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Why you should now be wary about visiting the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 5

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Regular readers will know that I am very fond of the new Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5.   See my article here for example.

Even though I have British Airways status, I still pop in here if travelling through Terminal 5 on my own because it is less crowded than the BA Galleries and the food is better.  The only thing that is poor is the newspaper and magazine selection.

The reason the lounge has always been quiet – the record number of guests ever spotted by myself or any HFP reader was 20 – is that it did not accept Priority Pass or Lounge Club cards.  Look at the second photo below for an example of how busy it used to be.

Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 5 overcrowding

The only way to get in is:

for cash (you can book direct here) or

by flashing an American Express Platinum Card or

by flashing a DragonPass lounge access card

Since DragonPass cards have historically been rare in the UK, they were not responsible for a lot of business.  That all changed a couple of weeks ago when NatWest / RBS Black switched from Priority Pass to DragonPass for its lounge access partnerI wrote about that here.

Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 5

The big problem is that the covering letter sent out to NatWest and RBS account holders with their DragonPass specifically mentioned Plaza Premium Heathrow Terminal 5 access.   It says:

“Unlimited access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide – this includes our flagship Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 which replaces the Aspire lounge currently available in this location”

Since then, according to many Head for Points reader reports, the place has become a bit of a scrum.  The ultimate insult came from a reader who said it was ‘nearly as bad as the Club Aspire lounge’ at the other end of Terminal 5.

So, be warned.  It looks I may end up back in Galleries First after all.

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Comments

  1. OT – but Lounge

    T4 Lounge – Plaza Premium vs Sky Team on Priority Pass.
    Which one should I go for, travelling with family and two PP cards.

    I have visited both in the past, Sky Team was quiet, but Plaza Premium was buzzing with lots of “better” food. Also as an aside, do both of them offer Free Showers?

    • I will be travelling via T4 next week too and would be nice to know which one is better for me to head off.

  2. Ah, that explains it. Was in there on Wednesday and had never seen it so busy, so was very surprised. Still better than Galleries Club upstairs though, so I stayed put.

  3. So does that mean club aspire won’t be as busy as all the dragon pass visitors are now in Plaza Premium????

  4. Brian S says:

    I thought it would only be a matter of time before this lounge ended up with wider exposure.

    Previously I questioned how they made it pay as it appeared to have such little footfall.

  5. Michael C says:

    More OT lounge: Barcelona this week in the non-Schengen lounge 0900-1000h. Not a single seat, the only hot food was toast, and the three types of cold meat were all pork.
    Oh, and only one copy of each newspaper for the entire lounge, each attached to a large wooden stick, so no pinching!

  6. “May end up back in galleries first” ………..my god it must be bad to inflict that on anyone!

    • Chris H says:

      How would you rate the Galleries First against the Concord Lounge? I don’t know which one to use when we go to Japan.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        I’d take CCR if you can get a nice spot out on the terrace (or if you want a restaurant-style breakfast). If you’re taking the First Wing then you’ll get a look through GF as you emerge anyway.

      • We spent.four hours in Concorde Lounge yesterday. Excellent food and enjoyed Pinot noir rom Oregon. On plane Pinot Gris from Oregon, English Champagne type wine and dessert wine from NZ. Almost new plane and superb crew.

  7. Michael says:

    I can concur. Was there a week ago, queue was 5 deep at both check-in stations. Not helped by one of the staff being incapable of operating her laptop, but it was a good indicator of what was to come past the entry. Not one of the single seat booths were available, only seating remaining was the high chairs at the big communal tables (didn’t bother me as I actually like these seats, good power point access and can spread out a little).

    Walking back from the food area to the high table I was a bit confused when a mobile phone charging cable was unleashed onto the floor. Appears a women had plugged in a black 5 metre charging cable from the high tables to her seating position not realising that someone may be walking through a packed lounge. Having not spotted it, I strode through it waist high like I was finishing first place in the London marathon. She seemed genuinely unimpressed I would do such a thing.

    To sum up, it is definitely worse now with the greater access opportunities, but I still do like the food and the bright space. Bar tenders however are not so great.

    • ankomonkey says:

      “…I strode through it waist high like I was finishing first place in the London marathon.”

      This raised a smile. You should have done this too even if you had seen it beforehand, maybe with a bit of a celebration.

    • Try to get the phone to smash on the floor- it may help her think in the future!

  8. Waribai says:

    Went in there back in March instead of heading to Galleries. Must admit, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Maybe because it was the start of the Easter hols it was actually rather busy!

  9. As a Natwest Black account holder I received my DragonPass card last week but haven’t been through T5 yet, I was really looking forward to not having to use the Aspire lounge when I do. Are there really that many Black account customers all flying at the same time that it makes a noticeable difference?

    I used the No 1 lounge at T3 on Weds however, had to queue for 5 mins to get in and the check in staff did say that they are seeing many more DragonPass cards, all of which are Natwest branded. It was rammed when I got in too of course although the hot chicken panang didn’t take too long to arrive and was really nice!

    OT, ironically, is there anywhere on this site where one can just ask a question? It seems to me that nearly every page has Off Topic comments, changing the subject in the absence of having a Forum or such like to do so.

    • Usually people ask a ? In the bits article. But it will be answered by someone if it’s spotted in any of the topics articles…

    • Shoestring says:

      Ironically? I fail to see the irony.

      Any article with Bits in the title is fair game for O/Ts – as is any article, any day when there’s no Bits.

      There only seems to be a small number of people so anal that it bothers them in any case.

      • Peter K says:

        It’s ironic that they were asking a question about where to ask a question.

        • Shoestring says:

          I think they just meant ‘btw’ or ‘incidentally’ – they could (I suppose) have said something along the lines: ‘sorry to offend the rule of asking O/Ts only in the right place but here’s an O/T’ – that’s not irony by a long stretch.

          Tragic anal irony, perhaps 🙂

        • Peter K says:

          It was still ironic though Harry, it was still ironic.

  10. Is there anyway of knowing if your flight is going to depart from Satellite B at T5?

    I’ve only been given the nod once at check in being told that the lounge is a lot more peaceful. Which of course it is.

    • Most trans-Atlantic flights seem to go from B and C. If you google your flight number a couple of times before your travel date it will show which gate it left from so you can get a good idea.

    • They do know when you check-in even though it isn’t displayed on the boards. If you ask they can tell you.

    • Richard G says:

      I always go to that lounge anyway. Doesn’t take a massive amount of time to get to A/C from there.

      • +1, I always ask at check in and if departing from B or C head straight to the lounge in the B satellite

        • Most widebodies operate with a minimum ground time of 90 minutes or thereabouts. More often it is longer.

          BA do all their own stand planning in Terminal 5. Therefore they know well in advance which gate it will be from and which tail number is operating the flight.

          The only caveat to that being a flight late off a stand or a tail switch due to a rotational issue.

          The reson they don’t announce the gate in advance is because it is a huge faff to try and get a plane full of people from the wrong gate to the right gate when that happens.

  11. Andrew-a says:

    We are passing through Terminal 5 next week, flying CE to Athens using a 2 for 1. I have just received my RBS Dragon Pass and had considered using this lounge but noticed in a previous article that champagne is charged for. As we won’t be needing food we will probably stick to the BA lounge although find it a bit strange they hide the champagne away in the kitchen. I also read this in a previous article or wouldn’t have known to ask the last time I was in T5.

    • I think they hope people won’t be bothered to ask for it the Champagne! Once a lovely lady staff member came over to our table and asked if we’d like a glass but all the other times we’ve had to find someone then endure the face-pulling that the request seems to engender (and I do always ask nicely!!)

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