Spoiler alert: it’s better…
You’ve gotta adore any place on the ground or in the sky where someone brings you a glass of $120 a bottle champagne with a smile. If you don’t, this author writer would love to trade lives. Or, on second thought, perhaps not. For their premier lounge offering out of London Heathrow home turf, British Airways is striving for excellence, and they’re getting close with their updated Concorde First Class Lounge. Here’s what things are like inside…
For starters – guests now arrive via the industry standard “First Wing”. This fast track check in and security offering is legitimately exciting, generally clocking five minutes from terminal entrance to lounge. Once inside, the most immediately noticeable change is the quirky lamps. While there’s nothing wrong with quintessential British refinement, it’s fun to see more playful touches.
Any guests first move should be to secure mobile phone chargers, from the lounge desk. This is one of the few “tech” related improvements to the space, but offering mobile charging from any point in the lounge is invaluable. The inside of the Concorde Room offers cozy living room style nooks, the bar, and a la carte dining room – but enthusiasts tend to favor the open air patio. Is it the fanciest and most stylish first class lounge? No. But it’s great.
With waiter service on the up and up, why not? Though this author fancies himself an A-lister at heart, no one else does. But if I were an A-lister flying out of London, I’d walk directly out to the Concorde Room’s patio doors, make a sharp right – and snag the very last cabana on the far side. The new setup, with truly ‘cabana like’ curtains offers nicely segmented and privatized spaces. For the far cabana, there’s no reason for anyone to walk that way. A Beckham could be sitting there, and I doubt anyone would catch on. Well, until they left the lounge of course.
And if I’m a solo traveler, I’m walking straight upon entering the patio, and scoring one of the deep sleep worthy loungers. Just make sure to set an alarm. Champagne and comfy chairs have a unique ability to interfere with flights.
Those couches though, right? Personally, I think they’re neat. After consulting those with degrees and careers on the subject, the consensus is there is no consensus. They are statement pieces, loved or hated – and there’s no correct answer. Only the one in your mind. It beats beige though?
But – what about food and beverage? Remarkably, British Airways still serves Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle, Johnny Walker Blue and other celebrated wines and spirits in the lounge. In my opinion, Grand Siecle is a champagne which truly lives up to the price point. Compared to prior menus, current food seems more focused on lighter, nutrient rich meals. Although “free” food is always great, I’ve given a pass to many of the stodgier dishes of visits past. The roast chicken, seared halloumi and desserts were very palatable – for airport food. One must – espresso martini. You’ll thank me.
A first class lounge is about refining, personalizing and adding luxury to a standard business class experience. With no first class terminal or state of the art lounge in sight, this is a very welcome improvement. I felt extremely well looked after, I enjoyed my food and there was always a seat. I’d love to see brand new showers, guaranteed spa appointments and a few other elite marks – but this is truly an airport experience to relish. I’ll be back.