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.

airBaltic Gatwick

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 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 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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  1. Booked a business class flight with Latam, LHR-MAD-SCL, all codeshares for BA to Madrid and Iberia to Santiago.

    When the ticket came through, the first leg with BA is economy (although the baggage allowance is 3 x 23kg). The second leg is Iberia Business Class, same baggage allowance.

    My question is, can my wife use the BA lounge for the first leg of the journey?

    Thanks in advance for all answers.

    • Yes, as long as the connection is same-day. OneWorld rules permit lounge access if you’re flying OneWorld economy and connecting onto a OneWorld long haul business flight.

      • With variations. Eg no status passenger on Iberia Express economy booked on IB code connecting to IB J on one ticket , LGW BA lounge staff refused entry as the flight was operated by Iberia express and not part on one world.

  2. The rule of thumb is that with partner/codeshare airlines/airports lounge benefits are one notch down compared to ‘home’ airline or base. In my experience, it is more of less an industry standard globally.

    A couple of examples:

    – my boss and I were flying BA from London to Madrid and back. He had BA Gold, I had Bronze. In London I was allowed to go through Fast track security with him, but not in Madrid. The exact quote from a member of staff there: “Iberia – yes, Britis Airways – no”.

    – my partner and I were flying a complicated route from London to Singapore via Abu Dhabi and Mumbai on EY-ticketed flight with the last leg operated by 9W (Jet Airways). He had EY Gold and I had Silver. We were allowed into EY lounges at LHR and AUH while ar BOM only he was allowed (no guests).

    All these and Rob’s examples just confirm the rule of thumb. But you can still benefit from minor variations but in the end of the day you are still at mercy of a watchdog at the entrance to a specific lounge.

  3. OT: Reward Seat release at T-355, by my reckoning 23rd Dec should be released but availability is only showing until the 22nd? Is this something to do with the time seats are released?

    • The word has it that they update the fares once a week on Tuesdays (US time) – which was yesterday, so perhaps this explains it?

  4. James67 says:


    If I book and pay for a rental car on the supplementary card of my wifes Platinum Amex, do I have full insurance cover across the UAE or just inside Europe?

    • Amex car hire cover is worldwide and doesn’t require payment to be on the Plat card (although I still tend to use it myself in case of any issues I just feel it might be easier having the charge on the Amex card)

  5. OT finally got plat, but it doesn’t show my MR balance, anyone know why?

  6. OT (no bits): Does anyone know how to see the booking class a BA holidays booking would go into it? I want to be able to upgrade using Avios so keen to avoid the cheapest buckets. Thanks in advance!

    • The newest version of the Holidays site doesn’t show this – you’ll probably need to phone up to do this. If the upgrade you want is currently available it probably makes sense to phone to book and upgrade in a single transaction anyway.

  7. OT: Lloyds Avios card – my current MC and Amex both have expiry dates in Jan 2019. I have just received a new card from Lloyds – weirdly only the Amex card, with an expiry date in 2022. I’m not sure if this means anything; I am yet to receive any correspondence from Lloyds to inform me of the imminent closure of the card.
    Has anyone else received just a new Amex card?

    • Unfortunately the expiry dates don’t have any implication. Weird they only sent you an Amex though!

      • I got a new Amex in Oct 2018 with a Sep 2019 expiry date. As far as I can tell, it’s all random…

    • Jonathan says:

      I got the paperwork yesterday saying my Lloyds Duo cards are cancelling in 2 months time so i guess it’s early March the new mastercard only replacement will be valid from.

      • Are you midway through your voucher year? Have you earned a voucher already this year? Is the annual fee being refunded (either in full or pro-rata)?

    • I just got charged my new annual fee too

  8. OT – So, did anyone else redeem nectar points in December for the 50% rebate – and has anyone else not had them?

    • Froggee says:

      I redeemed and bonus is showing as being posted the same day as points were deducted.

      • Hmmmmmm..

        Chase time then – thanks

        • Big Ernie McCracken says:

          Would like to hear how you get on. I have not had the 50% reimbursed either.

        • Froggee says:

          Oops – sorry, I’m talking guff. I redeemed 29 November for the Ebay rebate. The rebate is dated 29 November but when I click on it, it is shown as posting 29 December. Give it a month?

    • Mikeact says:

      Nectar…I didn’t think reference to that rubbish was allowed on here ?

      • Genghis says:

        I’m sure many HfP readers also collect Nectar points given there’s some occasional good collection offers. Indeed, no outsize redemptions

        • Yes the best decent offers I’ve seen recently have been LNER and the summer Pizza Express one. Quite a generous Amex sign-up bonus at times though (esp when combined with 18k Amex Plat referral) and can spend points on fuel so isn’t all bad.

  9. Jovanna says:

    OT: How do I search for a flight using Avios on a partner airline?

    I searched for London to Hong Kong on for 18 April in business. Nothing available in business. I then searched for London to Singapore on the same date. returned LHR-HKG on Cathay then another flight HKG-SIN with Cathay in business.

    Why didn’t I see the LHR-HKG Cathay flight when initially searching? Where do I need to look to see these?

    • Google “married segments”. Cathay and American use them on redemptions, maybe others too. Basically CX availability is based on the start and end points of the journey, rather than individual legs. You might be able to see XXX-ZZZ via YYY but that doesn’t mean that XXX-YYY and YYY-ZZZ will be available to book standalone. The Qantas site is AFAIK the best OneWorld site for finding partner redemptions.

  10. Octopus says:

    OT: How many points would those lucky enough to have booked a Cathay Pacific error fare in First/Business class collect for eg. Hanoi to NYC?!

  11. OT – I’ve just read that Gatwick Airport has been sold to a French company; presumably they won’t been too keen for travel to be disrupted by Brexit?!

    • would they have bought it if they thought that the disruption was likely?

      • Lady London says:

        Interesting. Vinci owns lots of motorways in France, I think Italy? and also car parks.
        I’m not sure if this is good or bad.
        What was wrong with having whoever’s been running LGW up to now, carrying on?

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