Galleries Lounges at Heathrow

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  • fsav81
    Participant

    Can we please talk about the embarrassing state of the BA Galleries lounges at LHR?

    I’ve recently started flying again for work on a weekly basis and I’m consistently shocked at how awful the experience is in what should be BA’s flagship lounges.

    Leaving aside the pretty ordinary selection of food and drink (at least the champagne is back), the general cleanliness of the place is what is really inexcusable.

    I’m writing from the North lounge, in which I’ve propped myself up at the one of the business desks down the back, because upon entering whilst there were a couple of tables at which I could sit (it’s the evening rush hour), they were covered with the remnants of the previous patrons. I stood around for 10 mins or so, asking a couple of times if someone could clean it up so I could sit down, but to no avail. The ultimate insult came though when I went to the BA reps at the entrance desks and reported the problem, to be told that it wasn’t their responsibility and that the staff is busy.

    I get that staffing issues are affecting the BA experience in many ways, but the general lack of bother or concern at the subpar situation isn’t ideal.

    Just two weeks ago I had the altogether opposite pleasure of flying out of T3 and being reminded of what an airline lounge experience should entail – I can’t but recommend the Cathay and Qantas lounges – as I did when transiting through DXB on EK.

    Why do we in Britain always seem to have to content ourselves with the less than satisfactory?

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    _glbetrkkr_
    Participant

    I experienced a messy (by my standards) seat at the Alaska lounge in JFK recently. I just cleaned it up and carried on.


    Brett88
    Participant

    I was floored by the difference in service level and overall experience between JFK and LHR Galleries. The JFK Galleries was STREETS ahead, with plenty of seating, great food, a cocktail bar etc. First (Gold) lounge also superior (if a bit lifeless so spent most time in Galleries).

    I think the BA LHR lounges are very disappointing… even the CCR on my last visit didn’t feel anywhere near as nice as the CX F or QF lounges in T3 (the latter of which is open to OW Sapphire)

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    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    JFK Galleries has been fairly recently renovated and is, by BA standards, a very good lounge. I found service, food and drink in F section to be borderline excellent. Definitely streets ahead of LHR.
    LHR lounges are now quite dated, there are lots of premium pax availing of them, BA Holidays offering passes if a certain spend met and quite possibly staff shortages – all in all perhaps no wonder they aren’t great. (Though not apologising for BA).
    B gate Galleries lounge, IMHO, is the best out of the 3 Galleries lounges.
    To be fair on my last visit to F lounge on a Tuesday morning it wasn’t packed, breakfast options were decent and overall a better experience than my last two visits.
    (The best bit being leaving and boarding an AA flight which left on time, something BA could try harder to emulate).

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    esselle
    Participant

    JFK Galleries has been fairly recently renovated and is, by BA standards, a very good lounge. I found service, food and drink in F section to be borderline excellent. Definitely streets ahead of LHR.
    LHR lounges are now quite dated, there are lots of premium pax availing of them, BA Holidays offering passes if a certain spend met and quite possibly staff shortages – all in all perhaps no wonder they aren’t great. (Though not apologising for BA).
    B gate Galleries lounge, IMHO, is the best out of the 3 Galleries lounges.
    To be fair on my last visit to F lounge on a Tuesday morning it wasn’t packed, breakfast options were decent and overall a better experience than my last two visits.
    (The best bit being leaving and boarding an AA flight which left on time, something BA could try harder to emulate).

    It is certainly interesting that the BA lounges at JFK generally get a better press than those at its home airport. Logically, you would expect the opposite to be the case. At the very least, you would hope that they would be equally as good.

    Looking around the world, carriers tend to do best in their own country. Look at AF, EK, EY, QF, QR,SQ or CX as examples.

    The BA lounges in JFK have, for many years, been managed by FLIK, a Compass subsidiary. Compass did, for many years, run the LHR lounges for BA, but that changed some while ago. In itself, that should have no bearing on the quality of the lounge operations.

    Perhaps the Walsh/Cruz cost crushing innovations didn’t quite make it to the USA?


    wingcommander
    Participant

    I was in the north lounge yesterday (18/05) and while busy it was clean including, and importantly the toilets. There was a good selection of wine, beers and more than a few hot food options. Time, permitted just some wine and nibbles for me and Mrs WingCo.

    Contrast this with the Iberia T4 lounge a few hours later where wine was dispensed from a machine!


    ASK1945
    Participant

    I was in the north lounge yesterday (18/05) and while busy it was clean including, and importantly the toilets. There was a good selection of wine, beers and more than a few hot food options. Time, permitted just some wine and nibbles for me and Mrs WingCo.

    I am not sure what is meant by the North Lounge as T5 is East-West (A the main, B and C satellite terminals).

    I was in Galleries in A on Monday and share the same experience as wingcommander. The only problem – apart from it being very full – was the poor clearing up of used dishes and glasses. However, this was a time management issue. We had some food delivered to our table, but the server did not take away the dirty dishes that were there from the previous occupants of our seats and went back empty-handed. If there is a shortage of staff, the currently employed ones should be re-deployed to carry out both serving and cleaning up functions.

    When I was in business, my staff were always prepared to carry out other employees’ functions during staff shortages.

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    AdamMarley
    Participant

    The main terminal and satellites may be east-west, but the two lounge complexes in T5A are North and South, which is what is being referred to.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    Everything to do with BA these days has been through the Alex Cruz/cost cutting programme with the inevitable outcome. Sean Doyle is talking a good game but inevitably will take years to reverse what has been done.

    On the other hand the lounges concept has been stretched far beyond what was intended. Instead of a premium experience for premium customers you now have cheap CE fares (economy seating with an empty middle and a cheap meal) which fill the planes back to row 12+ and the lounges are packed. It really needs a massive cull to go back to what it was years ago.

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    qwest01
    Participant

    Whilst the lounges both First and Business are busy when I visit, to suggest they are unclean etc. stretches my credulity.


    ASK1945
    Participant

    The main terminal and satellites may be east-west, but the two lounge complexes in T5A are North and South, which is what is being referred to.

    Thanks for that simple explanation. I have been in the T5A North Galleries many times, but didn’t notice that there was a T5A South also – maybe I wasn’t looking for it.

    Someone earlier in this thread mentioned the T5B Lounge as being good. I agree, and we would normally head for there. But on Monday (earlier this week) most flights were not showing the gate number until 75 minutes before departure and so it would be hazardous to head for there until one knows. Indeed, our flight would normally go from T5C but this week we were sent out from gate A10 on one of those ‘delightful’ bus journeys, armpit to armpit, to somewhere away from the terminals.


    DannyBoy
    Participant

    BaxterStorey manages the lounge contract within the UK and was implemented during Keith Williams tenure back in 2013 and NOT Walsh or Cruz’s .

    Jane Hunt is the current Head of Operations for BA Lounges UK and works for BaxterStorey.


    esselle
    Participant

    BaxterStorey manages the lounge contract within the UK and was implemented during Keith Williams tenure back in 2013 and NOT Walsh or Cruz’s .

    Jane Hunt is the current Head of Operations for BA Lounges UK and works for BaxterStorey.

    Walsh was still pulling the strings in 2013, and of course Cruz took control from Williams a long time ago, so my argument stands.

    The early days of BS were, to say the least, less than stellar, and the much fanfared strategy of enhancements etc did not materialise. It appears that the tendering process was pretty cutthroat, and the winner was the business which promised the biggest “efficiencies”.

    Notwithstanding, the standards gap between the UK and US operations has been evident for a long while.

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    DannyBoy
    Participant

    BS are generally poor at BA granted. If Walsh was still pulling strings as you say against Williams, would he not have been doing this against Cruz?

    Whilst Cruz did endure cuts during his time, pre covid he did secure a large volume of funding to improve the customer experience and began with the lounge refurbishment (sadly not at LHR yet), the launch of the Club Suite, onboard Do & Co catering (still questionable) & minor modifications to First.


    esselle
    Participant

    BS are generally poor at BA granted. If Walsh was still pulling strings as you say against Williams, would he not have been doing this against Cruz?

    Whilst Cruz did endure cuts during his time, pre covid he did secure a large volume of funding to improve the customer experience and began with the lounge refurbishment (sadly not at LHR yet), the launch of the Club Suite, onboard Do & Co catering (still questionable) & minor modifications to First.

    My point was not that Walsh was pulling strings against Williams, or Cruz, but that he was pulling the strings as master puppeteer. Driving quality standards UP was simply not on the WW agenda.

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