Compared to the crowded British Airways lounges in the main building of Heathrow Terminal 5, the British Airways (BA) Galleries Lounge at terminal 5B is miles apart. It’s quiet and tranquil. Due to its location, the lounge has seemingly escaped the hustle and bustle of the busy main terminal.
London Heathrow Terminal 5 is dedicated to BA (and some Iberia flights). The airport saw 210,723 flights (in and out), serving a total of 32.8 million passengers. To cater for these large passenger numbers, BA has five lounges dedicated to passengers travelling in premium cabins, or holding Executive Club statuses.
The five BA lounges at Terminal 5 are; the exclusive Concorde Room, Galleries First Lounge, Galleries Club South and North lounges, and the quiet lounge in satellite 5B. There are also rumours of a BA lounge opening soon in satellite 5C.
Most international long-haul flights depart from satellite 5B or 5C, so do check your gate and consider if it’s worth heading straight to the lounge in 5B, rather than battling with other passengers in the main terminal. Here we review our experience of the BA Galleries 5B lounge to help you decide.
In this review:
- Locating the Lounge
- BG1 Verdict
Locating the Lounge
The British Airways Galleries 5B Lounge is located a short train ride from the main terminal building. It takes between 10-15 minutes to get there by train. The trains are situated between gates A14 and A15 at the main terminal, shuttling passengers to and from terminal 5B and 5C.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous, there is a “secret” walkway that connects the three terminals at Heathrow Terminal 5. This is also situated between gates A14 and A15. Walking from the main terminal to 5B takes about 10-20 minutes (depending on how fast you walk). Passengers very rarely use the walkway, so it’s probably the quietest spot open to people at the entire airport.
Two large leather armchairs bookmarked by two lift doors greeted us as we entered the lounge. There were two reception desks, one on the left and one on the right, both leading into the same lounge.
The design of the exposed tin-like roof, along with the cheap-looking tiles, made the lounge reception look a bit like a waiting room at a bus station. It’s basic and does not compare to the grander entrances you see in the main terminal, however, when you’re inside, the lounge still utilised the quintessential British Airways lounge style and design.
There were no queues at the two reception desks, and the lady at reception seemed excited to see us; “Welcome back!” she exclaimed. We chatted to her for a bit and she told us she’s always excited to see guests visit the lounge.
The British Airways Galleries 5B Lounge was spacious and quiet. We were wrong to think that because it wasn’t part of the main terminal building, it would not have the same facilities. In fact, it had all the facilities, minus the large crowds of people! There were ample seating available split into different sections (sofas, dining area and work stations.) A customer service counter, luggage room, business centre, showers and a kids play area were also available.
The lounge also had an underutilised Elemis Spa. The Elemis spa at the main terminal building was always fully booked when we have tried to use it. Next time, we would consider making our way to terminal 5B to use the spa facilities instead.
We’re not sure if BA inform passengers of the BA Lounge in 5B during check-in, or passengers simply can’t be bothered to make their way there, but the number of people using the lounge is miles apart from the crowdedness of the lounges in the main terminal.
When we visited the lounge, we had came from the crowded lounge on the south side of the terminal. We were glad that there were plenty of empty seats to choose from that didn’t mean you had to sit on top of other passengers.
There were multiple buffet areas serving a choice of pastries and hot breakfast items when we visited. As it was bridging into lunch time, a cold buffet was also available serving a choice of salads.
There was a decent selection of hot and cold food items. For breakfast, there were bacon rolls, baked beans, pastries, hashbrown and toast available.
As not many people were using the lounge, the buffet was still nicely presented and looked untouched. It felt like we were the first to arrive at a party, and all the food had been laid out but no one else had turned up to join the festivities. Nonetheless, the quality was the same as the main terminal but had the added benefit of not battling with other passengers to reach it.
As you’d expect from a BA lounge there was a good selection of alcoholic, and non-alcoholic beverages. There was a selection of juices, soft drinks and tea and coffee making facilities, readily available throughout the lounge. If, like us, you fancy something more exciting (and expensive!), a good selection of alcoholic beverages were available too. The self-service bar had all the usual premium spirits and a selection of white and red wines. Champagne (*cough* sparkling wine) was available upon request, and given the lounge was very quiet, we managed to get two glasses by the servers in the lounge promptly.
The self-service bar also had all the ingredients needed to make yourself a Bloody Mary cocktail (Bloody Mary challenge ticked – all ingredients were available).
Toilets and Showers
If you’ve ever attempted to use the showers in one of the lounges at the main terminal, you’d know that there’s always a wait. There were ample showers available at the lounge to freshen-up. Clean white towels were provided, and the showers, which were kitted out with Elemis botanicals soap and moisturisers.
Unlike the queues, we experienced at the British Airways Galleries First Lounge at Heathrow T5. Toilets are available at both ends of the lounge, so finding one that was free was easy. Attendants patrol the toilets and cleaned them regularly.
WiFi, Power & Productivity
The business centre at the lounge had several computers. There were printers available. If you had our own laptop and wanted to work, there were ample high tables with easily accessible charge points.
The WiFi speed was slow but sufficient for checking or sending emails. Do not expect to stream or download large movie files. Despite being able to connect easily, the Wi-Fi was decidedly lacklustre for a flagship lounge in our home city. We have 1 Gbps connections in London, yet this lounge managed just ↓ 3 Mbps ↑ 0.9 Mbps.
The lounge had everything you’d expect from a British Airways lounge in the home city. It had all the amenities, with a fraction of the people which made the lounge special. It stood out for us. In fact, it was so quiet that we caught other passengers fully asleep in the lounge.
We’d highly recommend making your way to the British Airways Lounge at Terminal 5B, if you’re at the airport. Especially if you’re looking for a tranquil space to have a drink, to eat or work before departure.
You have the added benefit of being able to use the underutilised Elemis Spa. Chances are you will be able to get an appointment upon arriving as not many people use the lounge (as long as your ticket or Executive Club status permits you to do so).
In summary, the lounge felt like BA were expecting large visitor numbers, and they had everything ready, the food, drinks and facilities, and yet no one turned up. Having just visited the lounges in the main terminal and the disaster that was the Aspire lounge, we were glad that the space was quiet. We wondered if the lounge ever got busy?