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Heathrow for 7.5 hours

We are arriving at Heathrow AA T3 at 6:30 am and departing BA T5 at 2:00 pm, so 7.5 hours between flights. We don't qualify for AA or BA lounges. I've looked at the pay to enter lounges but they only allow you to stay for 3 hours, so now I'm down to looking for a place to eat. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good brunch place preferably in T5?

Posted by
3551 posts

With that time u could actually go to Windsor nrby. Walk around see the castle from outside , stoll , and maybe visit Eton. I would say a more pleasant way than waiting ar airport.

Posted by
8613 posts

I've looked at the pay to enter lounges but they only allow you to stay for 3 hours,

On a few rare occasions I have been lucky to have biz class with AA, BA and Delta and used their lounges.

I am not suggesting you break any rules, but I cannot help but wonder how they would know how long you have been there. Once past the 'gatekeeper' who checks your ticket or takes your money its just been a mingling of the masses.

On the bright side (?) your plane may be late, security screening may be backed up and you will have way less than 7.5 hours to fill.

I cannot offer a restaurant suggestion as I have been through LHR only twice. Once spent the entire time going from one plane to the next and the other had BA biz class, so used their lounge.

Posted by
4657 posts

Here's the problem with food recomendations, it's all subjective. I thought Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food was mediocre. He was actually there when we ate there and the fact that he didn't eat was quite telling. None of the restaurants at T5 are particularly great, your best bet would be Wagamamma (if you like Asian food).

As for the lounges no-one is likely to notice you've stayed longer than three hours particularly in the paid lounges as they're always busy.

Posted by
16883 posts

While it's not really the recommended way to deal with jet lag, I'd consider sleeping in a small Yotel room.

Posted by
1220 posts

I would not suggest leaving the airport to go to Windsor, just not enough time and you don't want anything that could go wrong to go wrong.

Are the lounges going to boot you out after 3 hours? I highly doubt it, unless you're going on a bender and downing the free drinks like you're at a college frat party.

Posted by
4686 posts

JC, does the Wagamama in T5 have bench seating or real chairs? When I have a long layover, a comfortable chair and a glass of decent wine wins out over food.

Posted by
4657 posts

JC, does the Wagamama in T5 have bench seating or real chairs? When I have a long layover, a comfortable chair and a glass of decent wine wins out over food.

Laura, I'd have to admit ignorance on this occasion as I've never eaten at the one at T5 (we're usually in the BA lounge) but I have no reason to think they'd be different to any other Wagamamma which features predominantly bench seating.

Posted by
181 posts

Thank all of you for the ideas. I understand that it would seem almost impossible for them to know how long you were there if you got in. One place it says you can be there 3 hours before departure. If that's really the case we may not even get in when we arrive.

They seem to want you to reserve access before you get there. Maybe I'll just wait til we get there and see if we can get in.

If anyone else has had any experience with these lounges your input is welcome.

Posted by
181 posts

I sent them a question about staying more than three hours. This was their response:

"We can only book lounges for a slot of 3 hours, if you want to stay longer than this you can request extra time after your lounge pass has ended from the lounge attendants, this will be charged on the door."

One thing is for sure I won't be paying for two 3 hour slots. Think I'll just show up and play it by ear.

Posted by
2910 posts

I like the Pilot's Bar because it is down the end of T5 where it is sometimes less chaotic. It's relatively small, too. I'm kind of stuck on their squashed avocado on toast with dropped egg...yes, I'm not a particular foodie, I guess. They've never rushed me to move along. You can have as many glasses of wine as you want, or maybe a Bloody Mary at that hour. Wagamamma's is not particularly comfortable, IMO, and the food is just so-so.

Posted by
1154 posts

We always pay to enter the Admiral's Club AA lounge at LHR. We've never experienced a 3 hour time limit but maybe that's changed since our last visit in 2016. We always thought it was worth it and the hot breakfast offerings were the best we've had in any airline lounge. The Bloody Mary's aren't bad either.....

Posted by
181 posts

Thanks George. I think that lounge is in T3 and charges $59 each. I didn't check on a time limit. We arrive in T3 and depart in T5 so I would prefer to head on over to T5 and stay there awaiting departure.

If anyone else is interested here's what I've found out. In T5 there is the Plaza Premium Lounge. They charge 40 BP each for each 3 hour period. So for the two of us that would be 160 BP or about 210 USD for 6 hours. Googling I found Loungebuddy. They have an arrangement with 10 LHR lounges one of which is Plaza Premium Lounge. Their price for Plaza Premium is 150 USD for 6 hours. I did some Googling and so far didn't find anyone having problems with Loungebuddy or Plaza Premium. That's where I'm leaning at the moment but I'm about three weeks from take off.

Posted by
1220 posts

My WAG is that they exactly play it by ear. A starving backpacker that shows up and scarfs down as much food and drinks as s//he can might attract more attention than the average person who sits quietly past the three hour limit. The same would go for someone who is obviously intoxicated and loud versus the person who sits quietly sipping their glass of wine.

Posted by
4657 posts

I wouldn't pay that money for the Plaza lounges. We used them before when we slipped to bronze status with BA and couldn't use the lounge. Very poor food, poor quality drinks, very overcrowded and...dare I show my judging side.....a bit chavvy (think trailer park). T5 is lacking in lounges, BA has the monopoly, their Galleries lounge is very good and the Concorde Room is up there with the best but the paid lounges are a poor comparison. I would save my money, eat in one of the restaurants in T5 and sit it out till your flight.

Posted by
181 posts

Well JC I feel like I've gone down in flames. :) So much for planning to spend six hours in Plaza Premium. Back to the drawing board.

I don't see much in the way of good food in T5. Maybe we'll stop for breakfast in T3 before we journey over to T5.

Since I've never been in a lounge I might not even recognize a bad one. :) The main bad comments about this one are bad wifi. I might sign up for a three hour pass just for the heck of it to occupy our layover.

Posted by
4686 posts

Heathrow has free wifi, so there is no need to go to a lounge if you are simply looking for wifi. Maybe just walk through T5 and look for the restaurant that appears to have the most comfortable seats.

Posted by
4657 posts

Can you upgrade your flight? When flying BA we regularly have an option to upgrade the flight, sometimes for a price not too disimilar to what you are looking at to pay for a lounge for 6 hours. The closer to departure date the more likely this offer will be made and the price tends to drop the closer to departure. At least with an upgrade you'll have unlimited time in the lounge, very good free wifi plus all the benefits of business class on board.

We were offered an upgrade to our flight with BA LHR to MIA last week to First Class, initially offered at £538 per person but dropped to £498 the day of departure. Of course this is a lot of money and we declined but economy to business is often much less plus we'd upgraded to First on the way back because it was only £100 more than business. Flying from T3 meant we could use any of the Oneworld alliance lounges so we tried out the Cathay Pacific one which was very nice. If you do upgrade you can use the American Airways arrivals lounge at T3 to freshen up and have some breakfast before heading over to T5 and the large and very good BA lounges.

Posted by
181 posts

JC, That's interesting. We fly out on August 30 and so far I've no offers to upgrade. Our tickets are FF miles tickets if that makes a difference. When I got the tickets AA said no 'miles' upgrades were available. So I'll keep an eye out for upgrade offers but I'm not holding my breath. We are AA RDU to LHR and then BA LHR to TLS. Same coming back.

I was lucky about economy seats on AA. In January AA offered to upgrade my FF status to Platinum for four months. I took them up and used that to upgrade our seats for free. Almost 500USD worth of seats. I'm usually not this lucky. I expect when I get to the airport they will explain it's all a big mistake and the free seats only apply if there is a solar eclipse during the flight. :)

Posted by
4657 posts

We only ever fly BA or Virgin when going transatlantic so I don't know how the upgrade offer works with AA. With your BA booking confirmation e-mail there is a 'manage my booking' option which leads to a web page detailing all your itinerary, flight details, seat, meal option etc. along with an option to upgrade (if available). If you've booked with AA I'm sure there's probably something similar.

Posted by
181 posts

After your previous note I went to my BA account and clicked on Upgrade. Got a "Not Possible on ba.com. Contact your booking agent." I've talked to BA before about my reservation. I'll try them on the upgrade. I previously tried AA a few months back and was told no. Seemed like a crazy answer. Why turn down money.

Posted by
4657 posts

Yes, we get that message quite often and then at some point the offer will become available.

Posted by
7688 posts

We had excellent breakfasts at Wagamama, sat in chairs at a table. Also look at Giraffe. There is a seafood bar in Terminal 5 too.

Posted by
181 posts

Thanks Suki. If the lounges don't work out we'll look at those places. If I have a big breakfast I'll probably be good until dinner in Toulouse.