The British Airways Concorde Room at its London Heathrow Terminal 5 hub is the airline’s most exclusive lounge, catering only for BA First Class passengers and Concorde Room cardholders.
We passed through prior to a First Class flight to Washington to see how it compares with other First Class lounges we’ve tried.
Opening Times: 5.00am to 10.30pm
Multi-standard Power Sockets: Yes
USB Charging Sockets: Yes
First and foremost, the Concorde Room is not a oneworld lounge. For access here you must be flying at least part of your journey in British Airways First Class, or have a Concorde Room card.
British Airways Gold and oneworld Emerald status members not travelling in BA First Class will instead be directed to the Galleries First lounge.
This lounge is available to passengers departing on a British Airways operated flight:
- in First Class (+1 guest permitted*)
- in First Class as a BA Gold Guest List member (+2 guests permitted*)
- in any class of travel, who hold a Concorde Room Card (+1 guest permitted*)
- in any class of travel provided they are connecting between a British Airways marketed and operated flight on the same day of travel having arrived in First Class. For example British Airways First Class SIN-LHR followed by British Airways Economy Class LHR-MAN, admittance is allowed (+1 guest permitted*)
* Guest(s) must also be travelling on a departing British Airways flight
There are no written rules, believe it or not, for passengers arriving on a British Airways flight in First Class, and then after transit departing on a British Airways flight in a lower class of service, regarding Concorde Room access.
Since this is not a oneworld lounge, the usual qualifying requirement that the arriving flight duration (in First Class) was longer than 5 hours doesn’t apply. British Airways apparently go by the principle that the most substantial part of the journey guides transit lounge access.
That is not the oneworld policy, but again this is not a oneworld lounge.
If you are transferring, for example, from an 8-hour Dubai – London flight in First Class then boarding an 11-hour flight to Los Angeles in Club World, you might be turned away from the Concorde Room.
This particular nuance of the policy is not only vague, British Airways chooses not to write about the scenario anywhere in its lounge access guidelines.
We can speak first hand about having no problem accessing the Concorde Room after a long-haul flight in First Class prior to a short-haul flight in a lower class, but be aware. Short-ish long-haul First to long-ish long-haul “less than First” – don’t count on it!
Note that you won’t be able to access the Concorde Room if you’re departing on a British Airways flight from Heathrow’s Terminal 3, as there is no airside connection between the two terminals. This includes flights to Cape Town, Las Vegas and Miami.
Concorde Room card
We saw what you were thinking! Flying any BA flight from Heathrow T5 in any class can get you and a guest into the Concorde Room if you can just get your hands on this card.
Well if you need to ask how you can get a Concorde Room card, you probably aren’t eligible! Here’s how British Airways describes this benefit for high-spending Gold card holders:
“At 5,000 Tier Points, Gold Members are awarded with a Concorde Room Card, granting access for themselves and one guest to our Concorde Room lounges at London Heathrow and New York JFK when flying any class of travel with British Airways or other oneworld carriers.”
A very nice perk, but very difficult to attain. Those 5,000 Tier Points are during your membership year and require extensive fare paid flying on British Airways or oneworld airlines.
You might also wonder how it correlates with the Concorde Bar, an inner sanctuary of the British Airways Singapore lounge (there is also a similar one in BA’s Dubai lounge).
If you have already been granted access to the BA Singapore Lounge by class of travel or status tier, but are not travelling in First Class, then you can access the Concorde Bar by virtue of your Concorde Room Card.
There are two entrances and three primary routes to The Concorde Room.
The main entrance is in the British Airways lounge reception area at the south lounges, one level above the main departure concourse. Here you will see the entrance to the Galleries First lounge, take a right turn and the Elemis Spa is to your left with the Concorde Room entrance straight ahead. To the right of that another escalator takes you up to the Galleries Club lounge.
If you arrived at T5 from a connecting flight, or went through fast track security after check in (note: not using the First Wing), then took some time to shop or dine at the main departure concourse prior to heading to the Concorde Room, this is how you will enter.
The more subtle entrance is immediately after the T5 south security checkpoint. Once you have checked in and cleared security (note: not using the First Wing), take an immediate right and there is a door to the Concorde Room there. A lounge agent at the podium will confirm your eligibility and you can access the lounge directly, opposite the main entrance and close to the bar.
This is also a good entrance to use if you’re transiting Heathrow on a connecting flight, as you’ll have to clear security here before being allowed back into the departures area. Assuming you don’t need to do any shopping, this entrance can save you quite a bit of time. BA initially closed this entrance after the First Wing was opened, but has since made it available again.
Finally if you use the First Wing check-in and private security channel, you will find yourself emerging directly in the BA Galleries First lounge. No shops, no money changers, no hunting for the lounge sign, you’re in (the wrong lounge in this case!).
Follow the signs for the Concorde Room, these will actually direct you out of the lounge then proceed directly opposite to the main Concorde Room entrance mentioned at the start of this section.
This may or may not be quicker than using the standard fast-track security and ‘subtle’ Concorde Room entrance. To us the First Wing is best for those using the Galleries First Lounge (e.g. BA Golds and oneworld Emeralds not actually flying First, or those flying First who prefer the Galleries lounge over the Concorde Room).
We’ll cover the First Wing itself in more detail in our upcoming British Airways 747-400 First Class review.
After a quick check of our boarding passes, we were welcomed into the lounge.
The theme here is traditional British understated elegance, with a few quirks thrown in. Whether you agree once you see the Concorde Room for yourself is quite a different matter!
The decor is certainly different, and a long-overdue revamp to the furnishings in this lounge in 2017 had added some interesting feature pieces since our last visit.
The lounge was quite busy when we arrived at 2pm. Initially we headed out the the terrace, however this was practically full. Instead we headed back inside, picked up some reading material, found a couple of leather armchairs and then ordered the obligatory glass of Champagne to help us settle in.
The lounge became a bit quieter shortly after we arrived, so there must have been a series of flight departures around 3pm. We took a walk around to explore the other areas of the lounge.
Most of the seating options in the Concorde Room are low armchairs or three-seat sofas. Small tables are provided between most seats, with lights and power sockets.
A few seating areas are designed as small living rooms around a (fake) fireplace.
These also feature a coffee table in addition to the side tables, usually with two sets of power sockets available.
Wi-Fi and power outlets
The Wi-Fi in the Concorde Room was useable, but very slow. The lounge was fairly busy during our visit, and we recorded the following speeds:
- Download: 0.34 Mbps
- Upload: 0.72 Mbps
- Ping: 12ms
This is really slow, we usually achieve 5 Mbps in the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class lounge at Changi, even when that lounge is busy.
While good, even SIA’s Wi-Fi speed pales into insignificance against some other competition. We easily got over 40 Mbps in the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney, 25-30 Mbps in Cathay’s First Class lounges in Hong Kong, and a blistering 266 Mbps in the United Polaris Business lounge in San Francisco.
Whatever system BA have installed here, it has not kept up with the demands of data-hungry modern travellers at all.
Power outlets in the lounge are available at most seats, with the exception of the terrace, which does seem to suffer a shortage of these. They accept UK, European or US plug types. There are also USB charging sockets.
The board room is the business centre in the Concorde Room. Unfortunately during our visit it had been booked and was in use, so we couldn’t get any pictures inside.
Previously the business centre featured former passenger seats from the actual Concorde aircraft, converted into office seats, which we thought was quite cool.
Unfortunately they have done away with these in the lounge revamp, as seen in the following review from 2018.
There are a couple of tables in the Concorde Room with a selection of magazines and newspapers available.
With the exception of the Cabanas, which have their own private shower, The Concorde Room shares general shower facilities with the Galleries Club and Galleries First lounges.
If you don’t have a Cabana booked, we strongly recommend booking a shower at the Elemis Spa desk on arrival as the wait times can be up to 30 minutes. They will give you a buzzer to let you know when your shower is ready.
Once inside, these facilities can be described as ‘hospital-like’ at best. The drain from the shower also makes a strange ‘slurping’ sound when in use. It’s quite hard to describe and a little disconcerting.
Despite the very clinical nature of the decor, and the bizarre ‘slurping’ sound that emanates from the shower drains, the shower cubicle itself is clean and spacious and the Elemis toiletries are appreciated.
There’s certainly no feeling of luxury here though.
The Elemis travel spa serves British Airways passengers flying in First Class and those travelling on a long-haul flight in Business Class (Club World). As mentioned above, it is right outside the Concorde Room entrance. There is also another Elemis Spa at the T5B concourse, and both are open from 7am to 9pm.
A number of complimentary 15-minute treatments are offered, including facials and massages. The full list can be found here.
I went for the ‘Pre-Flight Reviver – Neck & Shoulder’ massage and Eddie opted for the ‘Deep Clean Aviator Facial’. Both were very nice and relaxing.
The centrepiece of the Concorde Room is the tended bar, where a selection of drinks, cocktails and espressos are made to order.
There are six barstools and some surrounding sofas, however most people seem to pick up a drink here and then find another seat, or head out to the terrace.
There is waiter service throughout the lounge and on the terrace, so there is actually no need to visit the bar if you don’t want to, though it may be the quickest way to get a glass of LPGS in your hand before you search for a seat.
Wine and Champagne
There is a reasonably extensive selection of wine and Champagne in the Concorde Room, available at the bar, in the dining room or on demand from a waiter throughout the lounge.
As always, we check on the Vivino rating (out of 5 stars) for the Champagne and wines offered in this lounge.
* The Henriot Rosé Champagne was listed in the menu, however we noticed they were serving Jeeper Grand Rosé at the bar on our visit.
Aside from the Miolo Pinot Noir, not a hit among Vivino users, these ratings stand up well for a First Class lounge, especially of course the excellent LPGS Champagne which is hard to come by in Singapore and retails at only a few outlets for around S$220 per bottle.
We went to the Concorde Dining room for a light lunch before our flight. Knowing that we’d eat on board we just wanted something small to keep us going.
Two menus were available during our visit, the Lounge Offer and the all-day Dining menu. If you’re passing through the Concorde Room in the morning, there is also a Breakfast menu served until 12pm. We can vouch for the full English breakfast from previous visits, and there are other options like scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and Eggs Benedict.
|All Day Menu
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
We never want to pre-judge anything, but it was hard not to on this occasion having started our journey just days before in Singapore Airlines’ The Private Room at Changi, then progressed through Cathay’s The Wing and The Pier in Hong Kong en-route to London.
This is the British Airways equivalent of the à la carte dining options in those lounges.
We were greeted at the entrance and immediately seated in one of the intimate dining booths. This format is quite different from the aforementioned lounges – an element of privacy is the focus.
Tables are arranged in a private booth layout. They have ample room for a couple including floor space to store your luggage. We were presented with menus and despite bringing a glass of Champagne each with us from the lounge, were offered a top-up or another drink from the bar.
We opted for some more Champagne while we studied the menu.
The staff members were perfectly courteous and welcoming, but the whole thing seemed a bit rushed compared with The Private Room, the Qantas First lounge and Cathay’s The Pier for example.
This is a balance in an airport lounge of course. Some people are in a genuine hurry and don’t have time to sit for 15 minutes sipping wine between courses. We had plenty of time and would have appreciated a slightly slower pace.
Eddie went for the Club Sandwich from the lounge menu.
I chose the pan-fried salmon from the main dining menu.
The food itself was absolutely fine. We’d both gone for something light, so portions were small as expected. Good, but not great was the conclusion for both dishes.
There are also high tables with bar stools outside the dining area, a more informal setting which still has table service. You can order from both food menus even if you sit here.
There are only three private Cabanas in the British Airways Concorde Room, and with BA pushing over 1,100 First Class seats per day out of London Heathrow (960 of these depart from T5, with the rest from T3), don’t expect to turn up at the Concorde Room and immediately gain access to one of these.
Singapore Airlines, by comparison, flies only 310 Suites and First Class seats out of its Changi hub daily, explaining the relative serenity of The Private Room.
You can call or email ‘You First’ prior to your trip and reserve some time in a Cabana, and also book an Elemis Spa treatment in advance, and we would strongly recommend this.
Unfortunately we completely forgot to do that on this trip and only remembered the day before departure. A quick call to ‘You First’ yielded bad news – no slots were available for the Cabanas during our visit. They did however manage to book us two spa treatments.
Luckily we have been in the Cabanas before on previous trips through the Concorde Room, and so we have some (rather average) pictures from my camera phone. We’ve included these below alongside the BA official press images.
If you’re expecting anything resembling the Cabanas in Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First lounge in Hong Kong, prepare to be disappointed. These facilities are not nearly as luxurious.
You are provided with a couch / daybed, a desk, television and en-suite shower facilities.
This is a nice quiet place to get some rest before your flight, or between flights, and the private shower facilities are a big improvement on having to put your name down for one of the shared shower cubicles at the Elemis Spa.
Overall though, the Cabanas are nothing special.
The Concorde Room ‘Terrace’ is a sort of ‘faux’ outdoor area, in that it is located on a gallery suspended over the main departure concourse. It is still an indoor, air-conditioned space.
The area certainly benefits from excellent natural light streaming in from T5’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Again the recent refurbishment has introduced some quirky furniture, light fittings and colour schemes to this space.
That includes this rather vibrant sofa, which you may have already seen on the Instagram accounts of several travel bloggers and influencers.
There’s a background ‘hum’ from activity in the main departures concourse below, but otherwise the terrace is quite serene and has a nice atmosphere.
The beauty of this area is the open-air feeling and the plentiful natural light, ideal for reading. Power sockets however are in rather short supply out here, so you may have to venture inside for a seat if your devices are running low on battery.
Whether you’re in transit or starting your journey in London, the Concorde Room is a perfectly pleasant place to while away a few hours before your British Airways First Class flight.
A recent refresh of the lounge furnishings and some of the decor is welcome – we’ve visited the lounge before and so can see the difference.
The wine and Champagne offering is extensive, high quality and well rated, however the food is really nothing to write home about.
Compared with other First Class lounges though – does it ‘wow’? Not really. There’s nothing specifically wrong with the Concorde Room, but if you asked us would we rather be here or in ‘The Pier’ in Hong Kong, ‘The Pier’ is the answer. Would we rather be here or in the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney? Again, the latter.
You have to hand it to BA, the new furnishings in the Concorde room are not “boring beige” and certainly don’t play on the safe side, but somehow to us it doesn’t have the luxury and elegance of other First Class facilities, like Cathay’s Hong Kong First Class lounges we reviewed recently.
Visited July 2018
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)