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Do you get BA lounge access flying BA codeshares on Vueling, Aer Lingus, Flybe or airBaltic?

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British Airways lounge access policies are, on the face of it, straightforward.  You get access if you are flying in Business or First Class or have a Silver or Gold card or equivalent oneworld status.

The devil is in the detail.  Can you get lounge access in Edinburgh if flying economy to connect to a Club World flight?  Does it make a difference if the Club World flight is tomorrow and not the same day?  Do you get lounge access at Heathrow on the way to Edinburgh in economy if you just came off a Club World long haul?  How about if you came off a Finnair Business Class short haul?

(I’m not going to answer these questions, but I might do a separate article!)

Today I wanted to look at whether you are allowed access to British Airways lounges if you are flying on a BA non-oneworld partner?  This means an airline with whom BA has a codeshare relationship, such as – from the UK – Vueling, Flybe, Aer Lingus or airBaltic.

This is a situation which comes up frequently now that British Airways has moved to Gatwick South because Vueling, Flybe, Aer Lingus and airBaltic also use that terminal and BA has its impressive lounge complex (click for our review) which is well worth a visit.  If you are flying Vueling from Heathrow, you will be in Terminal 3 which also means that there is potential to use the British Airways lounge.

Imagine ….

you book an economy flight on

…. with a British Airways flight number …..

…. but which in the small print says ‘operated by Vueling / airBaltic / Aer Lingus’

…… should you get lounge access, assuming you are departing from an airport where BA has a lounge?

Logically, you would think you should.

 Air Baltic

In practice, it is even more complicated.  For reasons no-one really knows, these are the rules.  Even some lounge agents don’t understand them.

A BA Silver card holder does NOT get BA lounge access when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus, even when the flight has a BA flight number and was ticketed by British Airways

A BA Gold card holder DOES get BA lounge access (but no guests) when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus, when the flight has a BA flight number and was ticketed by British Airways.  (EDIT: an unverified comment below suggests that you can now get a guest in following a recent change)

A BA Gold does NOT get BA lounge access when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus if the flight does not have a BA flight number or was not ticketed by British Airways

A BA Gold does NOT get lounge access when flying Vueling, airBaltic, Flybe or Aer Lingus if the lounge is not directly operated by British Airways, which is likely to be the case when flying to the UK or from many UK regional airports, irrespective of whether you are on a BA flight number or whether BA issued your ticket

Bottom line – forget lounge access on a BA codeshare if you are not a British Airways Gold card holder.  If you are a BA Gold, be careful where you book your ticket and whether a BA flight number (eg BA1234) is shown on your booking.

Aer Lingus 350

Flying Aer Lingus from Heathrow Terminal 2

There is an extra quirk to this if you are flying Aer Lingus from Heathrow.  As Aer Lingus is based in Terminal 2, there is not a British Airways lounge you can use.

Aer Lingus DOES have a very pleasant lounge of its own, however, as I reviewed here.

The rule here is that British Airways Silver or Gold cardholders can use the Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow when flying to Ireland or, if flying to London Heathrow or Gatwick, a lounge in Ireland.  Your ticket does NOT need to be issued by BA and it does NOT need to be a BA codeshare.  If you have BA status, even a super-cheap ticket booked on will do the job.

This does NOT include the Belfast route, since that is Northern Ireland and not Ireland.  Only a Gold card holder on a BA codeshare can enter the lounge on this route.

Inbound, this deal only applies to flights to London.  If you fly from Dublin to, say, Manchester you will not get Aer Lingus lounge access in Dublin with a British Airways Gold or Silver card.

Yes …. complicated, I know!

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Comments (94)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BLT says:

    OT, but lounge related. Was looking for some advice for my parents both 70+ . They are flying BA domestic flight landing at 9am at T5 but not leaving T3 on RJA until 16.00 the same day. Flying Y with no status or PP. any ideas , are there any lounges that allow longer access in T3 or would a day room be better?

    • Alan says:

      With that long plus the need to change terminal and reclear security anyway why not have a wee day trip instead of staying in the airport?

      I wouldn’t bother trying to go into Central London, but what about the likes of Windsor?

      This site has a few suggestions…

    • Lady London says:

      I think travelextras might sell Lounge Passes. Apparently the best of the non-status lounges in T3 is the No. 1 lounge.

      By the time they get off their flight and over to Terminal 3, personally I’d just show my pass, say nothing and probably once they’re in they’ll be fine. They;’ll have to leave the lounge potentially 1 hour before their flight, it could be a bus gate, etc. So they might not be going over by much.

      Alternatively someone said the Magpie Pub is OK for food.
      They could also park in one of the restaurants in T5 for breakfast, not sure if Gordon Ramsay’s is still OK but that’s where breakfast used to be fine, then mosey slowly over to T3 to the No. 1 lounge after that which would be the right timeframe.

      I’d certainly not pay the on the door price even though the pre-Christmas offers have probably expired now. Try a bit of googling?

    • BLT says:

      Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunatley they are less mobile, so not sure they fancy a trip anywhere. Will investigate the No 1 lounge.

  • Delbert says:

    No Bits today so picking the top article for trivia purposes.

    Renewed my near expired passport online last Sunday. Posted my passport to HM Passport Office on Monday and received by the office today. Email received at 1415 to inform passport approved and being printed. Further email at 1900 to say new passport now sent.

    Okay, so I picked the quietest week of the year but still blindingly fast service particularly as yesterday was a non-business day. And I quite liked the code that was printed on the photo booth photos which is then entered on the online application and immediately pulls up the photo from the booth.

    • Alan says:

      Nice! Especially useful having a quick turnaround time now they won’t add unexpired months to the new passport.

      • Delbert says:

        That’s a bit naughty and was well noted, Alan. It seems the rules changed in late 2017, though certain it’s not in anyway related to rinsing us for money, oh no.

        • Lady London says:

          You mean this new passport thing is not in anyway related to rinsing us for money, oh no?

          Like the fact that both buyer and seller of a car now, both have to pay the same month of road tax as road tax residue can no longer be passed between buyer and seller?

          Certainly not related to ripoff Britain and government wheezes to rinse us for money.

  • Gordon says:

    Trying to get clarity on T2 Lounge access – I have re-read the above article but slightly unclear to me – Paid Business Class trans-Atlantic ticket, ORD-LHR-ORK. Transfer T5 to T2 at LHR. Onward on Aer Lingus operated flight to ORK, on BA codeshare – all issued as thru ticket – will I get access to Aer Lingus lounge at T2 – assume no BA Exec Club status – access solely based on ticket.

  • Confused says:

    Sorry this is OT but the relevant prior threads are closed for further comment – does anyone know whether BA 241 open-jaw LON-SCL-[SURFACE]-LAX-LON redemption would be permitted?

    Struggling to work out whether distance SCL-LAX needs to be shorter than either OR both of LON-SCL/LAX flights (it’s longer than LHR-LAX but shorter than LHR-SCL).

    Assume it’s “shorter than both”, but interested if anyone knows definitively. Thanks.

  • Philip says:

    The Aer Lingus lounge at LHR Terminal 2 is a disgrace. Minimal selection of food & drink on offer and all the food except the bread rolls with the soup is on long dated containers. I was in during mid December and had shortbread which didn’t taste right, on checking the package I found the best before date was 31st August, it was over 3 & a half months overdue. I mentioned it to the woman serving and she all but demanded it from me & that was it so I went to the rest and went through them and they all had the same date & handed her 2 more and she left. As no action was taken I took 2 more packets and made a scene at check in as it is the only way Aer Lingus will pay any attention complaining about their long dated crap & even then it is so unpopular it expires with no action being taken. Anything popular is discontinued, a complete waste of time and effort and best avoided, Dublin lounge is no better, Aer Lingus pay only lip service to lotalty.

  • Scott says:

    Don’t rely on it even if a BA gold – I was denied entry at EDI on a 125- ticket with BA flight number but operated by Aer Lingus (actually operated by Stobart Air, on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional, on behalf of Aer Lingus…) Got some TPs and it counted as one of my four flights though!

  • Lorna Clayton says:

    My 85 and 81 year old parents were flying BAclub to Singapore from Edinburgh. The flight was booked on 241 but when they went – airport assisted – to the BA lounge at Edi they were told they were actually economy EDI -LHR so couldn’t go in the lounge. No matter that there wasn’t enough time in LHR. Simply no. Of course they are proud people do left in embarrassment. I was livid as I had booked the flight for them and I can’t bieve BA couldn’t have managed two elderly passengers who would have been made up to have been told they could come in even if apparently not entitled. BA shame on you.

    • Alan says:

      That’s dreadful – did you complain to BA? With same day longhaul Club tickets there shouldn’t have been an issue, even if shorthaul connections were in econ.

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