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January 31, 2015 / oneworld82

A Short Hop: LHR-AMS on BA J Class (A319) plus Galleries Lounge T5

I am a big fan of British Airways short-haul flights. I know that seats are nothing special on intra-Europe flights; but the service and, especially, the lounge(s) at LHR more than make up for the lack of a real business class seat on flights that are usually very short anyways.

After landing at T3 I took the shuttle bus to T5 where my connection to AMS would leave from. There were quite a few people waiting for the bus, but since two shuttles arrived at the same time it wasn’t an issue getting on, and within 15 minutes I was at T5.

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Since I already had my boarding card for AMS, I could use the express lane at security; not that I needed to, because for the first time in a long time there was a very short line at the checkpoint. Security scans took longer, as the whole area seemed understaffed, but by 9.30a I was at the Galleries T5 Lounge. I went directly to the Elemis Spa to take a quick, needed shower. It’s funny how every time I go, the same Eastern European lady greets me there. I have been going to the Elemis Spa showers more or less very six months in the past three years, and she has always been there. Job security in Europe, what a marvelous thing!

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Anyways, the shower stalls here are small-ish but perfectly adequate. I prefer American Airlines showers much more to be honest, and I hope BA will update them soon. I guess that the biggest letdown is that even the Concorde Room doesn’t feature better showers.

In any case, after about twenty minutes I was all refreshed and I headed upstairs to the business class section of the lounge, to find my dad and his girlfriend waiting for me at the entrance. What a joy always is to see my father!

After greeting them we proceeded into the lounge – all the three of us were on Business Class to Amsterdam. We had a seat and we proceeded to the buffet area to check out the breakfast selection. After BA switched caterers about two years ago, the biggest change I see is the lack of bacon sandwiches in the breakfast menu and, since those were by far my favorite item offered by BA in its business class lounge, this is a major letdown. The menu is now heavy on pastries and yogurts/fruits, while people seeking a continental type of breakfast will mostly find cold cuts, bread, cereals, and porridge. Overall, the quality of the items on offer was pretty good.

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After breakfast I made myself a Bloody Mary and used the time to catch up with my family.

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My dad and I

Boarding for our flight was starting at 12.20pm, so around noon we decided to check out the buffet once again to see what was on offer, and I filled my plate to get a taste.

Lunch

Lunch

Soups (carrot ginger), pastas, curries… everything seemed the same as before – and the quality as well (good). Trays were exchanged from breakfast to lunch between 11.45am and noon.

Overall, I always like the T5 Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow. While it can get busy, there is always some spot where to find quiet and peace, if so desired. I find the decor and style to be eclectic, but nice. Internet always works well (and it’s fast), and the are all the business amenities needed to work while waiting for a flight.

At 12.15 we proceeded to our gate, which was in the middle section of the terminal.

Flight BA438, LHR-AMS
November 27th, 2014, 12:50p – 3:05p
Airbus A320
Seat 4D, Business Class

We boarded with the first group of passengers through the Club Europe line, given our business class tickets. The airplane was a short walk down the stairs and on through the jet bridge. I had pre-selected for me and my parents – they were on row 3 and I was sitting immediately behind them in row 4; the seat next to mine was empty.

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We departed on time, and once¬†airborne lunch service began. For such a short flight (it was literally 45 minutes) it’s impressive how British Airways manages to serve what is really a light but complete meal.

Lunch

Lunch

The tray included a prosciutto salad with cous-cous, chicken, beets, and other goodies.

Salad

Salad

Bread rolls were offered with the salad, and to follow there was a deliciou, tiramisu-like mousse for dessert. Drinks were of course offered, and I opted for the good Monopole Champagne. Coffee and tea were also offered right after the meal. Overall, the service was efficient and friendly.

Soon after our trays were collected the seat belt sign was turned on and we started our descent into a cloudy Amsterdam. We landed on time and after about ten minutes we were on our way to immigration.

All in all, it was another short but enjoyable flight on British Airways.

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