The Ultimate Guide to Lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5 for Families
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Whether you enter a lounge using your British Airways status, by flying a premium class, using Priority Pass or The Platinum Card from American Express UK, there’s a lot to know about the lounges of Heathrow Terminal 5 (T5) — and not just the family areas. But today, we’re focusing on how well these lounges accommodate families with children.
As always, we advocate that parents take an active role in watching their children while travelling, including in the Lounges, where most people are trying to work or relax. Becausse the BA arrivals lounge is not particularly family-friendly, it’s not featured here.
Galleries Club Lounges for Families
You can visit the North, South and B gates Galleries lounges with BA Silver or Oneworld Sapphire Status, although it can be tricky depending on the size of your family to get everyone in. If you are flying Club World or Club Europe as family, everyone on the reservation gets in automatically. A full guide on how to access British Airways lounges is available here.
British Airways Kid Zones
British Airways Kids Zones were redesigned this year but are often small and lack natural light or views that the rest of the lounge enjoys. I find the Kid Zones best for tweens as they come with a Playstation and computers. There are some toys and colouring materials for younger children, but the volume of the room (between the telly and Playstation) is earsplitting. Additionally, there isn’t comfortable seating for adults so it is not a great space for breastfeeding. That said, it is a dedicated space for children with a closed door and is often empty.
British Airways’ Galleries South Lounge
South Galleries is the larger lounge and best if you’re coming through from the Business check-in. The area outside of the Kids Zone is the unofficial family area with the option to go into the Kid Zone as needed. Keep in mind, you have to go down the escalators and back up again to the South Galleries.
British Airways’ Galleries North Lounge
North Galleries is closer to the Family Check-in and has a Kid Zone. We sometimes visit the North Galleries before heading down to the Heathrow play area just below.
British Airways’ Galleries B Gates Lounge
If you have a B gate departure, then you may consider visiting the satellite gate lounge. It’s much quieter but also has a nicer Kid Zone with natural light. Grown-ups can often find an area on the sofas outside of the Kid Zone to relax.
Galleries First Lounge for Families
If you hold British Airways Gold or Oneworld Emerald Status, you have access to the Galleries North, South and B gates lounges with the added bonus of the Galleries First lounge.
For families, the Galleries First lounge has a tiny Kids Zone without any natural light behind the buffet. There are not a lot of corners for families with young children due to its open plan, but travellers with older children will love the open-air terrace.
The last time I was in Galleries First it was during Christmas, and I was trying to find a place to sit. Someone barked at me, “Take your children to the crèche.”
While my personal experience there was unwelcoming, tensions are always high during peak Christmas travels. Other flyers recommend letting your children run around a section of the Galleries First terrace (when it’s not busy, of course!) to tire them out while you enjoy your Champagne.
Concorde Room for Families
While providing plenty of benefits for the single traveller, the Concorde Room also holds value for families even without a dedicated Kid Zone. This lounge is only available if you’re flying First Class or have a Concorde Card.
I recommend booking one of the two private cabanas, or finding a quiet corner for your family and using the waiter service (rather than trying to bring your children to and from the buffet). The cabanas need to be booked ahead and are the most luxurious airport breastfeeding and changing area I’ve ever used. There is not a lot of room to run around in the Concord Room and little voices carry very easily on the terraces, so I usually recommend families take a booth in the dining area if a cabana isn’t available.
Aspire and Plaza Premium Lounges
If you’re not flying a premium class with British Airways and don’t hold Executive Club status, there are two pay-per-entry lounges available in Terminal 5. The Aspire lounge is free to enter with a Priority Pass, while access to the Plaza Premium lounge is complimentary with the Platinum Card from American Express or a Dragon Pass. Otherwise, the entry is around £40 and often reduced if booked online.
Plaza Premium Lounge
While neither lounge gets high marks from the TPG UK team, my family enjoys the Plaza Premium lounge simply because of its handy location in the southern part of the airport near the Heathrow Softplay Area (Gate A7).
We go straight from security to Plaza Premium, fill water bottles, dine on mini-muffins, use the restrooms, charge our electronics and do a bit of plane spotting before heading to the softplay area. Plaza Premium has an offer this summer that children get free entry with paid adults.
Still, I would rather spend £80 at Pret than for two adults to enter either of these lounges. However, if you need to get work done or a flight delay, both the Aspire and Plaza Premium lounges are adequate for families, though not particularly special or accommodating, which is understandable since families are not their core demographic.
If you’re travelling with kids, some lounges at Heathrow’s T5 can make the experience more enjoyable for the whole family. Hopefully, you can also sneak in a glass of Champagne while running between Kid Zones and the bathrooms. As with all aspects of flying with kids, you may simply need to manage your expectations, because the lounge experience isn’t the same as travelling only with adults.
Featured image by author
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