Do you get BA lounge access on Vueling, Aer Lingus, Flybe and AirBaltic?

British Airways lounge access policies are, on the face of it, straightforward.  You get access if you are flying in Business or First Class or have a Silver or Gold card or equivalent oneworld status.

The devil is in the detail.  Can you get lounge access in Edinburgh if flying economy to connect to a Club World flight?  Does it make a difference if the Club World flight is tomorrow and not the same day?  Do you get lounge access at Heathrow on the way to Edinburgh in economy if you just came off a Club World long haul?  How about if you came off a Finnair Business Class short haul?

(I’m not going to answer these questions, but I might do a separate article!)

Based on a recent email from a reader, I wanted to look at whether you are allowed access to British Airways lounges if you are flying on a BA non-oneworld partner?  This means an airline with whom BA has a codeshare relationship, such as Vueling, Flybe, Aer Lingus or AirBaltic.

This is a situation which comes up frequently now that British Airways has moved to Gatwick South because Vueling, Flybe, Aer Lingus and AirBaltic also use that terminal and BA has a super new lounge complex (click for our review).  If you are flying Vueling from Heathrow, you will be in Terminal 3 which also means that there is potential to use the British Airways lounge.

Imagine ….

you book an economy flight on

…. with a British Airways flight number …..

…. but which in the small print says ‘operated by Vueling / AirBaltic / Aer Lingus’

…… should you get lounge access, assuming you are departing from an airport where BA has a lounge?

Logically, you would think you should.

airBaltic Gatwick

In practice, it is even more complicated.  For reasons no-one really knows, these are the rules.  Even some lounge agents don’t understand them.

A BA Silver card holder does NOT get BA lounge access when flying Vueling, AirBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus, even when the flight has a BA flight number and was ticketed by British Airways

A BA Gold card holder DOES get BA lounge access (but no guests) when flying Vueling, AirBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus, when the flight has a BA flight number and was ticketed by British Airways

A BA Gold does NOT get BA lounge access when flying Vueling, AirBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus if the flight does not have a BA flight number or was not ticketed by British Airways

A BA Gold does NOT get lounge access when flying Vueling, AirBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus if the lounge is not directly operated by British Airways, which is likely to be the case when flying to the UK or from many UK regional airports, irrespective of whether you are on a BA flight number or whether BA issued your ticket

Bottom line – forget lounge access if you are not a British Airways Gold card holder.  If you are a BA Gold, be careful where you book your ticket and what ticket number is shown.

Aer Lingus 350

Flying Aer Lingus from Heathrow Terminal 2

There is an extra quirk to this if you are flying Aer Lingus from Heathrow.  As Aer Lingus is based in Terminal 2, there is not a British Airways lounge you can use.

Aer Lingus DOES have a very pleasant lounge of its own, however, as I reviewed here.

The rule here is that British Airways Silver or Gold cardholders can use the Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow or, if flying to London Heathrow or Gatwick, in Ireland.  Your ticket does NOT need to be issued by BA and it does NOT need to be a BA codeshare.  If you have BA status, even a super-cheap ticket booked on will do the job.

This deal only applies to flights to London.  If you fly from Dublin to, say, Manchester you will not get Aer Lingus lounge access in Dublin with a British Airways shiny card.

Yes …. complicated, I know!

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Review of the Breeze Priority Lounge at Southampton International Airport
Additional airport lounges that you never knew Amex Platinum got you into
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  1. I Need Legroom says:

    Somewhat o/t:

    My outbound flight from LHR T5 next week will gain me BA Silver status – is there any chance that the lovely people at the BA will let me into the Galleries Lounge pre-flight? I will be travelling on my own.

    • Zero!

      • Agreed – I tried once on the flight that would have me reach silver. Politely declined.

    • Legroom…. I would just go up the escalator, Galleries South! after some person on their own, just mention that you have a load of work to do, and could they pls guest you in. They can only say no. I did that the day l first was silver some Danish chap said yes, no problem. Use some gibberish about your silver having expired and its restarting on your return flight. Beggars can’t be choosers! But at least you will be silver on the way back. You might be lucky.

  2. Last October I flew LHR – Shannon from Terminal 2 on a BA flight number with my wife. I’m BA silver, she has no status. The lounge dragon at the Aer Lingus lounge said they admitted BA silver card holders, but no guests. She even suggested that I could go in and leave my wife outside! When I questioned this, she pulled out the dreaded folder, and pointed to a laminated sheet in the front cover stating exactly this in a very large font!

    On the return, we were both allowed in to the lounge in Shannon, but this could be in error, I give up trying to understand….

  3. Raj Singh says:


    Hi All – Firstly, many thanks to Rob and all those who contribute regularly to this site. I have learnt and applied a great deal since my first click.
    Just wanted to check something regarding the upgrade route from Amex PRG to Platinum. I have acquired the membership rewards for the Gold card; If I now apply for the Platinum Card and receive the 20,000 welcome bonus, will I still receive the additional 30,000 points for the required spend.

    • Genghis says:

      Not sure where the 30k is coming from but:
      Spend £2k on the gold = 22k (assuming referred)+2k
      Then upgrade to plat and spend £1k = 20k+1k

  4. Sounds to me like its finally time to stop wasting all that money on expensive BA Club or 1st tickets to get enough Tier points to qualify for BA Exec Club Gold or Silver status and to buy PremierPass Prestige membership instead.

    Also quite clearly just yet another case of Wee Willie and Action Man Alex doing down the BA customer in order to increase their bottom line……………….

    • If the Plaza Premium Terminal 5 lounge is any good when it opens later this year, you won’t be alone.

  5. Partner and I booked Exec Club (Blue) Avios and cash redemption from EDI – LHR- EWR/ JFK -LHR- -EDI in March in Club. All legs were ticketed as U class ( Club Redemption ) with the exception of the LHR -EDI leg which appeared as X class ( Economy redemption) Got lounge access at all stages except LHR on the way home despite boarding pass showing ‘Club Europe’ ( prior to 1 April)- challenged the staff at the desk and got admission despite apparently not being eligible. Stupid thing is that we could have got access to the arrivals lounge without any hassle if we had been finishing at LHR. Suspect the problem was the return flight straddled two dates

    • You should have had access in Heathrow on the return as you were connecting from a long haul business flight, regardless of the follow on ticket.

  6. And to make it even more complicated, if you get access at T2 flying Aer Lingus with a silver / gold card, you won’t be allowed a guest (even if on the same flight as you).

    • Friendly Irish, l don’t thnk! They are so inflexible. I remember a friend of mine who worked at aer lingus, getting a bolicking for giving lounge passes out (in the old days at LHR T 1 ) to the “take that” lads. Rich as they were, they appreciated the gesture. She thought it was good PR, but even then they were so stingy. They really have a bad attitude at that DUB lounge. It’s not the best way to earn goodwill and keep pax loyal, and amiimg to retain status. Why would you bother with that lot, and l am from Dublin. Makes me so ashamed every time l pass through that airport. Adds to the stress. You can hear people being turned away with gold and silver status. Awful, time it was updated, fast.

  7. Bhavini Parmar says:

    Thanks I was looking for the answer to this question just last week! Bit annoying that if you’re silver you don’t get access if you had purchased a ticket on

  8. travelbear38 says:

    Polly……why should they give out lounge access to everyone if not earned! All airlines have policies it’s commercial and if updated great but hardly anything to do with the irish population being friendly or not!

  9. Re: Aer Lingus, what about access in Dublin on a transatlantic connection LON-DUB-XYZ?

    • If DUB-XYZ is business class and you have no BA status then you’re operating under Aer Lingus rules – which should, given industry standards, allow you access in London even though the connection is economy only.

  10. IAG is not being joined-up here. If you look at what other airline groups that have some airlines in alliances and some not (Singapore, Lufthansa, Qantas etc) they tend to offer their own frequent flyers (as opposed to those from their alliance partners) points-earning and perks across their own airlines. IAG do not. As a shareholder and a regular customer on BA and Vueling (Vueling because of the routes they fly) I think that is not in IAG and its component airlines’ best interests. It would not cost IAG that much to offer status holders on one of its airlines whatever perks it offers status holders on the others (obviously the perks differ from airline to airline, e.g. Vueling does not offer priority security screening) and permit some form of points earning across the group, and it would keep customers happier and more likely to fly IAG airlines. As it is, there is no real incentive for me as a BA frequent flyer to fly on Aer Lingus, Vueling or Level.