British Airways has two flights a day out of Philadelphia direct to London Heathrow. This fact surprises many people but then if you knew the number of pharma companies in the area, then you would know this makes sense. The early flight has a four class cabin structure (First, Club World Business, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller Coach) whereas the later flight, a Dreamliner, has three classes flying without a First cabin. The British Airways lounge PHL is a bit cozy for their premium (and elite) passengers but still one of my favorites in the airport.
BA Lounge at Philadelphia – Location
After completing security, you make a left and the lounge is on your left. The BA flights usually leave from A17 so give yourself ten minutes to walk from the lounge to the gate (they announce the flight in the lounge). As you enter the frosted, etched glass doors, you are immediately at the front desk and welcomed to the lounge. After checking your boarding card, those in First are directed to turn left (they always turn left!) to the First class side of the lounge or turn right for the Business side. The lounge also welcomes American Airlines and OneWorld elite. The only difference is that the BA passengers are given access to the dining area. The Dining area serves fresh foods and has a few larger tables to share with friends and/or colleagues traveling with you.
BA Lounge Philadelphia Space and Decor
It is a compact lounge but unlike the USAirways lounge (now the AA Lounge) in the same terminal, it serves food, wine, snacks and so much more. I’ve visited both sides of the British Airways PHL lounge and can say it is a bit of a private oasis before the long haul flight (at least until it gets crowded with non-BA fliers). It has a nice design and layout with natural light.
Pre-Flight Dinner in the Dining Area (BA passengers only)
The dining area on the business class side has tables along the window, using the window perches as seating (a bit elevated). You can then go to the buffet for dinner. On each of my visits there has been a good selection of hot and cold foods and a chef to cook Culinary Theater menus which changes often.
For such a small space, it really hits all the targets and even I can usually find a good mix of food. This visit, I even tried the dessert. For drinks, there is water, sodas and a wine selection (the better wine is on the flight but this will do).
The early flight does serve a full dinner, however, my “special” meal it isn’t always that special (i.e. – what I want) so eating in the lounge is a great option. If I can’t find anything, my next option is a local favorite Chickie’s & Pete’s, located a few gates past A17. For the later “sleeper” flight, which leaves after 10 p.m., the lounge is your best bet for food prior to the flight. They still have food on the later flights but it isn’t much of a full service if I remember (I haven’t taken the sleeper flight in a while).
Food & Drink – Business Class (BA Club World) common area
If you don’t have a ticket to dinner, all is not lost, you have a coffee bar, wine bar, finger sandwiches, snacks, cookies, fruit and refrigerators full of beer, water, juice, soda.
Other British Airways Lounge PHL Details
If I had to guess, I’d say the lounge maxs out at forty people although I feel a bit closed in at twenty. There is a bank of computers and outlets in the business center area and two restrooms. There is no shower option in the lounge.
The First Class Side of the British Airways Lounge Philadelphia
I’ve only flown British Airways First Class from Philadelphia once when I bought the upgrade at check-in (an expensive way to buy PJs). The first side is smaller and has a private table to work on, a bit more comfortable furniture and private dining. Rather than make your own at the buffet, a server takes your order and delivers to your private table. The decor is similar to the business class side, just in a smaller space. The wine is nicer.
Given a choice between the more spacious American Airways lounge and the boutique sized British Airways lounge PHL, the BA lounge wins every time (sadly, they replaced the Walker’s Shortbread cookies with two cookie jars) plus I don’t need to take lots of plastic cups to the water cooler! The staff are pleasant, the food is plentiful and the drinks are free!