State of lounges

Old Oct 22, 22, 9:46 am
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State of lounges

Over the last few weeks I've travelled quite a bit and been really disappointed by the condition of BA's lounges both at LHR (First lounge) and abroad. Both Dublin and Lisbon's lounge offerings are dismal, however I was particularly disappointed by the state of JFK's First lounge. The food is lousy, the dining room is depressing, the furniture is uncomfortable, staff really don't seem to care and the whole atmosphere is horrible.

I know BA are moving at JFK soon, but still their current offering is way off the mark. I almost laughed at the 'Dining Boutique' sign on the way into the First dining room at JFK. It's more like a school cafeteria.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 11:00 am
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Neither the DUB or LIS lounges are BA operated, but I agree that there are many third party lounges out there that are not up to scratch. Unfortunately this is quite common for third party lounges, where good examples are reasonably rare.

BA's own operated lounges are on the whole in quite good condition following a number of refurbishments (and closures) in recent years, but there are some out there (such as SEA, ORD and all the LHR T5 and T3 lounges) that need a full refurb pronto.

The JFK First and Club lounges are relatively fresh having been fully refurbished in 2018-2019 to the latest design concept; I prefer the Club lounge which has much more space and natural light.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 11:19 am
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I know the BA LHR lounges were due a refurb before the pandemic started and that got shelved as was obviously not a priority. I was in GF the other morning and it was ok but starting to show it's age. The tough bit will be when and how to refurb as the the huge numbers using lounges these days means shutting one or even a section of one down will be a major disruption.

I can't comment on NYC but when I was in GVA recently i was impressed by BA's lounge there. It's not all bad
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Old Oct 22, 22, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by TTmex View Post
I know the BA LHR lounges were due a refurb before the pandemic started and that got shelved as was obviously not a priority. I was in GF the other morning and it was ok but starting to show it's age. The tough bit will be when and how to refurb as the the huge numbers using lounges these days means shutting one or even a section of one down will be a major disruption.

I can't comment on NYC but when I was in GVA recently i was impressed by BA's lounge there. It's not all bad
The GVA lounge re-opened after its full refurb in 2019, and having been closed for 1.5 years over the pandemic is still very fresh.

BA announced a 'refresh' of the LHR T5 lounges pre-pandemic, which was completed over an extended period, and mainly comprised new furniture and carpets to the T5A departure lounges. A full refurb is long overdue. As noted in another thread, I think a new lounge in T5C could help with refurbishments and give BA the capacity to close the T5B lounge and parts of the T5A lounges in phases at different times. It will either be that or giving vouchers to some eligible passengers to limit capacity.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by BWBriscoe View Post
Over the last few weeks I've travelled quite a bit and been really disappointed by the condition of BA's lounges both at LHR (First lounge) ……
Could you perhaps elaborate on which elements of, say, the LHR T5 First Lounge were such a disappointment to you ? There is a limit to how much constructive debate we can have if whole lounges are simply dismissed as “lousy” without any supporting evidence.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
The GVA lounge re-opened after its full refurb in 2019, and having been closed for 1.5 years over the pandemic is still very fresh.

BA announced a 'refresh' of the LHR T5 lounges pre-pandemic, which was completed over an extended period, and mainly comprised new furniture and carpets to the T5A departure lounges. A full refurb is long overdue. As noted in another thread, I think a new lounge in T5C could help with refurbishments and give BA the capacity to close the T5B lounge and parts of the T5A lounges in phases at different times. It will either be that or giving vouchers to some eligible passengers to limit capacity.
Indeed, I assume anyone who is business or sapphire and on a US flight will get directed to B gates lounge. It's the only way I can see it happening without a lot of unhappy campers. I suppose large chunks of lounges can be shut off while the rest remains open, but noise will be an issue.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 1:43 pm
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I cant believe you thought JFK First was disappointing. I was there for the first time this week and thought it was miles ahead of LHR. Very relaxing, great selection of drinks and the food was genuinely lovely. There different sections cater to different needs and the staff were brilliant. I was thinking at time how much I wished T5 had a similar refit. The thing that really annoys me about T5 is the lack of electric sockets throughout. Having to remove the covers in the floor is just awful in my opinion.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 1:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Oxon Flyer View Post
Could you perhaps elaborate on which elements of, say, the LHR T5 First Lounge were such a disappointment to you ? There is a limit to how much constructive debate we can have if whole lounges are simply dismissed as “lousy” without any supporting evidence.
Well, for one, its ridiculously crowded for an F Lounge. I've literally never been in an F Lounge where I had trouble finding a seat, other than LHR T5 F Lounge. The furniture is pretty rundown.

Second, the food situation is just really poor. Historically, one differniator between business lounges and F lounges is an a la carte menu offering. The "a la carte" menu offering in T5 GF is just laughably, stunningly sad. Contrast the T5 GF "menu offerings" to the Qantas F Lounge offerings @ LAX (which btw isn't even a hub for them).

https://onemileatatime.com/reviews/q...st-lounge-lax/ (pictures of ala cart menu are about mid way down the page)

Honestly, for those that have experienced other OneWorld F Lounges (e.g. JAL, CX, QF) I don't really know how anyone could say, with a straight face, that the T5 GF lounge is a proper F lounge. Frankly, it's just become a business lounge that restricts access to OWEs.

Brits have often made fun of AA lounges in times past (often rightfully so), but I was recently in the MIA Flagship lounge and honestly, it blew the doors off T5 GF lounge (in food, wine, spirits, and crowding) And the Flagship Lounge is a "business class" lounge open to all OW Sapphires.

I realize this sounds harsh and I know I'll offend the usually suspects, but again, when you compare JAL, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas F lounges at each of their respective hubs, BA should be embarrassed of the T5 GF offering @ LHR.

IMHO, the only thing T5 GF really has going for it is the F Wing entrance.

Regards

P.S. I'm aware CX is currently "on the ropes" Time will tell if they recover, but pre-covid, their F lounges were very strong
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Old Oct 22, 22, 1:59 pm
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I have to admit, the first few times I used the F lounge at LHR, I actually thought I'd been directed to the Business section and that the F lounge was off-limits to me as a Qantas Emerald. I think I just assumed only BA Gold's got to go into the F part when not flying F.

Back then I also didn't realise I was allowed to use F Wing security and always went the long way around!! Then one day I read a post on this forum saying F Wing was open to all OW Emerald and my LHR T5 experience has been forever improved. It was only then I realised I had actually been going into the F lounge all along!
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Old Oct 22, 22, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
Well, for one, its ridiculously crowded for an F Lounge. I've literally never been in an F Lounge where I had trouble finding a seat, other than LHR T5 F Lounge. The furniture is pretty rundown.
The closest things to the F lounge with AA are the Flagships. Much like the F lounge, at times it's nearly impossible to find a seat.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 2:23 pm
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The lounge at ORD is disgusting, carpets are dirty and smelly, generally a dismal place, not too mention no first lounge either which is odd considering it has a 781 and a 380 daily. I wish I had stayed in the flagship first lounge longer than I did.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by NWIFlyer View Post
The closest things to the F lounge with AA are the Flagships. Much like the F lounge, at times it's nearly impossible to find a seat.
Right, but the key point is that they are NOT in fact F lounges. They are open to all OneWorld Sapphires and above as well as those non-status passengers traveling in business/first. So a much, much larger eligible population relative to the F lounge. And yet, IMHO, they do a far better job of delivering a better experience than the T5 F Lounge.

I don't completely disagree that the FL can occasionally get crowded, though we tend to travel at "off peak" times and thus we often don't find it that crowded. However, it seems like the T5 GF is literally always crowded.

Regards
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Old Oct 22, 22, 2:48 pm
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Certainly the crowing and lack of power sockets as noted above are problematic.

I would also add the toilets in both LHR T5 F and CCR lounge as being in desperate need for refurbishment. They are so depressing compared to the tiling and fittings in the CX and QF lounges in T3.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by stevebintley View Post
I cant believe you thought JFK First was disappointing. I was there for the first time this week and thought it was miles ahead of LHR. Very relaxing, great selection of drinks and the food was genuinely lovely. There different sections cater to different needs and the staff were brilliant. I was thinking at time how much I wished T5 had a similar refit. The thing that really annoys me about T5 is the lack of electric sockets throughout. Having to remove the covers in the floor is just awful in my opinion.
I agree. It's usually early morning when I'm there (for the day flight back to LHR) and the lounge is lovely and quiet, and I have great service from the staff. And a pretty decent cooked breakfast (apart from the bacon being rock hard a la American style) and power sockets. And the coffee is better than that "is there any actual caffeine in this?" Union coffee we get in T5. The only thing I don't like is that some of the other lounge users seemingly don't know about 'indoor voices'.
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Old Oct 22, 22, 3:28 pm
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Much like BA's onboard premium product (e.g. lie flat seats) their lounges used be competitive but then stagnated. Not only did others leapfrog them in terms of concept but BA let things get tired and worn. My first visit to the T5 Flounge was in 2011 and I was impressed. In recent years each visit has been more disappointing than the last due to the crowds (except for a May 2021 visit), the inefficient furniture layout (which exacerbates the crowded feeling), the shortage of electric outlets, the warm stale air, and the third world toilets. The food and drink is OK but most of it is nothing I would pay money for, and is a far cry from that offered at the top lounges mentioned above.

Closing one lounge at a time would be disruptive but not fatal, especially if they can rig a temporary space somewhere. It would be worth it if they really rebuilt it to meet its current needs. What they should not do is what AA did with its main lounge in CLT: shut it down for months, create long lines just to enter the one remaining lounge, and then reopen with little discernible change.
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