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My review of 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 (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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Comments (80)

  • 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.

  • mark2 says:

    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.

      • F says:

        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.

        • mark2 says:

          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.

  • 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.

  • CV3V says:

    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!

  • 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

  • Nick says:

    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.

  • AndyR says:

    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.

    • Alan says:

      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! 😛

    • pauldb says:

      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.

    • AndyR says:

      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 😉

      • Alan says:

        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?

  • Alex W says:

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

    • Brian says:

      I went there this week for the first time and was surprised how small and limited it was.

      • Rob says:

        The whole space is just about OK but they gave over a strangely high % to the spa.