Ten years ago, the distinctive, needle-nosed Concorde jet ceased commercial operations - forever. The Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was the only turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner in the history of aviation. Despite being the fastest passenger jet to cross the skies - London-Heathrow to New York-JFK was only 3.5 hours, barely enough for the lavish meal service - Concorde proved too costly for British Airways and Air France to maintain and was retired in November 2003. With advances in space, design and comfort, commercial airplanes have yet to match the speed and rarefied style attained by the Concorde despite other aviation advances that have improved cabin space, design, and comfort.
Even though the Concorde is no longer flying the friendly skies, the Concorde name remains synonymous with the rarefied style it afforded its passengers. British Airways continues to operate the Concorde Room at London Heathrow's T5 and New York's JFK airports. Designed for first class passengers, these exclusive lounges offer a unique resting place before departure.
So exclusive are these lounges that they are not even available to first class passengers on British Airway's partner airlines in the oneworld alliance. (Lounge access is normally a reciprocal benefit provided to premium cabin passengers and frequent flyers with elite status.) Only passengers with a same-day British Airways first class ticket or and Concorde Room cardholders (5,000+ tier points) may gain admission.
The Concorde Room has been described by Business Traveller magazine as "a reason to get to the airport early." Both rooms at London and New York boast quiet rest areas that offer tranquility even at peak times when other lounges may fill up. They also provide a la carte sit-down dining service. Wearied travelers may refresh themselves with a complimentary massage at the Elemis Spa (but book in advance if possible as appointments can fill up quickly). There are even private cabanas with day beds. And (my personal favourite) the business area has actual passenger seats from the retired Concorde fleet.
While no airline can still afford to offer the exclusivity or thrill of a supersonic commercial jet tearing across the Atlantic, the Concorde lives on in its airport lounge namesakes. Airlines and private lounge providers are opening more airport oases every month at airports around the world. And while access to the Concorde Room, like the Concorde jet, is often limited to a select few, many of us can enjoy the perks of the airport lounges at most airports around the world with the help of LoungeBuddy.
An airport lounge is one of the best ways to work more productively on the ground, escape the noise of the terminal, and grab a quick snack or drink. It makes transiting an airport something to look forward to. So, if you're flying first class with British Airways, drop in on a Concorde Room if you can. And if not, make the most out of your airport time by looking up any of the many lounges listed in the helpful LoungeBuddy App - sharing details on complimentary access rules, fees, and amenities at the airports along your journey.