LHR – Terminal 3 airline lounges (reviewed) August 2022

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  • MartynSinclair
    Participant

    One of the more frequent questions asked about T3, LHR, is which airline lounge is the best when flying OneWorld. Last Thursday, I made the choice before flying to Asia, to work remotely from Heathrow and spent 5 hours in T3. I had the choice of BA, Qantas, CX lounge, with the AA lounge “temporarily closed”.

    The lounges – all located next to one another.

    QANTAS – a fabulous smiley and friendly welcome. The lounge is bright and airy and covers 2 floors. Downstairs is a gin bar and a la carte dining area. Up the winding stairs there is another large lounge area. One end of the room is a large circular bar area with seating and at the other end a permanent buffet set up with a nice selection of salads and hot foods. Ample seating around the lounge and in many different seating styles. There are large windows giving decent views of the apron. The magic of this lounge though comes alive at 5.30pm when the downstairs a la carte dining opens to coincide with the QF departures. For me though, doing the afternoon shift, the Qantas lounge was perfect. Very few people, good wifi, drinks and refreshments as needed and nobody walking about shouting into phones stuck by their ears, without a care for any other passengers. Only minor issue, I cant get used to or familiar with, unisex toilets. There is something about standing up at a urinal to answer the call of nature rather than entering a cubicle and having to lift the seat and wish you hadn’t…

    Cathay Pacific F – apart from the very premium LH (I have used) and AF (have not used) F lounges, my favourite lounge complex are the CX lounges found in HKIA. Walking into the CX lounge in T3, did have that feel of being back in HKG, as the lounge design was similar, at least until I looked out of the window of the F section and realised, I was still in London. Felt odd to be in an “outpost of HKG” – no masks, no covid restrictions, self-service buffet and drinks, a full-service dining experience with paper menus and plenty of that HKG bustle and feel. With CX flight departures, this lounge was a lot busier than the QF lounge. As I was feeling hungry, I did take advantage of the dining options and had some delicious, pan-fried sole. It felt wonderful & although my main office in HKG has now relocated, in a nice way, it made me look forward to being able to return to HKG, once all the covid restrictions and Q’s have been removed. Thank you CX for the welcoming feel you gave this lounge hopper.

    British Airways F lounge – once the lounge agent looked up from her Facebook page on her phone and realised, she had a customer, I was asked for boarding pass and then my exec card as she could not find status on the Finnair boarding card. I pointed it out, then I was welcomed through with a hand gesture.

    A large and dated lounge complex, in need of a makeover. Had the feel of a corporate office waiting room, just chairs, chairs and chairs. The room does have similar apron views to the Qantas lounge, but the windows appear smaller, and it does not have the feel of being light, airy or modern. The BA buffet is back. However, BA have not taken the opportunity of freshening the menus. All looked stodgy and sloppy; pies and curries/sauced based food. So easy to get travel clothes marked with food slops, however careful one eats. Whilst the buffet may have returned, the online app food ordering for the restaurant remains. On the one hand the covid protocols allow for self service food and alcohol, but paper menus are deemed unsafe OR are BA just playing the covid game still and using it as an excuse to make their lounge experience as complicated as possible. The lounge had the usual characters, including the DYKWIA people making sure everyone heard their phone conversations and the kids running around.

    However, it was not full & the biggest complaint there is still no BT Magazine, even though I get a home delivery of the magazine – I had forgotten to put the last edition into my briefcase. The champagne bar appeared open and alcohol is freely available, all self-service.

    SUMMARY

    In truth, any of the lounges would have been appropriate for me, but having the choice of three, I chose the Qantas lounge to set up my temporary office. The main reason I chose the Qantas lounge was it was very quiet, I found a very comfortable table and chair to work at, the wifi was perfect and the staff were always walking about offering me drinks and snacks in a very professional but discreet way. I made/received a couple of calls and did not feel I was disturbing any of the other guests when speaking on the phone. The 4 hours I spent working in the lounge went very quickly indeed and then followed 2 superb flights with Finnair – but that is another story…

    I really think the choice of lounge is dependent on timing. Maybe after 5.30pm the QF lounge would no longer be that haven and either the BA lounge or CX lounge would have been more appropriate. If you are after a decent lunch, then CX is the one to use. Either way, I still feel very privileged that post-covid I am still able to travel and have the problems of deciding which of the 3 available lounges in T3 I should use. I am indeed very fortunate…

    Apologies I did not check the opening hours of each lounge

    Finally, it’s wonderful to be back in BKK, 3rd post covid visit. The economic devastation continues to rip through the economy with many hotels and restaurants still losing staff as businesses re position their offerings. The good news is the immigration hall was filling up and the usual 30-minute journey to the hotel, took 3 hours! (Good news – meaning, despite the economic devastation, BKK is returning to traffic chaos and more international visitors) …


    DannyBoy
    Participant

    Martyn-an excellent summary. One question I have is which lounge would you recommend in the morning for a decent breakfast if flying business?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    BugAdvisor
    Participant

    My favourite has always been the Cathay Pacific First lounge – accessible even with a BA EuroTraveller ticket and gold card. The small table service restaurant has excellent food and service, although sometimes the food takes a while to appear.

    However, the BA First lounge does beat Cathay on the following:
    Individual bathrooms – a great place to freshen up, brush teeth etc.
    The alchohol choice and quality is better.
    BA are happy for you to take newspapers – back when they had a good selection.

    My routine was: BA First to freshen up in the bathrooms, have a glass of Champagne and take a newspaper. Head round to Cathay for a table service dinner. Hope the flight was departing from Gate 11 only for it to be the dreaded Gate 36. Offer one of the electric cart drivers a fiver to take me to Gate 36.

    My regular European flight has now been moved to T5 so I won’t be seeing the Cathay lounge for a while. On a plus point, I also will no longer have to suffer T3 so-called Fast Track security.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Martyn-an excellent summary. One question I have is which lounge would you recommend in the morning for a decent breakfast if flying business?

    On the basis I do not do big or fry up style breakfasts, I am not able to answer. 🙂

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    DannyBoy
    Participant

    Martyn-an excellent summary. One question I have is which lounge would you recommend in the morning for a decent breakfast if flying business?

    On the basis I do not do big or fry up style breakfasts, I am not able to answer. 🙂

    I don’t do fry ups either but stick to a healthy omelet/continental affair maybe an eggs florentine?

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    esselle
    Participant

    If they are open for breakfast, I would try QF as the Aussie brekkie range is hard to beat.

    Great piece Martin. The CX lounge gets my vote from the T3 options, but for sheer style it has to be the AF La Premiere lounge in CDG.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    Thanks, Martyn.

    I usually use the Amex Centurion Lounge in T3, but will try the CX F Lounge next time (I have OneWorld Emerald status through Finnair Platinum).

    A useful comparison guide. I must admit that when I used the BA F Lounge in T3 recently, I found it pretty poor and decamped back to the Amex.

    Regards as ever,

    Simon

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    PatJordan
    Participant

    A very welcome post Martyn,

    given the vast amount of negative publicity about LHR, it is refreshing to once again read about premium lounge experiences.

    Many thanks for sharing this Martyn. And also for awakening memories of splashes of curries (and the like) on my clothes, despite the use of napkins, etc!!!

    Safe travels all,

    Pat

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    LaundryMan
    Participant

    Yet another excellent review Martyn and although do not use T3 very often as my BA flight has returned to T5 will bear in mind

    I also find unisex toilets difficult to get use to (Manchester have them as well) but the people that make these decisions probably have no idea but want to save money in design as they can get probably more get cubicles maybe ?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    mikewebley
    Participant

    This week on one visit, I used AMEX, followed by Cathay, followed by Qantas. All had plus points over the other. But food was best at lunchtime in Cathay, but Qantas was best for drinks.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Abidjan
    Participant

    CX lounge is by far my most favorite T3 option. QF isn’t too shabby, as well.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    GivingupBA
    Participant

    CX lounge is by far my most favorite T3 option. QF isn’t too shabby, as well.

    I’ve been in many lounges around the world and for me, in every airport I’ve been to, the CX lounge/s has/have been the best. So far. In my opinion.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I too would also echo the CX F lounge praise, both in LHR and HKG.

    Back in the day the Qatar lounge in T4 was always excellent and I believe was just for F & J pax.
    I remember sitting there working when the manager (I think) came over and asked ‘A glass of Pol Roger?’. Seems like a lifetime ago!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    maxgeorge
    Participant

    Qantas.

    Has the best bánh phó, made to order, the ideal a.m eye opener.

    Usually less crowded than Cathay.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I am looking forward to using the CX F lounge as we transition to our new lives in October – fortunately our onward flight on BA is from T3! And in flagrant breach of the statements on their website about minimum connection times, BA are insisting we spend at least two hours there which means we can’t get the earlier flight. So we will in fact be in T3 for something like 5 hours. Maybe I will tour the lounges as well, although I am very familiar with them all!

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