BA First Class Lounge Heathrow feature image

British Airways Galleries First Lounge Heathrow T5 Review

Heathrow is one of the airports I dislike the most. Unavoidable in the travel plans of many. More than 100,000 passengers depart from here each day. Snaking queues, a shortage of space, and a serious lack of comfortable seating make it feel like a cattle market.

But if you’re flying long haul with British Airways (or First Class with non-BA flights), there is sanctuary to be found in this human sardine can.

Welcome to BA Galleries First Lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 South.

Snapshot Verdict

The British Airways Galleries First Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 is a refuge for those flying with BA or a oneworld partner, removing you from the stressful hustle of the main terminal.

Reserved for BA First Class, Gold, and oneworld Emerald members, the British Airways Galleries First Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 offers a quieter, more refined experience amidst the chaotic backdrop of Heathrow.

You’ll benefit from comfort and style, in a spacious area with diverse seating arrangements from champagne bars to more intimate cubicles, although it stops short of the luxury expected of a First Class designation.

It offers a good range of self-service food and beverages, plus practical features like a kids’ area and workspaces, though you may be disappointed by the lack of barista coffee.

Where Is the BA Galleries First Lounge at Heathrow?

British Airways’ Galleries First Lounge sits alongside The Concorde Room and BA’s separate Galleries Club (Business Class) Lounge.

Who Is the Galleries First Lounge For?

Unlike some other lounges, you can’t buy access to the BA Galleries First Lounge. Nor will a Priority Pass membership gain you access.

This doesn’t mean this lounge won’t get busy at peak times, but it is reserved for:

  • Those flying on a scheduled BA flight in First Class
  • Gold members of the British Airways Executive Club on a scheduled flight operated by BA or a oneworld partner
  • Emerald members of any oneworld airline frequent flyer programme on a scheduled BA or oneworld partner flight

You’ll also need to be over 18 or accompanied by an adult to enter the lounge. And if you match the above criteria, you may also be accompanied by one guest who themselves must be traveling on a scheduled BA or oneworld partner flight.

When Is the Lounge Open?

The BA Galleries First Lounge opens at 05:00 and closes at 22:30.

Is the Lounge Comfortable?

This lounge is big and, overall, oozes modernity. There are several different seating zones within the main area, and wherever you sit, you’re not far away from a bar or snack stand.

As you walk into the lounge, the first of these seating areas is best described as something of a champagne bar, though more brightly lit.

Small tables are arranged regimentally, each with two low back seats, and there are a few high bar stool-type seats, too. These seats are comfortable enough, though maybe not for your entire stay here.

Further into the lounge, the seating becomes more eclectic and, in many ways, more like you would expect in an airport lounge. There are soft-covered, modern-shaped chairs and lounge-style sofa arrangements, again with low tables for setting your drinks on.

Wide, low-back chairs are arranged in pairs around tables with little space between them – don’t expect to have a private conversation in these!

There are also seating areas which are more akin to intimate cubicles. These are more spacious, with high-back soft seating arranged side by side with a table between them. These chairs also benefit from foot stalls – ideal for putting your feet up before boarding your flight.

There is a modicum of seating arranged in groups of four, though there are one or two locations in the lounge where larger groups could sit together.

There are a few areas with more intimate lighting, so much so it’s almost dark. These are occupied by comfortable chairs and long corner sofas.

At the end of the lounge, you’ll find The Terrace. This is more like the atmosphere you’d find in the Concorde Room – an incredibly inviting area with several styles of seating, and ideal for enjoying a more relaxed drink while looking out over the terminal.

What Food & Drinks Are Available?

There are several self-serve food and drinks bars in the lounge. These are well-stocked with a good range of alcohol and snacks. One disappointment is that tea and coffee stations don’t offer barista coffee, so that cup of Joe isn’t quite the same as what you might be expecting. There is one staffed bar in the lounge.

The dining area is more like a cafeteria than a restaurant. It’s pleasant enough, but again lacks a little something.

There’s a buffet area here. There are no servers to bring food and drink to you, and most tables accommodate two people, though there are some longer tables that can accommodate larger groups wishing to eat together.

The buffet area serves a broad selection of hot and cold dishes throughout the day, from cold cuts, yoghurts, cereals, and fruit (as well as full English breakfast options) in the morning, to a selection of pies, pastas, curries, and more from lunchtime to evening.

All decent-quality food and ideal to set you up for your flight.

What About The Kids?

If you’re traveling with kids, keeping them amused during the wait to board your flight can be frustrating. I’ve been there, and I feel your anxiety. All they want to do is run around and play. All you want them to do is sit and avoid drawing attention!

Thankfully, there is a kids’ play area, with a couple of low tables accompanied by interactive video, toys, books, and games to keep them amused. It’s light, bright, and does the job it is designed to do.


There is a dedicated work zone, but if this space is full your options are limited.

There are one or two areas where it would be possible to work. One is just off the dining area and incorporates high stalls stood next to a breakfast-bar style arrangement.

This has plenty of charging points, but isn’t a place where you could get stuck into anything more than checking your emails. There’s not enough privacy for more, and the blue lighting here, while looking cool, isn’t great for screen work.

Other than this, if you want to do a little work during your stay in the lounge and the work zone is full, the best bet is the dining tables.

Other Amenities

You’ll get access to free Wi-Fi in the lounge, though newspapers and magazines seem to be a thing of the past.

Visiting the restrooms here is a little like walking down a railroad car – a corridor alongside which are separate cubicles. These are unisex, clean, and functional, with a WC and sink.

A little dated in their décor, but perfectly hygienic for a short visit. There are also showers available.

Summing Up

The British Airways Galleries First Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 offers a welcome refuge from the frustrating and stressful hustle of Heathrow Airport. It’s comfortable, stylish, and has plenty of practical amenities.

The food is good, and there is an impressive range of choices of beverage, even if the lack of barista coffee is a slight letdown.

Overall, though it lacks the opulence of a First Class lounge, it is a haven for those able to access it. With plenty of seating choices, amenities you’d expect, and an area to help keep the kids amused, it serves the purpose intended with some aplomb.

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