British Airways First Class passengers get access to “Concorde Room” in London Heathrow, which is an exclusive lounge not accessible to Business Class or even top-tier oneworld members.
The concept and exclusivity is very much like Lufthansa’s First Class lounges, or Singapore Airlines’ The Private Room in Changi. But perhaps unlike those other flagship lounges, the Concorde Room had been sorely outdated, arguably poorly maintained, and in need of a refresh. I liken it to a pretty solid Business Class lounge, but not really a spectacular world-class First Class Lounge as British Airways might have intended it to be.
Fortunately, it looks like British Airways has finally revamped Concorde Room. The refurbishment includes re-upholstering furniture, new lighting pieces, and a more modern design in general.
They have also installed new loungers and sofas to “the terrace,” an area that overlooks the runway.
British Airways is also offering mobile phone battery packs for passengers in Concorde Room. I think this is a creative solution to insufficient outlets, and might be useful for those who might want to roam around the lounge a little bit while staying plugged in. Either way, it’s a nice touch.
I think the new design is pretty nice, and evokes a warm and homely feeling that is a nice departure from the standard “corporate chic” design we’ve been seeing from, say, the new American Airlines lounges. Still, this is far from a overhaul, and service options within the lounge look largely unchanged. British Airways mentions that private cabanas with a day bed and en-suite continue to be available. However, they didn’t mention if those were refreshed at all, and didn’t include any updated pictures; this would lead to me to think that those will remain the same, old cabanas, which are, well,
pretty gross underwhelming. (These are no Cathay Pacific cabanas.)
Ultimately, many factors go into creating a good lounge experience, and the design is just one of them. Service, dining options, and even crowd level within the lounge can all make or break a lounge, so a “revamp” should really involve improvements in all of those areas. It looks like British Airways is starting off with the most visible changes here. But lackluster or inconsistent service—which is not an uncommon complaint by visitors—is something that a hardware refresh can’t really fix. Hopefully this revamp is just a start for Concorde Room to continue to improve in the right direction!