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Review: the tranquil British Airways lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

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This is my review of the British Airways Galleries lounge in Terminal 5B of London Heathrow airport.

It is part of our collection of UK airport lounge reviews.  You can see our full list of UK airport lounge reviews here.

If you do look at the list, you’ll see that our coverage of the British Airways Terminal 5 lounges is poor. This is because they are always busy and – short of arriving at 5am when they open – we can’t get the photos we need.

Luckily, a surprise visit to the Terminal 5B satellite lounge at 6.30am last week allowed me to see it with virtually no other passengers. Only three short haul flights were due to depart and as these normally use the main building (Hamburg, Munich, Lisbon) I think the few passengers who could have got in were still in 5A and hadn’t checked their boarding passes. Our last review of this lounge was in 2017.

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

You don’t need to be flying from Terminal 5B to use this lounge. You can go there from 5A via the transfer train or the walkable tunnel. You can ONLY get back to 5A departures by walking at Level -4. You can’t take the train back to Terminal 5A as this would force you into Arrivals and then you’re stuck!

Anyone flying from Terminal 5C is encouraged to use this lounge and then hop back on the transfer train for a further stop to 5C. There are no lounges in 5C.

How do you get into the British Airways lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 (Satellite B)?

The lounge operates the standard British Airways policies.  To get in you must either:

  • be flying in Business Class or First Class on a British Airways or oneworld alliance partner airline from Terminal 5
  • hold Silver or Gold status in British Airways Executive Club
  • hold comparable status with another oneworld alliance airline

It is NOT possible to get into British Airways lounges for cash, and you cannot use lounge club cards such as Priority Pass

There are two lounges in the main part of Heathrow Terminal 5 which accept lounge club cards – Club Aspire (review here) and Plaza Premium (review here).

The Terminal 5B lounge is open from 5am to 10pm, seven days per week.

How is the BA Galleries lounge in the Terminal 5 satellite terminals?

The lounge is NOT on the same level as the departure gates. You need to take an escalator or stairs up to the mezzanine.

Confusingly you will see a reception desk and entrance on both sides of you. Both lead to the same lounge space – there is no dedicated First Class area – but if you want food quickly you should enter via the desk on the right!

Here is the food selection for breakfast – basically cereals, fruit, yoghurt:

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite


Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

Slightly randomly, hot food had been set up opposite on this temporary table which looked a little cheap:

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

We had been in Galleries First in the main terminal before coming here. The food was virtually identical. Galleries First has scrapped QR-code ‘at seat’ food ordering – all you can now order to your seat is coffee – so all you have is the buffet, and the buffet is very close to this one.

(Unless I was mistaken, there was no menu-based food ordering available from the tables near the buffet in Galleries First. If this has gone then it is a retrograde step with the food offering now worse than pre-covid.)

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

The main bar is by one wall in the main area of lounge. There was no champagne out but I imagine there would have been some on request – at 6.30am I wasn’t in a rush to find out. This is a very classy space though.

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

Walk past the bar and you get to the coffee station and some formal tables. My only criticism is that you have to walk across the lounge from the food area to get to these tables, and if you want food and coffee you need to visit both sides.

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

Tucked away (luckily) is the pop-up Whispering Angel bar. You may have seen PR photos of this as I had. What they don’t convey is how flippin’ huge it is. I used the photo below rather than a ‘straight on’ shot to give you the scale.

It would be huge anywhere, but in the relatively tight confines of the 5B lounge it is totally unnecessary.

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite


Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

Just behind the Whispering Angel bar is a decent kids play area which will keep (very) littles ones amused whilst the parents sit outside knocking back the rose ….

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite

Here are a few random shots of the furnishings. As you can see, it’s looking good after a recent upgrade.

The lounge is also very bright, sitting as it does on the mezzanine so you get a clear view out towards the aircraft gates:

Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite


Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite


Review: the British Airways Galleries lounge in the Heathrow Terminal 5B satellite


The British Airways Galleries lounge at Terminal 5B has always been an oasis of calm compared to any of the other BA facilities in Terminal 5 or Terminal 3.

The recent refresh has left it looking good, and the breakfast offering is on a par with Galleries First, for better or worse.

You’d need to be pretty deperate for some peace and quiet to come here and walk back via the tunnel if your flight goes from the main building.

If you are leaving from 5B or 5C, however, you should definitely head out here. Just remember that the shopping options are limited in 5B and 5C so, for safety, pick up anything you need in 5A first.

We’d love to do similar updated reviews of Galleries First, Galleries Club North and Gallieries Club South in Terminal 5 but we’d need to be there at 5am (and only in the summer months) to get enough light and so few people to make it possible!

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £24.  You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

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

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (129)

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

  • Joyce says:

    Hi am a newbie traveling to Maldives BA club world in a few weeks from T5, any idea which lounge I can/ should use to get my anniversary trip off to the best start? TIA.

    • Rob says:

      Highly likely to be off B or C so go here and remember to ask the staff for champagne.

      • Joyce says:

        Will do! Thanks for the tip!

      • Chris W says:

        Why do they have this silly “you need to ask for Champagne to get it” system in the Galleries lounge? Why not either offer it to everyone, or no one?

        • LittleNick says:

          It’s cost cutting plain and simple, if they offer Prosecco on self pour which is cheaper most people won’t know/bother to ask and make do with that. It is psychological but works

          • Gordon says:

            Agreed. The Prosecco does get a hammering, as there are a few bottles out at a time. The more Prosecco pax drinks the more BA save!

    • Kevin K says:

      Going to Maldives in 2 weeks myself and checked this morning which gate has been used recently – before today the previous 2 departures were from A10 (bus gate!) but today was B34.

  • Tom says:

    It is a nice lounge, and I am happy to see the back of QR code ordering.

    If you are on a long-haul flight you might assume that you will depart from B or C gates. But some leave from the dreaded gate A10 – a bus to a remote stand. You can get back to A via the -4 walkway but it is not much fun.

  • Charles Elder says:

    unfortunately, you write very little about the quality of the food and beverages. When I used this lounge recently before a 1.30pm departure, I found the food offering very poor quality, and very bizarre in terms of selection. Invariably food that was supposed to be hot, was barely lukewarm. The pasta with leeks and peas was a mess of overcooked pasta all stuck together in a big gloopy ball. The vegetarian dish looked like something vomitted. The salad had not been properly cleaned. The nachos were soft , and so on. The coffee was watery and had no aroma of anything. The most disappointing was that the cook came out to check on everything and seemed satisfied with it all. BA does food very badly, on board and in the lounges. Frankly, they would be better off just giving it all to Air France to cater.

    • Gordon says:

      Well I hope you remembered ask for champagne to wash it all down with and didn’t settle for the Prosecco!!!!

      • LittleNick says:

        If you can find a staff member not busy, would be easier if you could order the Champers via QR code but I don’t suppose they want to make it too easy.
        That food offering sounds poor, shame they can’t do basic stuff right.

        • Gordon says:

          Tbh, I book an early to mid morning flight where possible, as the breakfast offering is ok.

    • JDB says:

      Or get Tesco to do the catering! I’m no fan of any ready meals, but even given the constraints of catering in the air, BA CW food should not be worse than a supermarket offering, yet it consistently is. One of BA’s catering fails is trying to be too fancy; if the menu says truffle gnocchi, beef jus or creamy asparagus sauce, you are stuffed. They need to keep it within their execution capabilities or even just produce the CE food on long haul.

      • His Holyness says:

        Indeed, it’s all rubbish. Why don’t we all chip in to buy the BA staff a ticket to Frankfurt from T2 and they can see for themselves the (mere Business Class) UA or SQ lounges to note catering can be good in lounges at LHR?

      • Thegasman says:

        Agree about CE being better than CW. Give me a band 3/4 CE meal on LH & I’d be delighted. BA have comfortably the best SH J food of the big euro airlines but are also in with a shout of being the worst LH.

        • NorthernLass says:

          On my last CE flight I had pappardelle with chicken in lobster sauce. On my last CW flight I had chicken pie. Go figure!

    • Novelty-Socks says:

      “Frankly, they would be better off just giving it all to Air France to cater.”

      Frankly, it sounds like you should switch your allegiance to Air France and go regularly via Paris!

    • Ian says:

      You are either too picky over critical or you are extremely unlucky with your visits. I am i think practical when it comes to BA and food, yes we have had a few bad experiences but over all it is ok. My opinion is from Galleries N/S and B plus the F lounges. Better luck next time hey… lol

    • Alex Sm says:

      What else can you expect from “-ish Airways”?

      I can’t contemplate why Rhys continues singing praise to BA vs Lufthansa et al. Even with all the limitations their service, food and lounges are a step above BA…

      • Rob says:

        They really aren’t.

      • Rhys says:

        When was the last time you flew Lufthansa short haul business class vs BA?

        I’ve done both in the past 3 months. The idea that LH somehow has better catering on short European flights versus BA is a total fantasy!

        Oh and by the way, LH has just introduced buy-on-board for economy passengers…..

        • Alex Sm says:

          And lounges? The above description by Charles Elder is very accurate – exactly the same experience I had on my recent flight LHR to BUD in CW. Did LH LHR-MUC in May – amazing lounges both in LHR and MUC, esp on food offer

          • Rhys says:

            Where have you seen me sing the praises of BA lounges at Heathrow? 🙂

          • Rob says:

            There is no amazing food in the standard Lufty lounge at Heathrow unless it has massively improved this year. Not been in the Senator bit since pre-covid I admit but the standard lounge, apart from looking like a hospital waiting room, has nothing to appeal.

            The idea that ‘one slice of ham and two chunks of cheese’ is a better breakfast than a BA Club Europe ‘full English’ is, I admit, cultural and I can see why you may prefer the former (as would my German wife) but on any standard of cost or culinary effort the BA one is better.

          • Alex Sm says:

            @Rhys when you introduce search by comments, I will show you 🙂
            @Rob I’m talking about evenings and the above description by Charles Elder is 100% accurate

  • Ali B says:

    A lounge I actually really like because it’s quiet.

    Galleries north is an easy review. Absolutely hideous. You would have to be a desperado for free food to visit it early morning, when it’s hard to even get a seat

  • E4 Traveller says:

    As a frequent user of Galleries 5B, the fewer people who know about it the better. I’m also proud to be desperate and will happily walk back to the A Gates for my flight.

  • May Lim says:

    “ Do can’t take the …”
    Don’t understand this part in paragraph 5.

  • Steve Camplin says:

    Hi.. I’m flying to Houston from T5 fairly soon, and was intending to get breakfast at the 5B lounge rather than paying the (probably..) extortionate amount that my hotel (Thistle) would charge. Does anyone know what the lounge offers in the way of hot breakfast choices? I’m a “Full English” aficionado, by the way!
    Many thanks for any advice!

  • David S says:

    I actually like the cooked Breakfasts (especially the Sausages and Bacon) and the fresh fruit is good as well. Lots of it, tables are cleared and cleaned promptly. The only pain is getting through Security first. Fasttrack seems way slower than normal security and sooooo many bags get selected for manual checking.
    Went to Jersey this week (two of the new scanners installed and working) and came back from Schipol on Thursday. What an eye opener versus LHR. So much space, so many cafes, restaurants and practical shops and most importantly rows of new scanners. It was like someone had designed the ideal airport. Only downside was that having tracked down the location for the BA lounge (Lounge 40) it had closed a long time ago and it wasnt clear what the alternative arrangement was. It alluded to using the Aspire lounge which itself is closed for refurbishment and it then directed you to one specific cafe to use.
    This all leads to the question as to when T5 will get the new scanners.

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

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