Tried & Tested

Lounge review: British Airways Galleries First Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 3

10 Jul 2019 by Tom Otley
BA-Terminal-3-Lounge

What’s it like?

The Galleries Lounges are accessed down a very long and not very inviting corridor, but then suddenly you are there at the entrance to discover there are two lounges. To the left is the First Lounge, and straight on is the main Galleries Lounge. And in between there is an Elemis Spa.

The lounge opened in 2009, as you can see from our news report at the time.

British Airways to open new Heathrow T3 lounge

You can see some old pictures from then, before the First Lounge opened or the Elemis spa, by looking at this archive new piece:

The big picture: BA Galleries Club lounge at T3

The welcome

We were welcomed with a smile, which is always a good start. We then went in to find a seat, and then I went back out and walked into the Galleries business lounge so I could sort out a problem with my ticket, which was done very efficiently, even though it wasn’t an easy problem to solve (a name change from Tom to Thomas – important when travelling to the US on a visa). I then inquired about a massage at the Elemis Lounge. None were available for 90 minutes, but instead I booked a 15 minute session in one of the massage chairs.

So then, to the lounge. The first thing to say is that it is big – a lot bigger than it first appears. You walk into the lounge past a row of chairs – this is the view looking back at them and towards the entrance.

BA T3 Lounge Chairs

Once you are in the lounge there is an area straight head where there is a Champagne bar – serving Canard-Duchene champagne or Jeeper Rose. Turn left, and you have a rack of newspapers and on a table opposite, a large selection of magazines.

BA T3 Magazines

You then can see into the left hand part of the lounge which has the wine selection, drinks at the end, seating and then to the left of this the washrooms and also the business area with lots of computers. I suppose eventually these will be removed since they aren’t used in the same way as was envisaged when the lounge originally opened.

If you turn right on entering the lounge you’ll find one of the coffee and tea stations (Union coffee).

BA T3 Coffee-and-tea

And opposite that is a children’s play area. I didn’t take a picture of that because there were children in it and I don’t want to have to explain myself to the authorities.

You then walk through to another area where the hot buffet is.

BA T3 seating-area

This is the seating area. And this is the buffet the morning we were there.

It was a good spread of hot food.

Hot-breakfast

And cold food.

Cold-breakfast

In addition you could order the following items for breakfast.

Breakfast-menu

If that’s too small to read it’s got items on it like Flaxseed Granola. I hope that whatever happens to my health in the future, I am never reduced to ordering that. There are also more fun choices like Egg Benedict.

They serve breakfast up until 1200 and then it changes again, and the selection was excellent, with salads and hot options, including vegetarian.

Lunch-menu

There were also two lovely looking cakes which people tucked into.

BA T3 Cakes

The lounge suffers because it is compared with the other Oneworld lounges available in Terminal 3, especially the Qantas Lounge and the Cathay Pacific lounge, both of which have been renovated in recent years, and which make this lounge look a little dated.

It does have a lot of pluses however. For instance look at this view from the dining area at the far end.

View-from-table

There are a lot of places where you can charge devices, although some of the plug points no longer work, I noticed. In addition, the wifi was not working while I was there (I checked, they told me it was broken). It doesn’t bother me because there was a good 4G Connection, but it might bother international visitors, and of course it means that the Press Reader application which is advertised is no use, although I’m aware that even when the wifi is working, it isn’t really fast enough to download a magazine anyway, at least not when the lounge is busy.

Now of course your experience of the Lounge depends on how busy it is, but then that’s true of any lounge. We were seeing it at its best, after the morning rush hour had come and gone and before it got busy with, well, I’m not sure which flights. The staff were friendly, even if a little distracted watching the India versus New Zealand World Cricket World Cup match, but then who can blame them?

You can read more about BA’s plans for its lounges here

Interview: Jude Winstanley, Head of Ground Product at British Airways

Verdict

Experienced top tier travellers in Oneworld will tell you that the Cathay Lounge or the Qantas Lounge is where you should head, and if you’ve not seen them, I’d say go and have a look. I found the lounge to be a restful place to work for nearly two hours, and I had a lot to eat and drink in peace.

ba.com

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