The British Airways International Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 1 was born under different skies – up until a few years ago, it was BMI’s “Great British Lounge”, a unique, innovative club with a design highlighting British traditions. British Airways acquired this facility as part of the BMI takeover, and despite showing a blatant lack of inspiration in coming up with a new name, the airline has fortunately preserved the design and amenities of this jewel of a lounge.
The location may not be obvious – after security, head left, and follow the signs as you enter a set of drab hallways and staircases. Persist, as it’s worth the walk – but also do note that you will need ample time to make it to your gate.
The posh, elegant entrance is a sight to behold, with velvet chairs, pillows, and a grand ceiling light. Past the entrance to your right, is a lovely living room like seating area complete with sofas, a fireplace, a mirror, and a TV. It’s a tad fake, but so cozy and comfy that you’ll want to take a break to read the paper while sipping tea, or perhaps a glass of whiskey.
Across the living room is the piece de resistance – a large dining area centered around a round buffet mirrored by LED ceiling lights. The serving area has an open design with a bit of a Scandinavian vibe which facilitates the flow of customers. A wide range of hot and cold appetizers and entrees is available; the fare is simple but varied and filling, and more than enough for a full meal on the ground.
A bit further is the main seating area, featuring a comfortable, sparse layout with power outlets at every seat. Natural light flows throughout, and low partitions throughout ensure a fair amount of privacy. Don’t miss the chaises overlooking the tarmac – a perfect spot to catch a quick nap or gaze at the bustling airport activity.
If you’d like to get away from the airport scenery, though, The Local is the place to be – the bar area has all the ingredients of a traditional English pub, with booths, mirrors, beer on tap, and a wide selection of alcoholic libations.
The lounge also features a stylish board room which doubles as a business center and shower rooms, which are rather compact but very functional. Note that unlike the Terminal 5 lounges, this club doesn’t have a bag storage facility.
Overall, the British Airways International Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 1 is a superb lounge, and dare we say that nicer than the airline’s flagship Galleries Clubs in Terminal 5. While the design of the International Lounge might feel a bit corny compared to the more genuine and traditional décor of the Terminal 5 lounges, the International Lounge is more modern, quieter, far less crowded, fun, and very unique. Considering that this lounge serves mostly short flights, it’s even more of a treat, and it is worth arriving at the airport a bit early for a visit – just make sure to allow plenty of time to reach your gate.
The following is a sample selection. Actual offerings may vary. All food and beverages are complimentary.
Breakfast (before noon)
- Breakfast pastries
- Corn flakes
- Swiss-style muesli
- Bran flakes
Lunch and dinner (after noon)
- Chili con carne
- Beef bourguignon
- Baked beans
- Jacket potato
- Mustard chicken
- Pasta with a basil and tomato sauce
- Red Thai vegetable curry
- Chicken, chorizo and tomato quiche
- Spinach and ricotta quiche
- Salad bar
- Pesto sala with cashews and pine nuts
- Five bean salad
- New potato and spring onion salad
- Bottled water
- Red and white wines
- Selection of liqueurs and spirits
- Champagne available upon request