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Review: the British Airways arrivals lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 5

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

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

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 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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Comments (80)

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  • 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!

  • Stuart Palmer says:

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

    • Simmo says:


      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.

      • Rob says:

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

        • Simmo says:

          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!

  • Yuff says:

    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 🙂

  • Alan says:

    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!

    • Yuff says:

      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).

      • Alan says:

        AA T3 arrivals had it too, presumably still will after refurb

  • 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

      • Alan says:

        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.

          • Alan says:

            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.

          • Alan says:

            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!

          • Alan says:

            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’).

          • Alan says:

            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 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • h2d says:

    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

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