My review of the British Airways arrivals lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5

This is my review of the British Airways arrivals lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5.

It had been a long time since I visited the BA arrivals lounge – certainly longer than the four years I have been running this site.  When we travel as a family we usually just want to get home as quickly as possible, and in any event flights from the Middle East arrive after the 2pm closing time.  At the same time, my solo flights over the last few years have generally been on airlines other than BA as I try to test out the competition.

My visit 13 days ago was a rare one.  I won’t be forgetting it in a hurry, since I landed in Heathrow to the fall-out from the EU referendum and the first thing I saw when I entered the lounge was David Cameron resigning.

Let’s jump back a bit.   The British Airways arrivals lounge is situated landside in Terminal 5.  Once you pass through customs and emerge into the main terminal area, you need to head to your left, past the massed ranks of waiting Addison Lee drivers, and take the lift or escalator up to the first floor.

The entrance rules for the British Airways arrivals lounge are slightly different to the airside Galleries lounges.  This is how I believe it works:

BA Gold Guest List – you’re in, if you arrived on a long-haul flight on any airline in any class.  Bring a guest.

BA Gold – you’re in, if you arrived on a long-haul BA flight in any class.  No guest.

Iberia or AA top tier member – you’re in, if you arrived on a flight which is part of the AA / IB / BA joint venture agreement (ie anything across the Atlantic) in any class

Any other oneworld Emerald card – no access

BA Silver or oneworld equivalent – no access

BA Bronze or oneworld equivalent – no access

Arriving in First Class or Club World – you’re in, but you can’t bring a guest

If you arrive into Terminal 3, you may – when it reopens after refurbishment – also use the American Airlines arrivals lounge which has its own complex set of access rules.

The British Airways Terminal 5 arrivals lounge

As you enter, the spa area is off to your left and the casual seating area (where I went, to watch Brexit on the TV) is to your right.  Directly in front of you is the main dining area:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

which has a look you will be familiar with from the British Airways departure lounges:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

It isn’t fine dining but, for breakfast, it does the job.  Note that food is only available until 12.30 even though the lounge remains open until 2pm:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

If you are arriving in First Class, there is a special First Class dining room.  You still need to carry your food from the main buffet which makes it pretty pointless to be honest.  I don’t know if there are any special ‘to order’ items (Edit: there are, according to the comments) because I was outside watching the TV!

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

Here is the seating area off to the right:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review


British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

Here is the entrance to the spa area which includes showers:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

I am guessing this is somewhere where you can do your nails ‘n’ stuff …. looked a bit confusing to me :-)

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

Opposite the spa entrance is a decent size business centre:

British Airways arrivals lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 review

All in all, the British Airways arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 is a good facility.  I have always had a soft spot for it.  It wasn’t too busy when I was there and the food on offer was more than adequate.  One advantage of having it is that you can refuse breakfast on the plane in order to get some extra sleep, knowing you can eat as soon as you land.

If you’ve never been, it is worth visiting next you time you arrive in Terminal 5 in Club World or First in the morning.

If you want to find out more, there is a special page dedicated to the lounge on which you will find here.

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  1. Greenpen says:

    Remember the showers and baths too! They gurgle horribly as water drains away but the baths are of a large infinity type and good for a relaxing soak. Takes a few moments to work out how the taps work so if you are in a hurry take all your clothes off first before you experiment with them. Otherwise you might end up wet!

  2. Stuart Palmer says:

    The first class dining IS cooked to order and very good too.

    • Agreed,

      The First Class Room at the back offers a full breakfast menu, and drinks (no alcohol) ordered and delivered by waitress/waiter. I’ve found it very good indeed!

      It seems a much wider selection, I remembering seeing; eggs benedict, eggs Californian, full English and Salmon I believe.

      Will be heading back!
      disappointed it wasn’t reveiwed fully.

      • I felt the need to watch the Government disintegrate on live TV was more compelling!

        • Fair Point! :)

          I guess, as I only recently went, (and travelling First was a First for myself) I made sure I researched and took advantage of everything that was on offer!

  3. I’ve always found the lounge very good, my son actually prefers the buffet to the ordered food.
    Even at 7 am it’s not that busy :)

  4. There’s a concord room breakfast option. Or there was.

    Last went at the end of 2014. The showers were a bit dated but they had a great double door feature where you hang your suit and shirt and they’ll press it for you while you shower great if you’re straight back to work.

    I remember thinking the shower was pretty school like. But if just come from Hong Kong where the Cathay lounge showers are fantastic!

    • The 4th photo down is the Concorde dining room at the arrivals lounge 😉

    • Radiata says:

      Virgin LHR Arrivals Lounge has the same double door cabinet for clothes to be pressed.

      Shower better than your experience and as regards spa, positively encouraged to avail (I demurred).

  5. TOM DAWSON says:


    • grex9101 says:

      Caps lock broken?

    • Genghis says:

      Inbound flying CE (and no status) you cannot use arrivals lounge.

    • Globetrotter7 says:

      Inbound Ckub Euriope never had access galleries lounges, unless the domestic leg was booked in U class. That is still the case, I believe.

      • Globetrotter7 says:

        *Club Europe

      • Inbound CE never had *arrivals* lounge access, regardless. If you’ve got a connecting flight from CE on to a domestic destination then you *are* entitled to the standard Galleries departures lounges in T5 – unfortunately the lounge staff have poor awareness of this and you may have to fight for it!

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          How does one do this? I’ve spent the past 20 mins searching the BA website and I cannot find anything conclusive that confirms you are entitled to access unless you have BAEC Status or are flying Business UK.

          I’m coming back from Venice next week in CE (RFS) before transferring to LHR/MAN on a paid ticket due to a last minute decision not to drive to LHR. My assumption is that I am not entitled to Lounge Access at LHR on the return leg.

          I’d love to be educated otherwise.

          • Genghis says:

            Your assumption is correct I’m afraid.

            • No it is incorrect. Sameday Club Europe flight with domestic connection should get you lounge in both directions. Issue previously was mainly for those on redemption rather than cash tickets I believe.

          • There’s a long thread on Flyertalk about it (I think try searching for ‘lounge access’?) which has extracts of the rule book. However it’s a sameday Club Europe flight so definitely eligible.

            • Globetrotter7 says:

              Alan, I’m afraid you’re wrong here. Inbound CE (same day or not) only get access to lounge IF booked into U class… Nothing else. Trust me!

            • I’ve had a read chance to search now and found the thread at – they seem to have made further opaque changes in Jan 2016 which affect reward (but not paid-for bookings) but continue to refuse to in any way make them clear to customers! I’d still ask for access and submit a complaint if refused as they have nothing that publicly says reward bookings will be treated differently. It’s appalling they can’t just publish the rules to make it clearer.

            • Genghis says:

              Alan – I’ve read the Flyertalk article and I believe Mr(s) Entitled’s circumstances are different even despite the ambiguity in the Flyertalk article. Mr(s) Entitled has a RFS CE ticket VCE-LHR and then a separate LHR-MAN paid ticket (UK domestic I presume). As two PNRs, they would get access to the lounge in VCE but not in LHR (separate ticket so not actually ‘transferring’ or a ‘connecting passenger’).

            • Ah apologies, hadn’t seen the separate ticket bit – agree this seems to be one area with a bit more clarity! Definitely worth doing a cheeky TP run to avoid having to worry about any of these issues :)

  6. DeltaCharlie says:

    The first class dining room actually has a breakfast menu, all food is delivered to your table in the same manner as a CCR breakfast.
    That’s certainly how it was operating all the times I have been there.
    Though to be honest, we normally don’t use it and sit in the general area, my partner prefers the buffet option.

  7. Henry Young says:

    You didn’t try the funky shower modules ? The plumbing seems suspect in the drainage side with a periodic on-off pump in the works somewhere. The showers were unconvincing. Maybe I was just unlucky. This was about 18 months ago. Personally I vastly prefer the Virgin arrivals lounge. Their showers are as hot and as strong as you need.

  8. Would also flag that if you do have any early meetings in London, the shower setup is pretty solid. There are a lot of showers and as another poster mentioned for everyone they will press your suit and iron your shirt while you shower and leave for you in the door of the shower room (accessible from both inside and out). They can get a bit funny about you requesting a bath unless on an F ticket but typically will let you if you specifically push for it

  9. tigergold says:

    If you want to have a treatment in the spa (it offers similar treatments to the one by the departures lounge), go ask whats available as soon as you get there. Think i managed to have a facial, but been a few times and only once managed to get a slot as they were fully booked.

  10. We have used this lounge in the past and found it good.
    Our next trip Is returning from Vancouver which goes to T3; are there similar facilities there please?

    • pauldb says:

      There is an AA Arrivals lounge you’d be able to use but it’s currently being refurbished – re-opening “later this summer”, I haven’t seen a date.
      You are allowed to transfer to T5 and use the BA lounge if you can be bothered.

      • Last time I came in, as the AA arrivals lounge is closed, I transferred airside to T5 and went through immigration there and to the lounge. I was hand baggage only which is why this worked, but it was very smooth and certainly easier than the landside route if you want to use the BA arrivals lounge.

        • Thanks for the replies.
          We are not going until June 17 so AA lounge should be open.
          We are going out from T5 to Seattle so may need to go back via T5.

          • pauldb says:

            If you mean you’d have to return to T5 for a car, the standard advice is to use a meet & greet who can return your car to a different terminal; or I believe you’ll find advice on flyertalk about parking in the T3 longstay but walking over the curb on your outbound into one of the T5 (business) car parks to get to T5.

  11. Globetrotter7 says:

    The main thing to note about the Arrivals lounge is that it is a BA long haul Club/First product, not a Onewirld lounge. That is why the access rules are different.

  12. The only arrivals lounge i have used is the Cathay Pacific arrivals at HKG, dare i say it, but the BA arrivals lounge (at LHR) looks far far better.

    • Bariummeal says:

      The HKG arrivals lounge is dreadful – dingy, no natural light, poor food, tiny and I was told to wait upto an hour for a shower. I left!

  13. Frankie says:

    The breakfast food in the concord room is pretty the buffet served. I’ve watched the servers come out of the room plate the food from the buffet and then bring it in to the concord room to people

  14. I like the arrivals lounge. The fact you can sleep through breakfast on your flight, added to the shower and shirt press when you arrive, makes a huge difference to that first day back in the uk.

  15. BA T5 lounge related question if you don’t mind – do the airside lounges have areas suitable for working? Or are they really noisy?
    Never been in them but will be Silver later in the year and will need to work from 8am – 12pm before a flight. Usually use the Regus T5 but they downgraded me to blue so would have to pay for entry now. Thanks.

    • Galleries First in T5 has a Business Centre which is pretty ticked away – only been a couple of folk there most times I’ve been. Champagne bar nearby too to make that working day even better! 😛

    • The work area in the South lounge is larger and more distinct; the North lounge area is likely to be noisy. As you have plenty of time you might consider taking the transit to the T5B lounge which is quietest by far and has a work zone. Just make sure you read up on how to return to T5A by walking through the transit tunnel, in case that’s where your gate is.

    • Many thanks Alan & Paul. Unfortunately I’ll only be a lowly Silver so no work + champagne bar in First Galleries for me :(.

      I’ll try the South one first and then maybe T5B. No problem with the walk back to T5A, done it before when my flight got delayed.

      Any champagne in T5B by the way? Missus will be with me so will need to keep her occupied 😉

      • I believe champagne is still available on request in Galleries Club lounges, it’s just not out on display like it is in Galleries First?

  16. Alex W says:

    If you have a Priority Pass the plaza arrivals lounge in T2 is worh a look.

  17. Duncan S says:

    Question on lounge access. I’m flying in from DFW – LHR in Club World in January and arrive at around 7:30am, with my domestic leg to EDI departing around 10:30. Which lounge(s) will I access and where will I go in terms of security etc? Will I use the arrivals lounge or just the departure lounge? Will I even pass through to landside in LHR at all?

    • Hi Duncan. You have access to the Arrivals Lounge (but would have to go landside to access it) and also Galleries Club North and South in T5. If the transit queues are big you might want to go through the UK Border and out landside then back in (as you have to reclear security regardless), but normally I just stay airside.

  18. Andrew H says:

    The Iberia Groupon offer is back.

    Ironic because last night I decided to take advantage of Iberia’s 50% avios bonus just to get me past the 100k mark. I should have waited. Oh well :)

    Obviously the Groupon offer is slightly more expensive now.

    • Andrew H says:

      And don’t forget to click through Iberia PlusStore to get your bonus avios!

      • Regístrate!
        Ahorra hasta un 70% en miles de ofertas increíbles de Madrid
        10 € de dto. Tu primer Groupon*
        Introduce el código QUITATE10 en el momento de pagar
        Descubre restaurantes top, spas, cosas que hacer y muchas ofertas diarias más

        harry: it means you can set up a new Groupon a/c & get EUR10 off your Groupon bill. Let me just eat something & I’ll crunch the math :)

        • Genghis says:

          Looks like it could be some very cheap 2k avios if that is the case. Look forward to your analysis, Harry

          • 2000 + 95 Avios = £16.16 so 0.77p/ Avios

            4000 + 195 Avios = (EUR49 – 10 discount) = £33.18 so 0.79p/ Avios

            So with the EUR10 discount (basket must be over EUR25) you could pick up 6000 cheapish Avios

            • QUITATE10 discount code only works for new a/cs – checked.

              You are allowed to buy up to 100,000 Avios but annoyingly I can’t put more than 1 item in my basket at a time – shouldn’t be a massive problem. I’m guessing this is deliberate.

            • Andrew H says:

              No danger of Groupon picking up on a previously used Iberia account number?

            • Your maths never fails to amaze :-)

            • Sorry guys CPNT30 not working for me now. I swear it was working earlier

          • Andrew H says:

            Mine cost £16.91 through Paypal. Too late to take advantage of this 10 euro offer though. Hope it works out for everyone

            • Going to brave it tonight. Too fiddly to do at desk. Down to my last 20000 avios

            • wasn’t a problem last time

              I bought ours using Spain, Spanish just in case

              remember to use PayPal as they can resolve problems efficiently, ie getting a refund is easy if something goes wrong

      • Genghis says:

        Where can I find the Iberia Plus store on Iberia?

        • Andrew H says:

          Once you’re logged into Iberia, hover over ‘Iberia Plus’ near the top right. It will bring up a menu. Hover over ‘IberiaPluStore’ which will bring up a submenu. Then click ‘IberiaPlustore’ in that menu.

          • Genghis says:

            Thanks Andrew. I had to change the location and language to Spain – English for this to appear.

            • Genghis says:

              What’s people opinion of the term “Únicamente para usuarios en España” = Only for users in Spain?

            • Andrew H says:

              I haven’t noticed that before. I redeemed the coupon earlier with no problems and didn’t have an issue in December or April either.

              I’m having trouble getting my comments to post today. Anyone else having the same problem?

            • Genghis says:

              I bought 4K earlier going through Iberia Plusstore using Harry’s €10 off code on Groupon (cheers Harry). The 30% code didn’t work. Voucher came through a few mins later and I validated it and now waiting for points to post in IB+ acct which supposedly can take up to 30 days. From experience, what did this mean in reality?

              Doing this is certainly a good way of learning Spanish!

            • it was about 7-10 days for us (10 purchases, all nice & quick)

              ISTR other people waited longer

    • Oh no! Is it too risky to recommend this or not?! There were – very occasional – serious issues last time.

      • Andrew H says:

        I have done it twice with no issues at all. Both were purchases of 2000 avios each.

      • Andrew H says:

        Just went through the process for another 2000 avios. I didn’t have to enter the security/coupon codes multiple times, which makes a change from the last two occasions. Sorted!

  19. WilliamPH says:

    I will be arriving at T5 with my Wife and around 5 suitcases from SIN just before Xmas. Do they have somewhere safe and convenient to stow them while we shower and breakfast?

  20. Access also for business or first arriving on AA tickets via T3 currently.

    Might call in as we have to go back via T5 to get the hoppa back to the hotel.

  21. Roger Everitt says:

    T5 Arrivals.
    I too was there on the morning of Brexit. Strangely quiet atmosphereI Even the showers packed up that morning!
    Welcome back!

  22. Cat Downie says:

    I want to know more about the nail bar!

    Raffles – when are we going to see your VS upper / clubhouse review? I’m flying with them next year, and am keen to find out more!

    • The New York stuff is being done in a random order! I currently reckon it will be Concorde Room JFK, IC Barclay, Virgin UC lounge LHR, Virgin UC flight in that order.

      I can’t drag it out too long because Anika is in New York as I type and there will be another load of flight and hotel reviews coming down the line on top of mine ….

  23. If I have BA silver & bought a WTP, but before boarding was upgraded to CW & given a revised boarding pass, will I be allowed access? Thanks

  24. Robert says:

    Just to be clear re access for GGL arriving on any airline, I assume that’s just OW?