HomeLounge News & ReviewsQuick Look: British Airways First Lounge Heathrow (What It's Like Right Now)

Quick Look: British Airways First Lounge Heathrow (What It’s Like Right Now)

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The British Airways First Lounge is the only British Airways lounge currently open at Heathrow Terminal 5 and so until that situation changes, it’s open to all travelers passing through T5 whose fare or airline status gives them lounge access as one of their benefits. With American Airlines and Qatar Airways now operating out of T5, this is currently a lounge for more than just British Airways passengers.

As I passed through the T5 First Lounge earlier this month and as there’s no sign that any other BA lounges will be opening up before the UK government adds more countries to its “green list”, I thought I share what I found the lounge to be like to give anyone who’s able to travel right now some idea of what to expect.

BA First Lounge Heathrow T5 – COVID-19 Edition

An important thing to note is that the security line at the First Wing in T5 (which leads directly into the First Lounge) is only open between 06:00 and 14:15 so if you’re passing through outside of those times and have access to the First Class check-in desks, you’ll have to use the regular security lines and access the First Lounge via the escalators at the south end of the terminal (by Fortnum & Mason).

Inside the lounge, a few noticeable changes have been made to accommodate the new rules around social distancing and hygiene.

The first change that most people will probably notice first is that perspex partitions have been put up between some of the seats.

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

a group of chairs in a room

The self-serve champagne and wine bar that once occupied a central position in the main area of the lounge has now been replaced by a manned service station…

a room with a bar and a person standing behind it

…and most food and beverage items now have to be ordered via a smartphone/tablet which can be used to access the lounge’s menu using the QR codes supplied on the tables and partitions around the lounge.

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

a table with a qr code on it

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

If you ignore the missing self-serve bar and the perspex dividers, the main lounge area doesn’t look much different from 15 months ago, but the business center has now been closed (to be replaced by the new sleep pods):

a room dividers with black fabric and wood frames

The tables in the dining area are now considerably more spaced out than before:

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

The buffet area at the far end of the dining area has been converted into an extended kitchen/serving area that is not open to guests:

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

The self-serve coffee and tea machines have been roped off and are now manned by lounge staff waiting to fulfill orders coming in from guests using the online menu/ordering system:

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

The Concorde Terrace has been turned into a makeshift Concorde Room for guests traveling in First Class:

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5 British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

And while you’ll still find bottled water, a small selection of fruit, pre-packed muffins, and a limited selection of chips (crips) still available as self-serve options…

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5 British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

…everything else has to be ordered via the online menu.

Ordering Food & Drinks

There are a number of signs in the lounge that explain how the new food and drink ordering system works…

British Airways First Lounge Heathrow T5

…and for anyone who doesn’t have a phone/tablet or whose camera can scan the QR codes, BA has supplied a weblink (t5f.yourmenu.cloud).

The lounge menu invites guests to enter their name, table number, and the lounge’s current Wi-Fi code…

BA T5 First Lounge Menu (COVID)

…before displaying the list of options that guests have.

BA T5 First Lounge Menu (COVID)

I’ve provided images of the full menu via the thumbnails below (click/tap to enlarge) but here are the key things to know:

  • The food selection is pretty limited.
  • The lounge is back to serving alcoholic beverages following a change in government regulations.
  • The speed of service was very good during my visit
  • When ordering a hot beverage, the menu will allow you to customize it and/or add a cookie to your order after you’ve added it to your basket.

During my visit, I ordered the “Traditional sandwiches served with Tyrrell’s crisps” together with a latte and a shortbread cookie and this is what that looked like:

a plate of food and a cup of coffee on a table
A selection of ham & mustard, egg mayonnaise & cress, poached salmon & dill sandwiches served with Tyrrell’s crisps

There’s nothing to stop a guest from ordering whatever they want and as many times as they want but be aware that if you’re particularly hungry or if you’re not planning to eat on your flight, a number of options on the menu aren’t really substantial meals.

The Food/Tea/Coffee Menu

Non-Alcoholic Drink Options (And Examples)

I’m not about to pass judgment on the British Airways First Lounge at Heathrow T5 because, frankly, I’m lucky to be allowed to travel, all the members of staff I integrated with were fantastic, and the conditions that the lounge is being asked to operate under are far from ideal – I was just grateful to have somewhere comfortable to spend time before my flight.

Bottom Line

Right now, the BA First Lounge at Heathrow is where all travelers passing through T5 and who have lounge access are being directed but no one should be visiting in the hope that the offering will be anything like it was pre-pandemic. A limited number of food and drink options are available via table service only, perspex dividers are in place throughout the lounge, there was a lot of evidence that lounge staff are sanitizing tables and chairs shortly after the guests depart, and a number of areas in the lounge have been repurposed.

Overall and no matter what you may think of the lounge’s current offering, one thing is certain – the First Lounge is still a considerably better place to wait for a flight than an empty gate area, and considering the state of the world right now, that’s good enough for me.

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