Review: BA Galleries First Lounge, LHR T5

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Old Jun 13, 19, 6:50 am
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Review: BA Galleries First Lounge, LHR T5

As the BA Galleries First lounge at T5 Heathrow is probably one of my most visited, I figured I'd review it for my site. The pictures can be viewed here: https://www.inflightwithjames.com/po...-lounge-lhr-t5

If you prefer the text based version, read on:

The last few years have seen a few minor improvements, with new furniture, direct access from check in and slightly enhanced catering options. Although in my honest opinion, it could do with a more major refurbishment. Still, it still does the job very well. Read on to see what I think.

In days gone by, access was via the main South lounge complex. Where you would turn right and head upstairs to the Galleries Club lounge, access to the First lounge was to the left on the same level. Whilst this is still and option for connecting passengers, this review will feature the First Wing entry from landside, which is at the far end of the check in area in zone J.

When you enter The First Wing, more often than not you're met by a member of staff to direct you - either to the left if you need to check in bags, or to the right if you're heading straight through security.

First up is the BA desks where they check lounge eligibility, followed a few metres later by UK Border control as you head through security. Once these formalities are complete, you head left through a hallway to the lounge.

You enter the lounge at the far end, past the main bar area to your left and the Gold Bar to your right.

Next up, you'll find a reasonably long hallway with a pair of coffee machines and a reasonably new addition to this lounge - the bacon rolls that are found in the Galleries Club Lounge. In the afternoon, these are replaced with a selection of pies and pastries.

At the end of this area, straight ahead of you is the champagne bar, to the left is a business centre and to the right is a customer service desk.

Heading back out of this area, you'll pass the main entrance from airside followed by a rack of newspapers.

Carrying on, you'll see another area which is the main dining area. As you enter, there's another recent addition - a table with pastries, muffins, breads etc.

As you carry on down to the left is tables and chairs and to the right there are a pair of coffee machines, fridges with a selection of canned drinks and juices, followed by an area serving cereals and porridge.

At the end of this area is a hot buffet. The breakfast items have been more or less the same for many years now, although the lunch and dinner items tend to vary now and again.

There is also a la carte dining available. Again, the breakfast menu hasn't changed all that much in many years although the lunch and dinner menu tends to rotate on a monthly basis.

As you head back out of this area, you'll see the wine gallery, along with a further seating area.

The final area is an outdoor terrace type area - which is still inside the main terminal, but outside in comparison to the rest of the lounge. There are some good views across the apron and to the end of runway 27L/09R from this point too.

And that's pretty much it for this lounge. As I mentioned earlier, it's a good enough place to wait for a few hours, but in comparison to other First Class lounges out there, it's not one of the strongest. Having said that, this isn't a true First Class lounge anyway - BA's First passengers can access the Concorde Room next door. This particular lounge is more for BA Gold's and OneWorld Emerald card holders.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 7:21 am
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This is a pretty bland description if I'm brutally honest - if you are reviewing, or planning to attract traffic to your blog.. add some personality! I want your analysis and your own take on what is good or bad in this lounge which has been reviewed hundreds of times.

Don't just describe what you see as you walk-through - what's your favourite area and why?
Which area should be avoided if you want X, Y or Z?
Any of the art catch your eye? Do you think it justifies the term 'Galleries'?
Any tips for the first time visitor? Did you have a humorous interaction with any staff.. etc etc etc.

This review could have been written from a floorplan and a few photos. Mix it up a bit
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Old Jun 13, 19, 7:21 am
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Thanks for sharing also pics look great.

What was the wine selection like?
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Old Jun 13, 19, 7:24 am
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I should point out that there is no UK Border Force presence normally in the First Wing, there is the Heathrow Airport Limited security team there however. The passport side for departing international passengers has long been handled electronically.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by icegirl View Post
Thanks for sharing also pics look great.

What was the wine selection like?
Not a wine drinker, so even if I had paid attention to them, I couldn't tell you anything about them other than there was read and white!

Originally Posted by noFODplease View Post
This is a pretty bland description if I'm brutally honest - if you are reviewing, or planning to attract traffic to your blog.. add some personality! I want your analysis and your own take on what is good or bad in this lounge which has been reviewed hundreds of times.

Don't just describe what you see as you walk-through - what's your favourite area and why?
Which area should be avoided if you want X, Y or Z?
Any of the art catch your eye? Do you think it justifies the term 'Galleries'?
Any tips for the first time visitor? Did you have a humorous interaction with any staff.. etc etc etc.

This review could have been written from a floorplan and a few photos. Mix it up a bit
Thanks for the feedback - I'll keep that in mind for the future!

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I should point out that there is no UK Border Force presence normally in the First Wing, there is the Heathrow Airport Limited security team there however. The passport side for departing international passengers has long been handled electronically.
I did think that border force were normally on entry to the UK rather than exit, but wasn't totally sure. I know they're not BA staff, but figured as they all handle security/arriving/departing passengers they probably all worked for the same agency. Shows how much attention I pay to the uniforms!
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Old Jun 13, 19, 7:51 am
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Originally Posted by jwhite9185 View Post
Not a wine drinker, so even if I had paid attention to them, I couldn't tell you anything about them other than there was read and white!
That is a shame. Perhaps in the future then take some pictures of the label on the bottles. this will allow the rest of us to do our own research and pass judgment. Sadly BA's quality in wines is very poor when it comes to the premium traveler as much of them tend to be of a supermarket quality.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by noFODplease View Post
…add some personality! I want your analysis and your own take on what is good or bad…
Were you an English GCSE teacher in a previous life…? One of my own essays had very similar remarks 20 something years ago…
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Old Jun 13, 19, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by JAXBA View Post
Were you an English GCSE teacher in a previous life…? One of my own essays had very similar remarks 20 something years ago…
I always remember an author who had just had a book put on the GCSE English book list being interviewed on the radio. The interviewer asked if he was proud to have had his book chosen and he said it would swell the bank balance. He then said (to any students listening) if you get a question asking:

What does the author mean when he writes.........


He did't mean anything and said something like he was barely sober when he wrote the book. He encouraged students to write that on their exam papers. My old English teacher when I asked her about his comments said "I don't think you'd have impressed an overworked examiner with that answer no matter how correct it is."
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Old Jun 13, 19, 9:05 am
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I'd expect a review to contain a great deal more information than this. For example:
Originally Posted by jwhite9185 View Post
Heading back out of this area, you'll pass the main entrance from airside followed by a rack of newspapers.
Which titles were available? Foreign titles, or only UK? How many of each? Were the racks refilled when empty or did passengers later in the day simply have less choice?
Originally Posted by jwhite9185 View Post
At the end of this area is a hot buffet. The breakfast items have been more or less the same for many years now...
But what are they? If I've never been to the lounge before it doesn't really help to know that breakfast hasn't changed in years.
Originally Posted by jwhite9185 View Post
...although the lunch and dinner items tend to vary now and again.
How often? What's the selection and quality like? (Is it really just different flavours of slop?) Do they have soup and other starters as well as main courses? Vegetarian options? Desserts?

Are there enough toilets in the lounge? Are there showers? A left luggage facility? A customer service desk? Were there enough information screens? What was the WiFi/mobile phone signal like?
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Old Jun 13, 19, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by Misco60 View Post
I'd expect a review to contain a great deal more information than this. For example:Which titles were available? Foreign titles, or only UK? How many of each? Were the racks refilled when empty or did passengers later in the day simply have less choice?But what are they? If I've never been to the lounge before it doesn't really help to know that breakfast hasn't changed in years.How often? What's the selection and quality like? (Is it really just different flavours of slop?) Do they have soup and other starters as well as main courses? Vegetarian options? Desserts?

Are there enough toilets in the lounge? Are there showers? A left luggage facility? A customer service desk? Were there enough information screens? What was the WiFi/mobile phone signal like?
Noted, and will edit the post accordingly later. Thanks for the constructive criticism! Always easy to overlook things when something is routine for you.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by icegirl View Post
That is a shame. Perhaps in the future then take some pictures of the label on the bottles. this will allow the rest of us to do our own research and pass judgment. Sadly BA's quality in wines is very poor when it comes to the premium traveler as much of them tend to be of a supermarket quality.
I don't have a blog, but do keep an occasional eye on the wines in GF. It's generally a selection of wines in the £8-15 UK retail price (sometimes lower in LGW Flounge), some of which are better than others, with the occasional appearance of something a level up. Some examples from LHR GF in recent months:

Prima La Encina 2016 (Ribera del Duero), "1935" Vieilles Vignes Morgon 2016 (Cru du Beaujolais), Esk Valley Riesling 2018, DV Catena Historico Red Blend 2015, Complicated Pinot Noir 2016 (Sonoma)

A level up: Chateau Lynch-Moussas 2009, Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2006, Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru 'Les Clos' 2014
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