British Airways Refreshing First and Club lounges

a group of chairs and a table

What do you do when you have an extra $8.5 billion? Right, invest in your customers. Where other airlines are breaking their heads on how to either make or save money on their travelers, British Airways gives the right example with an investment plan for their customers.

Fresh(er) Lounges

The airline will be refreshing the First and Club lounges at Chicago O’Hare Airport. And for those heading to Europe—lounge improvements at Edinburgh and Berlin.

What can be expected? All new floors, furniture and carpeting, as well as a more fresh, brighter look overall. The entrance will become more welcoming and interactive (follow the lead of American Express airport lounges?). The refresh includes serving stations redesigned to offer passengers a much better experience.

British Airways is looking to finish the Chicago lounges this Spring with late April/May being most likely. The Edinburgh and Berlin lounges will follow with June completion most likely.

a group of chairs and tables in a room
Muted gray/blue and subtle reds combined for the lounge refresh.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience:

“Lounges are incredibly important to our customers travelling in our Club and First cabins, or to those with Executive Club status, and they are rightly a focus of our £6.5bn (over $8 billion dollars) customer investment. We’ve recently refurbished nine lounges across the network, and we’re looking forward to refurbishing more in 2020.”

We think so too. So what else is part of this multi-billion investment? British Airways is looking to upgrade their Wi-Fi and power in every aircraft seat (that’s 128 long-haul aircraft) as well as upgrade the aircraft with new interiors. And did we mention that 72 new aircraft will be added to their fleet?

a group of lamps on a table
Let there be light—as well as more power ports. Check that box.

Previous lounge refurbishments:

  • Heathrow’s Concorde Room – November 2017 – revamped taking inspiration from the very best of British Design.
  • Rome Fiumicino – April 2018 – the lounge followed a new design concept for the airline featuring the very best of British and European design. The refurbish delivered a luxurious and contemporary look and feel.
  • Aberdeen – May 2018 – featuring bespoke furniture and fittings such as feature walls, lighting, marble topped tables and a beautifully crafted granite topped bar.
  • JFK First – October 2018 – 60 per cent larger than its predecessor. Highlights include a new wine room, opulent bar and upgraded dining.
  • JFK Club – April 2019 – includes elegant, relaxed seating areas as well as ample work stations, a craft beer room, and the reopened Elemis Spa.
  • San Francisco – July 2019 – the lounge features fantastic views of the runway thanks to floor to ceiling glass windows. A study area, a deli bar and boutique dining for First are included.
  • Milan Linate – October 2019 – featuring new look armchairs, decorative lighting, a new reception area and Italian finishes.
  • Johannesburg – November 2019 – new and improved space converted into one large lounge with a dedicated boutique dining area for First customers.
  • Geneva – November 2019 – extended to 3,500 square feet including a lobby bar, craft beer room and a peaceful, separate seating area.

Bottom line: These lounges are crowded rush hour homes to a growing number of Executive Club members. Lounge upkeep contributes to both brand loyalty and customer convenience which is returned with repeat business. As long as Walkers shortbread cookies remain on the menu—we’re good. We commend British Airways for this investment. As a reminder to them … start saving for the next round of lounge refreshes as that day will be here before you know it.


  1. HerbSpencer says

    BAs lounge at FCO is nice enough, but poorly marked, which matters because most airport staff have no idea where it is. Also, its food and beverage selection could use some augmentation, especially during morning hours. But, it is an improvement over what used to be. I’m looking forward to seeing how things have changed at LIN come May.

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