BA’s London Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrivals Lounge has been open for over ten years. Is it now time for a redesign?
London Air Travel
When London Heathrow Terminal 5 opened a little over ten years ago, one of the promised benefits for premium passengers was an improved arrivals lounge experience.
Readers may recall long queues for showers at the old Terminal 4 arrivals lounge and a long route to the departures area for the equivalent lounge in Terminal 1.
And on the opening day of Terminal 5, one of the few things to go right was the opening of a vastly improved arrivals lounge.
Designed by David Davies & Stuart Barron the bright, spacious lounge featured scores of shower rooms, an Elemis travel spa, and a wide selection of seating.
Of course, much has changed at Heathrow in ten years, so how does the lounge fare ten years on?
Let’s take a look. But first, a quick primer on the lounge:Lounge Location and Access Eligibility
The lounge is located on the first floor of the arrivals area of Terminal 5.
When you have collected your luggage and cleared customs, look for the signs to the lounge and take a lift to the first floor and then follow the signs.
The lounge is open from 05:00 to 14:00 daily.
Passengers arriving from a BA long-haul flight in Club World or First Class are eligible to access the lounge, as well as Gold Executive Club cardholders if arriving from a long-haul flight.
The lounge does not fall within Oneworld alliance lounge access rules and no guests can be brought into the lounge.
Note if you are arriving on a BA long-haul flight at Terminal 3 you can use the American Airlines arrivals lounge.
If you’re not eligible to access either lounges, Plaza Premium also offer paid-for arrivals lounges at Terminals 2, 3, and 4 (though I’d skip the lounge at Terminal 3).Lounge Facilities
Lounge facilities include:
– Staffed luggage storage area
– Breakfast buffet offering a Full English and continental breakfast
– A wide range of seating at tables and benches, and armchairs.
– Private shower rooms with Elemis toiletries
– Elemis Travel Spa
– Business centre with PCs, printer and photocopier
– Concorde Breakfast Room with table service for First Class passengers
One a practical level, not only do you need a boarding pass to enter the lounge you also need to present your boarding pass at the luggage storage area and at the reception desk for the shower rooms.
Continue reading “BA London Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrivals Lounge Review”
Here’s our review of BA’s Club World service from Montréal to London Heathrow.
London Air Travel
Following our review of London Heathrow to Montréal in BA Club World, here’s our review of the return flight from Montreal to London.
It’s a short overnight flight from Montreal, typically leaving at around 21:30 with a flight time of around 6.5 hours.Pre-Flight
By comparison to the rest of the airport, particularly the queues at check-in for Air Transat and Royal Air Maroc, the BA check-in desks are a haven of calm.
Regardless of what cabin you are travelling in you should find check-in by the local BA team relatively quick.
Turning to security screening, there is an expansive security screening area. There is a dedicated priority security line. However, you would be forgiven for not noticing if you didn’t know it was there. As you head from check-in security you need to walk right to the very far end of the entrance to security.Salon Banque Nationale Lounge
BA has long used a third party lounge facility at Montréal.
With just one flight a day, and very little else by way of Oneworld alliance presence, this is not surprising. If you’ve flown BA from this airport before March 2017 you may have used what was known as the TD First Class lounge which faced into the airport. This has now closed and BA now uses a new Salon Banque Nationale / National Bank lounge at Gate 53.
Note that the pictures of this lounge on the airport website are dated. The purple chairs were not in evidence and the vast majority of seats are grey armchairs.
If you don’t have access to this lounge by virtue of cabin or frequent flyer status, the lounge can also be booked via Swissport. Again, note that the pictures on this site are of the old lounge which has closed.
I was fully prepared to write damning review of this lounge facility. Not only that, I wasn’t sure whether it would be possible to get into the lounge in the first place!
On two occasions last year there were long queues to get into the lounge. Many BA passengers were turned away due to overcrowding. This is not what any passenger needs before a long-haul flight.
However, based on signage at the entrance, measures have been taken to reduce overcrowding. There was little difficulty finding a seat. However, the lounge may be much busier when Qatar Airways are flying to Doha (on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) or when Turkish Airlines are flying to Istanbul (on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday).
If you visited this lounge in its opening months you may have been handed a voucher at check-in because it didn’t have an alcohol licence. However, there is now a staffed bar offering beer, wines and cocktails. There is a dedicated family area of the lounge where, presumably due to licensing restrictions, you can only consume alcohol with a meal.
There is also a buffet offering hot dishes such as chicken and rice which, to be honest, did not look particularly appetising. There are also cold salads, fruit, breads, and snacks such as pretzels. Sadly, there are no showers.
The lounge does benefit from floor to ceiling views of the airport apron. It is much brighter, but the old lounge was preferable for having a much wider range of seating and generally a much calmer atmosphere.
There is also a second third party lounge Desjardins Odyssey Lounge which is not available to BA passengers.
I couldn’t help but gaze longingly at the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge next door, and if there had been a repeat with overcrowding issues, it would be tempting to abandon allegiance to Oneworld and switch to Air Canada on this route.
Continue reading “BA Club World Montréal – London Heathrow Reviewed”
Adidas Mens Superstar Adicolor Mens S80327 Cuero azul Adidas con punta S80327 de concha 02fc450 - tidningar.onlineBA Club World London Heathrow – Montréal Reviewed
Here’s our review of BA’s Club World service from London Heathrow to Montreal.
London Air Travel
Who can resist the French Canadian charms of Montreal? Its heady cocktail of European joie de vivre and North America minus the bad bits of its next door neighbour all has instant appeal.
Its heady cocktail of European joie de vivre and North America minus the bad bits of its next door neighbour all has instant appeal.
Our second review was different from the first review. And this review is different again! Whether this is by accident or design is unknown.
First, a quick primer on the Montreal route for BA:BA Club World to Montreal
This route is ordinarily operated once a day with a three class Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
However, as BA has been grappling with engine issues on its Boeing 787 fleet this route has been regularly substituted with a four class Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as it was on this flight.
The first indication was about a week before departure as an e-mail was received from BA advising of a seat assignment change. Sadly, the First cabin was closed and not available for Club World passengers.
The Club World cabin is largely the same on both Boeing 787-8 and Boeing 787-9 aircraft with two “demi” cabins separated by the galley in a 2-3-2 configuration. On the Boeing 787-8 it is three plus two rows. On the Boeing 787-9 it is two plus four rows. Generally, the further forward in the aircraft you are, the better.
The 2-3-2 configuration, also found on the upper deck of the Airbus A380, is unique in that there is a single rear-facing middle seat which is both wider than other seats and very private. Having experienced it on a different flight, I did not like being not able to see out of the windows on take off and landing.
In general, Club World on this route is busy but rarely full/oversold, given the relative lack of business links between the UK and Quebec. If you are Silver or Gold Executive Club cardholder you have a good chance of being upgraded from World Traveller Plus as this cabin is often oversold. Fixed price one-way upgrades from World Traveller Plus are often offered in the Manage My Booking tool and the BA smartphone app at around £400+.
This particular seat, 7A, benefits from both being by the window and having direct access to the aisle.
The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.
London Air Travel
Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 4 July 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.You say deplane, I say disembark
Today is of course Independence Day in the United States, at a very challenging time for many constitutional norms in the country.
Judging by our Instagram feeds, many are spending it in Cape Cod, pictured above, where its always fun to fly around on Cape Air and its tiny Cessna 402 aircraft.Primera Air Delays Adidas Mens Superstar Adicolor Mens S80327 Cuero azul Adidas con punta S80327 de concha 02fc450
Primera Air is almost three months into long-haul operations at London Stansted.
It is now flying to Newark, Boston and Toronto, with Washington Dulles to follow in August. However, it has not been an easy start. Primera Air has had to lease in aircraft to cover the late delivery of Airbus 321 aircraft. Flights to Newark have been covered by National Airlines Boeing 757 aircraft over the past ten days or so. However, this has resulted in delays with some departures delayed extensively into the early hours of the morning, resulting in a brutal early morning arrival in New York.
Long-haul operations aren’t easy for small airlines as its much harder to cover aircraft availability issues with such a small fleet and without the support of joint-venture and alliance partners. However, a reputation of operational reliability is vital for all airlines, particularly new market entrants.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 4 July 2018”
Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.
London Air Travel
Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.BBC Computer Literacy Project Archive
If you were a child of the 1980s in the UK, you were no doubt familiar with the BBC Micro B computer.
The computer was built for the BBC’s Computer Literacy Project. This was a Government supported initiative which ran from 1980-1989. The computer was a fixture in schools all over the UK, whether to write programmes in BASIC or play games like “Grannie’s Garden” or “Chuckie Egg”. The project was supported a by a large number of TV programmes including “Making The Most Of The Micro”.
An extensive archive of TV programmes and BBC Micro computer software has been curated and is hosted by the BBC.
It goes without saying that by any measure the hardware and TV programmes look very dated, but at the time this was a groundbreaking project. It was also an era of co-operation between the Government and the BBC for the public good you don’t see much evidence of today.Trouble at The Today Programme
The most popular breakfast radio programme in London cannot found on Capital FM or LBC. It is on BBC Radio 4. By some considerable distance, The Today Programme is by far the most popular, and influential, morning radio programme in London.
However, it has had mixed fortunes over the past couple of years, particularly since the 2016 EU Referendum result. Its listeners have fallen. Some of its presenters, notably John Humphrys, have been charged with bias. Its painstaking attempts to be balanced by treating two sides of a debate as equals, regardless of the weight of supporting evidence, has also been criticised. As has the limited size of its contacts book for contributors.
In a fair and balanced article, The Observer’s Miranda Sawyer takes the temperature of Today.
On a related note, Eddie Mair, presenter of Radio 4’s PM, who once said to Boris Johnson on a BBC TV interview “You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?”, is to leave the BBC and join LBC from September in an as yet unspecific slot.Russian Interference in 2016 EU Referendum
On the subject of the 2016 EU Referendum, the story of Russian interference is slowly gaining traction.
However, like the issue of phone hacking at the News Of The World, there is a degree of wilful blindness on the part of much of the UK press. Indeed, the US press, which is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election, is paying more attention. (New York Magazine)The Sun Sets On The Sun King
As Rupert Murdoch prepares to sell the bulk of his media empire to Disney, leaving behind Fox News and many local US TV stations and what were thought to be carefully honed plans to pass on his legacy to his children, The Washington Post looks at the background to the deal. The The New York Times looks at the symbiotic relationship between President Trump and one of the most divisive Murdoch properties, Fox News.Also of note this week:
Apple is to rebuild its Apple Maps app entirely from scratch. (TechCrunch)
The Economist on Netflix. (The Economist)Previous editions of the Travel Media & Technology Bulletin
Here are the latest editions of the Travel Media & Technology Bulletin:
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 3 July 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 26 June 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 19 June 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 12 June 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 5 June 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 29 May 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 22 May 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 15 May 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 8 May 2018
- Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 1 May 2018
Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com
Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.
London Air Travel
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 2 July 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.Heathrow Third Runway
The third runway at Heathrow received parliamentary approval last week. A number of local councils in London, supported by the Major of London, Sadiq Khan, are to seek a judicial review of the Government’s decision.
As far as we’re aware legal proceedings have not yet formally started. As mentioned last week, a judicial review is not easily won. That said, it is highly likely that there will be many more challenges to the Government’s decision, and not just in the courts.Adidas Mens Superstar Adicolor Mens S80327 Cuero azul Adidas con punta S80327 de concha 02fc450
A third runway will be in operation by 2026 at the very earliest. Given that nearly 10 years ago, BA was planning for a new runway to be operational by now, you would be forgiven for having your doubts.
Heathrow is keen to talk up the prospect of new links to UK regional airports operated by Flybe, easyJet opening a base at Heathrow, and direct links to more cities in Asia.
However, 8 years is a very long time in aviation. At Heathrow alone in that time we have lost bmi British Midland, which once held nearly 15% of the airport’s slots. Virgin Atlantic has substantially scaled back its route network outside of North America (more on that below). The number of US airlines serving Heathrow went from 2 to 5 and back to 3. International Airlines Group did not exist.
If we were take some predictions:
Whilst much has been made about the prospects of new routes to China, geography is not on Heathrow’s side. It is too far west to pick up connecting traffic from mainland Europe, something of course Finnair has exploited to great advantage at Helsinki. Most long-haul routes will be westbound as this is Heathrow’s natural geographic advantage and due to economic and cultural ties between the UK and USA.
Whilst many new slots will inevitably go to new entrants and to new UK regional routes, a big area of activity is likely to be incumbent airlines seeking more advantageous timings.
For all the talk about luxury and lounges online, it is easily forgotten that business travellers are time sensitive. It is in the relatively pedestrian area of schedules that airlines actually compete. A lot of airlines are likely to seek more advantageous slot timings with arrivals in the crucial early morning period for business travellers. This is the biggest competitive advantage BA has over other airlines at Heathrow and, arguably the biggest threat to it from a third runway.
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 2 July 2018”
A look at the major route network, fleet, airport and in-flight serice changes at BA so far in 2018 and what to expect for the rest of the year and in 2019.
Just under six months ago, we took a look what to expect from BA in 2018.
Now we are half way through the year, it’s a good time as any to look back at what has happened so far, what to expect, what may have to wait until 2019, and a good measure of speculation and guesswork.
Here we take a look at the route network, fleet, in-flight service and airport facilities.New Long-Haul Routes
Long-haul routes that have launched, or are due to, include:
London Gatwick to Las Vegas launched three times weekly on Tuesday 27 March 2018.
London Gatwick to Toronto launched three times weekly on Tuesday 1 May 2018 until Friday 19 October 2018.
London Heathrow to Durban three times weekly from Monday 29 October 2018.
London Heathrow to Nashville, Tennessee launched five times weekly on Friday 4 May 2018.
London Heathrow to The Seychelles launched twice weekly on Saturday 24 March 2018.
Continue reading “British Airways 2018 “Half-Time” Report”
British Airways has released a second safety video featuring comedian Chabuddy G and Joanna Lumley, Sir Michael Caine, and Olivia Colman.
London Air Travel
Just under a year ago, having long eschewed the concept of the viral airline safety video, BA finally relented and gave in.
It updated its near ten year old safety video with a new film. It featured the likes Rowan Atkinson, Gordon Ramsay, Gillian Anderson and Sir Ian McKellen auditioning in front of comedian Chabuddy G for a part in the airline’s new safety video.
The video also serves to promote BA’s “Flying Start” charity partnership with Comic Relief.
Having seen fellow passengers watch it, the reaction in the cabin could be described as “varied”. However, it did win industry acclaim including a Bronze Film Lion for Screens & Events at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
A second video has now been released. It features Joanna Lumley, Sir Michael Caine, Olivia Colman, Jourdan Dunn, David Williams, and Naomie Harris and the return Chabuddy G. It is once again directed by Becky Martin of 2am films.
At around a minute shorter than the current film, it will be rolled out across short-haul flights during July 2018 and on long-haul flights from Wednesday 1 August 2018.
Here are details of temporary lounge closures and facility changes in Miami and New York JFK Terminal 7 in July 2018.
London Air Travel
Here are details of two temporary lounge changes affecting BA passengers flying out of Miami and New York JFK in July 2018:Miami
BA’s designated lounge at Miami airport is the Premium Lounge which it shares with other Oneworld alliance members such as Iberia, Finnair and Qatar Airways.
This is located on the fifth floor of Concourse E in the Central Terminal. This lounge is temporarily closed for repairs from Monday 2 July 2018 for approximately five weeks.
If you’ve ever visited the lounge you would know that whilst it is certainly spacious, the decor does scream “1980s office lobby”. I was told well over a year ago by a member of staff that the lounge was due to be refurbished, but there seems to be no sign of this happening yet.
Whilst the lounge is closed, BA passengers can use the American Airlines Flagship® lounge near Gate 30 of Concourse D in the North Terminal.
This is a relatively new lounge. By any measure, it will be a significant improvement with much more modern decor and a better choice of food and beverage more suited to pre-departure on an international flight. Like the Premium Lounge, it does have showers. Under Oneworld alliance lounge access rules, eligible BA passengers have access to this lounge in any event.
Whilst Concourses D and E are interlinked, it will be much longer walk from the lounge to the BA departure gates. Note that if the BA flight is departing from Gates E20-E33 there is a train to these gates on level four of Concourse E, as per this official map.
(From experience of flying into and out of Miami many times over the years, the only thing that can be said with any certainty is that each time it’s different so the best advice is just be prepared for it not to be the same as before.)New York JFK Terminal 7
BA is also in the the process of refurbishing New York JFK Terminal 7.
As part of this, the Elemis travel spa and showers in the Galleries Club lounge are closed from Saturday 7 July 2018 to Monday 30 July 2018 for refurbishment, so there will be no pre-flight showers available.
The Galleries First lounge appears to be still closed for refurbishment and there are no showers in the remaining BA lounge at JFK Terminal 7, the Concorde Room, which is for First Class passengers and Concorde Room cardholders only.
International Airlines Group’s low cost brand LEVEL will fly from London Gatwick to Vienna twice daily from Tuesday 17 July 2018.
London Air Travel
LEVEL, the low cost brand of International Airlines Group, is making its first move into European short-haul travel, with the launch of flights to Vienna.
LEVEL will fly from London Gatwick to Vienna up to twice daily from Tuesday 17 July 2018.
The flights will be in fact be operated by a subsidiary of IAG’s Vueling, which appears to be called Anisec. Indeed, the flights are booked through the Vueling website.
This is par the course for LEVEL which only exists as a brand and uses other airlines in IAG to operate flights. Apparently the reason why the LEVEL brand name has been chosen because it works much better than Vueling in German speaking markets.
Flights will be operated with Airbus A321 aircraft with 210 economy seats. From a test booking, it appears that Vueling’s “Excellence” business class type product will not be offered. Otherwise, the customer proposition is largely the same as Vueling with charges for checked bags and catering. It is assumed that LEVEL will join BA and Vueling in the Gatwick South terminal.
The background to this is that IAG did try to purchase assets of the Austrian airline Niki in late December after its parent Air Berlin went into administration. However, following a court order that the sale process was invalid, Niki Lauder, the airline’s founder was the successful bidder.
Other destinations LEVEL will serve from Vienna include Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Dubrovnik, Ibiza, Larnaca, Malaga, Milan Malpensa, Olbia, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Valencia and Venice.
BA also flies from London Gatwick to Vienna on a winter seasonal from Sunday 28 October 2019 to Friday 29 March 2019. It’s not clear yet whether BA will codeshare with LEVEL.
In terms of the prospects of success in the UK, in spite of the fact IAG has been in existence for seven years, BA’s sister airlines have always had something of a scatter-gun approach to the UK market.
Vueling serves Barcelona and a smattering of other destinations in Spain and mainland Europe from Gatwick, Heathrow and many other UK airports, but without a coherent marketing message and little brand presence. Iberia has also had limited success in London. It has launched and suspended a number of routes from Heathrow such as Asturias, Gran Canaria, Palma and Tenerife. It remains to be seen how successful LEVEL will be in the UK market.London Gatwick – Vienna
Flight VY4051 Depart London Gatwick 12:55 – Arrive Vienna 16:55
Flight VY4053 Depart London Gatwick 18:20 – Arrive Vienna 21:40
Flight VY4050 Depart Vienna 10:50 – Arrive London Gatwick 12:10
Flight VY4052 Depart Vienna 16:20 – Arrive London Gatwick 17:35