LHR: London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Galleries First Lounge
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The British Airways Galleries First Lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 is to the left of the main entrance hall, to the left of the Spa. There are normally two people manning the main entrance, in toll-booth type boxes. If you have a genuine First Class ticket (as opposed to getting entrance via oneworld Emerald), make sure you pick up a First Dining invitation here too: you won't be allowed into the restaurant without it.
The BA London Heathrow Terminal 3 First Lounge is the same size and shape as the Business lounge next door, but a lot quieter: indeed, with the only flights with First Class leaving with one at 11am and then a rush at 9pm, normally this lounge is deserted during the day, with only the occasional oneworld Emerald popping in. However from 6pm, the rush builds, and by early evening it can be hard to find a decent seat, while by the Champagne bar there is almost a party atmosphere with ex-pat Aussies comparing their time in London, mixing with those off to holiday in Bangkok and Singapore. Without a Concorde Room in Terminal 3, the LHR T3 First Lounge can become quite an Australian celebrity haunt too: members of Cold Chisel mix with out of work Neighbours actors.
The lounge is long and thin. As you enter, there are some very regal looking chairs by the door, then the champagne bar is in front of you. To the left is the main Gold Bar room, with a big bar running the length of the room. Computers are oddly right beside the bar on the left, while on the right are widely spaced chairs, and a view over the airport. This is by far the best area for lounging and people watching.
Back from the entrance and turning right into the BA Terminal three lounge, there is a long coffee bar (serve yourself) opposite the children's room (With toys and well soundproofed door) which has a small sitting area outside it for parents. Further on and there is the secondary World Wine bar, and another view over the runway. On the right from here are high glass partitions and small enclosed private seating. Finally at the end is the buffet, and in the far corner, the First Dining Room.
There is therefore a regular trek for Frequent Flyers taking the evening flights after a hard day in the office in London of going off the to AA lounge for a nap, into Cathay for a sluice down & cocktails, then into the BA lounge for dinner, before heading to the champagne bar for cocktails before the evening Qantas flight. It's such a well worn path, few of the staff even bother questioning it now.
When it comes to exit the British Airways Galleries First Lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3, from the main entrance hall you can either take the main doors ahead, or the hidden exit is to leave the way you entered, but pressing the small hidden open door button to the right of the blue doors.
FoodThe food choices vary on when you travel, and how you got into the lounge. During the day, the only option is the buffet at the far end of the lounge, which at breakfast time has a full hot English breakfast, plus fruit and cereal on the counter behind. During the day the LHR BA T3 lounge comes down to salads with cheese and ham slices, with soup and one hot option on the main counter, but with the evening rush the number of hot options increases, while on the counter are fully plated meals, including lamb and chicken, plus hot meat pies for the Aussie contingent.
Also in the evening, a sandwich, cheese and salad trolley is wheeled out to next to the champagne bar. This not only looks good – it's very convenient if you rush in here with only a few minutes to spare before your flight. The sandwiches run through various alternatives of cheese and ham, with a bit of salad on the side. The cheese is something else, with all sorts of good English varieties.
The best dining option is saved for those with a real First class ticket: the First Dining Room. This operates with two different methods. Before 5pm, anyone can come in, and there is a decent enough menu with burgers and curries etc. Then from 5pm onwards you'll need a dining invite from reception to get in. The dining room has dining booths, or tables facing the windows for those on their own. The menu has three options for starters, mains, and deserts, and you will always be presented with a tray of canap&eactue;s pretty much as you sit down. The wine served here tends to be better than in the main bars too; the only issue is that it can sometime take an age to get mains: only sit here if you have at least a couple of hours before your flight.
BarYou have a choice of drinking areas with three very different bars in the lounge. The main one is of course the Champagne Bar, which oddly is a major disappointment. It looks superb in photos, but the atmosphere here is pretty stale. There are generally at least two types of champagne available in the central bar trough, with one of them being a rosé and large sparkling champagne glasses all under the crystal chandelier.
Alas, seating is high bench style seats around the walls and large high formica tables, which looks like a 1960s cocktail bar. This is decidedly anti-conversational, and if you're with company it's hard to get a good gathering around the tables. It's a neat idea, but totally fails in the implementation because of the dry stale atmosphere.
A much better drinking hole in the British Airways Galleries First Lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3is the main gold bar, in the large airy room to the left. The long oval gold bar looks spectacular, and there is plenty of wine, with three good bottles of red and three of white, along the main bar. At the far end is the spirits bar, with Baileys and port. At the back of the bar is the spirits selection: it's the usual BA selection of 18 different bottles of free pour Cointreau, Tia Maria, Campari, Martin (x3), 5 whiskeys, six vodkas, and Gordon's gin. There are three types of brandy in the middle of the bar, behind the pile of crisps. Beer is in the fridge below, with four types including Guinness and London Pride.
At the other end of the lounge is the World Wine Bar. Surrounded by racks of white and red in coolers, there are wine buckets with white, and red on the counter top. Alas, even though there are dozens of wines in the glass walled cabinet, there will only be four different types in the eight buckets in the counter. There is plenty of water here too - which is recommended if you want to remember your flight to Asia.
BathroomsToilets in Lounge. Showers in the Spa.
Business FacilitiesComputer facilities are good in the BA Heathrow First Class Terminal 3 lounge, thanks to the W+EZ (Work and Entertainment Zone) Area, beside the Gold Bar. There are about 20 computers here, with two printers and photo copiers, either up high on the shelf, or low down on the glass tables. They are new and fast. If you press down on the plastic circles in the tables, up pops a row of plugs with both UK/Hong Kong variants and US types (but oddly, no Australian plugs). There is also free wifi, which is blisteringly fast, except when everyone is in the lounge, when it slows to only just above dialup speed.
In the British Airways Heathrow Terminal 3 First Class lounge Newspapers are in the plastic rack by the coffee bar, while newspapers are on the table immediately beside the champagne bar. There are of course toilets in the lounge, while showers are outside in the spa, however if you have time, there are much better showers in the Cathay Pacific lounge, just down the corridor and past the SAS lounge. Alas the one thing the lounge doesn't do is anywhere for a nap: the only option here is the American Airlines Admirals club.
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