More on the new BA First Class ‘Concorde Bar’ in Singapore, including photos

Back in August I wrote about ‘The Concorde Bar’.  This is the new British Airways First Class lounge concept which is being rolled out across the network.

It isn’t actually a First Class lounge.  It is a separate room with ticketed First Class passengers only – you cannot enter with a British Airways Gold card.

The first one has just opened in Singapore.  The second is due to open in Dubai very shortly and it is rumoured that there will be one in Gatwick South next year when British Airways switches terminals, replacing a dedicated First Class lounge.

My original article did not have any photographs of ‘The Concorde Bar’ in it, only the main lounge.  A HFP reader has now sent me a couple along with this not-very-complimentary review:

“I was travelling through Singapore a couple of weeks ago and remembered your article on their new Concorde Bar.

British Airways Concorde Bar Singapore

My wife and I were travelling First to return to London and the check-in staff had not even introduced us to the Concorde Bar.  When I asked if there were a First Class lounge, they simply said there was no distinction and I could sit anywhere. 

I happened to find the Concorde Bar just after the check-in desk.  It was an open door and anyone could just wander in.  The room is mediocre with no windows.  The foods were not impressive and most the warm foods were too dry, having left in there for too long.

British Airways Concorde Bar Singapore 2

There was champagne but no Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle [as served in London]. 

The staff, uniformed and non-uniformed, walked through The Concorde Bar to go to their back room!  Once in a while, a uniformed staff would walk around, checked on the counters before walking away.  I had to signal one of them to clear my table otherwise they would not have done so.  I am not impressed.”

Annoyingly, due to construction delays, it looks as if I will miss out on the new Dubai ‘Concorde Bar’ when I fly though there in BA First in a couple of weeks.  With my usual excellent timing, it seems I will also miss – by a matter of days – the opening of the new Emirates lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 as well!

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Comments

  1. Does anyone know when the new Dubai lounge will open….I swear if was supposed to open months ago.

    Passing through this Sunday…

    • It’s still the terraces setup I’m afraid (as of 02OCT at least)

    • I was trying to find a date yesterday. One comment on Flyertalk from someone who seemed to use the airport a lot said it would now be December. All the publicity is saying October (but also said January, April, September before that …..).

      More shocking is that I am back in the Middle East in December, 14 months after my last trip. The Qatar F lounge will STILL not be finished and the Etihad F lounge will STILL not be finished – both of these were well under construction last October when I passed through.

  2. It is astonishing how mediocre the food offering is in airline lounges in Changi, Singapore among all places!

    This applies to SQ lounges at all levels, Cathay (3rd party lounge), Malaysian, and apparently the BA Concorde Bar too.

    • The Malaysian lounge is to close, it was a very unappealing place that reminded me of Servisair lounge although (as you would expect) the satay was good. The Qantas lounge however I thought was excellent and I would chose that over the BA Concorde bar.

      • Agreed, The MAS lounge in SIN T2 is not as we hoped and used our Priority Pass for the Skyview Lounge.

      • You have to be in the right terminal for Qantas lounge, can’t really use it while departing on Malaysian or Cathay.

        • I do, its a bit of a trek but the terminals are connected by train and no issues swapping terminals.

  3. People seem to forget that good food, and serving good food is an art, It requires chefs, with a brigade, a fully operational kitchen, and huge investment. If you want a decent meal, I would not think airport lounge to be honest. I do not think that ground service will ever live up to expectations of people. Why? cause we compare an airline meal served in a lounge with Michelin star food!
    its not going to happen soon!

    • Hi Thomas, I understand what you are saying in general terms, however….

      Assuming that the average first class ticket holder has generated a revenue of £5k with hundreds per day passing through, even if they allocated £30 per head for the lounge food experience there would be enough to employ a chef and put on some decent food.

      The night sleeper service from LAX to LHR in club manages to have a couple of chefs cooking fresh in an ‘open kitchen’ setup.

      • £30 per head = £420 a day assuming First is full. That amount between 14 passengers, plus all the infrastructure to make it work (although obviously shared with other parts oft he lounge) doesn’t sound like much!

    • You need to try the Qatar T4 lounge at LHR. Lives up to every expectation for perfectly prepared food.

      • Is it terminal 4 as I think I’ve just booked the Hilton there, for a Qatar flight, in April.
        Have heard good things about the lounge :)
        Hopefully it will live up to expectations.

      • Amen to that. A wonderful example of what a premium airlines outstation lounge should be. I will be passing through T4 again shortly and very much look forward to it!

        • I did a review of the Qatar lounge last year , it is excellent in terms of food and drink.

          • I hope the Concorde lounge in JFK is good as i will be in there in two weeks time?

          • I was there last week and the dinner, wines and service were excellent. However, the lounge was pretty full of secret service agents as there were several heads of state there too.

    • I would agree that Michelin style good requires investment however good wholesome food in a lounge simply requires a little commitment , some planning and an attention to detail.
      I was in galleries First last weekend at T5 it was around 4pm.
      Firstly it was dirty no one is employed to clean the eating area which given its constant use requires permanent staffing sweeping floors and wipe tables and chairs. The hot food was congealed, tasteless and far from hot. It was in stark contrast to Air Canada’ offer at FRA in August which was stylish, immaculate and simply on a different level to BA. Qatar’s lounge in DOH, which is vast, was spotless and the the food was superb.
      The bottom line is that access to lounges is either because you are loyal to an airline or spend significant sums with them. They are part of a premium offer however BA has simply given up on the premium bit. BA think (and sadly many are conned by) premium champagne on offer in some lounges. While nice, I prefer that they focus on a consistent high quality offer rather than simply the label on a bottle.
      There is no attention to detail at BA, it’s muddled it’s inconsistent and it’s very very far from premium. Indeed there assertion that club or first are “luxurious” is laughable. Almost any major competitor offers better service, better products and greater consistency. The problem is BA’s monopoly at LHR restricts their access.

      • Is the problem not that BA simply don’t need to try? They are frequently the most convenient for long haul from London, and a significant part of the population still consider them to be “the best” simply because they know no better.

      • I couldnt agree more…wierdly i have done the Air Canada lounge at FRA and QR lounge at DOH on one trip. Both superb. Great examples of a different approach and style but with a common theme of giving good customer service and satisfaction.

        Had breakfast at FRA and evening meal at DOH. As far as lounge food goes it was an excellent experience. I would recommend both in a heartbeat. Yes DOH gets busy but if you cant find space or food in it you’re doing something seriously wrong!

        Compare it to BA and others and you realise what you get is a joke!

        • To be fair, that business lounge at Doha is exceptional for a first class lounge, never mind business. Just because the rest are not as good doesn’t make them a joke.

          I’d say that ba first at Gatwick is a joke; most other ba lounges are what you would expect from a second tier airline with budget airline ambitions. The Concorde lounges are good, but not as good as a lounge offered by a first tier airline

    • The Concorde Room at JFK manages to serve an outstanding meal.

      • I thought that lounge was extremely nice and the check in lady was very helpful even allowing one of our party, who was travelling in club, to enter the lounge with the 4 of us?
        If the flight hadn’t been full in F, she would also have been upgraded as well.
        I couldn’t fault the staff at JFK or on the flight. They even let our children visit the flight deck, before take off, and our eldest child got to sit in the Captain’s seat :)

    • Not really.

      Cathay lounges in Hong Kong (both F and J) do the trick and excellent at it. BA Galleries First in T5 is adequate with Laurent Perrier and food spread, decent burgers.

      Even Krisflyer in Hong Kong is enjoyable — you can order laksa and a few other items. But at home station you are stuck with lukewarm hotel breakfast style containers of “food”. It’s adequate for Star Alliance Gold lounge but for an SQ F ticket?

  4. Just go to the Qantas lounge instead – they typically have two or three dishes freshly made to order in addition to their buffet. Relatively straightforward local things (noodles, seafood etc) but well executed. Add to attentive wait staff and a nice environment it’s my go-to in SIN.

  5. I agree about food here . However I had tried a lounge in Mumbai airport , access To which was through BA Club , and the food and service was very good . It was overcrowded but the food was good and the collection of wines was impressive as well

  6. Was in SIN on Sunday. Took one look at the new BA lounge and headed back for dinner in QF. The QF food offering in Singapore is not only better than BA’s in Singapore it’s better than the BA Flounge at LHR. Which is shows it can be done even at an outstation. The salads and cooked meals are excellent.

    In OW the QF and CX “home” lounges beat BA hands down at all classes. Even the QF First Melbourne lounge is nicer than the BA LHR Flounge, arguably nicer than the Concorde room and has better food than either. That’s for a second hub miles smaller than LHR in terms of international flights.

    BA choose to serve this rubbish because they can get away with it – it tarnishes their brand.

    • I’d argue that BA’s problem is Heathrow is the massive quantity of status passengers combined with short haul passengers making premium lounges impossible. If I fly CE 45 minutes to Brussels, I get the same lounge as I get to Sydney. Until they solve the long haul lounge problem, there will be no chance of that.

      Personally, I doubt they’d do a great job even if they separated out the long haul. But better. Anything is better than Club Galleries School Dinner…

      • Exactly. I agree. The sheer number of people passing through the lounges at Heathrow makes it impossible to serve anything of serious quality.

      • Huh, now status passengers are a problem to deliver quality lounge experience. What’s next, Pan Am Airways?

        Look at Cathay lounges in Hong Kong — can’t say they get less traffic than T5, still manage to boil some noodles for you.

      • Agreed, I wonder if they use follow Malaysian example at KUL where they have separate Domestic, Regional and International lounges. before anyone comments the international lounge is in the satellite terminal, which by default, can be considered as international terminal.

  7. I recently passed through LAX flying back to LHR in First with BA.
    The lounge there is a Qantas first class lounge and it knocks the LHR concorde room into a hat.

    Proper food cooked to order (think we had steak and calamari), staff keen to please and serve.

    BA really need to train their staff much better. I’ve been kept waiting in the Concorde room having asked for a glass of wine 3 times and left to board the flight without having seen the wine arrive.

  8. I visited last week and wholehearted agree. It is an extremely underwhelming experience. Yes – the door was open and no credentials were checked. I had a 4 hour transit and went straight in, spend a hour or so there, left for an hour and then returned with a guest. Not only were my empty glasses still there upon my return but they remained there for the next two hours and were still there as we departed.

  9. Anybody have any advice on which lounge to use in BKK?

    2 Passengers, booked in Club on BA – back to LHR, 1 of which is Oneworld Sapphire.

    I ‘think’ we have the option of trying BA, Qantas, or Cathay

  10. ankomonkey says:

    The Emirates lounge in BHX served excellent food the only time I used it.

  11. LondonFoodie says:

    Happy to join the fray – I should at least justify my name!
    For the price of a first class ticket, which most airlines try sell as a luxury experience, one would expect to have excellent food. Maybe doesn’t have to be Michelin star – but the quality, taste and presentation have to be excellent.
    While not a First product, I have to say that I really like the JFK pre-flight dinner – yes, some things are sometimes a bit dry, but overall, the food is tasty, varied and fresh. Certainly much better than the food in the T5 lounges (including the Concorde Room which has a nice setting, but is just underwhelming).
    And speaking of T5 – I recently took my first UC flight with Virgin. The Club House is such a superior product, it will be hard to go back to galleries north now…

    I look forward to trying some of the gulf airline product at some point in the near future.

    • I think it’s important to put into context that a posh meal costs a lot of money largely because the restaurant usually has rent to pay and the throughput is relatively small.

      Given that BA already have the financial burden of the lounges on their books already, and have a steady throughput in the concorde room I think the marginal cost of actually serving something better than a BA burger or club sandwich would be tiny to them. The food offering in the CR really is an absolute joke when you consider people pay £5k for a return ticket.

      They are also carrying a lot of duds in their lounge staff, I’m shocked they don’t get a raft of complaints daily over the staff.

  12. If BA actually stopped doing avios and reward flights I think it would disappear like Caledonian and Britannia airways.

    BA is like the SportsDirect of the airline world – I still use both, the basis product can be good, but my view on their customer satisfaction is a swear word. But then again how many national carriers are equally bad, a fair few I would say.

  13. Am I in a minority or am I just looking at this from a different viewpoint.

    I got into points collection from an incident my wife had on a Miami to LHR flight on BA a few years ago when travelling economy. The crew were brilliant and we got off the plane quickly and there was a waiting ambulance.

    Anyhow after this I decided we want comfort and leg room etc so a friend had just started with points and so I started collecting. My view is based on value. I don’t see how any First product is value for cash but £1000/£1150 in First to USA return for two (BA Amex) to me that amounts to outstanding value.

    We like the Concorde Lounge at LHR. Have now done 4 First flights from LHR. Our last LHR/JFK flight in April was amazing as the crew were brilliant and we had two well known celebs on the flight who were incredibly friendly with us. I would say that JFK Concorde we had a really great meal.

    We have 2 Etihad 380 First from Abu Dhabi to London next March and I know this will be much better than BA First but those rewards are almost impossible to obtain whereas BA First to New York (we are doing Boston next April) are obtainable providing you have some flexibility.

  14. Rob, you may not make it to the new Emirates lounge, but here’s their new ad (previous reports said she was being paid $5 million to promote the airline, but doesn’t she look good – and the bar man if you like that sort of thing, too. The aircraft interior is pretty impressive, as well.

    http://www.justjared.com/2015/10/06/jennifer-aniston-has-a-nightmare-about-flying-coach-in-emirates-commercial/