Over the past few month we’ve seen a majority of airline lounges around the world close. This has been both due to lack of travel demand, and also because updated lounge protocols were needed to reflect the times.
We’re slowly seeing airlines start to reopen lounges, and you can now add British Airways to that list.
British Airways reopening Heathrow lounges
British Airways will be reopening select lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 5 as of Saturday, July 4, 2020. As you’d expect, not all lounges are opening, though, so there are some details to be aware of.
First Lounge & Arrivals Lounge opening first
British Airways will be opening lounges in phases. All customers eligible for lounge access will be able to use lounges as of July 4, even if the lounge they’d typically have access to isn’t yet open.
Here’s how it will work:
- The Galleries First Lounge will be the first departure lounge to open, and it will be available to all customers eligible for lounge access, including oneworld first and business class passengers, oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members, and Executive Club Silver and Gold members
- The Arrivals Lounge will be opening as well, with the usual entry requirements; it’s open to British Airways first and business class passengers arriving on long haul flights, as well as British Airways Gold Card Holders arriving off a long haul flight in any cabin
The British Airways Arrivals Lounge is opening tomorrow
It’s worth noting that the terrace area of the Galleries First Lounge will be partitioned off, and will exclusively be for first class passengers. It will essentially act as the Concorde Room for now, given that the Concorde Room is closed.
The Concorde Room will remain closed for the time being
As you’d expect, the Elemis Spa will be closed for the time being.
The Elemis Spa will remain closed
British Airways Lounges will have “Your Menu”
Historically most of British Airways’ lounges have featured buffets, though understandably that’s not a thing right now. As a result, British Airways will be introducing “Your Menu,” whereby you’ll be able to order food and drinks that will be brought directly to you.
These can be ordered off a website, which you can access by scanning a QR code in the lounge. You’ll then be able to place your order, and will have to enter your name and a password, which will then display your table number. You’ll then be able to check the status of your order until it arrives.
Staff in the lounge will serve food & drinks
Expect a red & blue welcome card
Here’s an interesting concept. Once you enter the lounge you’ll be given a welcome card. One side of the card is blue, while the other side is red.
British Airways is asking that customers:
- Place the card with the blue side showing on a seat when leaving the lounge, so that staff can clean and disinfect the area before another customer uses is
- Place the card with the red side showing on a seat when temporarily getting up with the intent of returning, so that the lounge staff know not to clean up the area yet
American Airlines moving to Heathrow Terminal 5
While only tangentially related, as noted by @xJonNYC, American is moving all operations to Terminal 5 at Heathrow as of July 7, 2020.
American Airlines first class and Concierge Key customers will have access to the first class terrace, while all other American Airlines premium passengers will have access to the main part of the lounge.
British Airways will start a phased reopening of lounges as of July 4. The Galleries First Lounge will be the first departure lounge to reopen, and it will be open to all guests eligible for lounge access. There will be a separate terrace for first class passengers as well.
I’m a bit surprised that British Airways is opening the Arrivals Lounge right away, given the limited flight schedule, and also given that presumably most people aren’t headed into the office after a long haul flight, which used to be one of the main purposes of such a lounge.
What do you make of British Airways’ lounge reopening plan?