Home > British Airways, Lounges, OneWorld, Star Alliance, Trip Reports, United Airlines > Asia 2012 Trip Report: Star Alliance Lounge at LHR, BMI (British Airways) Great British Lounge

Asia 2012 Trip Report: Star Alliance Lounge at LHR, BMI (British Airways) Great British Lounge

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: United Airlines LAX-SFO, United International First Class Lounges at LAX/SFO

Part 3: United Airlines Global First Class, San Francisco to Frankfurt

Part 4: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt

Part 5: Lufthansa FRA-ZRH, SWISS First Class Lounge at Zürich

Part 6: SWISS First Class, Zürich to Hong Kong

Part 7: Emirates A380 First Class Suites, Hong Kong to Bangkok

Part 8: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Bangkok to Singapore

Part 9: Exploring Singapore

Part 10: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Singapore to Mumbai

Part 11: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Mumbai to Singapore

Part 12: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Singapore to Hanoi

Part 13: Hanoi / Ha Long Bay

Part 14: Qatar Airways Economy Class, Hanoi to Bangkok

Part 15: Bangkok / Park Plaza Soi 18

Part 16: Emirates A380 First Class Suites, Bangkok to Hong Kong

Part 17: A weekend in Hong Kong

Part 18: Thai Airways/United First Class Lounges at HKG, Thai Airways First Class, Hong Kong to Bangkok

Part 19: Thai Airways Royal First Lounge and Royal Orchid Spa at Bangkok

Part 20: Thai Airways Royal First Class 77W Suites, Bangkok to Frankfurt

Part 21: Lufthansa European Business Class, Frankfurt to London (plus a day in London)

Part 22: Star Alliance Lounge at LHR, BMI Great British Lounge

—————————————-

Over the course of a month, I had eaten waaaay too much. I needed to go on a diet. Good thing I was about to fly United.

I made it off the Heathrow Express and took some kind of service elevator to get to the departures level. Except the door close button wouldn’t work. And every 15 seconds, a new passenger would come running toward the elevator to catch it, stopping the closing doors. That scenario repeated about 4 times. Door close buttons on elevators are just about as useful as the “Search” button on the Delta award engine.

Once I made it to the departures level, I wandered around like a chicken with its head cut off before finding the United desks. What’s this? A separate check-in area for Global Services and First passengers then? Not too shabby! I entered the area to have an airport employee ask me a bunch of nonsensical security questions before a quick check-in (due to no lines). I had actually checked in on the mobile app and changed my seat to 2A from 1A, which the agent confirmed. A check for an empty 1K or 2K yielded a negative response … I love sitting on the starboard side on approach to Los Angeles, especially on a clear day (which, I’ll admit, is rare especially in the middle months of the year). I was given a pretty vanilla boarding pass that’s quite possibly the anti-Thai Airways boarding, with a tiny “F” denoted after the flight number.

LHR Global First check-in

I was also given directions to the Star Alliance lounge, which the check-in agent ensured “has a great breakfast.” LHR is OneWorld land, since British Airways is huge there; however, it’s the major airport for a major world city, so both Skyteam and Star Alliance have large lounges for their passengers who fly out of there.

Security went by quickly, with the use of the fast-track lane. While putting my belt back on, a government official approached me, and this actual conversation ensued:

G.O.: “Good morning, sir, I’m from the government.” (if I were Ronald Reagan, I’d be terrified about now).
Me: “Uh, hi.”
G.O.: “You’re traveling to Los Angeles?” (after a peek at my boarding pass)
Me: “Yes.”
G.O. “How long were you in the UK?”
Me: “Less than a day.”
G.O.: “Why so short?”
Me: “Because then I don’t have to pay you £130 for the APD” (actual answer and reasoning).
G.O.: “I see. May I ask how much you spent in the past day, especially your lodging?”
Me: “My hotel was on points, so £0. Kill the APD, I’ll stay longer next time.”

Seriously though, what a stupid levy.

I headed off to the *A lounge and was told to turn right toward the F side. While I’ve now been spoiled by the likes of the LH FCT and the TG FCL, this was still a pretty sorry excuse for an F lounge. Sure, it’s quieter than the J side, but it’s not much nicer in any other way. The food options were pathetic. I stayed for about 10 minutes to take some pictures, then left.

Entrance

First Class side

First Class side

Where is this “great breakfast?”

No type of lighting could make this look good

More modern-looking business class side. More people and same food, though.

I was about to roam the halls of Terminal 1 until it hit me: BMI! They were recently sold to British Airways (in the OneWorld Alliance), but at the time of my flight, they were winding down their membership within the Star Alliance. Therefore, I could potentially use their lounge … a few looks around and I found signs to their international lounge, quite a walk away at about 15-20 minutes, but I was determined to check it out.

Indeed, it is quite a walk, through some hallways and areas of Heathrow I’d think were off-limits to passengers if I wasn’t blinded by going to what must be a carrier’s flagship lounge. I made it and presented my boarding pass, which the lounge dragon took a while to peruse.

“What class are you flying?”
“First.”
“Where does it say that?”
“It’s that tiny ‘F’ after the flight number.”
“Now why would they put it there? That doesn’t make any sense. But seat 2A to Los Angeles, so I believe you.”

The only indication of cabin on the new UA boarding passes …

The BMI Great British Lounge (now the British Airways Great British Lounge) is nicely appointed and has character that was missing in the large Star Alliance lounge. It’s what I imagine a British home to be like, if designed by an airline and placed near a runway. Best yet, it has great views of the tarmac.

Seating area near entrance (The Lobby)

Nice design.

Bookshelf

Bar area (The Local)

Better than the Star Alliance Lounge selection

Yes, still better.

Daybeds with tarmac views (The Slumber)

Tarmac views. I’m going to say that this pic has symbolism (BMI caught between British Airways and Star Alliance) but that’s just lucky timing.

The only problem with the lounge is that it would take a long time to reach my flight, so I had to leave with about 20 minutes left before boarding.

Farewell, BMI.

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