Positive change is good, whatever the reason. It may have taken a pandemic to shift things into gear, but after experiencing British Airways new Heathrow lounge setups first hand, I can say that they’re finally punching at their weight, and really, they’re fantastic now.
Earlier in the summer we wrote about British Airways inventive new lounge solutions, which came at a time when many airlines had reduced service or closed lounge spaces entirely. British Airways went in the opposite direction, deploying technology to shore up health concerns, and adding a robust cleaning regiment.
British Airways Heathrow Lounges
Last week, after hearing positive reports, I finally got to experience the new British Airways Heathrow Lounge setup first hand, and it was as impressive, if not more, than the marketing and early reports. A new team is rumored to be running the show now, after crossing over from a local competitor famous for lounge prowess, and it appears they’re off to a flying start.
A cleaning team roams the lounge, making sure each seat and surface is adequately disinfected, before a guest is ever allowed to sit down. As a group of four vacated a nice location, a kind staff member asked my party to wait just a moment while they prepared the area, and kindly helped explain the QR code system while doing so.
In the old, pre covid-19 days of the first lounge, a modest buffet was offered, and menus offering more sophisticated food options were practically hidden from sight, in hopes of reducing service. Most things were self serve, and weren’t always worth the effort. Cleaning wasn’t exactly world class either.
Now, well curated menus, including smoked salmon and eggs for breakfast are all available to be ordered from any seat in the facility, delivered directly to your table with the tap of a button on your smartphone, or laptop. Of course, the champagne and other imbibing options are also on there, and are delivered promptly.
How British Airways Lounge Ordering Works
Upon sitting down, guests will see a QR code and a table number. Opening up your camera and pointing it at the code should automatically pull up the British Airways ordering system. If for some reason it doesn’t, you then simply go to a website, enter a password, and the menu will appear.
Basically, the lounge is now full on waiter service, and you don’t even need to flag anyone down to enjoy the improved offerings.
Though it’s bad news for BA in the interim, the lounge is also hardly ever full, which makes for a nicer experience for guests. In the Galleries lounge, the standard offering for business class or Oneworld Sapphire level customers, things are much the same, albeit with reduced hot food. It was always a well known secret that while champagne was not on display in Galleries lounges, that you could ask a member of staff to bring you a glass.
Huge Improvements All Around
Cleaner faster, better, easier. Probably yummier too.
Waiter service isn’t exactly new in top tier lounges, but using easy to comprehend technology, like scanning a QR code or visiting a website to place orders, and reduce customer interaction is. Using it to maintain, or actually best previous service levels in a time when airlines are taking things away is all the more impressive.
This solution works, and even if covid-19 is one day a distant nightmare, I’m not sure I’d ever like things to change.
Ordering on the phone takes the hassle and uncertainty out of order correctness or catching someone’s attention and makes it all integrate seamlessly into the place you already are – on your phone. It may have taken a pandemic, but British Airways lounge improvements are monumental.