BA’s lounge at San Francisco International Airport is to close for refurbishment on Wednesday 2 January 2019.
This is a welcome move. Whilst the lounge has always offered impressive views of the aircraft apron, the style of the lounge dates back to the “Terraces” lounge format from the late 1990s. A refurbishment has been long overdue.
At the moment the lounge is separated into a Club lounge and a small First lounge.
The new lounge is expected to open in the summer. It is not clear yet whether the First lounge will become a “Concorde Bar” as per Dubai and Singapore airports, which means it would be only available for passengers ticketed in First Class, and not BA Executive Club Gold cardholders.
Whilst the lounge is closed the designated lounge for BA passengers is the China Airlines Dynasty lounge, which is located on the 2nd floor of the international terminal, after security.
According to the China Airlines website, this lounge is closed between 16:00 and 22:00. However, it is assumed that these hours will be extended for BA passengers.
Under Oneworld alliance lounge access rules eligible passengers are also entitled to use the relatively new Cathay Pacific lounge. There is also a Japan Airlines lounge. However, this closes at 14:55.
British Airways has changed its designated lounge for eligible passengers flying from Tampa International Airport to London Gatwick.
BA has previously used a third party lounge on Concourse F of the terminal. However, from 31 October 2018 the designated lounge for BA Club World and Silver and Gold members of the Executive Club is the American Airlines Admirals Club.
Under Oneworld alliance lounge access rules, eligible BA passengers have always had access to this lounge in any event. The lounge is located near to Gate 85 on Concourse F. The lounge is open until 19:15, 10 minutes before BA’s daily flight to Gatwick is currently scheduled to depart.
The lounge offers standard American Airlines Admirals Club fare with complimentary soft drinks and light snack foods. BA passengers should be offered a chit on reception for a “premium beverage” from the bar. There is also a food menu which, in the absence of any information to the contrary, has to be paid for.
On a tangential note, Norwegian has now started flying from London Gatwick to Tampa twice weekly on Wednesday and Saturdays.
British Airways’ Galleries lounge in Munich has closed today, Thursday 1 November 2018.
The reason given for the closure is a redevelopment of the airport. The lounge was refurbished relatively recently in the “Galleries” format.
Passengers travelling in Club Europe and BA Executive Club Silver and Gold cardholders can use a newly opened third party lounge “Airport Lounge World”.
Set across two levels, the lounge promises views of the airport apron, complimentary hot and cold food, soft and alcoholic drinks, and showers.
Passengers not eligible to access the lounge by virtue of cabin or frequent flyer status can also purchase access from €48 per person.
The lounge is located after security. Passengers are advised to turn left after security and walk towards a lift signposting the lounge, which will arrive directly at the lounge entrance. The lounge is open from 06:00 to 23:00 daily.
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. (I understand American Airlines Advantage Executive Platinum cardholders should also be able to access the lounge if travelling on a flight covered by the American Airlines & BA transatlantic joint-venture.)
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 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
Here are details of two temporary lounge changes affecting BA passengers flying out of Miami and New York JFK in July 2018:
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.)
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.
British Airways has this week opened its new lounge in Aberdeen.
It follows a similar design aesthetic to its recently opened Rome Fiumicino airport. As with Rome there is a distinctly Scandinavian feel. It is a sharp contrast to the rest of BA’s lounge portfolio.
At 380 m2 in size, the lounge features a wide variety of seating options, with views of the runway. The centrepiece of the lounge is a self-pour granite topped bar. BA also promises food appropriate to the time of day.
The lounge also includes posters and art work from the airline’s collection and “The Long Winding Shores” by artist Maddie Rose Hills.
As is clear from the images below, there is no shortage of powerpoint throughout the lounge.
British Airways has today, Monday 16 April 2018, opened its new lounge at Terminal 3 of Rome Fiumicino airport.
The lounge is 460m2 in size with capacity for nearly 140 customers.
The lounge features a granite topped bar as its centre piece. In peak times, the bar will be staffed by a mixologist. At other times, it will operate as a self-pour bar.
Whilst there is clearly ample table seating in the lounge it’s not clear from the BA press images and release what is on offer in terms of food.
The lounge also features artwork from artist Patrick Caulfield and a number of pieces from his series of 22 screen prints from 1973 entitled “Some Poems of Jules Laforgue”.
This lounge is a radical departure from recent BA lounge developments such as London Gatwick and the “Galleries” lounges developed by both Davies & Baron and Graven. Indeed, with its relatively muted tones and clean lines, at first sight you would be forgiven for thinking this lounge belonged to SAS Scandinavian Airlines or SWISS. This lounge would certainly not look out of place on the pages of Wallpaper* magazine.
The lounge may also provide some clues to what to expect for future BA lounge developments. BA is also due to open refurbished lounges in Aberdeen and New York JFK Terminal 7. Please see here for BA’s lounge refurbishment plans for the coming years.
BA has undertaken, to use its lexicon, a “refresh” of its Concorde Room at London Heathrow Terminal 5.
There are no structural changes to the lounge as such. The basic layout and services in the lounge remain the same. The main changes are the reulphostering of furniture and changes to the layout of the terrace area with the addition of new sofas, day loungers and cabanas. And duck feet lamps.
A set of press images and video is below.
To quote those well known Australian cultural commentators Kath & Kim: “It’s nice. It’s different. It’s unusual.”
On related news, London Heathrow Terminal 5 has gained its second paid-for access lounge with the opening of a Plaza Premium lounge.The lounge is next to Gate A7 in the main terminal. The lounge is open from 05:00 to 22:00 daily. It promises views of the runway, showers, and a full bar and fresh food. No press pictures are available but Plaza Premium has built up a highly regarded portfolio of lounges at London Heathrow so it should impress. Continue reading “BA “refreshes” its London Heathrow Concorde Room”
BA held a press event yesterday for a select number of travel journalists and bloggers (though someone at The Daily Telegraph clearly did not get an invitation).
Under the curious title of “#BAInvesting4U” journalists were ferried from London Gatwick to London Heathrow via a three and a half four flight on a brand new Boeing 787-900.
The whole event was something of a rearguard action in response to negative press coverage and a narrative of cut backs and service failures.
In truth much of what was announced today is known already: BA has opened new lounges at Gatwick, a new security channel for First Class passengers and BA Executive Club Gold Cardholders at London Heathrow, it’s adding WiFi and revamping its Club World service with a new seat to come with the Airbus A350 in 2019.
You can read BA’s take on yesterday’s announcements at ba.com
One point that did catch our attention is BA’s new lounge refurbishment programme.
There has been a lot of interest in the planned new British Airways lounges at London Gatwick’s South Terminal which, from today, is BA’s new home at Gatwick.
The lounges were planned to open today, Wednesday 25 January 2017. However, this has been delayed.
It is understood that construction work is complete and the official line from BA is that it is hoped that the lounges will open “soon”.
In the interim, passengers travelling in First Class on any flight and Gold Executive Club cardholders can use the third party operated No 1 Clubrooms.
In addition, all passengers travelling to Jersey, New York JFK and Bermuda who are eligible for lounge access can use this lounge. However, this will be subject to capacity constraints.
All other passengers who are eligible to access lounges (e.g. Club Europe, Club World and Silver Executive Club cardholders) can use a temporary “Speedbird” lounge operated by BA.
If you are flying BA from Gatwick you should be handed a letter at check-in explaining these options.
It is obviously disappointing that the new lounges are not open today. However, the problems associated with its opening do not seem insurmountable.
Update 7 February 2017
It is understood that the new lounges have undergone a “soft” opening ahead of a formal launch. However, not all facilities may be available at all times.
The new Club lounge is open from 05:15 until the last flight has departed. Passengers travelling in Club World on any long-haul flight and Club Europe to Jersey, and all British Airways Executive Club Silver cardholders travelling on long-haul flights or to Jersey are eligible to use the lounge.
The new First lounge is open from 07:00 until 20:00 and all passengers travelling in First Class and all British Airways Executive Club Gold cardholders are eligible to use the lounge. If there capacity constraints passengers will be invited to use the No 1 Club rooms.
All other passengers, e.g. those travelling in Club Europe to other than Jersey and on Business U.K. tickets and British Airways Executive Club Silver cardholders travelling on short-haul flights other than Jersey will be invited to use the temporary Speedbird lounge.
Update 20 February 2017
It is understood that the new lounges are now fully operational and all other temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.