British Airways Concorde Room Cabanas: Where Hospital Bathrooms Meet Sperm Banks

As I explained earlier, I had quite an exciting day of flying on Sunday, as I missed my flight from Dallas to Beijing and was instead routed via London Heathrow, flying American connecting to British Airways.

I’ve reviewed British Airways’ Concorde Room several times before. While it’s one of the more highly regarded and well known lounges, personally I find it to be underwhelming:

  • It’s typically extremely crowded
  • The food quality and service are lacking
  • The bathrooms are absolutely disgusting
  • The shower rooms are even worse than the bathrooms
  • There’s a wait for just about everything… expect to wait hours for an Elemis spa treatment, cabana, or shower (the spa treatments and cabanas can be reserved in advance, but personally I don’t like tying myself down to a 15 minute spa appointment before I even show up at the airport, especially given how frequent delays into/out of Heathrow are)

Concorde-Room

In fairness, the lounge has excellent champagne, as they serve Grand Siecle, which is the same champagne British Airways serves aboard in first class. So that is one huge thing the lounge had going in its favor.

I had an especially long layover at Heathrow yesterday, so attempted to request a cabana. There was about a four hour wait for a cabana, though as I said above, they can be requested in advance for extended periods of time when traveling in first class. So I was only able to reserve one from 2PM until 4PM, which was the tail end of my layover. For what it’s worth, the Concorde Room has three cabanas.

When I think “cabana” I immediately think of Cathay Pacific’s excellent shower rooms in “The Wing,” which are stunning.

Cabana

Here’s what a British Airways’ Concorde Room cabana looks like:

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-8

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-7

As you can see, it’s essentially one big hospital-looking bathroom. And then you have a comfortable lounge chair with an ottoman, pillow, and blanket, which has no separation whatsoever from the bathroom. The chair has no doubt seen better days, and has about as many, erm, “love stains” as I’d expect in a sperm bank.

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-2

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-3

Then there’s a chair in the corner, a side table, a couple of bottles of water, and a TV.

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-1

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-4

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-5

There are food and drink menus in the room, so in theory you can order food to the cabana. Personally I’d rather go to the restaurant area to eat at a “real” table, but the option is there…

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-6

The cabana has adjustable lighting, so it is nice to be able to turn down the lights and at least get a bit of shut eye for a while, even if it’s not the most luxurious space or comfortable surface on which to sleep.

BA-Concorde-Room-Cabana-9

Bottom line

Ultimately the cabanas in the Concorde Room are a nice option to have, though for a super-long layover I wouldn’t use them as a substitute for a day-room, even if I could reserve one in advance. We’re better off having the option of using them than not, but there’s nothing about them which are worthy of being in a lounge associated with the Concorde.

Have you used a British Airways cabana before? If so, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Personally I think the most overrated part of the “premium” travel experience are the airport lounges. Nice airports don’t really need premium lounges and shitty airports that would actually benefit tend to come with really shitty lounges. Leaving me wondering what the point is. Thanks for the heads-up though. The more attention that we draw to BA’s lackluster offerings the better the chance they’ll eventually do something about it.

  2. Lucky, you must have got one of the poorer cabanas – When my wife and I, travel in First and have a layover in LHR, we request a cabana, and it looks like we get a better one than the one you stayed in..the bathroom/shower facilities in our cabana were very different to yours.

    Vompd

  3. Wow!!!! That is a disgusting cabana!!!! I hope you had your slippers on while taking a shower on that place. Yikes!!!!

  4. That shower looks comparable to those at the KLM Crown Lounge at AMS…. pretty gross.

  5. I think i’ve seen better places in Russia LOL this is what you would expect from some Russian airline haha

  6. First class cabana? This is worst looking than a 20€ per night hostel in the suburbs of London.

  7. I have only met a few Dax’s in my life, what are the odds of two on one comments section! Now only going by Dax H on here 🙂

    But I agree with the other Dax, lounges are a disappointment!

  8. Well, if the TV had porn, it would look like the doctor’s office where I perform my role in IVF.

  9. I thought you’d be quite complimentary about ba today. I wondered when you’d have something negative to say! I fairness I think you got a disabled access cabana. The last time I used a cabana in the ccr it wasn’t that bad! Personally I prefer the lounge over a cabana any day, for nothing more than to people watch.

    Enjoy the rest of the trip.

  10. If i got that cabana i will get out directly and tell the staff i will be better without,disgusying as BA is.

  11. Oh that’s disgusting. The term “Cabana” makes it sound so luxurious and inviting but the reality is very different. On a positive note, it makes me feel good about avoiding flying BA whenever I can!

  12. That’s definitely a disabled access shower and toilet arrangement. You can tell by things like the extra lower faucet handles, seat in the shower, rails around the toilet, shower floor, etc.

    Which is no excuse for it to be grungy though.

  13. My word certainly not what you’d expect from a flagship lounge?! As a comparison it’s interesting that some of the middle eastern carriers seems to offer a better lounge experience at LHR then BA themselves (looking at the Qatar lounge here).

  14. at the huge risk of sounding “totally kiss ass” …….

    Ben, keep up the good work !! Those burdened to fly LoserClass will never ever be “exposed” to the wondrous (and sometimes shoddy/sleazy) underbelly of flying upper class. How could the lesser mortals know of The 7 Wonders Of The UpperClass Flying World without some non-snob-oid pioneering trailblazer informing them of such ?!!??

    I myself completely enjoy my own personal self-anointed status as a very-very-infrequent upperclass flyer. Were that I immensely wealthy to afford a daily flight somewhere/anywhere/I don’t care. Or that I were smarter decades ago to have purchased a “forever first class” pass on American. (I had the money but not the foresight).

    These days, I enjoy the reviews you provide which inform me of just what I am missing.

    Do ….. Not …… Stop !! You are an inspiration to many of us !!

  15. I have used that Concorde Lounge 5 times this year. It is appallingly bad, but could be easy to fix. The manners of some of teh staff are terrible. Rude incosiderate service punctuated by the occasional excellent one. I have complained to the check-in people on each occasion and they tell me to email a complaint. I’ve never had a reply to the two emails I did send.

    The spa is a joke. Always overbooked. If you actually want to get a spa service have them book you over at the B terminal which is where the US long haul flights go from.

    The food is OK, when you get it. The drinks are top quality, when they bother to bring them along. I’ve taken to sitting at the bar in front of the wine.

    I agree on the bathrooms. There is often a 30 min wait on them. They are overused and undercleaned.

    The Virgin lounge is so much better in service and amenities, excepting the drink selection.

    As for you above complaining about flying as the super wealthy. Earn and use your miles wisely and you can fly almost for free in business and first class. I’ve done 100,000 long haul miles this year, almost all of it on miles.You don’t need to be rich, just willing to be a little flexible and smart on earning and using miles.

  16. Lucky, I’ve had that same cabana before, but I thought it was just nice to have a place to shower and eat in peace after an overnight flight! (Even if the food sucks and the shower burps!)

  17. LOL – how can BA get it so wrong when others get it so right? Lucky, your reviews are an endless source of entertaining reading and very useful information.

  18. Looks like the cabana I got the last time I was there. As far as I know, they’re all this sad.

  19. Hi Ben, it was fun to meet you in the Cathay Lounge (Beijing) last Saturday. Thanks for this write up on the Concorde Cabanas LHR. I’m flying BA F in late July and was thinking of reserving one for my layover to MAD. After seeing your post and pics, I’m passing on it. That is one gross space.

  20. I had a cabana at the Concorde Room that looked exactly like the one you showed except that the ottoman had a broken leg. Three legged ottomans are not terribly useful. Overall, more Motel 6 than first class. I was very disappointed in the Concorde Room. Oh, it was dirty too…

  21. “In fairness, the lounge has excellent champagne, as they serve Grand Siecle, which is the same champagne British Airways serves aboard in first class. So that is one huge thing the lounge had going in its favor.”

    Jesus Christ dude, champagne is not the yardstick everyone uses to measure the worthiness of a lounge.

  22. This is hilarious. The UA lounge shower at EWR looks like LH FCT in comparison.
    You see, UA is not so bad

  23. BA seems to have a policy against ever replacing cushions in lounges. Pretty much every BA lounge I’ve ever been to is full of extremely sorry-looking chairs that look like grandpa has been sitting in them every day for 50 years. So strange.

  24. BA really do seem to have lost the plot over the last decade or so, and this just made me firmly put BA on my “don’t bother” for premium flights (my flights in BA First certainly felt more J than F, so they were already well down my list).

    As Eric pointed out, it doesn’t matter if this cabana was a handicapped one or not (it makes it worse really, because if the other cabanas were much better, it says that BA consider handicapped patrons are second class), that it exists at all is saying that BA is happy with such a low benchmark. The standard you accept is the one you live by.

  25. I couldn’t agree more.
    In my opinion the differences to the “standard” BA lounges are just minor, and compared to other airlines’ first class or top tier lounges the CCR is very disappointing.

  26. Omg…this really looks like in a hospital or retirement home. Definitely not a place where I could feel comfortable in any way.

  27. @lucky – Why not? You’ve already made the post title so passive-aggressively negative.

  28. I was very happy and excited for my BA cabana, and just wished that I hadn’t been sick so that I could enjoy the “room service.” I was grateful for the privacy and the chance to rest.
    I liked the chair in the cabana better than CX’s “sofa” in their shower rooms, even if CX’s layout was prettier overall.

    I think you might be getting a bit spoiled, Lucky. You might want to consider doing long-haul coach sans lounges for a trip. You’ll appreciate the luxuries a lot more!

  29. As much as I love BA, I would not want that cabana! Looks very poor – LHR is our home airport so we never actually think about booking them. Over the last couple of months I have been having quite disappointing lounge experiences at T5, mostly staff related. At the Concorde room, it was seriously a joke and at the first lounge, which I use more regularly namely when flying short haul – it was filthy. And not enough people cleaning up or taking orders. And the magazines are appalling. But at least we have good champagne. BA can do better – it’s their home lounge

  30. Every notice the showers in the one word emerald lounge? They wheeze like an asthmatic robot. It is just disgusting. Also that blue floor is eastern block hospital chic.

  31. The worst part is that this is (I assume?) in T5, so something this hideous was built only a few years ago! What were they thinking?

  32. That’s disgusting! Even if they weren’t stained, the saggy cushions on the lounge chair gross me out. They look damp even if they’re not. Yuck. Ben, I hope you send the pictures to BA. Whoever is in charge of that lounge should be fired.

  33. Cabana is a misnomer. I made a quick dash in and a quicker dash out precisely for the aforementioned reasons and the photos are spot on. Ironic how amazing the Cathay lounges are in comparison and it’s not even Cathay First lounge Im referring to.
    The only thing that’s worth sticking around for is the dining options and the drinks selection. As mentioned, the service was spotty and I witnessed another flyer receive his main before his starter. needless to say that didnt sit well 🙂

  34. We were told to make sure we locked ourselves in as ‘people come in ‘cos they think it’s a toilet’. It was awful and tatty – couldn’t wait to get out of there and into the lounge. Very disappointed.

  35. Used the cabana on the 31st of July 2016 on my outbound flight to Kuala Lumpur. It wasn’t great, it was kind of smelly and had no luxurious feel about it. Yes, it was like a hospital room. I did not order any food and nobody bothered to ask or check if I wanted anything. Once I got there I was just left and there was practically no service.. As for the massage I tried to book a slot 3 weeks in advance only to be told that it was fully booked. Nice way to start a so called luxury first class experience. I was unhappy and wrote again only to be told there are walk in slots kept open for first class passengers on the day. On the day I was told the only space available was 40 minutes before my departure time so I was only offered a massage chair for 15 minutes! BA boasts of their exclusive experience for first class passengers….well I did not experience any special or exclusive feeling. Flight itself was pretty average and nothing to write home about. First class with BA is light years behind La Première with Air France.

  36. Having used the Cabanas in the past, I agree with your comments. They do look grubby. There are too few of them. The concept is good but they need updating. A partition between the en suite section is essential.

    The Elemis Spa is the worst I have ever experienced. Hopelessly short treatments for first class guests, little privacy. Rude staff and form filling that takes longer than the treatment itself. Dreadful. British Airways first class product lags behind rivals. I use only if I have to.

    PS: I love this site but wish there could be more for UK customers.

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