How can you access British Airways lounges?

Jul 4, 2020

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Airlines offer many perks to their premium passengers in order to retain their business and justify higher fares. These perks typically include access to lounges as well as dedicated check-in areas, fast-track security, priority boarding and priority baggage handling. Some of these perks are more tangible and valuable than others, and access to a lounge to wait for the flight is certainly one of the best perks of premium travel or status.

British Airways offers its premium customers access to 30 of its own lounges globally. These can be found in all major British Airways UK airports, as well as a number of key international destinations that include:

  • London Heathrow Terminal 5 (LHR; our full guide to all LHR T5 lounges is here)
  • London Heathrow Terminal 3 (LHR)
  • London Gatwick (LGW)
  • Edinburgh (EDI)
  • Glasgow (GLA)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Singapore (SIN)
  • Dubai (DXB)
  • and many others

There are four types of British Airways branded Lounges: Galleries Club, Galleries First, Concorde Room and Arrival Lounges.

Qantas’ Lounge at London Heathrow’s Terminal 3. (Photo by Dan Ross / The Points Guy)

In addition to those 30 BA-branded lounges, at most other airports that British Airways flies to and from, it has arrangements with either another airline or a third-party lounge provider, offering its premium passengers access to around 100 partner lounges.

Generally, access is either granted by flying in a premium cabin (such as business class or first class) or having status with British Airways or a Oneworld airline.

How Can You Access British Airways Galleries Club Lounges?

British Airways’ Galleries Club Lounges are the airline’s business-class lounges. Access is given to the following:

  • Business class (or first class) passengers traveling on a British Airways or a Oneworld flight. This policy applies to flights on the same day. So whilst most passengers will simply access a lounge before their flight, if you have a connecting flight later on the same day in business or first class but the immediate flight is in economy, you’ll be given lounge access if you present your onward boarding pass. The same applies the other way around, for example, if you landed in London on a Club World flight and are connecting on to Amsterdam in economy, you are entitled to access the lounge. The caveat here is that reception staff can be known for making up rules or not understanding the full access rules and thus by simply looking at your upcoming boarding pass in economy, deny access.
  • British Airways Executive Club Silver or Gold Card members or Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status members who can also bring a guest into the lounge.

Passengers need to be over the age of 18 or accompanied by an adult to enter the lounge.

British Airways' Galleries Club Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5
British Airways’ Galleries Club Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5

How Can You Access British Airways Galleries First Lounge?

Galleries First lounges are, as the name would suggest, essentially BA’s first class lounges. The exception here is London Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK, where the airline offers a Concorde Room lounge for ticketed first-class passengers. The access criteria are very similar to the above:

  • First class passengers traveling on a British Airways or Oneworld flight on the same day — or connecting onwards having arrived in first class. For example, if you arrive in first class from New York and fly on to Barcelona in economy or Club Europe, you’d be eligible to access the Galleries First lounge in Terminal 3.
  • British Airways Executive Club Gold Card holders or Oneworld Emerald members flying on a British Airways or Oneworld flight  can also bring a guest.

Again, you’ll need to be 18 or accompanied by an adult in order to access the lounge.

British Airways Galleries First Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5

How Can You Access the British Airways Concorde Room Lounges in London and New York?

Given the number of BAEC Gold Card and Oneworld Emerald status holders, British Airways has two lounges it reserves for those actually flying in First Class (and a very small number of top-tier status holders): the Concorde Room in Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York’s JFK. More detail on how to access the Concorde Room can be found here.

Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy
Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy

How Can You Access the British Airways Arrivals Lounges?

British Airways offers arriving passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport access to Arrivals Lounges. BA operates Arrival Lounges at Terminal 5 and the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at Terminal 3. Access is reserved to:

  • Passengers arriving on a British Airways or Oneworld long-haul flight in business or first class.
  • BAEC Gold card holders arriving on a long-haul British Airways flight in any cabin.
British Airways' Arrival Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 5 - Image by Dan Ross / The Points Guy
British Airways’ Arrival Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 5. (Photo by Dan Ross / The Points Guy)

Bottom Line

Being able to wait for a flight in the comfort of a lounge makes the whole flying experience so much more pleasant. Throw in free food and drink that can often be of restaurant quality, and it’s even something to look forward to. Access can typically either be gained by flying in premium classes (business class or first class) or by having status with the airline.

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