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Review: the new British Airways lounge at Aberdeen Airport

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This is my review of the new British Airways lounge at Aberdeen Airport.

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

Aberdeen Airport has recently seen a redevelopment programme.  As part of the work, British Airways has gained a brand new lounge which opened on Tuesday.  I popped in to take a look.

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

Aberdeen Airport also has a high quality independent lounge called Northern Lights, which can be accessed via Priority Pass, Lounge Club or for cash.  I also visited the Northern Lights lounge and will review that later.

But which is best?  British Airways or Northern Lights?  Our review of Northern Lights is here if you want to compare.

The new British Airways Galleries lounge in Aberdeen

“I’ve had two customers come in today who went in the new BA lounge and didn’t like it, so they came here” said the receptionist at the Northern Lights lounge where I started my lounge safari.

That wasn’t a great sign, but I can see why.  These people were clearly hungry.

But first things first …..

The Northern Lights and British Airways lounges are both on the first floor of Aberdeen Airport’s departure lounge.  There is also a small Eastern Airways lounge at gate level.

The BA lounge can be accessed by anyone with a Club Europe ticket or with Gold, Silver or oneworld equivalent status.

It is effectively two rectangular areas side by side.  One half has windows running the full length of the lounge overlooking the runway.

There are 15 or so stools by the windows.  This is where I sat with my laptop.  There are TWO power sockets per stool – you won’t go short here!

Click on any picture to enlarge slightly:

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

This area, which is obviously very bright due to the windows, also has around 30 solo armchairs.  Each chair has a side table between it and the adjacent chair, and all of these side tables have UK, European and USB sockets.  It is impressive.

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

The loos are inside the lounge.  For those who care about these things, the gents has no urinals, only cubicles.  The flush is sensor operated which means waving your hand in front of a digital display depending on the size of flush you need.

There is also a decent and smartly arranged selection of magazines.  Newspapers are in the bar area.

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

In the other side of the lounge is a smart looking granite-topped bar.  There are stools here but no sockets (EDIT: apparently there are sockets and I didn’t bend down far enough. What I thought was a handbag holder in the picture is apparently a plug.)

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

This area also contains a dining area with tables and wooden chairs.

The bar area is darker – much of the light from the windows in the other half of the lounge does not reach.  I’m not sure how it will look on a dark Scottish Winter evening.  Cloudless sunny days like the one I had yesterday are presumably scarce in Aberdeen.

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

There is a wide selection of drink:

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

As you can see, there was also an ice bucket with three bottles of Castelnau champagne in it.  I’m not sure if this is an ‘opening offer’ or if BA intends this to be a permanent feature – you rarely see self pour champagne in Galleries lounges except for Galleries First.

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

Staff were also coming around to offer champagne refills, which is definitely not usual for BA!

The food … oh dear.  Why are British Airways regional lounges so bad at food?  The lunch options available at Northern Lights next door were substantial.  Excellent mini-burgers, a curry, pasta, soup, and big lemon cake.

British Airways Galleries lounge Aberdeen Airport review

The only thing that BA could rustle up was the usual sandwich selection (these were very fresh, I should add), some bits of cheese and vegetable soup.  No wonder people were walking out and heading over to Northern Lights for something substantial.  This is becoming a pattern now – I do the same in Amsterdam, going into the Aspire lounge for the decent food before popping into the BA lounge next door for the newspapers.

What I did enjoy in both lounges was watching the runway action.  You’re not in Heathrow anymore, Toto.  Almost all of the aircraft flying in and out were turboprops, with brands such as West Atlantic which meant nothing to me.  There were also Eastern Airways, Loganair, Wideroe and Flybe flights and various helicopters coming and going.


Most people don’t have a choice of which lounge they visit, so comparisons are often moot.  However ….

If you can get into the British Airways Galleries lounge at Aberdeen, you will find a fresh, modern and generously sized (given the number of flights) space.  It is a perfectly pleasant place to spend an hour or so, unless you crave food.

If you can get into the Northern Lights lounge – which accepts Priority Pass and the Amex Gold credit card Lounge Club cards, amongst others – you will find yourself in one of the nicest airport-run lounges in the UK.

If you can get into both, I would recommend Northern Lights.  My review of the Northern Lights louge at Aberdeen Airport is hereBritish Airways has done a good job with the new Aberdeen lounge but it was up against stiff competition and fell short.

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Comments (67)

  • Martin says:

    You say there are no power sockets at the bar… But it looks like there are some in the photo, just not quite as many as at the window seats.

  • ChrisC says:

    Every chair having plugs etc is almost essential these days and BA need to up their game at many other lounges where they sadly lacking in many chairs and and some don’t even work!

    • Riku says:

      I would say the reverse. My laptop battery lasts for 5h and my smartphone goes a week without charging so I rarely plug anything in when at the lounge. Perhaps 10 years ago i’d be looking for a socket but battery life has gotten substantially better.

  • Martin says:

    “Cloudless sunny days are presumably scarce” !
    Typical london-centric view that the far north is some sort of gloomy twilight zone in semi-permanent darkness or buried under snow.
    Check the facts Rob! Aberdeen has a higher yearly sunshine total than central London.

    • John says:

      According to the Met Office, from 1981 to 2010 Aberdeen Airport had 1436 hours of sunshine per year. While that is higher than Greenwich Park which had only 1410 hours per year, Kew Gardens (which is closer to where Rob lives) had 1653 hours and Heathrow had 1633.

      • Stu N says:

        “Typical london-centric view that the far north is some sort of gloomy twilight zone in semi-permanent darkness or buried under snow.”

        It is for about 6 months of the year though. 🙂

        The weather and daylight is noticeably worse in Scotland in winter. I think that and I’m in Edinburgh… Light nights almost make up for it though. Sunset at 2200? I’ll take that…

  • Paul says:

    “In the other side of the lounge is a smart looking granite-topped bar. There are stools here but no sockets.”

    What are those things under the counter?

    • Rob says:

      I know they look like sockets 🙂 They may be handbag holders. Or I missed the sockets …

      • Andy says:

        They are definitely sockets (looking at a better picture on another travel blog site)

  • Rich says:

    The bubbles at the BA Gatwick lounge is also self pour and so not so rare Rob – I don’t recall what brand it is though, presumably the same as at Aberdeen?

    • Jeremy says:

      It is the same

    • ChrisC says:

      In the F lounge they are but not in the Club lounge (unless that’s changed in the last couple of months)

      Same as at LHR.

      Bubbles available on request in Club lounge though.

      • Rich says:

        It has changed then – free to pour champagne is available in the bog standard BA lounge at LGW

        • Stu N says:

          They have had free pour fizz in LGW Club lounge for a while now.

    • wally1976 says:

      Pleased to hear that the BA Gatwick lounge – that I’m due to visit for the first time for a CE flight in August – has self-pour champagne :-). How does the food there compare with the No1 Lounge?

  • Mark says:

    Spend many an hour in the old BA lounge when I worked for BP, where is this lounge located in the terminal building? Looks a very different shape from what I remember…

    • Allan says:

      Whole new extension, it’s above the old lounge and possibly a bit further toward the old stands where international flights landed.

  • TripRep says:

    Wow, quick review, out of interest was this trip entirely funded by HFPs?

    What do BA serve for breakfast, no cooked food, bacon rolls, etc?

    Martin, please share your facts on yearly sunshine total. Whilst the winters are darker than London the summers are much lighter. And like Edinburgh, the air quality is substantially better year round.

    • Rob says:

      The budget can run to an Avios return to Aberdeen 🙂 Was about 5% of the cost of Jamie’s NY trip!

    • Simon says:

      Nothing hot apart from porridge. 2 types of cereal, some fruit and a croissant or pan au chocolate. Very poor.

      • Martin says:

        How disappointing! Next door in the Northern Lights lounge they have hot food – bacon, sausage, baked beans, tattie scones & scrambled eggs. Plenty of cold options too and Nespresso coffee.

      • Alan says:

        Yep same in EDI – I always end up nipping to Aspire or No 1 for something hot!

    • sunguy says:

      BACON ROLLS…..>!!!!!!!!!

      I wish….neither EDI or GLA lounges have ever had Bacon Rolls….

      Which is just stupid…..

      • Stu N says:

        Did EDI not have hot breakfast them when the lounge was by the arrivals escalator, roughly where No.1 lounge is now? This is going back to early 2000s though so memory may be a bit sketchy.

        If I have time and inclination I usually get a quick breakfast in Aspire on PP then move next door to BA lounge.

  • Lumma says:

    Slight OT about the Amsterdam lounges, can BA passengers access the Aspire lounge with their ticket or do you use Priority Pass to get in?

    The Oneworld lounge website says “for passengers flying these Oneworld airlines only” which doesn’t include BA

    • Rob says:

      Priority Pass

    • Sapiens says:

      AMS BA lounge food is poor, similar to a motorway service station (pepperoni mystery meat tube as source of protein). You also have to leave the BA lounge to use the public bathroom.

      AMS aspire has better food, own bathrooms and IIRC showers.

      • Lumma says:

        I agree, had way too long in there on my last Qatar ex EU, seats really uncomfortable too.

        I’m not sure if I could’ve used the Aspire lounge anyway as I’d came off a Qatar flight and was transferring to BA.

        I also remember the receptionist in the BA lounge seemingly being annoyed that I knew that I was entitled to lounge access due to my inbound business class flight, although that might have just been legendary Dutch customer service (I was only bronze at the time).

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