The slow demise of LHR T5 First lounge

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This topic contains 44 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  FDOS_UK 7 Dec 2017
at 09:40
.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 45 total)

  • EUFlyer
    Participant

    For example in SYD where the QF F Lounge is open to all OWE it is still never crowded. Can get busy, definitely. Same for CX in HKG. And Malaysia Airlines in KUL – they offer less that 30 F class seats a day departing KUL so obviously the F lounge is open to all OWE’s.

    Very interesting points. For a hub airline, CX really know how to do lounges at their home base. Qantas has excellent First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne but QF are not a hub airline. SYD / MEL are only hubs for domestic traffic and increasingly less, passengers from New Zealand. Given the small population, the volume of potential traffic through SYD / MEL is very low. That, in my view, is the reason the QF F lounge can maintain its high standards. If they saw anywhere near the volume of traffic that the BA T5 / T3 lounges saw, it would be a different story for QF.

    Still, BA could really lift their game at Heathrow despite the high volume of passengers (originating and transit).


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    RF wrote

    With the First Class wing and decent offerings I feel I am getting good value when travelling Economy on BA.

    This summarises my feelings, too – expanded to include Premium Economy, though I’ll have a treat in the next week, when flying QF and using the CX lounge.


    fatbear
    Participant

    I thought all the grapes in France had to be re-imported from the USA after the Great Wine Bight so that there is really no such thing as French wine ?


    capetonianm
    Participant

    French whine? It’s the only thing apart from strikes that they can do properly.
    Ouch!


    Inquisitive
    Participant

    SQ have a ‘special’ first class lounge at Changi for first class passengers only. The PPS members and upgraded passengers can go to First class lounge, still that one is way better than many first class lounge in terms of food and drinks selection, space availability and general comfort.
    I went to SQ Changi first lounge many times, when I was PPS member, however once I travelled with First class ticket and taken care from the check-in counter. And it was a fantastic experience. From the time alighting from taxi on the curb side one is always accompanied by a member of SQ including a dedicated border control channel. Then the person will accompany the passenger to first lounge and there is special door that will open to a completely separate lounge only for first ticketed passengers. There the passengers are pampered with restaurant style Chef and concierge. I was there for a short time as I were not aware of this facility otherwise I would have gone to airport 2 hours earlier!
    I travelled BA First a number of times and both T3 and T5 first lounges are nowhere near to that experience. I have been to Lufthansa first lounge, the lounge aspect way below the standard of SQ, by the transfer to airplane arrangement of LH is classic.


    rferguson
    Participant

    Slightly off topic but I recently had the opportunity to try the QR Al Safwa lounge in DOH as I was connecting onto another Gulf country in a ‘F’ designated cabin (short haul Business Class). Having visited the Al Mourjan lounge several times and been impressed with it I was like a kid waiting at the turnstile outside Disneyland when entering the Al Safwa lounge.

    I have to say, I was really underwhelmed. It felt sterile. Food was pretty average. The biggest shock was when I noticed they had a spa in the F lounge with slots available and got excited about having a treatment – until I realised that it is not a complimentary service and the charges were not cheap. Seemed a bit mean TBH.

    I actually spent about 45 minutes in the Al Safwa then went over to the Al Mourjan for the remaining hour.


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    Slightly off topic but I recently had the opportunity to try the QR Al Safwa lounge in DOH as I was connecting onto another Gulf country in a ‘F’ designated cabin (short haul Business Class). Having visited the Al Mourjan lounge several times and been impressed with it I was like a kid waiting at the turnstile outside Disneyland when entering the Al Safwa lounge.
    I have to say, I was really underwhelmed. It felt sterile. Food was pretty average. The biggest shock was when I noticed they had a spa in the F lounge with slots available and got excited about having a treatment – until I realised that it is not a complimentary service and the charges were not cheap. Seemed a bit mean TBH.
    I actually spent about 45 minutes in the Al Safwa then went over to the Al Mourjan for the remaining hour.

    Interesting! I always wonder about the former one as from GVA, there is only business class offered (which actually looks like a business first and is really good). So happy to see I am not missing anything… Thanks, RF.


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    I like the First lounge, especially now with the First Wing access. However IMHO, I think BA should do itself a favour and at LHR and JFK they should rebrand F the lounge to the ‘Gold’ or ‘Emerald’ lounge or something similar. The fact is its a First class lounge without First Class passengers (whom are in the real First class Lounge) and simply a vast space for Gold Card holders/OWE’s not flying in First. Qatar in DOH is pretty much the same directing OWE’s not travelling F to the (even more underwhelming ‘First Class Lounge’ instead of the Al Safwa Lounge.
    Stick the BA F class lounge next to the likes of the LH Private Terminal, Swissair, QF or Air France F lounge, CX Pier etc and it would be a laughing stock. Although i’m not so very familiar with Star Alliance/SKyteam programs i’m pretty sure only very special levels of their frequent flyer programs get F Lounge access (if any)?
    The sheer numbers of BA Gold Card holders is evident whenever visiting the T5 F lounge and its obvious these numbers aren’t really replicated with many other airlines at their hubs. For example in SYD where the QF F Lounge is open to all OWE it is still never crowded. Can get busy, definitely. Same for CX in HKG. And Malaysia Airlines in KUL – they offer less that 30 F class seats a day departing KUL so obviously the F lounge is open to all OWE’s. You can find yourself the only person in the lounge for hours on end however! If BA made a Concorde Room at LHR to accommodate all OWE’s/Golds it would have to be massive – I guess the size of the current lounge plus CCR combined. Far far bigger than any of the other airlines F class facilities which I guess is just not feasible – especially when a good proportion of the customers in there are travelling to MAN or BRU in Eurotraveller (usually the case for yours truly).
    Is it an amazing lounge worthy of a luxurious wait prior to a long haul First Class flight? Absolutely not. Leave that to the CCR (although I know that could be up for debate also). Is it a good lounge to wait in prior to a flight in Y/J? In my opinion yes. It’s definitely no standout and I have my gripes. People have different priorities and I put food ahead of booze. For example the buffet is poor and I hate how difficult they make it to order food from the illusive menu (which unless you know of its existence you’d miss it). There are usually just a few in the whole lounge then you have to play ‘try make eye contact with a staff member’ to place your order.
    It’s like many things BA – manage your expectations. With the First Class wing and decent offerings I feel I am getting good value when travelling Economy on BA. I’d be peeved if it was what was offered before a First Class flight to LAX. But I wouldn’t be in there in that example.

    In absolute term, you might be right. But as a Gold member for about 20 years, my experience is a relative one. When I became member, I had access to the lounges no matter what metal I was flying on, in London, we had great champagne and wine, food was good, … All this is over now. So of course it leaves a hard feeling.
    In addition, a Gold member flying economy remains a bloody good client! At 10 points a flight, we are talking about 150 a year. I think he deserve as well a nice glass of champagne!
    So it is a slow demise after all…


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I disagree with your latter point Swissdiver.
    A BA gold member could fly as little as 4 short haul legs with BA and generate very little to them, so not all Gold’s are that valuable.

    While not going into the merits or otherwise of the lounge, as they’ve been covered earlier, this lounge is really BA’s One World Emerald Lounge. Which on anyone day will be full of pax travelling in J, Y+ & Y, holding membership in any OW alliance programme at Emerald level.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I’m generally very positive about the T5 F lounge, but this afternoon (Sunday 19th), it’s more or less completely full, with very few spare seats, passengers using the settees in the veranda as beds and lots of cases on seats with no one occupying them..

    It looks and feels a real mess.. (sadly)


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    I’m generally very positive about the T5 F lounge, but this afternoon (Sunday 19th), it’s more or less completely full, with very few spare seats, passengers using the settees in the veranda as beds and lots of cases on seats with no one occupying them..
    It looks and feels a real mess.. (sadly)

    This pinpoints the big weakness of the lounge: no relax area…


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    This pinpoints the big weakness of the lounge: no relax area…

    To be fair, its quiet and I could work if I wanted – its just got the bus/rail station feel (but there is of course food, gin, whiskey champers and wine)…

    As this is T5, I have to assume the vast majority of guests are indeed flying BA


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Well here’s a surprise…. after I had landed and on my way to my meeting.. mobile goes off and it’s BA customer services… apologizing for the lounge issues..

    I mentioned this thread and she confirmed she knew the publication and forum..


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    The last time I was in the First lounge at T5 there was Champagne, both pink and white.

    I also took a picture of some of the wines

    Attachments:

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    Well here’s a surprise…. after I had landed and on my way to my meeting.. mobile goes off and it’s BA customer services… apologizing for the lounge issues..
    I mentioned this thread and she confirmed she knew the publication and forum..

    And the champagne came back. Someone is watching us 🙂

    Tom: More or less the same as today or last week. Nothing to write home about…

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