A380 Extravaganza: British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow

Introduction
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge San Francisco
Singapore Airlines Suites Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Suites Class Hong Kong to Singapore
Conrad Singapore
Shangri-La Singapore
Skyview Lounge Singapore
Cathay Pacific Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Araliya Lounge Colombo
Cathay Pacific Business Class Colombo to Singapore
Emirates Lounge Singapore
Emirates First Class Singapore to Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
Coworth Park London (Ascot)
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to Seattle


Up front I should say that I shared many of my feelings of the Concorde Room in a post entitled “The British Airways Concorde Room… a bloody disaster!” So if you’ve read that post, parts of this installment may seem familiar.

The drive to Heathrow terminal five took about 20 minutes, and we were dropped off at the entrance closest to first class check-in.


Terminal exterior


Terminal five entrance

The terminal five check-in area is impressive with high ceilings and lots of natural light.


Terminal five check-in area

To the very right of the terminal we saw the first class check-in area, which was partitioned off from the rest of the terminal.


First class check-in area

At the entrance an agent asked us whether we were in first class and directed us to one of the open counters.


First class check-in area

The check-in counters are nothing fancy — nothing like Thai in Bangkok where you’re seated and offered a drink while they process your check-in — though perfectly functional. While I had carried on my rollaboard for the entire trip I decided to proactively check it to avoid having my bag eventually gate checked, given that this is Heathrow after all. The agent was friendly and confirmed that our flight would be operated by a 747 with the new first class, which I was happy to hear.


Check-in counters

We headed towards the security checkpoint, and I found the below sign pretty funny. The “how busy is security” indicator might be a lot more useful if they indicated what the scale was.


How busy is security?

The premium security queue was short and we were through in a matter of minutes. The door to the Concorde Room is just past the security checkpoint on the right, so I snapped a picture of it with my phone. I was immediately approached by one of the security officers — “let me see that photo and then delete it immediately.” I responded with “sorry, to clarify, I was taking a picture of the lounge entrance and not the security checkpoint. Here’s the picture.” I showed her the picture and she said “delete that right now.” I said “is photography not allowed at the airport or why?” She responded with “it’s a security policy but has nothing to do with security.” Huh? I deleted it and she said “you better not restore that photo.” Alrighty then…

I figured things would only get better from there, though it didn’t get any better as the Concorde Room agent didn’t even say a word and simply handed back our boarding passes after scanning them.

I had heard great things about the Concorde Room, so was excited to see what it was like. After all, it’s only available to British Airways first class passengers, while other OneWorld first class lounges are available to OneWorld Emerald members and partner airline first class passengers. My point of comparison was the Galleries First lounge, which is more or less for partner first class passengers and OneWorld Emerald members.

The lounge was smaller than I expected and also quite crowded. There were lots of seating areas, though nothing as stylish as the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt or anything.


Concorde Room


Concorde Room


Concorde Room


Concorde Room


Concorde Room


Concorde Room

There’s also a terrace portion of the lounge, which is open air with the rest of the terminal. I actually found it a much more comfortable place to sit thanks to the natural light and high ceilings.


Concorde Room terrace


Concorde Room terrace


Concorde Room terrace

I had heard great things about the service in the Concorde Room, though I didn’t find that to be the case. Not once was I approached by one of the wait staff and offered a drink or anything to eat, contrary to Lufthansa and Thai’s lounges, where you’re asked just about every few minutes.

The disappointment continued with the rest of the lounge. The bathrooms were spacious, though industrial looking and not very clean.


Bathroom


Bathroom

The Concorde Room also has a few Cabanas which can be reserved in advance. I didn’t reserve one since we were just at the airport for a couple of hours, though I did have a look at one. The Cabana featured a chair with ottoman, TV, and bathroom. Nothing impressive or anywhere I’d want to kill much time.


Cabana


Cabana


Cabana

At around noon we decided to go to the Concorde Dining area to eat.


Concorde Dining

We walked up to the counter and I said “hello,” and the waitress walked away and huffed, having clearly heard what I said. She returned and simply said “two?”

She brought us to our seats without saying a word, and after 30 seconds came back and said “ready?”


Concorde Dining


Our table

We asked for some more time so we could look over the menu, which read as follows:

The wine list read as follows:

I ordered an open faced chicken sandwich, one of only four things on the “light bites” menu. She looked at me like I was from another planet and said “we’re out.” So I instead just ordered a wonton soup. My friend ordered the burger though asked for it medium rare, to which the waitress responded they could only do it well done due to health code, but assured him “it’s more like medium though.”

Then our food was served. I was first served my wonton soup, which was pretty bland.


Prawn Wonton and sweet corn broth, spring onion and pak choi

My friend had ordered a burger, and as she brought the plate I could have swore she said “f@ck, f@ck, f@ck.” Excuse me?!?

As it turned out they had placed the silverware too close together, so she was asking my friend to move his fork a little bit. Still, I can think of better ways to do that than “fork, fork, fork.”


BA gourmet beef burger

His burger was far too well done for his liking, unfortunately.


Well done indeed!

Then we ordered dessert. I ordered the warm chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream, while my friend ordered the bread pudding.

The ice cream was already completely melted by the time the chocolate fondant arrived… if it even was ice cream to begin with.


Warm rich dark chocolate fondant, vanilla bean ice cream (or not)


Brioche, apple and cinnamon bread and butter pudding, apple cream, butter

Then it was time for the spa appointment I had made for 1:20PM. I got there at 1:15PM and was told that my treatment would be running about 15 minutes late.


Elemis Spa entrance

The spa offers three types of treatments, though when we made our appointment only the scalp and shoulder massage was available.


Spa menu

I sat in the waiting area for about 15 minutes until it was time for my appointment, and I got to witness several people finishing their treatments and being pitched Elemis products.


Elemis Spa waiting area

Eventually it was my turn and the therapist directed me to the massage chair, which he turned on right away. The chair itself was awesome, though then he proceeded to just lightly push on my left and right shoulders for about 10 minutes. A toddler could have given as skilled of a massage.


Spa chair

The Elemis Spa is located just outside the Concorde Room, and I made three separate trips in and out. By the third time I figured I wouldn’t need to show my boarding pass again since it was the same lady each time. I asked if she wanted to see it, and she said “yeah, I have no way of remembering who walked in and out.” Great attention to detail!

As we were getting ready to leave the lounge we noticed that our flight had posted a 30 minute delay, so we headed back out to the terrace portion of the Concorde Room to hang out for a few minutes. I opened up my laptop not aware of my surroundings, and then saw a guy walk up to the lady seated across from me and ask her for a picture. I couldn’t tell who it was because he was blocking her from my sight, but as soon as he moved I saw who it was — the one and only Susan Boyle (aka SuBo!).

I’m not gonna lie, I was really star struck, and wasn’t sure whether to just pretend she wasn’t there, tell her I thought she was awesome, ask her for an autograph/picture, or what. So I simply moved on.

After catching my breath for a moment, we headed to the “B” satellite, where our flight was departing from. It’s quite a haul to get there, as it requires taking the escalator to the lower level and then a train under the tarmac to the other satellite.


Escalator to train


Waiting for train

The gate area was pretty busy and boarding was underway, so we went to the “Fast Track” lane, where the agent scanned our boarding passes and gasped, followed by a loud sigh. “Tssssssh, I’m sorry, I’m afraid there’s a slight flood in the first class cabin so I’m going to have to ask you to have a seat over there and I’ll call you as soon as I have the authority to do so.”


Our departure gate

Flooding in the cabin? What the…?

Mind you, the area they had us sit was also where they did the “secondary” screening, which roughly translated to every minority passenger being pulled over for a “random” additional screening.


Sitting in the secondary area

After about 15 minutes the agent was apparently given the “authority” to continue boarding, so on we went. I was picturing some water-sucking vacuum to be at work in the first class cabin, though it was completely dry, as apparently there was just a small problem with the lav.


Our 747 to Seattle in the distance


OneWorld 747 parked next to us

Anyway, on the whole the Concorde Room was extremely disappointing, and not even on my list of the top ten lounges out there. The lounge itself and food were nothing special, though more than anything else I was put off by the rude and indifferent service from just about anyone in the lounge. It would be one thing if they were at least inviting or friendly, but that wasn’t the case…

I’m hoping my experience was a one off and not actually reflective of the lounge.

Comments

  1. Ed says

    Sorry to hear about your crap experience in the CR. When I was there in November, I had decent service with food brought out to me (I sat in the terrace) cordially by a waitress along with champagne. Really enjoyed the Terrace space as like you said, its bright and airy with high ceilings. The food, well lets just say its England and you can’t really expect much. Give it another shot in due course and see if the experience is improved!

  2. wwk5d says

    From what I’ve read on other TR’s about the Concorde Room, the experiences there seem to vary. File it under “Hit or Miss” (as opposed to the TQ and LH lounges in Bangkok and Frankfurst, respectively, which are consistently great). It might have been more enjoyable for you had it been less crowded and had better service.

  3. Tom says

    Sad. Seems that the the adjective people are using the most for BA premium service all around is “decent”. Weren’t they once a great and fairly cutting edge airline?

  4. says

    Sorry you had such a crappy experience. I really enjoyed my time there when I went. Like Ed above I had some food brought to my seat (I actually sat at one of the barstool/tables just outside the eating area) and service was good. The massage was crap though. I hate those chairs personally.

  5. mangoMan says

    I spent 5 hours there last July and had a great experience. Everyone was friendly and we received drink service on the terrace. Restaurant service was great too. But I do not remember it being as crowded as in your photos, so that may be a factor.

  6. PL says

    I was in the CCR last week though only had about 30-45 min in the lounge, and it was equally disappointing for me too. Everything just seemed so-so and it was pretty packed. It certainly could not compare to the LH F and SQ F/TPR lounges. I was also on LHR-SEA and the only positive of the BA experience was that I was the only F pax on that segment. :)

  7. lucky says

    @ Craig — LOL!

    @ M — In some lounges local calls are free, though I’ve never seen a lounge with free international calls.

  8. Tony says

    Lucky you are so lucky to fly the oneworld livery. I heard the oneworld livery aircraft of British Airways are great

  9. says

    Service is hit or miss in my experience – your server sounds like the one I had in the concord room arrivals lounge and having worked as a service I can cut some slack but was disappointed. also surprised by the crowd – was that weather related?
    The burgers unfortunately do need to be cooked well as it is their law in the UK although have found a few good ones in the city (Barbacoa and Bryon)
    For satellite flights I generally go to that lounge as it is always empty in my experience or maybe just the Philly flight time? just buy food/etc in main terminal as it is a satellite food desert save a Boots takeaway

  10. Gabriel says

    The how busy is security sign needs no scale, it’s to tell you how busy one is compared to the other (so you can make the shorter queue, ostensibly).

  11. lamonster says

    I was in the Concorde room today and found the service to be rather indifferent. Not as bad as your experience, but I didn’t feel consistently welcomed.

  12. Jack says

    The law regarding how well to cook beef may be related to their repeated experiences with “mad cow disease” (bovine encephalitis if I remember correctly).

    Jack

  13. abc says

    Actually, the “how busy is security” indicator is still quite useful even without scale. As there are two security checkpoints some distance away from each other, so can just choose the less busy one. It’s really a good feature for airports with several security entrances you can choose from.

  14. Jamie says

    We lived in England for 3 years. Generally they grind the meat too finely, it’s machine shaped (ie not hand pattied) and overcooked. Meatballs are similar. I always advise Americans to skip the burgers in the uk.

  15. concorde02 says

    Ben, When I was there I made international phone call from the CCR… it was free.

    When I was at BA CCR (only once) it was pretty good but not the best. Many times at TG FCL in BKK and always good. However, a friend reported that it was not good at the peak hr (11pm): no seat!! and not personal service. FRA LH FCT/FCL many times and there are times when I did not feel so good too. So I guess it could be all hit and miss but TG and LH are more hit than miss.

  16. Alan says

    Definitely not a great experience – did you provide some feedback to BA (especially given this was a paid F ticket you were on?!) – they need to vastly improve the consistency of what they’re offering here. I’ve never been in the CCR myself but the dining options look little different to the Flounge. The cabanas look massively disappointing – I was expecting something along the lines of one of these – https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=&tbm=isch&q=cabana – not a pokey little room!

    On the burger front though I’m afraid I’m more on their side. With a steak the bacteria are on the outside and therefore killed even when cooked rare, however with a burger the beef has been ground, mixing any surface bacteria (with the main potential organisms we’re bothered about here being Salmonella and E Coli O157) are distributed throughout the patty. It therefore has to be cooked through to minimise the risk of food poisoning (also see http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/acmsfburgers0807.pdf).

  17. says

    You are quite harsh towards BA. I still think they are by far the best European carrier out there, and any comparison to Thai or EK is unfair given the different cost structures of the airlines.

    I have flown BA Club World recently and I have had a very positive experience, which I hope to replicate soon. Indeed, the service could be more courteous at times and they took 2 months to respond to a feedback/complaint I filed online. But overall BA product is very hard to beat. Just my 2 cents…

  18. J Goldmeier says

    Where can I book in advance the spa and cabana? I tried to call Executive Club but they said it can’t be done. I’m confused. Thanks.

  19. Alex says

    Great report! Too bad about the CCR, I have never been. But it seems like a mediocre JCL lounge.

    However, I have to agree on them with the burger. I mean, it’s not a steak. I don’t think you are supposed to eat raw ground beef, not exactly “top quality” meat which can contain a lot of nasty bacterias.

  20. Daniel says

    Echo almost everything in this post. I was severely disappointed with the CCR experience. It was stuffed full of people. Long wait for a table, for a server once seated and for the food (wrong order) to arrive. Would have preferred a buffet style, although the food once it arrived was good. A nice experience but not amazing, and certainly not worthy of its reputation. Seems a bit small for the crowd it serves. And best to avoid hamburgers in the UK full stop! Always disappointing.

  21. Carl says

    My wife and I are at the Concorde Room now and this is our 2nd visit this week. By the way, our first visit earlier this week was connecting from BA F to domestic economy on BA and we had no trouble with access, they welcomed us right in. So for those wondering if they have access arriving on an Int’l F Flight on BA and then connecting to a domestic or Intra-Europe in C or Y on BA, no issues for us, we just showed our inbound F boarding passes.

    Overall, the experience here is pleasant, but certainly not LH or TG quality, a step above the Asiana or CX F lounges in my view. Check-in at BA T5 was not especially friendly, nor was check-in at Elemis. The 20 minute foot massage was nice and i would add we had no problem booking the appointments via the BA “You First” website, both for Elemis and Cabanas.

    Food at Concorde Dining Room was quite good, service friendly enough i suppose, but not memorable. Cabanas are good for a shower, but nothing more, i actually prefer the Business Class shower rooms at ANA Narita and UA Narita over the cabanas here, even though the cabanas are larger.

    Seating can be quite scarce at times, some of that a product of passengers that hog the space. Private toilets were nice, but sterile as in your photos, would be better served i think with a common toilet facility, as they were often all occupied.

    Overall, a good lounge but nothing exclusive in my view.

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