3 hours, 5 lounges (part 4): Review of the American Airlines lounge, Heathrow Terminal 3

This is my review of the American Airlines lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3.

I flew to Helsinki a fortnight ago to test drive the new Airbus A350.  As Finnair fly from Heathrow Terminal 3, I had five lounge options:

I decided to visit them all!  Having started off with the two third-party lounges (No 1 Traveller – outstanding, Swissport – dreadful) I moved on to the oneworld options.

I reviewed the British Airways lounge in Terminal 3 here.  I had planned to review the Cathay Pacific lounge as well, but I didn’t know when I visited that it was about to close for refurbishment.  As it is now shut – I was one of the last people to visit, it seems! – there is no point wasting pixels on it.

This leaves the American Airlines lounge.

I had heard some fairly positive things about this lounge – no-one is ever going to rave about an American Airlines lounge, of course, but the buzz about this was not too bad.  I was therefore a little surprised with what I found.  You need to remember that I was there at 5.30pm in the afternoon which appears to be a lull in the AA schedule.

The reception area is very smart indeed.  I get a feeling that it has been refurbished far more recently than the lounge itself.

I walked around the corner and found myself in a h-u-g-e space.  It feels far bigger than the British Airways lounge.  What is lacked, however, was guests:

As empty

…. any guests …

As empty 2

… anyone there? ….

AA empty 3

… anyone, please? ….

AA dining area

The good news is that it seemed I would have an entire buffet to myself.  Sadly the food, whilst obviously not as bad as the British Airways selection next door, was still not fit to lace the boots of the No 1 Traveller spread upstairs.  There was some pasta:

AA pasta

…. some salad ….

AA salad

… and some sandwiches ….

AA sandwiches

I don’t have a photograph of the self-service bar.  It was nothing to write home about – I didn’t see champagne in any of the lounges I visited (it would have been in the First Class section of the BA lounge) although the now-closed Cathay lounge did have prosecco.

What AA did have was sweets!

AA sweets

It also had a large number of computers for your use (although BA had more) and the usual terrible ‘only there because they paid us’ selection of magazines.

It is difficult to write about a lounge when you are the only guest – there were no staff either.  Just me and this big space.  It was a bit spooky!  It gave me too much time to consider the state of the furnishings, which were frankly pathetic and look as it they escaped from the reception area of a 1970’s office block.

I am guessing (well, hoping) that the lounge comes to life in the early evening with decent food and a few other guests.  I can’t recommend visiting at 5.30pm, however ….

From my tour of Terminal 3, the clear winner in the lounge stakes is No 1 Traveller.  You can access with a Priority Pass or buy access via their website.  Of the oneworld airline lounges, British Airways is the best of an uninspiring bunch.

I am hoping to visit the Virgin Clubhouse in Terminal 3 in 2016, which is somewhere I haven’t visited this century.  It is time I paid it a visit again.

Bits: 1000 Virgin miles with Shops Away, free London transport with Apple Pay, Luxury Travel Diary auctions
Bits: Black Friday deals already launched, my first hotel pancake machine!
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Comments

  1. The Cathay lounge must have reopened now as I was in there on Monday. It was my first time so I can’t compare it to the previous lounge, but it seems to be on par with the CDG lounge, just a bit smaller. A small selection of hot food, a noodle bar, self pour wine and champagne. It’s smaller than the BA lounge but was not very busy while I was there.

    TV choices were a bit weird. One had BBC, the other had wrestling?!

  2. I’m not sure of the problem with there not being any other guests. Isn’t it nice to have some space, not listen to other people on the phone (or walking around on the phone), peace and quiet? Apart from the food it seems the perfect lounge.

  3. Was this the Admirals Club or the Flagship Lounge? It looks like the former.

    • It’s the admirals club. I have used this a few times now as I have a 100% failure rate getting into No 1 Traveller.
      The AA lounge is a barn and I have never seen it busy. Such a contrast to the over crowded BA lounges.
      The f&b is plain and simple but perfectly edible. I think it works both in the lounge and inflight and again such a contrast to BAs catering.

      • Globetrotter7 says:

        I wonder why the BA lounges are usually overcrowded!!

        • Probably because a lot of people with status don’t realise that you can use other lounges. I hadn’t realised that until I read these reviews!

  4. “Sadly the food, whilst obviously not as bad as the British Airways selection next door”

    Is the AA Admirals food really better than Galleries Club?

  5. Other than being massive I don’t think this lounge doesn’t have much going for it, unless you need to print something off. Not worth a detour if you only have time for one lounge visit.

    Shame the CX lounge will be closed for such a long time (until June 2016) but hopefully when it reopens it will be of a similarly high standard to their recently refreshed BKK lounge.

  6. That is more food than when I was there at a similar time last month. Then they only had “make your own burger”. I did not partake. BA is my go to lounge in T3. I really don’t get the hype around No.1 lounges. The food portions are so tiny it is laughable, plus they are always crowded. That said LHR T3 is the best No.1 lounge I have visited.

  7. Astounded the CX lounge is shutting for refurb having visited their First lounge on the way out for my jolly to ride the Finnair A350 on 15th October – it looked pristine to me!

  8. William PH says:

    So if I have a Finnair Business Class ticket, but no Oneworld status, which is the official Finnair lounge while Carhay is out of commission?

    • Not sure which one is the official one, but you can certainly use BA GC and AA business class lounge.

    • American I believe but don’t quote me.

    • I just got an email from Cathay Pacific that says…

      Our London Heathrow Lounge will be temporarily closed for renovation from 25 November and re-open in June 2016. During the closure, eligible passengers will be able to use the American Airlines Lounge and the No.1 Traveller Lounge.

      So maybe you can use No.1 lounge with your Finnair J ticket?

    • Finnair business passengers will get directed to the No 1 Lounge from tomorrow…

  9. Mark West says:

    Such a a shame that AA went down this bog-standard, ‘let’s be like Chicago and every other Admirals Club’ route. I used to fly AA a lot from T3 and in those days the club was a lovely space with rich wood rotundas, antiques on display and a quiet rest area… it got busy back then! Food was never their forte… I think it was muffins in the morning and cheese and biscuits back then?! I am afraid I have been wooed by the No 1 lounges… and regarding the food offer… it’s all about portion sizes my wife tells me : -)

  10. Oddly I like to see a “bit” of life in a lounge – otherwise the creepiness….well it creeps in. I’d pick the BA lounge in T3 for this alone. No 1’s can be jolly but I find their food a bit mean. Although there is food obviously….

    • Can’t say I object to an nearly empty lounge, provided it is not cavernous. There’s one I use coming back to LHR from Harry Towers, not that often more than a couple of guests but it’s small enough to feel a bit like a pub snug or library.

      Excellent service from the lass on duty!

  11. I’m flying Qantas First from T3, probably won’t still have my Priority Pass by then but I think I can use the Emirates lounge, any thoughts on the best lounge to use? I might do a bit of lounge hopping if I’ve time.

    • You will board from the Emirates lounge so you might as well use that. It is lighter and brighter, with FAR better food and drink than any of the other T3 lounges you can access, so I would stick with that. Pointless going anywhere except BA and No 1.

      • Thanks Rob!

        • Alan Gregg says:

          I flew Qantas business a few months ago to Melbourne. LHR to DBX was Qantas and then Emirates from DBX to Melbourbe.

          I was not allowed in the Emirates lounge at T3. Despite the onward flight in 8 hours time being on an Emirates A380.

  12. OT: I have a redemption booking with EY (LHR-AUH-CMB) and timing of the second leg of the itinerary has changed. EY MAN call centre agreed to change the booking free of charge because of that. I want to keep my original first leg, and change only the 2nd leg which was affected by the schedule change. However… maybe after 10 minutes hold, the call centre girl told me that they were not able to do the change as there was no availability on the first leg and the system did not allow to make changes on the 3nd leg only, so they had to request somebody in AUH to do the change manually and it may take 2-3 days. The problem is that availability on my preferred flight may be gone by then… Any work around? Has anybody had similar issues before?

    • Sounds a bit like ‘put the phone down, call again’ – except that Etihad agents are generally not great. I had a lot of grief getting my A380 flight next week changed when they switched planes on me, and I had a ludicrous amount of trouble getting the chauffeur arranged. Because it was a very early departure, I decided to stay at Heathrow overnight. They are not allowed to make chauffeur bookings on a day which is different to the departure day and it took 3 days to get authorisation to pick me up the night before.

  13. Goglobalnz says:

    Worth noting that because its so quiet getting a shower is easy

  14. Alan Gregg says:

    If I’m in T3 and fancy a beer (they have London Pride) some nuts and a bit of quite time I go to the AA lounge.

    It’s always dead which for me is great. Chairs are comfy enough and there’s plenty of power points.

    You can get champagne in BA if you ask. It’s like doing a drug deal, you call them over and then they sneak it back to your table whilst trying to hide it from the rest of the lounge in case more people ask.

  15. Lady London says:

    Assuming the AA lounge has the rumored showers then that would be my only reason to visit.

    I shuddered looking at Rob’s pictures. Memories of my school auditorium, or the school gymnasium on a wet day. By the looks of the food it’s racing BA Galleries to the bottom.

    What a contrast to the buzzy slick convivial AA lounge in T2. In the case of T2, the AA lounge is my standout favorite. and that’s against the stiff competition of the SQ and LH lounges that are also in that Terminal.

    • I wish my school gym had looked like that on a wet day. We had to play indoor rounders when it was wet. The outdoor version was bearable. Indoors, not so much.

  16. These pictures did shock me a little. The Flagship lounge though on the other side is really quite nice. More modern interior, smaller obviously and when I’ve been in it (usually for a morning departure to the US) busy but not overly so.

    The made to order breakfast (scrambled eggs with avocado if I remember correctly) was actually yummy.

  17. Thanks as always for the review. I’m curious though… if the CX lounge hadn’t closed, where would you have rated / placed it?

    Also, second question, do you (or any readers) know which is the best T3 lounge for a (newly attained) BA Gold and their BA silver wife??

    I used to love the CX (good magazine selection there too!), so was planning to try “CX First”, but that plan has been blown out of the water. Is BA First (or whatever it’s called) my best option now, or does Admirals Flagship stack up well?

    Sorry for babbling :)

  18. Does anyone know if the Emirates lounge at T3 has now reopened, and if it has a dedicated First Class area now ?

  19. Did you do the Finnair A350 review yet? I’ve searched around on your site but can’t see it ….

    • No, had to get the lounge reviews done first! Will be very soon as I adament it will be done before I head off to the Middle East on the next review trip on Thursday!

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