You may be surprised to learn that British Airways does not have a lounge for passengers departing from London City Airport, unless they are travelling on BA1 to New York. In fact, there are not even any third-party lounges in the terminal. Generally the majority of passengers are on business and want to arrive at the last minute. This is something London City prides itself on, with a minimum check in for BA1 of just 15 minutes with hand luggage! Therefore the lack of a lounge is not generally a problem.
For those that would like to visit a lounge, there is now a solution with 2 lounges to choose from, Business and First Class, in the Private Jet Terminal. The Private Jet Terminal is a short drive from the main terminal building. You can arrive at the main building or car park and be picked up in the Jet Terminal’s Mercedes Verano.
I had prearranged a time to be picked up at the terminal after checking in my luggage for BA1. Adrianne was waiting for me and within a couple of minutes I was sitting in the business class lounge.
The business lounge was very different from any other lounge I have visited. It felt more like a 5* hotel lounge than an airport lounge. Despite it being a Monday morning, I was the only person in the lounge, which is a very different experience to the rugby scrum in most lounges. This gave the lounge a very exclusive feeling and indeed I did feel although I could be stepping onto a private jet at any moment (I’m still working on that one!). There was in fact a private Citation jet parked just a few metres outside the glass doors. If you are into business jets you won’t get much closer to one than this!
Inside the pristine lounge there was a good selection of newspapers and magazines laid out on the tables.
If you wanted a snack there was a small but high quality selection to choose from. At breakfast time there was a selection of pastries, fruit, yoghurts and sandwiches. There are also the usual packaged snacks such as crisps, nuts and biscuits as well. During the day the snack selection is similar, minus the pastries.
The one area that was slightly lacking was the spirit selection which was a bit limited. During my visit they only had whiskey and vodka but apparently they normally have Bombay Sapphire as well. There was also a couple of different beers from craft beer company Meantime, cider and Stowells red and white wine in miniature bottles.
Seeing as it was early in the morning, I had a coffee from their high-end machine which I enjoyed with my cinnamon whirl pastry.
If you wanted to have a shower, there are 2 available with all the usual facilities.
How to book
If you wanted to book the lounge you do need to be travelling into or out of London City Airport. The only other way to enjoy the lounge would be to book the meeting room which costs £100 p/h, The cost includes refreshments (hot & cold drinks) and pastries/sandwiches – additional catering can be provided at cost. The lounge itself costs £35 per person.
Otherwise you can book direct through London City via this link.
First Class Lounge
The First Class lounge definitely had the ‘wow’ factor when you walk in and felt like you could be in one of the Middle East airlines First class lounges. Understandably, the lounge is often used by celebrities and even has a privacy setting for the windows which turns them opaque at the flick of a switch. If you wanted even more privacy there is also a small side room.
The First Class service has one very unique aspect which may justify its £95 price tag. Unless you are flying on British Airways, Luxair, Aurigny or Skywork, you can complete all the security formalities whilst in the lounge and then be driven direct to your aircraft. Obviously if you are departing by private jet you can just walk a few steps to your jet. I think if you were going on a special trip, this would be a lovely way to start your journey.
The lounge has a luxurious marble bathroom, although for a shower you will need to use the same facilities as the business lounge.
Food and drink
The range of food and drink is more extensive in the First Lounge with a wide range of spirits as well as higher quality wine and Champagne. There is a small menu of food to chose from but if you have a hankering for something specific such as a curry or a Nandos, the lounge will have it delivered for you at extra cost.
As I was travelling on British Airways, I was then driven back to the main terminal for my flight.
How to book
If you wanted to book the lounge you do need to be travelling into or out of London City Airport. The only other way to enjoy the lounge would be to book the meeting room which costs £50 p/h if you’re using the First Class Lounge service. The costs include refreshments (hot & cold drinks) and pastries/sandwiches – additional catering can be provided at cost. The lounge itself costs £95 per person.
To book the lounge you can use the LoungeBuddy app which I discussed here. You can get $10 credit towards your first visit when you sign up using the code LB10. Otherwise you can book direct through London City via this link.
These lounges are a good way to have a relaxing start to your trip, whether it is to get some work done or to celebrate a special occasion. The First Class lounge may not be cheap, but it does have the unique feature of being driven to the steps of your aircraft. If you are into business jets and flying from London City, it would also be worth investing in a visit to one of the lounges.