British Airways Permanently Closes Airport Lounge Elemis Spas

Filed Under: British Airways

It’s becoming increasingly clear that so many of the services that have been cut by airlines during the pandemic in the name of safety won’t ever return, as airlines realize that they like the cost savings. Here’s the latest such example.

British Airways closes airport lounge spas

As reported by Turning Left For Less, British Airways has made the decision to permanently close its Elemis Spas inside airport lounges, after the spas were temporarily closed at the beginning of the pandemic. This only impacts spa treatments, as showers will continue to be available.

For context, there were four Elemis Spas, in the following locations:

Elemis Spa in British Airways Arrivals Lounge

These spas offered complimentary 15 minute treatments, ranging from a neck & shoulder massage, to an eye massage, to a chair massage. They were available for free to long haul British Airways first class and business class passengers, as well as British Airways Gold Card holders.

Elemis Spa in British Airways Arrivals Lounge

Elemis Spas were initially closed to limit contact between people at the start of the pandemic, and also because several British Airways lounges closed at the start of the pandemic. But clearly the airline has now decided it no longer needs to offer these to compete.

British Airways says it will investigate other ways to support customers’ well-being inflight, so perhaps we’ll see spa treatments replaced with breathing exercises through the inflight entertainment, or maybe the airline will make food and beverage cuts to help people stick to their diets. 😉

I’ll miss the Elemis Spas… kind of

This is objectively a negative development, though to be fair, British Airways’ Elemis Spa treatments were my least favorite complimentary spa treatments offered by any airline.

First of all, it was extremely hard to get an appointment. If you were traveling in first class you could reserve a treatment in advance, but to be honest I don’t typically plan 15 minute airport massages a month in advance.

And if you wanted to get an appointment the day of, that was nearly impossible, at least in the Heathrow Terminal 5 location. When an appointment was available, it was typically for the chair massage, which is basically like one of those massage chairs you’d find in the middle of a mall, except you don’t need a quarter to operate it.

British Airways’ biggest rival, Virgin Atlantic, also has a spa in its Heathrow Clubhouse. The spa has a slightly different business model, though — there are a very limited number of complimentary treatments, and then there are lots of services for purchase, ranging from haircuts to longer massages.

I love the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Heathrow, which also has a spa

Bottom line

British Airways will be closing its Elemis Spas permanently. While these spas were initially closed during the pandemic, it’s clear that British Airways appreciates the cost savings, so will make the cuts permanent. Unfortunately I expect we’ll see similar initiatives from a countless number of other airlines.

Will you miss the British Airways Elemis Spas?

  1. My wife and I have used these a few times, disappointed to see them go.

    BA continue to head in the wrong direction.

  2. Had used the JFK T7 one a few times in the past and found it unremarkable and the Elemis brand itself could use a redo. This is not all that surprising to hear, given the environment right now, but it also illustrates where BA continues to head and that is the wrong direction.

  3. They always felt like a gimmick – not just BA Spas. It will be interesting to see in about 5+ years, whether airlines will compete by bringing back some of these same services again or whether they will get creative and bring in new initiatives!

  4. Perhaps the silver lining will be more space for working, eating, and resting if they repurpose these areas.

  5. Remember when all the fanboys were defending airlines and saying those cuts weren’t permanent? LOL

  6. I’ve had a massage at Heathrow and JFK and, for a nervous flyer, they were a great way to prepare for the flight. A little ashamed to admit I may have sat on the massage chair back to front (it wasn’t the most obvious in my defence) after spending too much time sampling the free drinks in the lounge. But I agree that they were hard to book so not of widespread benefit.

  7. In maybe 15 or so flights in business over a couple of years, there was never availability when I was at T5. I won’t miss them.

  8. Sad to see it go. Only flown once in Business class but I found it easy to get a facial . Oh well , at least I got it once !
    Just hope Virgin opens their first class lounge as out with them on July.

  9. Honestly could not care less. Cathay has a proper 15 minute massage thing going on (or, at least, as proper as a 15 minute massage can be), BA’s is a joke in comparison.

  10. I’ve only used the BA Elemis Lounge once, at T5 a few years back. I had a back massage and I think I was in more pain afterwards! The therapist wasn’t very friendly either. So no loss for me, though it doesn’t help BA’s “premium” image.

  11. I can see another spa provider will come along on a franchise model, Champneys showed an interest a few years back in a story in the BT magazine.

  12. I’ve been quite lucky as BA gold many a year with trips to Europe and Eurasia.. I throughly will miss it. Back to sipping the Bolle and eating the nibbly things.

  13. Once again BA decides to short change their loyal customers with their myopic decisions in the name of efficiency. For several decades I broke up two 10 flights at LHR (DEN to BOM and back) up to 6 times a year and enjoyed the showers (a must!) and massages, when so was able to book one, which was mostly impossible even with a 11.5 hour layover! I love their products. Their staff was mostly young, unprofessional, and generally more focussed on their phones than the silver, gold+ fliers. I’m not sure how I feel about flying BA now. I may decide to circumnavigate the globe the other direction and see how that works. I always look forward to your updates! Thanks for that!

  14. Bit confused why the reason given for it being your least favourite spa treatment is due to availability? Presumably you would be very disappointed with a lottery win as the chance of getting it is very low?! Makes no sense.
    In terms of a product it was actually fine. Even the chair did a reasonable job of relaxing you.
    Think we’ll end up having a competitive reset in a couple of years’ time once the dust has settled. Look at Etihad etc

  15. BFD. It’s like the kit you get in business or first . I have so many unopened from various airlines I’m going to make an NFT of them and become rich(er) selling it for billions

  16. This is only the beginning, as someone else mentioned, people were really naive to believe that changes like this would not become permanent. Much like how they told us that charging for bags was only temporary due to the fuel crisis yet here we are 12 years later with low fuel prices while baggage fees only continue to go up. I’m surprised it took this long for some airlines to start charging for carry ons too. I wonder what else will become permanent next: having to wear masks on flights, negative covid tests or covid vaccination passport for entry into countries.

  17. Back in 2015, despite having a booking in First for nearly a year, I couldn’t get an appointment. The rancid cow on reception acted like I was the one who was personally responsible for the death of Princess Diana when I queried availability on the day.

    Only got the massage chair; sheissen-haussen. Good riddance.

  18. The treatments at Cathay’s HKG Pier F Lounge were nothing memorable, if you could get a slot.
    The ‘therapists’ were basically uninterested, and finished their routine well inside the allowed time.
    Pretty much a waste of time and won’t be missed.

  19. As some airlines celebrate their loyalty program anniversaries and others remind their customers that all the service cuts they are doing are for their safety’s sake, I think it’s about time that we, “loyal” passengers ditch airlines’ exclusive perks and special bonuses. WYSIWYPay.
    Once upon several decades, it paid to be loyal to an airline or airline alliance. It’s been quite a while since passengers’ preference for them lost its value. I personally think it stopped making sense at least 10 years ago (unless your company still pays for your biz or even 1st class flights). It was great to be loyal when airlines appreciated mileage program members; no longer.

  20. Will not miss – could never get an appointment at T5 Whenever was able to get an appointment the product was poor -prefer to stay longer in the Concorde Lounge.
    Waste of time- staff not interested

  21. It was significantly better when it was Molton Brown – you got a proper massage for one. The elemis massage through clothing was always odd, and if I wanted to sit in an electronic massage chair I would go to a mall.
    The hot stone hand and lower arm massage was pretty nice, but even in F you I could rarely get availability.

  22. I never managed to get a spa treatment, but frequently took a shower. The availability was quite limited, to put it mildly. So I can’t say I’m missing it a lot…

    Once I really needed a neck massage and I got one right downstairs from the T5 South lounge, for a reasonable fee.

  23. Shame, I enjoyed the aviator facials.

    The trick at LHR was to use the spa in the lounge at B gates. You could usually get a spot there because not everyone knew it was there and Gold Card holders didn’t want to go because there was no First lounge. They would check availability in the main lounge before heading there.

  24. If BA had decided to turn it into a paid facility, increased the range & quality of treatments and allowed proper pre-booking, it could have turned it into quite a big a selling point.

    The last time we did a ex-EU from Paris to Bali via Doha we were on a 4pm departure. We booked the Hilton Charles de Gaulle for the night before and treated ourselves to a late morning massage – we’d had a hectic few weeks and the massage got us into the perfect relaxed mood for our holiday. We said we’d do that more often… but not many airport hotels have a decent spa or offer a good massage.

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