FIRST LOOK: The brand new Qantas lounge in Heathrow T3 (accessible by BA passengers)

The new Qantas lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3 opens at 8am on Wednesday.  On Tuesday I met Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, at the official opening who was keen to show me what British Airways passengers can expect if they choose to visit this lounge instead of the BA Galleries facility.

(The Qantas departures from Heathrow are at 11.45 and 20.45 so there is plenty of scope around that for British Airways passengers to come in when it is quiet.  Qantas status members on Emirates flights can access the lounge throughout the day.)

Here is Alan pouring himself an Australian gin at the bar:

Review Qantas lounge Heathrow Terminal 3 Alan Joyce

The elephant in the room, of course, is the Cathay Pacific lounge in Terminal 3.  This sits above the Qantas lounge and is a very impressive facility with dedicated First / Gold and Business / Silver lounges.  Anika’s review of the launch event is here and my recent visits to the First side confirm it is very good.

However, if you are a British Airways Executive Club Silver member or have a Club Europe / Club World ticket, you may be better in the Qantas lounge. 

Review Qantas lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

The key driver here is the a la carte dining in the Qantas lounge.  As you will see below, the Qantas lounge has a large formal dining area which is available to everyone.  Whilst we need to see more feedback, I think dining here will be better than the Cathay Pacific business class lounge.  It goes without saying that it will be better than the British Airways Galleries lounge.

Review Qantas lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

I asked Alan Joyce if he was concerned about British Airways passengers flooding the lounge.  After all, you need to walk past it to get to the BA facility.  He said that he was happy to have BA passengers, especially at times when there are no Qantas flight scheduled, but that if it got busy they may need to prioritise Qantas passengers at certain times of the day.  With 236 seats it is clearly impossible to fill it solely with Qantas passengers.

Review Qantas lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

Remember that, in March, Qantas is launching a 17 hour flight between London and Perth using a Boeing 787-9.  This new Heathrow lounge is designed to ensure those passengers are fed and watered before they get on the plane.  The fact that you can get the same service if you are flying London to Bilbao on British Airways is just luck!

Review Qantas lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

This is the first Qantas lounge in London.  Since moving from Terminal 4, Qantas passengers have been using the inferior Emirates lounge.  It is being overseen by Accor who run 27 other Qantas lounges worldwide.

It is a two level facility.  Downstairs is the a la carte dining area.  There is a lot of seating in the restaurant and I am confident that Qantas / Accor will deliver here.

Upstairs, via an impressive staircase, is a circular cocktail bar and at the other side of the lounge is another snack and coffee counter.

I can’t talk about the food because the lounge was not open to the public today and they were not serving their normal menu.

There are two VIP rooms upstairs.  Frankly they are not exciting – windowless spaces as you can see below – and I will try to avoid becoming famous enough to need to hide away in one of these:

Review Qantas lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

If you want a shower, you’re in luck.  There are six shower suites and they look good:

Review Qantas lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

The proof of the pudding is how the lounge performs from 8am tomorrow.  Note that it closes at 8.30pm so if you are on a late night BA departure you won’t get in.

On the basis of my visit today, it seems a no-brainer if you are in Club Europe / Club World / BA Silver from Terminal 3. It is worth considering if you are BA Gold / flying First and want a more spacious and buzzier facility than Cathay Pacific offers.

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Comments

  1. Stunning lounge! I really love how Qantas have re-invented themselves. From dowdy and dated, to thoroughly contemporary premium Australian brand. BA could learn a lot!

    • True. Getting people like Marc Newson (disclaimer: I know him via our kids) involved in the Sydney lounges and the A380 cabins was smart, not sure why he didn’t do this one.

      • I used the Melbourne lounge when flying back with QR business last year, and was actually really surprised. Its not just the decor or interior, its the service – staff are really helpful and amenable and it was spotless – they worked really hard to maintain the lounge and keep people happy, was very surprised as had heard so many complaints about Qantas from aussie friends in the past. I think overall I still think prefer the ambiance of Cathay’s lounges and I’m a big fan of Ilse Crawfords work for them, but I think Qantas comes very close.

  2. Looks great! We are flying from T3 to Lyon this weekend so we’ll have a a lounge hopping start to the trip.

    Is the BA first lounge the only one with champagne???

    • All the BA lounges serve champagne, you have to ask for it if it’s not on display.

    • BA lounges serve champagne, but it’s hidden and you need to stop one of the staff from clearing tables to ask and then hope they remember.

    • BA First and Cathay First: serve yourself champagne. (Cathay MOET versus BA ‘buy-in-bulk from whoever we can’.) Cathay business also has MOET – from the bar. As does AA Flagship (glass given to you on entrance. And refilled continuously). Qantas? Who knows what will pan in after a month or so. BA Galleries has glass on request. But it is not the best to say the least. Even worse than the ‘buy-in-bulk from whoever we can’ supplied in First. Hope that helps 🙂

  3. Looks fantastic – loved the food & setup at the QF MEL Flounge 🙂

    Makes me really want BA flights leaving from T3 – shame the inter-terminal transfers aren’t better though, major pain not being able to transfer airside without reclearing security, etc.

  4. Can you access it if you’re finnair business?

    • Yes. BA Galleries, Qantas, Cathay Business and American Admirals Club.

    • On a side note, if you happen to be flying BRU > HEL on Finnair, you can use the rather good business-level Brussels Airlines lounge if OneWorld Sapphire or Emerald, or on a Finnair Business class ticket.

  5. For first class passengers with AA tickets, which lounges in T3 are accessible, and which is the best lounge?

  6. Looks good. We are travelling to Vancouver (BA from Terminal 3) in a few weeks and have two silver BA cards in our party of 6. I’ve had a look at their child entry rules and it looks as if we will all get into Qantas on our two cards since the children are 3 & 7.

  7. George Mitchell says:

    I am BA Silver but wife has no status. We are flying economy class on BA to Ghana from T3 later this month.
    Can I sign in my better half to any OW lounge in T3 on the basis of by Silver status?
    Thanks in advance.

  8. Silly question from me… don’t all BA flights depart from T5?

    • No, a chunk, both short haul and long haul, depart from Terminal 3.

      These are generally leisure routes. BA chooses the flights with the fewest connecting passengers and puts those in T3.

    • Sam Goss says:

      Was hunting around for something for next year and was offered SEN-MAN-SIN on BE/SQ – SEN is no good for me and the connection was too long, but I was tempted to book on the basis I have serious doubts on the viability of that flight and thus would have a good chance of getting re-routed from LHR at some point (which is 100s+ more currently…)

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