A relatively rare visit to London Heathrow Terminal 3 afforded us the perfect excuse to check out Qantas’ recently opened lounge in London.
At the outset, our review comes with one significant caveat.
Qantas has just two flights from London a day. One at 11:55 and another at 20:45. Alas, we were not flying to Australia so our visit was between these flights. The lounge was virtually empty. Indeed, at times there were more staff than passengers!
Whilst this was a great opportunity to enjoy a very quiet and peaceful lounge in a busy terminal at a very busy airport, we’re unable to judge how effectively it operates at peak times before Qantas flights leave Heathrow.
Also, some services, namely a la carte dining on the ground level, were not on offer at the time of our visit.
The lounge itself is easy to locate. Once you have cleared Fast Track security in Terminal 3 simply walk straight through the passenger waiting area and the lounge entrance is straight ahead. Lounges in Terminal 3 are assigned a letter for signage and navigation purposes. Qantas is Lounge B. The Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and American Airlines lounges are a short distance away.
This lounge, like Qantas lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong, operates as a combined lounge for first and business class passengers. Arguably, this benefits business class passengers more.
On arrival at the lounge, things got off to a good start with a warm welcome from the lounge hosts.
On the ground floor of the lounge there is a bar and an a la carte dining area with a wide variety of at table and at bar seating with plenty of power sockets.
When you walk up the staircase you are immediately greeted by the centre piece of the upper level of the lounge: A marble bar which offers a wide range of alcoholic drinks (but no champagne on our visit) and coffee to order from the bar tenders sporting white jackets.
This being a Qantas lounge, you can of course order coffee using Australian terminology (Flat White, Long Black et al). Needless to say, the coffee was excellent.
At the other side of the lounge on the upper level is a buffet offering cold salads, hot dishes and sweet items, as well as soft drinks. The items we tasted were fresh and of high quality.
The lounge is largely decorated in bright white. In some lounges we have found this can be a bit overpowering for a lounge environment, which should facilitate relaxation before a flight, but the choice of furnishings and colours offsets this.
We particularly liked the wide variety of seating which is well suited to families, groups, couples and solo travellers. Of particular note are the high back seats which help divide what could otherwise feel like a very expansive area.
Also on the Upper Level there are separate, and well-appointed, private male and female bathrooms and shower suites.
The one slight disappointment is that, bar the coffee and Australian Rockpool menus, there’s not much of a touch of Australia. We only saw a very small selection of UK newspapers and the TVs were displaying UK channels. The Qantas lounges in Los Angeles shows Sky News Australia, for example.
Also, passengers who like to take in the view of airfield operations whilst at the airport may prefer to use other lounges as there’s not much to see from the lounge.
Passengers who are eligible to access the lounge by virtue of flying First Class or having Oneworld Emerald frequent flyer status may also prefer to try the dedicated Cathay Pacific First Class lounge.
Whilst Terminal 3 itself may not be one of London Heathrow’s most modern terminals, it is now something of a destination in its own right for Oneworld frequent flyers and Oneworld business and first class passengers.
On top of the Qantas lounge, you have the highly regarded Cathay Pacific first and business class lounges and British Airways Galleries Business and First lounges. American Airlines is also due to open a new Flagship Lounge in Terminal 3.
All in all Qantas deserves credit for creating for a very creditable lounge away from base. It’s pleasing to see Qantas invest in London Heathrow and raising the bar for business class lounges at the airport. For anyone looking for some mid-afternoon peace and quiet in Terminal 3, this is pretty much a failsafe option.
The Qantas lounge is open from 08:00 to 20:30 daily. Passengers flying business and first class on Oneworld airlines are eligible to enter the lounge as are Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald cardholders. Qantas Club members and Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold customers are also eligible.