There are two lounge areas for access to First Class passengers. One lounge facility is for Executive Gold card holders travelling business class and the other Lounge is the Concorde Room. The Concorde Room can only be accessed if you are physically flying First Class on British Airways (or holding a special Concorde Room Card which requires 5000 tier points). It is the height of British Elegance and Luxury prior to boarding your flight. The Concorde room has an exterior section high above the shopping areas of Terminal five at Heathrow. It also contains a private dining area for on demand waiter service as well as a bar complete with Swarovski Crystal Chandeliers.
My check in was flawless and the staff make an effort to get to know you a bit with some very cheery conversation and plenty of smiles. When the check in service is complete you are given a small hand shake and the person behind the counter says “it was a pleasure to meet you Mr. Kainth and have an excellent flight”.
Fast track gets you through security in minutes and then you enter the oasis of the Concorde room.
I immediately headed to the private dining area to have breakfast. My flight was not leaving for many hours so I ensured that I would be at the lounge early and enjoy all the luxury and pampering available to me.
Breakfast was a perfect cup of freshly ground coffee and a small portion of good old fashioned Kippers with a lemon wedge and lightly buttered brown toast. Oh How English. I then followed this with a full english breakfast which comes with sausage, bacon, black pudding, beans as well as one egg … over easy. This was accompanied with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. I also decided to have a glass of pink champagne to mark the special occasion of returning home to Canada. Everything was cooked to perfection. The service was timely and with a smile. My fellow passengers and I sat quietly and read a paper or a magazine picked up from the reading table. I was reading “Elite Traveller, The Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine”. How appropriate.
The Concorde Room Cabana.
Weeks before my flight I booked a Cabana room in the lounge via the Quintessentially Concierge service. All First Class passengers on British Airways have access to a private secretary or personal assistant to book facilities in the lounge or get hotels arranged as well as theatre tickets. Anything you need in advance of your flight is available through the concierge service. I booked a private suite for 4 hours knowing that with my jet lag from Hong Kong, a sleep may be required.
This facility is amazing as you are in a separated private room with an en suite bathroom. It is equipped with a TV and a desk and phone. Should you need anything like more food or wine … a quick call will have someone at your door in seconds. this is where I lay down for a few hours and rested in total silence. Amazing that I was still in the terminal building and in the lounge environment.
The Concorde Room Bar.
After my rest I allowed myself to freshen up and enjoy the service at the bar. I made sure that I had plenty of water before my flight and in between sips of fine wine and champagne. The resident expert on wines was in the lounge area and we struck up a conversation about the selection on offer. I was given a wine and cheese tasting experience and tried some of the best wines I have ever had.
We started with a tasting of the Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle brut champagne. It is a fantastic vintage and available onboard the flight. The real star of the afternoon tasting was the Chateau Smith Haut Laffitte 2004. this was a wine that proved the most popular in the lounge. It was incredible and I eventually settled with a full glass of this wondrous vintage. The tasting was very special and the bottles were laid out in front of me so that I could look at them and take in the labels for my memory. My Quintessentially Concierge pointed out that I and one other passenger were the only ones in the lounge actually enjoying the services presented for us. Incredibly everyone else had their faces buried in their computers or tablets. Everyone around me was working or talking on the phone instead of enjoying the environment. I can understand this type of thing in the business class lounge but not so much in First Class. This is a place that should be enjoyed and savoured no matter how often you enter the environment. I was told by staff that there are frequent travellers in the lounge area that never once sit back and enjoy the surroundings or take a break. They just look forever stressed out. I thought to myself “if that is the definition of wealth … then forget about it” Or I think I will redefine wealth in the 21st Century in my own way by always smiling and appreciating the little things that make life grand and rich. Things like being smiled at by a stranger, or accepting an invitation to enjoy a wine tasting. The staff were having as much fun serving me as I was having eating and drinking. Now that is the point of First Class.
Before heading to my gate the final moment of pampering on the ground was to have a massage treatment. There are facials available a well as back and shoulder treatments. I opted for a back and shoulder treatment complete with aroma therapy smelling oils. You take a seat on a large electronic massage chair and while you are being massaged by the chair you have a therapist work your shoulder muscles while in a seated position. The session lasts 15 minutes and it puts your body in a state that is ready for flight. As if the champagne had not already put me in a state ready for flight.
3:30pm. Head to the gate.
With priority boarding the transfer from the lounge to the aircraft is almost seamless.
Time to fly.