British Airways is reopening its lounges starting from tomorrow, July 4, 2020.
The phased re-opening will start with its First and Arrivals lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5.
ADDED – BA has since reopened its Galleries South Club as well.
Other lounges will reopen across the airline’s network during July and early August as flights gradually increase.
The airline says that “Until all of the lounges are open, any customer who is eligible for lounge access, will be able to use the First lounge on departure. This includes our customers travelling in Club World.”
The airline has put in place a number of measures “to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of its customers and staff.”
It will be trialling automatic contactless lounge entry screens from the middle of July, enabling eligible customers to scan their own boarding pass when entering the lounge to minimise contact between customers and staff.
In the meantime, a rather more analogue system is in place – a Welcome Card.
The card is given to passengers on entry to the lounge. One side is blue, and the other side is red. If you vacate your seat during your stay in the lounge, you are asked to place the card with the red side on display. When you leave, you place the card with the blue side showing. This then means cleaners can “…thoroughly sanitise the seating area.”
To help maintain social distancing, in the lounge at least, not all seats will be available (“We ask you to only sit in those seats that do not have a sign on them”), and screens have been installed throughout the lounge to separate seating areas.
In addition, British Airways says that “Throughout the lounge customers will also find a number of sanitisation stations and safe distance markers. Bathrooms and shower facilities will be meticulously cleaned after each use.”
Customers will now order food and drink through a new online service which will be accessible once in the lounge using lounge wifi. Orders are then brought directly to their seat.
There is a choice of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks including tea, coffee and other hot drinks, but all of these have to be ordered via the ‘Your Menu’ website. To minimise contact with others, BA asks passengers to not order “directly from our hosted bar area as this area will be used solely for the preparation of drinks”.
Note there will also be no newspapers or magazines (so no Business Traveller). Instead, passengers are directed to the Press Reader app and downloading magazines and newspapers using the lounge’s wifi.
The terrace area in the First lounge will be converted into a Concorde Terrace and will temporarily be available for the exclusive use of the airline’s First customers.
The phased reopening will see more lounges re-open across the network throughout July and early August.
“Eligible customers will be kept up to date in advance of travel”, says BA.