British Airways passengers can now be driven to their plane at London City Airport – for a fee
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18 months ago we reviewed London City Airport’s new First Class Lounge in the Private Jet Centre.
Yes, London City Airport DOES have a lounge – in fact, two lounges – but not many people are aware of it as they are not in the main terminal. Instead they are located in the Private Jet Centre and the First Class Lounge comes with true VIP treatment, as you will see.
However …. when I reviewed the First Class Lounge, it came with a big caveat. British Airways passengers were not allowed to use it. To be fully accurate, they could use it but were not allowed to use the private security channel or be driven to their aircraft – they would have to walk over to the main terminal. This made it pointless given the fee.
Things have now changed. If you are flying British Airways from London City Airport – except for the New York flight – you are now allowed to use the First Class Lounge in the Private Jet Centre and be driven to your aircraft.
You have to pay £95 for the privilege, but arguably – for anyone who values their time and especially anyone who charges hourly rates and can squeeze in some extra billable hours this way – it is a good deal.
How does the service work?
This is what I found when I reviewed the First Class Lounge in November 2016. I am assuming that nothing has changed since then, but be aware that the pictures below are out of date. The pictures are also a bit fuzzy as they are on an old iPhone!
London City arranged a free visit for me in conjunction with a CityJet flight review we were doing at the time.
My trip didn’t start too glamorously with a trip on the Jubilee Line and the DLR. However as soon as I got out of the DLR station at City Airport the First Class Lounge service began.
I was greeted with a name sign and escorted to a car. If you are flying with BA and have luggage to check in, you must do this when meeting your First Class Lounge host who will take you to the front of the bag drop queue in the terminal.
The car was a mini van – so travelling with family or in a group is possible.
It took only a few minutes from City Airport main terminal to the Private Jet Centre.
This was the reception area:
The First Class Lounge was very bright and classy. It was very quiet when I was there, as in I was the only guest, which was great as I was able to take photos without disturbing people’s privacy (it actually says in the T&Cs that taking pictures is not allowed).
Again, remember that these pictures are from November 2016 so there could have been changes.
There was a table with snacks and newspapers.
At the far back was a shelf wall with magazines.
The bar had a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as a Nespresso machine.
In the bar area were another four armchairs.
There was breakfast in the morning and sandwiches during the day. The First Class Lounge doesn’t serve hot food as customers have been happy with what’s been provided, but we were told by the Jet Centre’s manager that there have been guests requesting hot food which was then sourced at additional cost.
Now to the coolest part – your own security lane! For security reasons I wasn’t allowed to take a picture of this area but it’s like the security lanes at any airport – just smaller. There is only one body scanner and one luggage scanner and the whole process took literally 2 minutes.
Outside security was a car waiting to drive me to the plane. Yes, to the plane!
The best and last part of the First Class Lounge service is to be driven all the way to the plane and being the first to board – that is if you are flying in business.
Rob has done this a few times in Frankfurt when flying First Class with Lufthansa but it was a new experience for me. I was flying CityJet that day as British Airways did not allow its passengers to use the service back in 2016. If you are on an economy ticket you will need to wait until after the top tier customers have boarded.
To give an even better idea of what the First Class Lounge is about, I made a short video. If you want to subscribe to our YouTube channel and be notified about future videos, click here to visit our YouTube channel page. You can also watch the video via that page if it does not appear below.
Using the lounge as an arriving passenger
It is also possible to use the lounge when flying into London City. Arriving passengers are immediately collected at the aircraft with their luggage and driven to the lounge for customs and immigration. You can then use the lounge until you are ready to head into London. You cannot use this service if you are arriving on the New York flight but apart from that it is now open to everyone.
How to book
You can book the London City First Class Lounge for £95 per person. You must pre-book by 4pm on the day before your flight, last minute bookings are possible depending on third party resource.
You can book the lounge in advance via the airport website.
There is also a cheaper Business Class lounge
In 2017 London City added a Business Lounge right next to the First Class Lounge. This is more affordable at around £35.
The key difference is that you must go back to the main terminal for security and boarding – there is no car service to your plane and no private security channel.
My review of the Business Lounge is here.
When we first wrote about the First Class Lounge at London City many readers were shocked by the price. It isn’t aimed at you, in that case. If you are a £500 per hour lawyer or similar, it is an easy price to justify – and the VAT will be reclaimable. The First Class Lounge is also a great way of starting a special birthday trip or honeymoon.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.