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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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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?

    • Alan says:

      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.

  • Andrew H says:

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

    • harry says:

      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

        • harry says:

          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

          • harry says:

            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?

          • Rob says:

            Your maths never fails to amaze 🙂

          • harry says:

            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

          • Gavin says:

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

          • harry says:

            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!

          • harry says:

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

            ISTR other people waited longer

  • Rob says:

    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!

  • 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?

  • Ian says:

    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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • Rob says:

      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 ….

  • May says:

    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

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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