Weekend in Paris: British Airways First Class Lounge London, British Airways Club Europe London to Paris

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After walking through an endless number of corridors I found myself at the transfer center, where I boarded a bus bound for terminal 5. While I usually do everything I can to avoid a connection involving a terminal transfer at Heathrow, I was quite excited to see the infamous terminal 5 firsthand.


Terminal transfer bus

The bus ride was quite enjoyable, much like the car ride from Lufthansa’s first class terminal… minus the luxury sports car and person that carries your luggage for you.

I got to see quite a bit of cool traffic, including a Cathay Pacific 747 and Qantas A380, which I had flown just a week prior from Melbourne to London.


Cathay Pacific 747


Qantas A380

Once at terminal 5 I followed the “flight connections” sign for what must have been a mile until I reached the security checkpoint.


Heading to security…

Security was surprisingly quick, so I found myself in terminal 5 with plenty of time to spare.

The terminal itself is quite grand, almost similar to Hong Kong Airport.


Terminal 5


Terminal 5

I headed to the South side of the terminal to visit the first class lounge, where I was admitted by a cheery agent after presenting my inbound American Airlines first class boarding pass.


Escalator to the lounges

The lounge itself was huge and with plenty of seating, though lacked the first class “feeling” if for no other reason than how full it was. The lounge is a nice business class lounge at best. Not a nice first class lounge, and not even a really nice business class lounge.

Admittedly this probably has something to do with the fact that OneWorld Emeralds are permitted access to the first class lounge, which really doesn’t make it all that much of a first class lounge. Instead, British Airways first class passengers have access to the Concorde Room, which is the “real” first class lounge.


First class lounge


First class lounge


First class lounge


First class lounge


Business center

The food selection was really lacking. They had crisps and cookies, but that was the extent of the self serve selection. They also had a menu with more substantial dishes, though not once did I see a server roaming around to take orders.


Self serve bar


Self serve bar


Menu


My selection

After spending some time catching up on email I left the lounge at around 10AM. My departure gate was A11, which was only a few minutes away, so I got there before boarding started.


Departure gate

I was happy to see they had a dedicated fast track boarding lane, which made for a rather easy boarding process. At 10:15AM boarding began.


Fast Track lane

British Airways 308
London (LHR) – Paris (CDG)
Friday, June 3
Depart: 10:45AM
Arrive: 1:00PM
Duration: 1hr15min
Aircraft: Airbus 320
Seat: 7A (Club Europe)

At the door I had to show my boarding pass, as usual. I always find it funny how they say “that’s lovely” when you show them your boarding pass.

The business class cabin had seven rows, and I ended up in the last row this time around. I had pre-selected 2C, but due to my ticket being canceled the night before my trip, my seat assignment on this segment was wiped out.


Club Europe cabin

Since I had all three seats to myself I took the window  seat. As is usually the case in intra-Europe business class, the seats were really only coach seats with a blocked middle, so not especially comfortable, particularly after coming off a transatlantic flight.


Cabin shot from my seat


Legroom


View out the window

Around departure time the captain made an announcement advising us of congestion at Heathrow (there’s a shocker!), and saying it would be about 15 minutes before we pushed back. However, she advised us that our flight time was only 40 minutes, so we should still arrive right on schedule (pronounced my favorite way, of course — “shed-jewel”).

As expected we pushed back right on the hour. Nothing beats the variety of traffic at Heathrow, so I quite enjoyed the views as we weaseled our way out the alleyway.


Tough choice between Dallas Debbie and Washington Wilma!

We ended up holding at the end of the alleyway for about 10 minutes, which turned out to be quite an interesting front row seat to some emergency. Something seemed to be going on in the cargo hold of a British Airways 747,  as I counted at least nine fire trucks surrounding it.


Something’s going on!

Once we were out of the alleyway it was just a quick taxi before we were airborne.


Heavies, heavies, and heavies


View after takeoff

As soon as we climbed through 10,000 feet the service began. Brunch was being served on this flight, which was a cold plate consisting of cheese, ham, fruit, and Gerber baby food… or something like that. Unlike British Airways’ dreadful Club Europe breakfast service, this was actually tasty.

Given how short the flight is, one flight attendant distributed the trays with food on them, while the other flight attendant came around with drinks.


Brunch

We were well into our descent before the flight attendants managed to clear the trays.


View on approach

After touchdown we officially reached the halfway point in our journey, given that taxiing at Charles de Gaulle can take longer than the actual flight from London to Paris.


Stop trying to show off, Air France!


Huh? That’s an airline?


Cathay Pacific 747

After disembarking I followed the signs towards the train I’d be taking to the city, which turned out to be at least a 20 minute walk.


Terminal


Walkways galore!

While London and Paris are probably my two least favorite airports in the world, the flight was pleasant, and as usual the meal service on a 40 minute flight on a European airline is impressive to see when you’re used to US airlines.

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Comments

  1. I’ve been through the F lounge probably 30-40 times over the past year and never saw it without food in the buffet / self serve area. Maybe its just the times I’ve gone through, but they have been pretty spread out.

    I think you just missed that area of the lounge. Doesn’t seem like you got it by the pictures.

  2. I do hope there are photos to go along with Lucky’s next “moron” entry of buying an RER ticket and then walking all over central Paris looking for his hotel. 🙂

  3. @ Troy — Interesting. Truth be told I wasn’t especially hungry so wasn’t seeking out food, though I didn’t see it. Maybe I just missed it.

    @ ArizonaGuy — You betcha!

  4. A) you did actually have access to the Concorde Room based on your inbound AA F stub.

    B) there’s a massive food buffet in the ‘kitchen’ area. The spread changes through breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plenty of pics of it online if you do a search. Just feel the above review is really quite harsh on the lounge, which is actually fantastic if explored properly…

  5. @Lewis – Concorde Room is only available if your outbound or inbound is BA F.

    Agree with your comment and Troy’s about the food in the First lounge – it’s actually very good, even the food offering in the business lounge at T5 is very impressive compared to what some other airlines offer.

  6. Maybe the BA lounge person was just being nice, or was misinformed, but I was admitted without question to the BA Concorde room based on my AA F boarding card during my last transit over LHR. Perhaps I was just lucky.

  7. Ben–

    Does one get access to the BA F Lounge in T5 solely based on having been inbound in AA F? Or did your OW status have something to do with it? Or did being outbound in C on BA factor into the access?

  8. @ jmd001 — Yes, I had access solely based on arriving in first class on a OneWorld airline and having a connecting OneWorld flight. In the meantime I’m Executive Platinum, which would get me access anyway as a OneWorld Emerald.

  9. @Marshall Jackson

    You were very lucky. Unless something has very recently changed, Concorde Room is only for passengers flying BA F (including connecting from BA F to a OW airline departing from the same terminal in any class), CCR Cardholders and BA Premiers.

  10. The problem with the BA First lounge is that it essentially has the same access rules as an LH Senator lounge (frequent fliers and those flying first class on partners) but is branded to be something much nicer. Perhaps a good example of the importance of managing expectations?

  11. @ gba — That’s a very good point. Nobody thinks of the Senator lounge as a first class lounge, because there’s no “first class” in the name.British Airways’ “first class lounge,” on the other hand, not so much…

  12. For a 40 minute flight I’m surprised they provide food like that. That is basically the flight time from PHX-LAS. Seems like the FAs have enough trouble just dealing with the drinks.

    Nice pretzel roll. (I just gotta figure out how to make those.)

  13. We recently flew SFO-LHR-CDG on a BA F award, so were able to use the Concorde Lounge. It’s a true first class lounge, including complimentary dinner entrees ordered off a menu :-).

  14. @Euan, that is incorrect. I have a copy of the internal BA lounge access guidelines and it specifyically says AA F and ongoing BA in yvor j has ccr access.

  15. AA F inbound BP does not grant access to the Concorde Room. The CCR is not a oneworld lounge. BA provide the Galleries First to cater to the oneworld rules for Emeralds and partner airlines’ F passengers.

    The First Refectory is reached by going left after you enter the lounge then left immediately again. (you can see it on the left as you go up the escalator from the shopping area). There’s a very decent selection of food there and frankly the lounge is one of the best anywhere.

  16. You also completely missed the champagne room, the huge selection of newspapers, etc. in the lounge.

    I agree you did no justice to it. You definitely need to go back — a bit less travel weary!

  17. A few more trips to London, a few more flights on BA, and you’ll be saying “shed-jewel” and “lovely” and “fancy” and….

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