LHR: London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Galleries Club Lounge

 

british airways Galleries Club lounge heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Business Class Lounge
The British Airways London Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge at LHR T3 is for Business Class and oneworld Sapphire, plus Silver card holders. It is certainly not the best BA lounge at LHR, but then there are no less then four other oneworld lounges in Terminal 3, with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and American Airlines all having lounges. You can spend all day on a lounge hop if you feel like it.

To find the lounges, when you are in the large oval centre of the shopping centre that is Terminal 3, walk between Bagel Street and Caffe Italia, up to the Qantas lounge, turn right, then left, past the main Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse stairs, up the rather dingy service corridor, and through the blue door. Before you get to the lounge, it looks as if you are heading into the bowels of the airport, and it gives no hints of the delights within.

It has a slightly temporary air about it - and quite right, because it will only be here a few years - and feels like the afterthought it is - until the new Terminal 5 extension gets the go ahead. The lounge itself is pretty much like the Satellite Galleries over in Terminal 5, but with better dining (designed for the longhaul Asian flights) and a great bar (for the Finish and Spanish ones). There is also a separate First Class lounge next door in Terminal 3, with full dining facilities.

When you are through the blue door, straight ahead there are little toll booths to check your ticket, and then you walk along a long wide corridor with large armchairs separated by tall class screens. Occasionally you see people actually use these seats: they are generally lost, and haven't found the main lounge yet. The BA T3 lounge is pretty sizable with a number of different seating areas, so ensure you explore before committing to where you sit.

british airways Galleries Club lounge heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Business Class Lounge

When you walk into the main body of the lounge, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in the motorway service station crossed with a boarding school dining room. There are the large white tables for the food area, across from the cafeteria style troughs of stew, and passengers wolfing down the food knowing they will get little on their band 3 flights to Spain. Further on the lounge widens with computers on the right, and a great window view on the left, which has bar style seating overlooking it, and close to the wine bar with pairs of more comfortable seating. Finally at the far end is what you may have been hunting for all along, the long white island bar, under the crystal decorations. There is another bar making a T shape with this one, and curiously behind the far wall are a rack of more seats: these large squashy armchairs are by far the most private in the lounge.

If you're confused about why this lounge is here - and why BA are in Terminal 3 at all - the reason is simple: BA should have been able to bring in all of its flights together at the brand new Terminal 5 when it moved out of Terminal 1 and 4. However, it couldn't quite manage this, and so, yet again, it was stuck with a split terminal operation.

british airways Galleries Club lounge heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Business Class Lounge

To avoid confusion it put the Spanish flights here, so that there is no mix up with so many Iberia codeshares, but then bunged in all the Gibraltar, Helsinki, Lisbon, and Vienna flights. As a result, many people here have come on a long trek across the airport. This lounge doubles up as the London Heathrow Qantas Club, however there is little Qantas branding other than a few Qantas magazines, and Qantas are opening their own lounge. If you're landing on a Qantas flight at Heathrow, remember too that First & Business class passengers arriving from Australia, Singapore or Bangkok are able make use of the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge with 29 showers, hot breakfasts and a pressing service.

Food

Food is good, although it isn't displayed in the best possible way. The first room - the dining room - has the classic BA white dining room tables with three large alcoves along the left hand side. The smaller centre alcove contains soup, while the first alcove has breakfast cereals and juice: these are here all day, befitting the late night flights to Australia and the other confused time-zones of other passengers, who may have a body clock 12 hours out of sync. Just rotate the wheel under each vertical glass cereal container, and out drops your breakfast, hopefully into the bowl you're holding under it. Milk is in the fridge.
british airways Galleries Club lounge heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Business Class Lounge

The last alcove contains what has been called the "tray of slops". It isn't that bad - at least, not quite - but it really isn't all that appetising. There are big long trays with everything from Beef Madras to Goat Goulash, meatballs, pasta and rice. Next to it is a cooler tray with salad and cheese: make no mistake, this is not the quality or variety of food you'll get in Terminal 5, and late at night with the evening departures to Australia, the food here goes very quickly: if you want better options, nip next door to the Cathay Pacific lounge, where there are normally better options late at night.

british airways Galleries Club lounge heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Business Class Lounge

Bar

The lounge has a well deserved reputation for its bar facilities. They are superb. The long silvery bar has a chilled trough with white wine, although the mixture here can be a bit variable, and there are some days when only Chardonnay is put out, but on other days there is a full selection. Here are also the bottles of 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.

Bar crawl facilities are pretty poor in the lounge, as there is only one other bar, on the opposite side of the wall to this one, in the middle room, and here wine dominates: there is also a fine selection of red wine here, with 8 types on decanters, in front of the sadly more expensive wine that is locked in the glass cupboard.

Bathrooms

british airways Galleries Club lounge heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Business Class Lounge
Toilets in Lounge. Showers in the Spa.

Business Facilities

There is a very large computer centre in the lounge, called W+EZ (the Work and Entertainment Zone) it has 30 high spec PCs, around the walls and on glass tables. There are two large photocopiers which double as printers and faxes, and even a mobile phone recharging crèche. If you need to plug in your own laptop, press the plunger in the middle of the glass table and a column rises up, with sockets for power (including US at 110v) and network sockets.
british airways Galleries Club lounge heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow British Airways Terminal 3 Business Class Lounge

Newspapers are very good in the lounge, with a full selection of UK papers, and also Spanish, Austrian and Australian papers, although the Sydney Morning Herald and the Financial Review are normally two days out of date. There is no defined TV area, however there is a small widescreen TV in the dining room tuned to BBC 24, however it is on silent. There are three large screens with flight departure data in the W+EZ, wine bar, and silver bar rooms.

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