Review of the new British Airways Galleries First lounge in Houston

This is our review of the new British Airways Galleries First lounge in Houston.

British Airways recently refurbished its two lounges in Houston to the modern Galleries format.

Reader Nick was there a couple of weeks ago and sent me a short review on the Galleries First lounge.  This used by British Airways Executive Gold members and oneworld equivalents and passengers holding a First Class ticket.  Silver members and Club World ticket holders must use the separate Galleries lounge which is not pictured.

British Airways flies from Terminal D of IAH, and the First Class lounge is situated near the bridge that connects Terminal C.

Nick wrote:

Beverage wise there are two self-service bars, which are stocked with USA wines and a selection of soft drinks; there is also a selection of spirits, ranging from Bourbon, Grey Goose vodka, Tia Maria, Baileys, and some blended whiskies as well as champagne, but it wasn’t a brand I’d ever heard of and no where near as good as the Laurent Perrier that’s on offer in the Concorde Lounge at LHR.

Washington British Airways First Class lounge 2

The food offer was limited, hot options consisted of a large bowl of chilli (no rice though); otherwise it was a selection of freshly made sandwiches, which were actually pretty good, and the normal crisps/nuts/biscuits and cheeses but , sadly, no á la carte option!

The chairs were comfortable and each had power sockets next to them, with the ubiquitous BA Lounge wi-fi also on offer.  There were no printing or business centre type facilities which seemed odd given that the location.

Washington British Airways First Class lounge 3

The other thing that was lacking (apart from sufficient seating) were the bathroom facilities. Restricted to just one urinal and a single disabled cubicle there was no where to freshen up with a shower or hot towel, or a quiet room to rest!

The view was restricted to the approach road and entrance to the terminal so; not horrendous, but neither interesting!

Washington British Airways First Class lounge 1

Overall although the lounge would be acceptable for a Business/Club facility but, to be honest, I did expect a little more from BA for a First Class lounge.

British Airways has also relaunched its lounge in Washington in recent weeks.  This operates on a slightly different model.  There is one combined Club World and First Class lounge but there are two separate private dining rooms – one for ticketed Club World passengers and one for ticketed First Class passengers.  You cannot get into these areas using a Gold or Silver BAEC card if flying in World Traveller or World Traveller Plus.

Slightly oddly, the new BA lounge in Washington operates as a Priority Pass lounge during the morning!  With no British Airways flights until the evening, it operates as a third-party lounge (with no access to the private dining areas) until early afternoon at which point it is only accessible to British Airways passengers.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

At last - a Priority Pass arrivals lounge at Heathrow as Plaza Premium opens
US Airways Dividend Miles closing in Q2 2015, miles transferred to AA
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. The (rather poor) BA lounge in Phoenix has also recently started being a Priority Pass Lounge up until about 3pm daily. The sole daily BA flight leaves about 7pm.

    • This does explain something. A while back, BA was advertising a job which was basically ‘someone to make more money from, and cut costs associated with, our lounges’. This cosying up to Priority Pass is clearly part of this.

  2. It is necessary to manage your own expectations when you fly BA.
    First is not a true First product, not when measured against Any of the world leaders, at best it is a J+ product and the lounges mirror this.
    Club is a flat bed and nothing more. It’s fine but if you want proper business class then you need to look to The cirrus seats or other carriers of the likes of SQ EK EY etc.
    If you do this you will not be disappointed but if you expect luxury fine dining a sleek service you will be very disappointed.

    • Couldn’t have put it better!

      “to be honest, I did expect a little more from BA for a First Class lounge.”

      Why? It seems to conform to their standard offering!

    • Have to agree. BA CW is just economy with a lie-flat seat and no isle access. Non-airline specific lounges are generally better than BA biz lounges. At Gatwick, the laughably crap Galleries lounge is worse than the No.1 Lounge. BA first is nice, but no better than biz on any decent airline. If it was not for redemptions, I wonder if anybody would fly BA first at all.

      I would say that BA needs to up its game, but the truth is, it doesn’t. It’s got a stranglehold on Heathrow, which means it can get away with a sub-standard service. It doesn’t have to compete with proper airlines – if it did, it would get slaughtered.

  3. Um, this looks no different from when I was in that same lounge over a year ago!

    • Someone’s fed Raffles a report that’s a little past its sell-by date. The lounges were refreshed a few years ago (2011, I’d guess, 2012 at the latest) and they’re located near a bridge to the E gates, not the C gates.

      Both of the BA lounges at IAH are fine if demand is low, but that isn’t usually the case. There aren’t enough toilets. Having good local beer (Amber and Elissa IPA, both from Saint Arnold) is a plus.

  4. I was thoroughly underwhelmed when I visited. The lounge was so busy at one stage there was no place to sit for people. Luckily we arrived early, but note that since BA doesn’t have many flights from IAH the checki-n generally doesn’t open until 2.5 hours before the flight!

  5. Well, it looks better than the UA lounge! That lounge was a dump and didn’t even have any food!