Review: British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow

Introduction
British Airways Concorde Room New York JFK
British Airways First Class 747 New York To London
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Club Europe A319 London to Brussels
Sheraton Brussels Airport
Brussels Airlines Business Class A330 Brussels To Frankfurt
Brussels Airlines Tomorrowland Flight Frankfurt Gate Party
Brussels Airlines Tomorrowland Flight Frankfurt To Brussels
TGV Train Brussels To Paris
ICARE Lounge Paris Charles de Gaulle
La Compagnie Business Class 757 Paris To Newark
Andaz Wall Street New York


I’ve been a pretty big critic of the Concorde Room based on my previous visits. My first visit was early last year, and while it was a nice enough lounge physically, it was crowded, the service was surly, and the food wasn’t very good. My subsequent visit wasn’t much better.

In this case I had quite a short layover of under three hours, which isn’t all that long to connect at London Heathrow (heck, sometimes I’d argue that should be the minimum connection time).

As is fairly standard for longhaul flights landing at Terminal 5, I had to take the train to the main “pier” of the terminal in order to clear security and enter the terminal.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

That involves about 14 sets of escalators and six miles of walking.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

Once at Terminal 5 I got in the Fast Track queue for clearing security. In my experience it’s usually at least as long as the normal line, though in this case it was actually quite short, and I was through almost immediately. For a second I thought Terminal 5 was eerily quiet, and then once past security I realized it was still more crowded than just every other terminal in the world.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

The queue for security took maybe 15 minutes, which was the shortest I’ve ever experienced. But the real miracle is that I managed to get through security without getting a secondary. Typically I set off every alarm and detector at Heathrow — just my luck, I guess.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

Physically Terminal 5 is quite nice, while still feeling like a “traditional” airport (unlike a lot of new airports nowadays, which feel like shopping malls with gates). I proceeded towards the Concorde Room, which was located closer to the other security checkpoint.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

Near the other security checkpoint there’s a door just for the Concorde Room. While watching a recent British Airways documentary I learned that apparently it’s called “the millionaire’s door.” The agent at the door was actually quite friendly, and said “welcome.” I was in shock!

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British Airways Concorde Room entryway London Heathrow

The two ladies at the desk inside also greeted me, which made me wonder whether I was in a dream or what. I should mention that while walking from the plane to the lounge I realized I had left something on the plane, though figured I had no chance of recovering it. I explained to the agent that I had left something in the overhead bin above 2K. I was fully expecting to be laughed at, but to my surprise she took it seriously and said she’d work on it and seek me out when she had an update.

The Concorde Room wasn’t as crowded as it was during my previous visits. There’s a decent amount of seating, and while it doesn’t feel quite as special as the Air France First Class Lounge in Paris, Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, etc., it is a fairly nice space.

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British Airways Concorde Room seating London Heathrow

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British Airways Concorde Room seating London Heathrow

There’s a sparkly-looking bar, from which most of the service in the lounge occurs.

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British Airways Concorde Room bar London Heathrow

Then my favorite part of the lounge is the “outside” terrace, which has great tarmac views and terminal ambient noise which I actually find kind of soothing. My one wish for the terrace is that they’d have power outlets, since I love sitting out there but am usually in need of charging my electronics at this point in my travels.

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British Airways Concorde Room terrace London Heathrow

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British Airways Concorde Room terrace view London Heathrow

The bathrooms were actually clean during this visit. The hospital-like look remained the same, however.

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British Airways Concorde Room bathroom London Heathrow

Once settled into the lounge I headed to the Elemis Spa in hopes of getting some sort of a treatment. It’s located just outside of the Concorde Room, as it’s shared with the other lounges as well.

They do let you make appointments in advance, though in this case I booked the flight the day prior, so didn’t have a chance to do that. For that matter I find it kind of ridiculous that you have to reserve a 15 minute treatment in advance. Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse doesn’t let you make reservations in advance, and appointments seem pretty readily available there.

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British Airways Elemis Spa London Heathrow

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British Airways Elemis Spa London Heathrow

In theory the treatment choices are as follows:

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In practice, however, the only thing they had available was a 15 minute chair massage, which seemed better than nothing. Based on the amount of paperwork I wasn’t sure if I was going into surgery or was going to sit in a chair for 15 minutes.

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British Airways Elemis Spa London Heathrow

As far as massage chairs go, this is an especially comfortable one. I certainly felt refreshed after the 15 minute chair massage.

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British Airways Elemis Spa London Heathrow

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British Airways Elemis Spa London Heathrow

By the time I got back to the Concorde Room the friendly lady that had offered to help me retrieve my lost belonging was frantically running around looking for me, along with one of her associates. “Did you… did you lose an article earlier?” “Yes.” “Oh, you looked different earlier, did you shave? I told my colleague to look for the gentlemen with glasses and a beard.” I didn’t realize I looked that… homely. I had just shaved the day prior. ;)

Anyway, I was incredibly grateful and impressed by the fact that they recovered it so quickly. And they couldn’t have been nicer about the whole process, so kudos to them.

I was equally impressed by the fact that my lost item had more security “tags” than a fur coat at Nordstrom.

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Returned lost property

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Returned lost property

I also quite like my new name, Mr. Schleffer!

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Returned lost property

Anyway, after all that excitement I had about an hour till departure, so I sat down to get caught up on my laptop. I wasn’t hungry so didn’t go to the dining area, though for what it’s worth the breakfast menu read as follows:

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Instead I had a liquid breakfast, consisting of a latte, mimosa, and still water. Yum and yum!

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British Airways Concorde Room liquid breakfast London Heathrow

My flight to Brussels departed at 12:35PM, so I left the lounge at around noon, expecting boarding to be underway by the time I got to the gate.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

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London Heathrow Terminal 5

British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow bottom line

I was actually sort of impressed by the Concorde Room this time around. No, it’s not at risk of being one of the best lounges in the world, as it can’t compete with the Air France First Class Lounge in Paris, Emirates A380 First Class Lounge in Dubai, Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, and Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa in Bangkok.

But unlike in the past, they got the “basics right” — the staff were friendly, and my (liquid) breakfast wasn’t overcooked. ;)

I won’t go out of my way to plan long layovers here, and still don’t like transiting Heathrow, but this is a nice enough lounge. I just wish they’d add some truly first class aspects to their ground product, like Air France and Lufthansa offer at their respective hubs.

If you’ve visited the Concorde Room, what has your experience been?

Comments

  1. Peter says

    We were there (on both inbound and outbound) a few weeks ago and were pleasantly surprised (expectations may have been lowered due to your previous reviews!). But service was good, food was decent, cabanas not very visually appealing but nonetheless functional and relaxing. We had long layovers and being in the Concorde Room made the time more pleasant.

    Agree about the lack of outlets on the ‘terrace,’ and wish they had more snack food, not just ordering items off the menu.

    On the whole, though, very enjoyable!

  2. Vinod says

    @ Lucky, they do have power outlets on the “outside” terrace..They are just discreetly located on the side tables. When we travel with our 3 year old, we are always looking for power outlets for the ipad etc (thats why I remember the location of the power outlets), and a place to chill..the Concorde Room seems to meet our needs, more than the Galleries lounges

  3. says

    The Concorde Room’s misspelling of your name is nothing compared to how people try to (mi)spell my name. (Plafker) My grandfather once got a piece of junk mail addressed to Mr. Plaf–ker. (Yeah, that word…) Consider yourself lucky ;-) (no pun intended)

  4. brianna hoffner says

    I was there last month. Loved the views from the outdoor terrace but it was next to impossible to get the staff to take our orders or bring us anything. And yes, that schlep out to the remote terminal takes fully 20 minutes…

  5. Anthony says

    British Airways overall seems like they do a “workman’s like” job. Solid first, business class and even premium economy, strong route network, good (but not great lounges), versatile (though sometimes costly) rewards program. I kind of like them.

  6. mike k says

    I say we start a pool about the “item.” My vote is it’s Ben’s favorite One Direction album.

  7. Mike says

    The F lounge has the same hideous pre-fab containerized bathrooms. They are only a few years old and already have stains, chips, and generally feel dirty. An odd choice.

  8. JustSaying says

    Last time I was there I chatted up Henry Kissinger and I asked him what he thought of “Lucky” and I got this blank stare……..go figure…………but we thought the Cabana was “just fine” because we PLANNED AHEAD instead of doing a last minute flight……..

  9. Ivan Y says

    @ Lucky – next time you should take one for the team and see if the food has improved because it was pretty bad to begin with and then got dinged with awful quality/sanitation scores.

    @ Nancy M – never heard that term until I searched for it just now.

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