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Fly British Airways First from Barbados? You can use the Private Jet Terminal!

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Reader Janne asked us if we were interested in a review of the IAM Jet Center private jet terminal lounge in Barbados.  As it’s Summer and most people are either away on holiday or dreaming of far away places, we thought this would make an interesting article.

If you are flying in British Airways First Class out of Barbados, you don’t need to visit the main Grantley Adams Airport terminal at all.  Instead, you can be dropped off at the IAM Jet Center where you can have a calmer start to your journey home, including being driven to your plane.  But is it as good as it sounds?

Over to Janne:

“I was fortunate to spend my summer holiday this year in Barbados. To get there I redeemed 180,000 Avios + 1 BA Companion Voucher + £900 of taxes, fees and charges to get round trips in First Class for two. The cash value for the flights at that time was around £6,000. As part of this flight experience we got access to the First Class Lounge at Gatwick Airport as well as to the IAM Jet Center in Barbados. This review focuses on the latter one.

(Below is a panorama picture of the lounge, click to enlarge)

Private Jet Terminal Barbados

Gaining Access

Anyone holding a First Class British Airways ticket can access the lounge by going directly to the IAM Jet Center private jet terminal (PJT) which saves you from queueing at the main terminal. The security check at the PJT was much more relaxed than in the main terminal. They even let us keep our full water bottles. The service was nice and friendly.

This is purely a benefit for ticketed First Class BA passengers.  It is not available to Executive Club Gold members flying in other classes.

Five young friends running outdoors smiling

Logistics

The biggest benefit of the lounge is to get away from the buzz of the main terminal. On the downside there are no shops or anything else available in the Jet Center. My wife wanted to see the shops in the main terminal and we were told that she could be taken there, but wouldn’t be able to return to the lounge.  She decided to stay in the lounge for an hour, then took the ride to the main terminal and joined the other passengers later at the gate – which meant that she missed out on the private shuttle to the plane.

Barbados Three

Facilities

Let’s take few steps back and look into the facilities. The ground floor of the building is not available to passengers.  The first floor contained offices, the lounge as well as the toilets and shower facilities. These were all clean though small. I can imagine this lounge getting crowded very easily at peak times.

Snacks and drinks are placed in a small corner right next to the lounge entrance.

Barbados TwoAvailable were:

  • Soft drinks (the typical Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, etc.)
  • Cookies
  • Very basic selection of alcohol (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)
  • Coffee machine and tea bags
  • Crisps
  • White and red wine
  • A few small bottles of champagne (the same small bottles that are available on the flight)

There was no staff inside the lounge and we had to go back downstairs to ask for more champagne at the reception.

Barbados Five

The lounge itself has only three forms of entertainment: to watch planes arriving and leaving, to watch a small TV or read newspapers.

The seven other people in the lounge any myself decided to raid the champagne in the fridge instead. This turned into a bit of a challenge as there were only four small bottles for the eight of us.

One of the fellow travellers – probably a HFP reader! – didn’t take it well and went downstairs to complain. They brought up two more bottles which still wasn’t enough.  She went downstairs again and this time someone actually filled up the fridge with eight more bottles. At the end of the day, each one of us only got two glasses of champagne, so there was no need to carry anyone to the plane…

Boarding

When it was time to board a private shuttle took us right to the plane. It was interesting, to say the least, to see the faces of the other passengers as they were queueing to board.

The airport personnel cut off the queue and asked people to move back so that there was enough space to drive us right to the aircraft door.  Then they rolled out a short red carpet (seriously), put stairs at the shuttle door and we boarded.

Conclusion

The best part of the British Airways First Class Lounge at the IAM Jet Center private jet terminal in Barbados is the feeling of exclusivity. The facilities, services and food and drinks are not much to rave about. Make sure not to arrive hungry or you’ll have a meal limited to few cookies and a couple of bags of crisps.

If you plan to visit the Barbados, and you should, and happen to have access to this lounge, it is worth the visit – at least whilst the champagne lasts. But unless you want to experience the private shuttle ride to the aircraft door I’d suggest asking for a ride to the main terminal for shopping and food once you’ve emptied the fridge.”


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Comments (25)

  • ABC says:

    The wife made the right choice. The highlight of any trip to Barbados is a roti at Chefette. There’s one right next to the departure area.
    And then buy a few bottles of tax-free rum.
    Sadly the champagne is probably better on the plane.

    • Ross says:

      +1 for Chefette.

    • Janne Ohtonen says:

      Yes, Chefette was great and we went there several times in Bridgetown 🙂

    • The Urbanite says:

      Love the All Chicken roti!

      • David P says:

        Try the roti den on the West coast road, just north of the spring garden roundabout. Or the one just outside the Hilton, I think it’s called Indian grill. They’re both miles better than chefette.

  • Martin says:

    I did this a while ago, Janne gives a great description. I don’t remember the red carpet, may be that’s a new addition. The one thing that was great and not mentioned we were allowed to drive into the Jet Centre and leave our hire car there for collection. This made the whole thing hassle free. Also it was winter and there were two flights leaving both full in First but although cosy we all got a seat.

    • NickS says:

      We tried this back on our return in F using avios in November last year but beware….. on the day we travelled there was torrential rain all day and despite calling to check. With BA that this facility was available and that we could also leave our Rental car there which the rental company also said was fine. Unfortunately the private terminal was closed when we arrived due to staff shortages and we were then forced to do a grand tour of the airport perimeter roads to get back to the normal rental parking and find our rental contact to get him to collect from the new spot as well as then getting soaked and then had to join the normal queues with absolutely no apologies. Also BA do not promote the availability of this service anywhere either so I guess if it is open then it’s great but sadly we missed out!

    • Janne Ohtonen says:

      That red carpet set up may not last long as the driver asked us to wait in the car. Then he went to the back of the car and took out the small set of stairs and placed them at the front of the side door. Then he took the small carpet and placed that at the front of the stairs. Then he opened the door for us. It took him a couple of minutes to set up so I would think they won’t keep it for long.

  • Geoggy says:

    There’s a similar set up at Antigua. Can’t recall the name but I negotiated it as part of a package when flying Club.

    The exclusivity was excellent and it even had a shop (more of a cupboard).

  • Andrew says:

    Flew back from Grenada in F and the private jet centre there is excellent- bigger set up, and free flowing champagne with waiter service, then a private buggy to the plane whilst everyone else is held back waiting for you to board !

    • Jon says:

      Same deal for CW passengers in Grenada too, based on my experience last weekend. The only slight niggle is you don’t get to use the stairs to First, so have to mingle with the riffraff up the second set of stairs.

      • Flyingbee says:

        We enjoyed the jet centre at Grenada flying CW. We were even given a private lounge to wait in, complete with its own selection off snacks, as we were travelling with two small children including an infant (I suspect that was more for the benefit of other passengers than for us!)
        Anyway, it was great!

    • Alex W says:

      This is more like it. On Sri Lankan airlines you have to wait for everyone in economy to board first before business class is allowed to board. Highly annoying, especially as I needed the loo and there wasn’t one at the gate in CMB.

    • Alex W says:

      This is more like it. On Sri Lankan airlines you have to wait for everyone in economy to board first before business class is allowed to board. Highly annoying, especially as I needed the loo and there wasn’t one at the gate in CMB.

    • Jonathan says:

      Interesting as Barbados feels like a much bigger airport so I’s have thought the facilities would be that bit better. The Barbados business lounge leaves much to be desired that’s for sure!

      In Grenada I tend to stay much closer to the airport, so am more confident staying in the luxury of the hotel until I have to depart at the last minute, so sampled the lounge properly. Recommend Spice Island if anyone is looking at a trip.

  • DeanB says:

    You also get to use the private jet centre & lounge at Grenada GND – even if you’re just BAEC Gold & travelling in economy.

    The best thing, though, is that I got access when I flew the 25min GND-UVF St Lucia, which BA operates. On Avios, with an award saver ticket…

  • FIRSTclstraveller says:

    Guests of Sandy Lane can also gain access to the IAM Jet Centre.

    • C77 says:

      Was just going to mention this, although it is an optional paid for service for Sandy Lane guests, it’s not a generic entry for all SL guests. They also have a separate lounge within the jet centre. It is not the same space that BA use. Also not sure it is available year round. My understanding is it is only an option during peak/high season (Christmas to Easter). The other good thing SL guests get that BA F/J don’t is fast track immigration arrival at BGI. You can pay for it however and would say its good value if you dont want to queue for 45mins, however the bags at reclaim won’t make it through much before this either so its a swings and roundabouts situation here.

  • CeliaG says:

    Does anyone know if the latest Jet Centre to open planned for November 2017 at St Lucia will open on time? We don’t know if we can book this in advance of opening, but are booking F return from UK and would very much like to use the facility. Any info would be most welcome.

  • Nick says:

    So a ‘great benefit’ of this terminal is that they openly flout security regulations? (Water bottles) And that’s a good thing? I hope someone from BA and/or the DfT reads this and sends back a few harsh words.
    Luxury and exclusivity is great, but not if it introduces weak links in security chains. The rules are there for a reason.

    • Peter K says:

      That’s what I thought! I’m glad my flight has no First on it now (though disappointed when booking).

    • HAM76 says:

      Not sure I agree with regard to the liquid rules. Assuming we are talking about a small bottle of water, it would have been perfectly OK (and officially safe), if the bottle had been poured into 5 empty 100ml bottles immediate before going through the detector. I would assume that the security staff saw that the bottle and other liquids were within the limit of one litre in total.