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.
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.
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:
Slightly randomly, hot food had been set up opposite on this temporary table which looked a little cheap:
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 ….
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:
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!
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.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
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.
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.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.