Lounging about: Pampered passengers

British Airways has spent £60m ($117m) to develop the world’s largest airline lounge complex in the new Terminal 5 at London Heathrow airport, its main global hub.

BA will be the exclusive tenant at T5, which opens for business on March 27. The airline is hoping desperately that the new terminal will transform the Heathrow experience for customers. Premium passengers will be pampered in a luxurious complex of lounges based on “the look and feel of a modern boutique hotel”.

In the real world of today’s Heathrow, however, little has changed. BA’s long-haul economy passengers were still struggling on Wednesday at Terminal 4, for the second day in succession, to cope with the impact of the breakdown of part of the BAA baggage system.

Economy passengers flying long-haul from T4 were unable to check in baggage owing to the failure of a software upgrade by BAA, the airport operator. BAA said Wednesday night it was “now confident” a full service would be offered to all passengers today.

At T5 the lounges, known as Galleries, are promised to set new standards for luxury for BA passengers with a capacity for up to 2,500 passengers.

They feature Swarovski chandeliers and furnishings by Osborne & Little, Elemis spas and an arrivals lounge with shower rooms. Private cabanas can be pre-booked by first-class passengers. Art commissioned from Christopher Pearson, Troika and Oona Culley is displayed.

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