Lounge overcrowding is a problem around the world, but nowhere have I seen it as bad as in London. My recent visit to the British Airways’ Galleries South Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 is the perfect example.
Here is how British Airways markets its Galleries lounge:
When you enter our Galleries lounge you are greeted with calm and tranquil surroundings, featuring Osborne and Little exclusively designed fabric, fine wines or ask for a nicely chilled glass of champagne. Your quiet time before your flight will be time well spent.
I’d say “clam and tranquil” or “quiet time” are not the words. Quite the contrary, it took me 10 minutes to find a seat with a power outlet. Literally 10 minutes…I am not exaggerating. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these pictures:
The sad thing there isn’t a crowding solution. It is what it is. BA has a huge concentration of flights from Terminal 5 (not that the T3 lounge is any less crowded). And unlike other airports, there is no quiet gate area here, as the gates are equally packed. I also checked out the Aspire Lounge, a Priority Pass lounge, and it was just as crowded.
There are simply too many premium or status-holding passengers on BA…the lounge felt like a department store a few days before Christmas. The only thing BA could do to help travelers like me is to ensure there is access to power outlets at every seat. Currently, the majority of seats do not have plugs nearby…that is simply unacceptable.
And so I guess I write this post more to express my love-hate relationship with BA. While so many love to knock BA in all areas, I actually enjoy flying them both on longhaul and shorthaul flights (not in economy class). Its current business and first class seats are not cutting edge, but still comfortable. It’s just such a shame the very design flaw of T5 will likely always lead to horrible lounge overcrowding.
Is the only place to find some peace and quiet in T5 in the Concorde Room?