Lounges Oneworld Reviews

Review: British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow

With very few exceptions, you'll have to be flying BA First Class from Heathrow T5 in order to access the Concorde Room. Does the experience feel as exclusive as the access policy?

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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.

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General details

Opening Times: 5.00am to 10.30pm
Showers: Yes
Spa: Yes
Bar: Yes
Wi-Fi: Yes
Multi-standard Power Sockets: Yes
USB Charging Sockets: Yes

Lounge access

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.

Entrance
Entrance to the Concorde Room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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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.

Entrances

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.

Entrance 2
Concorde Room entrance. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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The ‘secret’ entrance to the Concorde Room is seen here at the back of the lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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!).

Galleries F Entrance.jpg
The final stage of the First Wing – direct access to the lounge. This is not the Concorde Room though, it’s the Galleries First lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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Signs in the Galleries First lounge close to the entrance from the First Wing direct you to the Concorde Room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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First impressions

After a quick check of our boarding passes, we were welcomed into the lounge.

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Entering the Concorde Room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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!

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Some Concorde Room furnishings are certainly a matter of personal taste. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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The layout of the Concorde Room. (Image: British Airways)

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.

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A glass of LPGS Champagne is your perfect introduction to the Concorde Room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Seating options

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.

Seating 2
Concorde Room seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A few seating areas are designed as small living rooms around a (fake) fireplace.

Seating 1
Concorde Room seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

These also feature a coffee table in addition to the side tables, usually with two sets of power sockets available.

Fireplace.jpg
Concorde Room seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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Business facilities

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.

Board Room
The Board Room entrance. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Previously the business centre featured former passenger seats from the actual Concorde aircraft, converted into office seats, which we thought was quite cool.

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Business centre with former Concorde passenger seats. (Photo: knightofmalta)

Unfortunately they have done away with these in the lounge revamp, as seen in the following review from 2018.

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The new Board Room furniture. (Photo: One Mile at a Time)

Reading materials

There are a couple of tables in the Concorde Room with a selection of magazines and newspapers available.

Reading
A selection of magazines and reading materials. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Showers

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.

Shower 1
British Airways showers at Heathrow. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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Spa

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.

Elemis Entrance
Elemis Travel Spa. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A number of complimentary 15-minute treatments are offered, including facials and massages. The full list can be found here.

Elemis Waiting
Spa treatment waiting area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

Concorde bar

The centrepiece of the Concorde Room is the tended bar, where a selection of drinks, cocktails and espressos are made to order.

Champagne Bar 2
The Concorde bar. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

Champagne Bar
The Concorde bar. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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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.