BA “refreshes” its London Heathrow Concorde Room

British Airways’ Concorde Room at Terminal 5, London Heathrow on 07 November 2017 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

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.
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BA’s lounge plans for Heathrow, the UK, Europe, USA & South Africa

BA is to refurbish lounges at Heathrow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Geneva, Rome, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami & Johannesburg airports.

British Airways Lounge - London Gatwick South Terminal
British Airways Lounge – London Gatwick South Terminal (Credit: British Airways)

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.

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The opening of new BA lounges at London Gatwick’s South Terminal has been delayed

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. 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: It is understood that the new lounges are now fully operational and all other temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.

Virgin Atlantic unveiles its new Clubhouse in London Gatwick’s North Terminal

Virgin Atlantic has opened a new Clubhouse lounge in London Gatwick’s North Terminal.

Today sees a significant reorganisation at London Gatwick. easyJet has consolidated its operations in the North Terminal. 

To accommodate this move, British Airways has moved from the North Terminal to the South Terminal. Virgin Atlantic has moved from the South Terminal, its home at Gatwick since the airline first launched in 1984, to the North Terminal.

This move of course means new lounges for both BA and Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic has today opened its new Clubhouse in the North Terminal.  It is located on level 4 of the terminal, after security.

Lounge features include:

  • A marble bar offering complimentary drinks including bespoke cocktails from East London bar The White Lyan
  • A complimentary to order brunch menu featuring popular staples such as Eggs Benedict
  • Floor to ceiling windows with views of the airport’s apron
  • A woodland themed play area for younger travellers
  • A Clubhouse spa with a selection of complimentary treatments such as facials and paid for treatments such as wet shaves and massages.  The spa is open from 7.00am to 12:30pm

Here is the spa treatment menudining menu and cocktail menu.

First impressions are that the lounge looks bright, spacious and (at least when the weather’s good) the floor-to-ceiling window views should put passengers in the right frame of mind for a holiday.

Here are some official pictures released by Virgin Atlantic:

Passengers travelling in Virgin’s Upper Class cabin and Flying Club gold cardholders are eligible to access the lounge.

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Gatwick to Antigua, Barbados, Cancun, Grenada, Havana, Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Orlando, St Lucia, Tobago and Varadero.

Virgin Atlantic’s Hong Kong Clubhouse is to close from Sunday 5 February 2017

Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse lounge in Hong Kong has closed.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Hong Kong
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Hong Kong (Image Credit; Virgin Atlantic)

Virgin Atlantic has long been known for its small, but distinctive, portfolio of Clubhouse lounges around the world. That portfolio will be a little smaller shortly as its Clubhouse at Hong Kong International Airport is to close from Sunday 5 February 2017.

The reason for the closure is that the lease on the space occupied by the clubhouse has come up for renewal and Virgin Atlantic has decided not to renew the lease for reasons of cost.

Passengers travelling in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin and Flying Club Gold members will be able to use the third party Plaza Premium lounge.

The Plaza Premium lounge is located near Gate 40 on Level 7, Departures level of Terminal 1. The lounge is open 24 hours a day. Facilities include showers, a bar, and a private resting area.
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BA to open new lounges in London Gatwick’s South Terminal on 25 January 2017

In January 2017 there will be a significant re-organisation at London Gatwick.  easyJet will consolidate all of its operations in London Gatwick’s North Terminal.  In order to faciliate this move both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will swap terminals (BA from North to South and Virgin Atlantic vice vesa).

BA’s lounges in the North Terminal have long been closed due to construction work with passengers being required to use the No 1 lounges as an interim measure.

Details of what BA lounge arrangements there will be in the South Terminal for business and first class passengers and Silver/Gold Executive Club cardholders have long been anticipated.

BA has now confirmed some initial information (short of releasing final images of the lounge) for both check-in and lounge facilities.

For check-in and security:

  • There will be dedicated premium check- in area in Zone A of the terminal for Club Europe, Club World, First Class and Silver & Gold Executive Cardholders.  This will feature dedicated seating, power outlets and bespoke furnishing.
  • There will be a dedicated premium security facility on Level 3 of the South terminal.

As regards lounges:

  • Capacity for 477 passengers (which BA say is 40% larger than the former North terminal lounge)
  • A separate First Class lounge with upgraded seating, finishes and lighting (it is assumed that Gold cardholders will have access to this lounge as some recent BA lounge developments in Dubai and Singapore feature a “Concorde Bar” for passengers ticketed in First Class only)
  • Floor to ceiling windows with views of the runway
  • A “beautifully curved” staircase overlooking the main lounge
  • Full kitchen facilities in both lounges giving an upgraded food & beverage offering (details of menus are to confirmed)
  • A ‘kidszone’ room for children
  • Shower facilities

We will post images of the lounges as soon as they are released.

It is also worth mentioning that prior to the formal switch of flights on 25 January 2017 some flights will move in advance on a trial basis.

Update 25 January: Whilst the Terminal switch has taken place today, 25 January, the opening of the lounges has been delayed.  In the interim, passengers travelling in Club Europe, Club World and Silver Executive Club card holders can use s temporary “Speedbird” lounge.  Passengers travelling in First Class and Gold Executive Club cardholders can use the third party No 1 lounges.

Update 7 February: It is understood that both of the lounges have now undergone a “soft” opening.  However, not all facilities and amenities 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: It is understood that the new lounges are now fully open and operational and therefore the temporary lounge arrangements have been withdrawn.

Cathay Pacific opens its new business and first class lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3

Cathay Pacific has today opened its new first and business class lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

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