Tried & Tested

Tried and tested: BA Galleries lounge Heathrow T3

5 Oct 2009 by BusinessTraveller

Background While the majority of BA’s Heathrow flights now depart from T5, there are several short-haul services which operate from T3 (Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Helsinki, Vienna and Malaga). On October 29 BA will also move its long-haul operations to Sydney, Bangkok and Singapore from T4 to T3. As a result the carrier opened a Galleries lounge in the terminal earlier this year to serve these passengers as well as Oneworld codeshare partners including Iberia and Qantas. At the moment there is just one lounge for business class passengers, but a first class lounge will open at the end of this month to co-incide with the long-haul moves, along with an Elemis Spa.

Where is it? Past Duty Free, within the group of lounges signposted B-J. As you come to the end of the corridor where the lounges are situated, turn right and then immediately left for the BA lounge.

Who can use it? Club Europe, Club World and First passengers, as well as BA Executive Club gold and silver card holders, and Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire card holders.

What’s it like? As you enter through a set of automatic frosted-glass doors, there is a bank of reception desks lit up in blue, two of which were manned when I visited. I was informed that flights are not called from the lounge (as is the case at the T5 lounges). Past reception there is a wide corridor with seating on both sides, including several coffee tables with power sockets inserted into the sides. Toilets are off to the left – at the moment there are no shower facilities but these will follow when the Elemis Spa opens.

There are a couple of magazine and newspaper racks, as well as a “Guest Services” desk, before passengers then enter the dining area. Here there are around ten large white tables with smart black leather chairs, interspersed with a similar number of coffee tables. There is a hot and cold self-service buffet area, with dishes that will be familiar to T5 guests (chilli con carne, stroganoff, pasta and sauces, soups, cold meats, salads, etc). At the end of this area there is another newspaper rack, along with two flatscreen TVs next to each other, which were muted, and showing different news channels with subtitles.

Past the dining area there a lounge area to the left overlooking the runway, with a coffee station, while to the right there is a children’s area with table football and a couple of PCs. Further on there are more coffee tables to the left, and a business centre to the right with 25 PCs and two printers (wifi internet access is available free of charge throughout). Finally there is another lounge area, with the self-service Silver Bar decorated with Swarovski chandeliers, and a second set of toilets at the back of the lounge.

The overall feel of the lounge is one of a mini T5 Galleries, without the cinema and more outlandish artwork like the horse lampshades. The furniture is again by Osborne & Little, and there seemed to be plenty of space for the number of passengers using the lounge, although of course the long-haul services have yet to move over.

Verdict Once the Elemis Spa opens, BA passengers will be able to enjoy all of the facilities on offer to T5 travellers, just on a smaller scale. The lounge is smart and modern, with a comprehensive business centre. I also found staff to be very helpful, both when I arrived, and as I left – I had managed to mislay my boarding pass, and they offered to reprint one from the front desk rather send me back in to search for it.

Contact ba.com

Mark Caswell

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