British Airways has started what is likely to be a long and gradual process of reopening its airport lounges around the world.
On Saturday 4 July 2020, BA has reopened the Galleries Club South and Galleries First lounges on the South concourse of London Heathrow Terminal 5. Due to BA still operating a significantly reduced schedule, the lounges close at the earlier time of 20:00. The First Wing has also reopened.
BA has also reopened the arrivals lounge for passengers arriving from long-haul flights.
The Concorde Room, Galleries Club North and Galleries Terminal 5B lounges and Elemis Travel spas remain closed.
Passengers travelling in First Class and Concorde Room cardholders who are ordinarily entitled to access the Concorde Room have access to a dedicated terrace in the Galleries First lounge.
As expected, the service in the lounge is different. Plastic entry screens have been introduced at the entrance to the Galleries Club South lounge.
Passengers will be provided with a Welcome Card, with blue and red sides, on entry to the lounge.
When in the lounge, passengers are asked to to occupy seats that do not have a card placed on them and to maintain social distancing in the lounge and not move between seats.
The card should be left red side up on your seat when temporarily leaving your seat, and blue side up when you leave the lounge so the area can be cleaned.
Food and drinks are available to order by accessing a dedicated website on your personal device, details of which are provided on entry to the lounge.
Passengers are asked not to order any drinks directly from the bar area. Pre-packaged snacks are also available to take away. Catering on BA flights remains significantly reduced.
As expected, all newspapers and magazines have been removed from the lounges. These can be downloaded electronically using the PressReader app. This is best done at home.
Shower facilities continue to be available in the arrivals lounge.
Full guidance is available on ba.com
BA flights have of course been very quiet over the past few months. However, traffic is expected to increase as BA reinstates flights to many short-haul destinations such as Marseille, Nice, Valencia and Venice. Summer seasonal routes to Palma, Palermo have also restarted. Many short-haul routes have also temporarily transferred from Gatwick for July and August. American Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 5 from Tuesday 7 July.
BA was due to start refurbishing its Heathrow lounge complex in the coming years. The financial and operational challenges of COVID-19 are likely to prompt the airline to rethink its plans.