And The Award for Most Overrated Lounge in the World Goes To…

You can read my reviews of the B>British Airways Concorde Room at London’s Heathrow airport here, here, and here.

The lounge is supposed to be super-premium, oneworld top tier elite status alone doesn’t get you in. British Airways has a first class lounge, elites are relegated there. This lounge is reserved for BA’s first class passengers and super-premium customers.

So it should be nice, in BA’s home airport no less.

And yet… the internet connectivity is poor, the service is poor, the food is bad, and the furnishings are becoming threadbare in the cabana shower rooms.

    Well-kept bathroom facilities
    Inedible burger

It turns out, though, via Lucky, that the Concorde Room has more in common with a United Club at Washington Dulles than I even realized — a poor hygiene rating.

Out of Date Ingredients Used: eggs and quince beyond their safe use-by date were being served to passengers.

Meat Stored at Room Temperature: ham sandwiches and cooked ham left at 16°C/61°F. The maximum safe temperature is 8°C/46°F

Hot Food Not Hot Enough: sausages and scrambled eggs left at 50°C/122°F. The minimum safe temperature is 63°C/145°F

Kitchen Dirty: 7 separate areas were found to be so dirty they needed an immediate thorough cleaning.

Cross Contamination of Food: a member of staff handled raw salmon, then immediately performed other kitchen duties without removing their gloves, or washing their hands, risking cross-contamination.

No Training Records Available: Compass did not pass on their training records to BaxterStorey, so BS was unable to hand any record of compliance with training standards to the inspector.

Risk of Access by Rats, Mice and Insects: a long gap in a kitchen back door required immediate filling to minimise pest entry points.

Poor showing, BA!

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Cabana Rooms trump anything anyone else has out there……by far better than any Red Carpet Club………..

  2. I thought I was the only one complaining about BA’s lounges obviously I am not. BA can learn something from its competitor Virgin Atlantic.

  3. I was in the Concorde room twice within the last month. Also very underwhelmed. Food was inedible, had to flag service down, on one occasion never got what I ordered (was likely lucky not eating there after reading about the hygiene problems).
    It is nowhere near in athmosphere, service and food quality to what oher airlines like LH, LX, NH, CX, SQ, TG and many others offerin their home airport.

    But it matches the on board experience. BA F is more like a business class with an attitude.

  4. Only yanks complain about ‘the inedible burger’. Forget the burger, how are their fish and chips, if they serve them in the ConcordL? Burger is not the native/most requested food the world over, something we tend to forget.

  5. ahem, are you really surprised?? It’s the British!! They understand nothing about customer service and hospitality yet for some reason they claim they do.

  6. BA and its lounge, LHR, British, they all suck.
    LHR is the only airport charging stupid amount for APD tax.
    Therefore, I would not spend a single penny there.

  7. It is such an honor to be able to provide the Germans an opportunity to bomb the British again and and again and again………and I will fly the British Airways again and again and again……..ever stood at a wurst stand in Germany and tried to get a dog……….you have to have spread your elbows far and wide to keep the savages from beating you to the front of the line…..and then you go to London and everyone is so polite and say “we cue here”……such a civilized world in in the UK…………..

  8. @Ram: If something is going to be served, it should be of appropriate quality, regardless of the national origins of the dish (particularly in a supposedly high-class lounge). Excusing poor food quality because it’s “not a native dish” is ridiculous, even for a BA fanboy!

    Given the consistently mediocre reviews and the horrid food hygiene ratings, not sure why one would expect any dish there to be a good experience.

  9. @aerial homeless
    What you are quibbling about here is aerial bus terminal space and aerial bus terminal food………what some “Aerial homeless bloggers” fail to realize is that “most” travelers using a FC lounge are soon to arrive at a Relais and Chateau and dine at a Michelin starred restaurant so a discussion about which bus terminal is better and which bus terminal is serving better food is somewhat of a comical discussion……….the only reason one of taste reads the blogs is to lesson the “pain” of travel by getting up front and out as fast as possible……….as for needing photos of the food and advice where the best bus terminal food is ridiculous as a healthy traveler is not consuming that junk but rather saving their caloric intake for a Michelin starred establishment……….from some of the posts that come up it appears that some are truly “aerial homeless” who never have the opportunity to darken the doors of a Relais property or consume fine dining at a Michelin establishment……….if you have no place to visit or no one to visit then I guess the bus ride and the bus food is all there is to talk about………..that’s very sad……………. a true connoisseur tries to ride as few buses as possible and stay out of as many bus terminals as possible while still earning the miles and points to get to the people and places needed………as noted in the comments there is a huge demand to read about bus terminal food………….

  10. @just$aying if you are going to take a 10+ hour flight, then you will need to eat something. And it’s nice to be able to eat someething on the ground before the flight so you can go right to sleep if you wish. I say that as someone who has been to plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants.

  11. You are wasting your calories on junk………surely you can diet on liquids for 10 hours……….try it… might like the health benefits and then what you put in your body actually is good!

  12. I well remember my first visit to the Concorde room and being blown away. We had a four hour layover and I remember taking a shower, shaving, eating, drinking and chilling – and feeling like a million bucks! I’ve been there six times over the last 6 years thanks to the BA Companion Pass. Yes, not as special as the Lufthansa Lounge/Terminal but very, very sad to be reading about how it seems to have gone downhill. But those of us who are there thanks to points/miles probably are somewhat less fussy and still much better than most US lounges.

  13. Thanks for that Concorde review. I’m re-reading the other three now.

    You know…..British Airways really has a nerve serving a burger inside a Concorde Lounge (based on the picture and evidence you provided). Really… And those lounges at JFK are a disgrace. The First Class lounge for Emeralds is so bad that the front desk motions their hands to Emeralds to “go to your right sir, the Business Class Lounge.”

    What’s missing from the Concorde Lounge?

    THE CONCORDE! For that aircraft to be discontinued is a disgrace. It was a 70’s aircraft and now it’s 2013 and a new one can’t replace it? “Sonic Booms?” Science can fix that now. Bring back the needle.

    I say bring back a real super-sonic jet, so the lounge can live up to the name. Without the jet, just the lack of momentum brings in bad service.

    P.S.: Where’s the Elemis Spa?


  14. I remember being underwhelmed by the Concorde Room and BA’s ground services in general and thinking how poor it is compared to the Virgin and their Clubhouse.

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