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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  1. Karen Briggs says:

    I was in here on Friday (4th October) from about 11.20am. Terminal 5 seemed to be busy but, the lounge was wonderfully quiet and almost empty at that time. I left a couple of hours later and there were a few more people there but, it certainly was nowhere near full

  2. Perhaps, Aspire will get less busy as a result?

  3. For T5, BA will always know what gate each flight is departing each day. It’s on the system. The reason they do not tell you is that gates can change. If a flight gets delayed, for example from C52 for an hour, that means a gate change for another flight. It’s a finely balanced operation, even though we all have our tales of woe, and want to dispute that fact. If you are in T5 Pier C and it changes to Pier B, I understand the only way back to Pier B or Pier A is to try and re-enter through flight connections (low success rate) or exit landside and come back through security to airside. I’d never go to Pier C unless the gate is displayed on the board. Maybe someone has more inside track on the workings of T5 than I currently have…. I fly to Dublin every 6 weeks. The Heathrow gate should be A23, especially for incoming flights and the need not to go through immigration. Last week I was told A3 at check in. It changed to A11, and ended up back at A2. There is much more movement in the A gate flights.

    • Genghis says:

      B->A walk in the tunnel

      • The tunnel is underused and can be quicker than the shuttle. It is also 2-way.

      • the_real_a says:

        Tunnel life is surreal. I have seen a jogger wearing tight swimwear, a millennial riding a unicycle and people saying hello as they pass one another…

    • I’m also suspicious it’s part of an agreement with LHR to keep people in the main shopping terminal that is T5A 😉

      For US flights I always head to the quieter B lounge ASAP.

  4. I was there two weeks ago. It was very busy but the food was excellent. Had a quick bite to eat then moved onto the BA satellite lounge which was empty as always! So there you have it – get your grub in the Plaza Premium and your pre-flight beer in the BA lounge 🙂

  5. Nooooo. Visited Aspire T5 for the first time last week – walked back out again as not a seat in sight. Really liked Plaza as an alternative to Galleries Club North, was handy for domestic flights and quieter.

  6. It was rammed last Thursday at lunchtime, I’m heading back there again on Monday with a colleague, so expect it will be busy again.

  7. Lady London says:

    Oh dear. Could it mean that lounges on this side of the Atlantic are also going to start to be crowded out by people who hardly fly at all and treat it mainly as a drinking club rather than rest and respite when flying?

    • Shoestring says:

      Guilty m’lud 🙂

      In my defence: drinking club = rest & respite from driving 4 hrs to LHR with 3 kids in the back.

      You won’t find me in T5, though.

    • Stuart_f says:

      I’d far rather have a lounge full of “hardly fly at all” types who are enjoying plenty of JW Blue than have them stuffed full of the type that live in the air and are so important they just MUST “make this essential phone call on speaker”.

      One bothers me, the other does not.

  8. OT but lounges – until what time does the Concorde lounge serve breakfast? I’ve got my first visit on my birthday next year and my heart is set on Eggs Benedict with LPGS! Our connection gets to T5 about 9.45 am.

  9. js54156 says:

    OT — I’m near the 50k annual limit of Curve. Anyone knows how to ‘refresh’ the limit? Thanks!

  10. OT – bit of a random question I know, but I wondered what the food was like in BA Club World? Flying to Tampa in December in CW for the first time using Amex 2 for 1. I’m vegetarian, so normally order a vegetarian meal before I fly, but they generally end up being pretty crappy and worse than the vegetarian offering on the plane. Was thinking of not booking a meal in advance on the plane. I know it is a slight risk, but am kind of assuming that being in CW it shouldn’t be too much of an issue? Or is this completely wrong to assume?

  11. Better than GF? I thought you were saying it was better than GC, which isn’t hard. Then again GF now is like GC food five years ago. It definitely is more slop than food…

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