British Airways (Galleries First) and Emirates Lounges (Heathrow T3)

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Chauffeur

So the chauffeur picks us up and we are on our way to the airport! The car looks beautiful and the friendly staff from Carey’s Worldwide are so hospitable.

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The view of Buckingham palace waves us goodbye as we brave the traffic in London for our flight…. the journey begins….IMG_20140806_162030

Check-in

The check in are for Qantas is quite private and lovely. I am checked in and the friendly staff hand me by boarding pass.

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British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge

I make my way through airport security and find myself in the British Airways Lounge. I have a glass of wine as settle into the lounge and just relax…. its such a lovely experience after you’ve tried to fit everything into such a busy schedule.

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The wines are lovely and better than of the other lounges I have been to recently….

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The buffet food selection has improved since Baxter Story first took over. It was apparently a disaster to begin with, due to transition issues, but now the food in the buffet is actually reasonable.

There are a range of fresh cold cuts and cold chicken pies….

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To the hot food, which includes delicious casseroles, stews, curries, fish cakes, pasta, quiches and baked potatoes.

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The dessert selection is quite reasonable

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There are some fantastic cheeses which would pair pretty well with the wine.

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Oh and my dear British Airways… you know a way to my heart is through a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. IMG_20140806_180530_hdr

All the above is supplemented with a “Made to Order Menu”… but there is still a hint of sadness as I note the Lounge has declined since British Airways moved most of their flights to Terminal 5. It is not what it used to be.

Spa

Speaking of not what it used to be, British Airways has closed down the Elemis Spa in the lounge. Not cool… as I really need a massage to chill before my flight.

Thankfully Qantas have an agreement for a free spa treatment at the Number 1 Lounge (upstairs above the British Airways Lounge). I head up there and of course Qantas have already called them and made the booking. They advise me that if I pay a bit extra I can have a full body massage, which I agree to.

My beauty therapist for the day is lovely, she is friendly and has this relaxed charm about her. I get ready for my treatment and pretty soon her hands are undoing every knot in every muscle, loosening tendons and putting me in that relaxed state I need to be in before my flight.

Then we finish up and she wishes well for my flight and I leave the spa.

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The Emirates Lounge

I decide upon finishing my spa treatment that due to my disappointment with the British Airways Lounge I will check out the Emirates again (I went there last year and wasn’t impressed but anyway – its worth another try).

I find a lovely seat and the lounge is actually not as crowded, so it provides some refuge.

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The food offerings are lovely. In fact I just loved the Teriyaki chicken and the vegetables were so fresh and “like Sunday roast at Grandma’s” style.

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The prawn and crab timbale was amazing. The creamy flaky crab meat with the firm succulent fresh prawns were truly a delightful experience!

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I have a wine to round out the experience as I sit back and try to make this lounge my home until I board.IMG_20140806_193049

I get restless and take wander around the lounge. How cool are these clocks…. I just love them. They are similar the ones in the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai.

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But alas as much as I try I do miss the British Airways First Lounge. I think it is like an attachment to have someone… the lounge brought me so many good memories when Qantas had the Joint Services Agreement with British Airways… but it has now been reduced to a mere shadow of what it used to be – but I still love it. It’s like that girl in your life, you know is not good for you, but you still keep going back to her (note: that analogy is not based on my life at all).

So, I pick up bag and farewell the Emirates Lounge – the food was amazing but it just lacks the serenity of the British Airways Lounge.

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British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge

When I head back into the Lounge, the Private Dining Room has open and I find a seat faced against the tarmac, where a lovely glass of French wine is brought out.

The menu is the same as the made to order menu outside the room. You can see what the Private Dining Room dining was like before here and here.

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The only thing that captures my attention is the burger. The tender succulent beef patty (which is well seasoned), the plush soft bun, the crunchy lettuce, juicy tomato and of course the sharp taste of cheese combined for what is a good dining experience – but it lacks the edge that the British Airways Lounge in T5 has (review here). I feel somewhat comforted by the burger… its simplistic, stylish and I just love views of the tarmac.

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I still love the lounge, so I stay here and work some of my blog posts while sipping some lovely Johnny Walker Blue and gazing longingly at the flight status screens for the green boarding to signal.

Boarding

I have a saying in life… the boarding call is my calling in life… and well when I wrote it all the lounges called out flights. In this day and age with “silent lounges” it doesn’t quite work that way :). But they announce this flight and soon the sweet words echo through the terminal and rescues me from lounge nostalgia. I wait eagerly to board my flight. The journey begins…

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