This is our review of the Qantas lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
If you want a shower, you’re in luck. There are six shower suites and they look good:
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.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (April 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.