Winston Aldworth enters the British Airways Galleries Club lounge inside Heathrow's Terminal Five.

Arrival:

There are three entrance gates at the door, giving an indication of the scale of this lounge. There are five British Airways lounges in the terminal, so ask at check-in which one will be nearest your gate.

The architecture: Light and spacious with a high ceiling and terrific runway views. Clean design has made this a pleasant place to be.

Advertisement

Food: A superb offering for starters (clever little pork pies), and mains where Cuban bean cassoulet, chicken jalfrezi and a strong beef stew compete for attention. The lack of cheeses was a disappointment (surely this is a great place to show off some classic English stilton) and the puds were limited to a too-big serving of madeira cake and uninteresting little chocolate things.

When artificial intelligence and the rise of robots threatens societal breakdown, my ability to trick airport-lounge coffee machines into making half-decent flat whites could provide a glimpse of hope for humanity. In the post-apocalyptic wasteland, I'll be a highly caffeinated John Connor figure. Follow me if you want to live, or at least, have a nice cortado before take off. Here, I ran in a shot of espresso before letting half the milk from the cappuccino run into the drain and the second shot into the cup. They use Union brand coffee beans — possibly ironic given BA's recent stoush with workers over pension schemes.

The drinks cabinet: The range here is a slight step up from many standard premium lounges — the selection passed my personal "can-I-make-a-white-Russian" test and the Fever-Tree tonic water is a peppy alternative to the ubiquitous Schweppes. It's all self-service.

What's in the neighbourhood: The Heathrow Harry Potter Shop is right outside the door — crucial information for parents with kids in the Potter-zone, and for those weird adults who still read the books.

Reading material: We're in Blighty, so there's a spectacular collection of newspapers. I settled in for a lengthy session, pausing only to look up and see the steady stream of landings on the Northern Runway. Bliss.

Wi-Fi: Strong, fast and free.

Amenities: A small work area with two printers and a few desktop computers. I managed to print a much-needed document, which — given my general technical hopelessness — is testament to the skills of whoever set the thing up.

The toilets: All in private stalls, which is nice when you're in them but does lead to occasional queues. There are half a dozen shower rooms.

Fellow guests: Loads — I'd estimate nearly 300. Most seats were full — though, it's such a nicely designed area it handled the near-capacity crowd well.

Notable guest: Former Arsenal gaffer Arsene Wenger was quietly reading his newspaper. I was torn between the urge to get a selfie and the common-sense assumption the poor bugger probably wanted to be left alone. And, of course, this being London, there would doubtless be half a dozen Gooners who would dive in and crowd him once someone had broken the selfie ice. Anyway, I ummed and ahhed for a bit and then, before you could say "Wenger out!" he was, er, on his way out.

Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal. Photo / Getty Images
Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal. Photo / Getty Images

The verdict:

A slick testament to Heathrow's modern improvements, and a credit to a heritage carrier's customer service.