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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

and

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

and

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

and

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

and

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

Conclusion

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 (February 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

  • NorthernLass says:

    It used to be even nicer when you could have a mini spa treatment … sigh …

  • Greg says:

    I’m not sure how many, if any, flights offering First Class depart from 5A so wouldn’t it be better if BA moved their First Class lounge to 5B?

    I’ve only flown First once (and was not impressed) but the rush through A to catch a packed train to B after enjoying the lounge and after boarding was announced was pretty basic given the price of our ticket.

    • jjoohhnn says:

      Don’t you mean move the Concorde lounge? This is the lounge for First class passengers. The First Lounge is for Gold card holders.

    • Ed_fly says:

      Flights with first do ‘board’ from 5A gates. Certainly with bus boarding.

  • The Original Nick says:

    Why on earth passengers aren’t sent to 5B lounge to free up Galleries 5A North and South is just crazy.

    • tony says:

      This. Just shows what HAL thinks if it’s passengers and that BA has seemingly little interest in fighting their corner.

      Flight radar can help here. It’s fiddly and not 100% accurate but is a step in the right direction.

      However it doesn’t take much for that lounge to fill up. One delayed long haul flight seems to be enough to take it from calm to chaos.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        HAL thinks of its passengers as a source of money that they want to extract as much of from as possible…

    • Greg says:

      Nick. I recently flew to Canada on a 777 and asked at the 5A lounge which satellite I would depart from as I didn’t think a 777 boarded at A. After waiting in a packed North lounge I was amazed that we were directed to a bus who transported us to the plane close to an A Gate.

      Imagine if I’d taken the gamble of going to 5B where I knew the lounge would be very quiet.

      Alternatively BA could tell passengers which satellite will be used much earlier than they actually do.

      • blenz101 says:

        Alternatively imagine the situation where they initially expect to depart from a B or C gate but for operational reasons need to use an A gate or bus.

        You then end up with a situation where a simple gate change results in a good percentage of your passengers ending up on a train in the arrivals stream even if you request them to use the walkway. At this point they risk missing their flight through no fault of their own with their luggage onboard and as pointed out above, huge disputes at security if they purchased duty free.

        • The Original Nick says:

          My parents were flying to Dubai in June from T5. They were sat in the Galleries First and the departure information screen showed ‘go to gate’. Concourse B which to be honest it’s usually C. They went to B like a lot of other passengers but when they got to the lounge they were all told that the flight was departing from A gates. AFAIK there is only 1 or 2 gates at A that can handle LH aircraft. They all had to get back to A gates in a panick to then get their flight. It’s chaos recently.

      • JDB says:

        BA doesn’t tell people too far in advance because gates change at short notice all the time.

      • Liz says:

        Our Baltimore flight in May went from 5A – it eventually got cancelled after 4 hrs due a technical fault but apparently it always goes from 5A.

  • LittleNick says:

    Very sad to read that the Galleries First lounge food offering is deteriorating with no QR ordering and also possibly no menu items to order either. Why are BA always kicking the teeth in of those that are BA’s more loyal customers? I guess it’s got champagne on self pour? Find having to ask for it in galleries club off-putting in the time it takes I can get a glass of Prosecco but I suppose that is the intention

    • Matty says:

      We skip it altogether now and eat at one of the food places in the main terminal. Far better quality! Galleries First feels shabby. Struggled to find anything to tempt us back the last time we visited in March and haven’t bothered since.

      I’ve a couple of flights in August departing Terminal 3, thankfully.

    • Gordon says:

      I normally ask for two glasses, saves time waiting for a server to come round or a walk to find one that’s not already busy. I’m surprised the amount of pax that do not realise you have to request champagne in Galleries!

      • LittleNick says:

        Well BA don’t advertise it for obvious reasons, so most don’t know (and most BA travellers don’t come here or read frequent flyer sites enough to know I suspect), otherwise they’d have it on self pour or be more pro-active in offering like in Qatar lounges.

        • Gordon says:

          Personally I did not glean this information from reading the comments on hfp, I actually requested a glass when I could not see it displayed. Don’t ask don’t get!

  • Tony says:

    But why is it called Galleries FIRST….when it isn’t? How about Concorde First…
    Another case of the BA Work Experience kid getting it totally wrong…again!

    • JDB says:

      The nomenclature is correct – Galleries First is the F lounge within the OW scheme whereas the Concorde Room sits above F and this has much stricter entry requirements than other F OW lounges.

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      If it’s ‘wrong’ (and it isn’t) then it’s been ‘wrong’ for a very long time.

      And the names would have been carefully chosen to fit in with the OW naming and access conventions.

  • Michael Jennings says:

    “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”

    Well, I am very happy for you to get up ridiculously early in order to make that happen.

  • jjh4yb says:

    My admittedly limited experience of using BA lounges at T5, is frustrated by just not knowing which gate you will be departing from. I believe this is kept a mystery by HAL to encourage shopping in the main terminal.

    My boarding passes don’t tend to show the gate number, naturally if the gate was shared then this would lead to an improved passenger distribution around the lounges, rather than going to the nearest lounge.

    • jjoohhnn says:

      It’s usually determinable if you ask at check in / bag drop / lounge. If it’s too far out then often they will tell you its subject to change.

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      I wish people wouldn’t keep spouting the ‘shopping’ nonsense

      It’s perfectly possible not to spend money in any of the shops.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        It is, and I usually don’t spend money at any of the shops. But many people do, and that explains a lot of why Heathrow is run the way it is.

      • Gordon says:

        The escalator after security at LGW south that takes you down to duty free and then you’re in the shopping areas, isn’t there for nothing! You can avoid all this if you know the short cut that takes you across the mezzanine floor straight to the lounge….

  • Thomas says:

    Haha – methinks Galleries First (world) problems…

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

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