“British Airways Galleries First lounge” is somewhat of a misnomer. While British Airways First class passengers are welcome to use the facility, they benefit from a much more exclusive lounge, the Concorde Room. The Galleries First lounge primarily serves First Class passengers flying other oneworld member airlines, in addition to oneworld Emerald members flying in any class of service (including British Airways Executive Club Gold members.) That’s a lot of people – and that’s why despite the massive size of this lounge, it is always busy.
To get to the Galleries First Lounge, follow the signs to the South Lounges and look for the signature (and odd!) British Airways horse-shaped lamps.
British Airways Galleries First LHR design
The humongous British Airways Galleries First lounge at London Heathrow is broken into multiple areas with slightly different vibes, color tones, and seating arrangements. In the center of the lounge is a seating area with partitions which provide some privacy – though incidentally it is probably one of the busier parts of the lounge. To the right when entering is a large open area with lighter color tones, hardwood floors, and glorious views on the tarmac. On the opposite side is an “open air” terrace which also boasts terrific views on the tarmac. While noise from the terminal bleeds in, the space feels very open and sees less traffic than other areas.
In January 2016, British Airways refurbished the Galleries First Lounge and replaced the legacy old-fashioned British style seats with modern and comfortable furniture, with side tables and power outlets at most seats.
British Airways Galleries First LHR amenities
A highlight of the British Airways Galleries First lounge at London Heathrow is the dining area, called “Refectory.” While physically, the space isn’t particularly attractive and is often busy and noisy (for an experience with far more cachet, check out the Concorde Room dining room), patrons may enjoy a full meal on the ground, with an extensive array of snacks, hot and cold entrees, desserts, and drinks. The generous buffet is complemented by a number of cooked-to-order options. The food is tasty and well presented, and we appreciate the dual buffet/cooked-to-order setup – incidentally, the posh Concorde Room doesn’t have a buffet, and while the formal dining experience is a treat, the buffet is convenient for travelers in a rush.
Drinks are widely available from several bars and self-serve areas throughout the lounge. On the lighter side, patrons will find an extensive selection of soft drinks as well as numerous espresso machines (in the clearly marked “coffee house” sections.) But alcoholic beverages steal the show – a broad array of wines, liqueurs and spirits is available. The highlight is the elegant and serene Champagne bar room, where the striking design complements a fine Champagne selection which includes Taittinger.
The adjacent Elemis Spa offers showers, as well as 15 minute massages (for British Airways premium customers.) The shower facilities are hardly luxurious, and spa appointments hard to come by. Both are available on a first come first serve basis, so be sure to inquire as early as possible. For more details, see our review of the Elemis Spa – T5.
Other amenities include a comfortable and well-appointed business center with self-service PCs, printers and numerous power outlets, a fun family room with an aviation theme, a convenient manned baggage storage facility, and an impressive selection of newspapers and magazines.
British Airways Galleries First LHR bottom line
Overall, the British Airways Galleries First lounge at London Heathrow airport is a high-end, perhaps outstanding facility for oneworld Emerald members, with a wide range of amenities and cooked-to-order food. As a First Class lounge, though, it falls a bit short of our expectations for calm, privacy and attentive service. Since our readers are unlikely to always fly first class, perhaps that’s a fair trade-off. Also note that if your flight departs from remote concourses A, B, or C, you will need to leave early.
A selection of snacks is available throughout the lounge. The Gold Bar and Champagne bar offer a broad complimentary selection of fine wine, Champagnes, and liqueur. The First Refectory offers a full buffet as well as cooked-to-order entrees.
Hot and cold buffet
- Soup served with crusty bread and rolls, croutons and seeds
- A wide range of hot dishes accompanied by potatoes and vegetables.
- Salad bar together with a selection of cold meats, chesses and vegetarian dishes.
- Selection of desserts and fresh fruit with cream and fruit coulis.
Brought to your table (noon to close)
- Soup of the day, served with freshly baked breads.
- Smoked Scottish salmon bagel: Severn & Wye Scottish smoked salmon on a toasted wholemeal bagel with five cream cheese served with mixed leaf salad and kettle chips.
- BA burger made with British Aberdeen Angus beef served in a milk-glazed roll with red onion marmalade, baby gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes and dill pickle and accompanied by twice-cooked chips. May be served with crispy back bacon or mature English Cheddar.
- Red Thai chicken curry served with steamed rice and a cucumber and tomato salad finished with coconut and poppy seeds.
- Duck egg salad: soft-boiled egg with French beans, new potatoes, Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, pea shoots and red onions with a vinaigrette dressing.
- Macaroni cheese: chifferini pasta with a rich red Leicester, British Cheddar and English mustard sauce.
You may have access to British Airways Galleries First as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
American Airlines (AA) British Airways (BA) Cathay Dragon (KA) Cathay Pacific (CX) Finnair (AY) Iberia (IB) Japan Airlines (JL) LATAM Airlines Brasil (JJ) LATAM Airlines Chile (LA) Malaysia Airlines (MH) Qantas (QF) Qatar Airways (QR) Royal Air Maroc (AT) Royal Jordanian (RJ) S7 Airlines (Siberia Airlines) (S7) SriLankan (UL)
British Airways Galleries First at London - Heathrow (LHR) welcomes:
- British Airways First passengers (+1 guest)
- First class passengers departing on a same-day flight operated by a oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- British Airways Gold Executive Club members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or other oneworld carriers (+1 guest)
- oneworld Emerald members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or another oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- Guests must be departing on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline.
- For connecting passengers, lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.
- 3.5Based on 10 ReviewsNess S.2018-12-31 09:53:46This is a nice lounge. We stopped in Heathrow on our our way to Greece and had a long layover so came here for some R&R. It is not very crowded and there...Robbie B.2017-04-04 02:47:49On the whole a pretty decent lounge. Usually enough seating and large choice of food and snacks in addition to the drinks. Despite all the cuts with BA,...Denish G.2016-08-14 10:55:29Great lounge, excellent service and food. It's very hard to find if you don't know the airport and many employees don't know where it is. Food and drinks...Jonah K.2016-07-16 11:45:56Nice lounge, and if you have executive platinum on American you can come in here anytime. It's far better than the crappy American lounges especially the...