LHR: London British Airways British Airways Terminal 5A Concorde Room
If you are flying in First Class from Heathrow Terminal 5, oddly, you don't want to head to the First Class lounge. That lounge is designed for oneworld Emeralds – although you can head here if you wish. Instead, the elite of the elites go to the Concorde Room.
Firstly, check in at LHR Terminal 5 at the exclusive First Class check in area – with white walls, off to the right of the main concourse. Here you can get the exclusive First bag tags for your checked and hand luggage. Then, when you are through security (use the Fast Track security line on the right), you can turn right for the hidden door into the lounge. There is normally someone on a podium here stopping the great unwashed in Business from entering by this route.
And then – you're in, into one of the most elite lounges on any airline. The British Airways Concorde Room has a kind of subdued hush, but then again when you are flying at this kind of elite level, another passenger is hassle indeed.
The British Airways Concorde Room is split into two: inside and outside on the balcony. As soon as you enter on your left there is the bar, while the Concorde Dining restaurant is on the right. There are plenty of seats here, or you can sit on the middle bar, by the imitation fire, or in squashy armchairs. Most people however head to the balcony, and this is where the Concorde Room comes into its own.
The balcony is very exclusive, looking down on the simple Gold balcony below, and indeed in the far distance the general hoy-paloy of the airport. It is of course still inside, but the views of the runway and the gates are superb. There are a couple of loungers here, as well as sofas around coffee tables. It never seems to busy; indeed it is the most relaxing part of the airport.
There is of course a left luggage area within the Concorde lounge. It is just to the left as you come in, and the left luggage area will happily hang onto your bags if you want to go shopping: just remember your boarding card, as it can be very difficult to get back into 'the room' without it.
Finally, when time comes to leave the British Airways Concorde Room, check the gates carefully. If you're unlucky you'll have to go from the B or C satellite, which means much less lounge time, however you can generally time it just right to leave the Concorde room 20 minutes before the doors shut, because as a real First customer you can of course use priority boarding. If BA forget to do this and there is just one snaking line heading towards the gate, ignore the rif-raff in Business and walk to the head of the queue. Your first boarding pass will get you onboard instantly.
FoodConcorde Room Food is very good indeed, as you might expect. Indeed, you can generally expect many people to be indulging in pre-flight dining here. There are two options. The Concorde Dining Room (Restaurant) is five star, with excellent wait staff who will take your order.
The Burger is particularly recommended, as is the Eggs Benedict. Of course you can get your traditionally breakfast time Bacon Butty (which is served all day) and you can also get a traditional British Afternoon Tea. You don't have to eat in the ‘room if you don't want to, and many people prefer to take afternoon tea on the terrace.
BarOf course many passengers are here for the bar. If you want, the butlers can bring you champagne, however most people walk up to the bar. Unusually, there isn't actually a walk-up serve yourself bar here.
There is usually a choice of two or three vintage champagnes, one of which is normally rosé, while the wine list goes on forever. If you are after a special wine, most of the selection are on the top of the bar, around the guest book. One fau'par that a few US passengers make is it to try to tip at the bar. Do not ever do this.
BathroomsThere are of course excellent bathrooms in the Heathrow British Airways Concorde Room, and shower suites, in the Concorde Room. However, there is also the joy of the Cabanas!
The Cabanas are 3 private rooms, and each one has a bed and an en-suite bathroom, so you can take a nap and refresh before your flight. The showers are amazing, but beware of the cabana shower drains which sound like an out of work sewage plant. There is a good chair and desk too, so you can get a bit of work done, but the 'bed' isn't really: its a large arm chair, and foot stool, facing a TV: good for a nap for one person, but that is about it.
You can book a Cabana - which is a very good idea, considering how many people want to use them as their personal VIP room. You'll need to phone the 'Youfirst' number (UK residents) and you are given a 4 hour slot, or you can try your luck at the desk in the Concorde Room.
Business FacilitiesThere are of course Computers, which are neatly tucked away in the Boardroom. The eight in here are fast and good, but ever so slightly crampt, and it can often be a problem getting hold of one. There is also a combined fax and photocopier in the boardroom. Sometimes people try and hold meetings in here too, but in fact the room is open to anyone.
While you are here, look at the chairs, which are genuine Concorde chairs, taken straight off the plane, upholstered in Connolly leather. There is also WiFi. It is free, but you will need a password, which is usually displayed within the lounge.
There is usually a vast rack of magazines in the Concorde Lounge, from Country Life to GQ, and of course every UK newspaper (except the Guardian) and a fair few from abroad: mainly US papers. The magazines are held on two large tables, one by the conceige desk, and the other between the bar the the terrace.
AccessThe London Heathrow British Airways Concorde Room is very much for First Class passengers only. Don't imagine you can get in here with a Frequent Flyer card: you'll need to a proper First Class ticket. If you are only a oneworld Elite, there is the Gold Lounge on the floor below.
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