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.
That involves about 14 sets of escalators and six miles of walking.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
There’s a sparkly-looking bar, from which most of the service in the lounge occurs.
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.
The bathrooms were actually clean during this visit. The hospital-like look remained the same, however.
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.
In theory the treatment choices are as follows:
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.
As far as massage chairs go, this is an especially comfortable one. I certainly felt refreshed after the 15 minute chair massage.
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.
I also quite like my new name, Mr. Schleffer!
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:
Instead I had a liquid breakfast, consisting of a latte, mimosa, and still water. Yum and yum!
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.
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?