flying over to London at the end of this week to catch up with some friends and to attend the unveiling of Virgin Atlantic’s new Business Class seat for its A330 aircraft. On my outbound journey, I’m traveling alone but when I return home, I’ll be accompanied by four other members of my family and this has thrown up a very first-world problem for me.

Airline elite status can be a wonderful thing but every now and again, it can also throw up a small moral dilemma that needs to be addressed. Right now, I’m facing just such an issue. It’s very “first-world” and it’s very unimportant but I thought I’d share it nonetheless to see what readers would do if they found themselves in a similar position.

The situation

  • 5 people are flying
  • We’re departing from London Heathrow T5
  • I’m the only traveler with airline elite status – British Airways Gold
  • Joanna and I are flying in Business Class
  • MJ and her grandparents are traveling in Premium Economy
  • I have a Priority Pass membership that would get us all into a Priority Pass lounge

All of this opens up two questions, one of which is easier to answer than the other.

The questions

Do I use the British Airways First Wing (check-in and security) at T5 or do I pass on the Fist Wing and go through the normal security lines? If I go through the Fist Wing, who do I take as my guest?

This one is relatively straightforward. Yes, I’ll use the First Wing to clear security and I’ll take Joanna with me – I put in a lot of work to maintain top-tier status with BA so giving up this benefit entirely (i.e. no one gets to use it) seems a bit pointless.

The second question is trickier because it concerns lounge access. Who gets to go into which lounge?

  1. Do we all stick together and put up with the highly unimpressive Aspire lounge at T5 (the terminal’s only Priority Pass lounge)?*
  2. Do I use my PP membership to get three of our group into the Aspire lounge and then make my escape (with the remaining member of the group) to the BA Galleries First Lounge? If I do this, who do I take with me?
  3. Do I use the Platinum Card® from American Express to get me and two other members of the group into the Plaza Premium Lounge (which is a step up from the Aspire Lounge) and leave Joanna to get herself and the remaining member of the group into one of the BA Galleries Business Class lounges at T5 (courtesy of her Business Class ticket)?
  4. Do I use the Platinum Card® from American Express to get two members of the group into the Plaza Premium Lounge and then join Joanna and one other member of the group in one of the BA Galleries Business Class lounges at T5?

*This assumes that it’s actually possible to get 5 people into the Aspire Lounge

Thoughts

Scenario 1 keeps us all together but it also subjects all of us to the worst lounge at Heathrow T5 (possibly one of the worst lounges across all of Heathrow’s terminals) – I’m not a big fan of this idea but it’s the most “sociable” thing to do.

Scenario 2 sees me consign three people to a lounge that I know is pretty bad, before escaping to the 2nd best lounge in the terminal with one other lucky person. This seems a little selfish and I’m not sure I’d enjoy my time in the First lounge knowing that I’d deserted 3 other members of my family in a lounge that I normally avoid if at all possible.

In Scenario 3, I get me and two of our group into an “ok” lounge, and Joanna gets to take herself and the last member of our group to a middle-of-the-road lounge so everyone should be comfortable. This seems the fairest of the options open to us but a selfish part of me is wondering why I should have to put up with an “ok” lounge when a better option is available 😁

Scenario 4 caters to the selfish part of my nature (I don’t have to “put up” with the Plaza Premium Lounge) and sees everyone in a lounge that is, at the very least, ok so this is the solution that I’m most drawn to at the moment…but I haven’t made up my mind.

Note: I’m aware that there are other scenarios that involve me enjoying the BA First Lounge on my own but none of them is an option that I’m willing to contemplate.

Bottom line

Not everything in the miles and points world has to be meaningful and this certainly isn’t a meaningful issue but I thought that I’d share it nonetheless. We often read about debates involving who (in a couple) should take the one and only upgrade that’s on offer but we don’t often have an even more pointless debate about what one should do when lounge access is an issue…so I thought that I’d put that right 🙂

What would you do? And have I missed any other acceptable scenarios?

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Why don’t you all just go to the nicest lounge and pony up the entry fee for the others? Seems like a no Brainerd to me and anybody with a heart amd pulse inside of them.

    • Which lounge at Heathrow T5 do you suggest I “pony up the entry fee” for? There are only two lounges at T5 that you can pay to get into and both are covered in this post (Aspire & Plaza Premium)

      Perhaps before insinuating that I don’t have a heart or a pulse you should do a bit of research? After all, that’s what someone with a brain, a heart, and a pulse would do…or am I expecting too much of you?

  2. I’ve used the first wing 10-20 times… and usually have my spouse and one child with me. I’ve never had an issue with BA telling me that all of us can’t use the first wing security. That said, got it coming up again twice later this month, so will see if that holds true!

    • An idiotic judgement coming from someone with absolutely no background information on this situation. Still, that’s pretty much par for the course with you isn’t it?

      • You’re so rude in these comments. It’s not really surprising you don’t see any issue with the fact you’re forcing your family to have a worse experience than you just so you can feel more important than everyone else in a fancy lounge. Embarrassing.

        • Please explain how I’m “forcing my family” to do anything and please explain how anything I’ve discussed is a “fancy lounge”.

          I realise you have no idea what you’re talking about, but I’m interested to see how you attempt to justify your comment.

  3. I’m not sure who MJ is. Depending on that relationship and who paid for the 3 PE tickets, things could vary a whole lot. Given the headline I suspect that the others are your child and mother and father in-law. If that is actually the case, I might suggest conferring with Joanna since it’s her parents. Also, if you paid for everyone’s tickets I would lean toward #2 with Joanna, since no one would be left alone and the couple forking out the money or miles gets the upgraded experience, just as with the seats. Failing that I’d suck it up for an hour or so and deal with #1.

    I’m looking at a similar situation for a guys trip in April where I have lots of possibilities but not for the 4 people traveling. Fortunately in my case, none of the group are close relatives so family concerns are excluded.

    I’d be more than idly curious what you end up doing and I imagine that other readers might feel similarly.

    • Joanna and I paid for MJ and ourselves (we’re on an award booking and MJ is on a cash fare) while the grandparents paid for their own flights. That makes me less comfortable taking #2.

  4. WOW, straight up responding as defensive as possible to expected comments. You’re not made for the internet. GL

    • I’m responding in kind. I have a very simple policy that sees me responding to people on the internet in exactly the same way as I would respond to them had they said whatever they said to my face. Amusingly, that often doesn’t go down very well with those who are more than happy to say things online that they wouldn’t say to my face.

    • That’s a singularly poor analysis. Since I enjoy his work and respect his opinion, I have no issue with TFM even if I were to disagree. Meanwhile you have people making insulting judgements without any basis and Ziggy shoots them down as a result. Do you really feel that travel bloggers are actually supposed to accept insults without response? Given your comment I doubt you could do anything of the sort yourself.

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