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Review: the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3

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This is our review of the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You can see all of the reviews here.

The Cathay Pacific lounges at Heathrow are widely regarded as the best lounges at Terminal 3. They have just re-opened, following almost two years of closure.

They are currently the main lounges for Finnair and American Airlines, the latter using it whilst the AA lounge is refurbished and possibly turned into a Flagship lounge.

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow plants

The Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge at Heathrow was my penultimate stop on my oneworld lounge safari at Terminal 3. Previous stops include:

How to access the Cathay Pacific lounges at Heathrow T3

You do not need to be flying Cathay Pacific to access the lounges. The only requirement is that you are flying a oneworld carrier (such as Finnair, American Airlines, Qantas or British Airways), either on a business class ticket or with the relevant status.

That means anyone with oneworld Emerald (ie. British Airways Executive Club Gold) can access the First Class lounge and anyone with BA Silver can use the Business lounge, even if you are flying an a hand-baggage-only British Airways economy flight.

I got in on the back of my BA Gold status and an economy flight to Gibraltar. You can see the list of short haul BA flights operating from Terminal 3 here.

The lounge is open from 5:30am until 7:30pm daily, except Sundays when it opens at 7:30am.

How to find the Cathay Pacific lounges at Heathrow

Terminal 3 uses an alphabetic labelling system for the 9 lounges that are now available at the airport. The Cathay Pacific lounges are designated as ‘Lounge C’ when you exit security.

Lounge C is situated just a few metres down from the Qantas lounge, by gate 11. The lounge is currently open from 5:30am until 5:30pm daily except Sundays, when the lounge opens at 7:30am.

Inside the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge at Heathrow T3

To get into the lounge you need to take the lift up a floor:

Once you have scanned your boarding pass you can proceed to the lounge, which is the second on the right (the first on the right is the First Class lounge).

The Business Class lounge is substantially larger than the First Class lounge – about two to three times as large.

The first section is a dining area, adjacent to the noodle bar:

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow dining area

Here is the noodle bar:

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow noodle bar

Beyond this the lounge is more casual, with armchairs clustered in various groups and along the windows:

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow seating

Aesthetically, the First and Business Class lounges are pretty similar, with warm wooden panelling and furniture in warm browns, greys and blacks. The addition of several fiddle leaf figs and other plants liven the space up and also tie into the green accents throughout:

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow plants

In the middle you have a bar where you can order alcoholic drinks (self pour is not available):

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow bar

At the very end of the lounge is a TV with news:

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow TV corner

…. as well as these individual pods:

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow pods

On the whole, the Business Class lounge is less bright than the First Class lounge because it sticks out less and is shaded by the terminal buildings, although it does get more light in the evenings. This also means the views aren’t quite as good, although it has floor to ceiling windows and is still brighter than most airport lounges.

As you can see from the photos, it wasn’t too busy although there were more people than in the First Class lounge.

Food and drink at the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge Heathrow T3

As mentioned above, the main dining options in the lounge come from the noodle bar near the lounge entrance. There is no table service – you head to the noodle bar to order and get given a buzzer to alert you when you can collect your food.

Dishes generally include a range of noodles, bao and dim sum:

Cathay Pacific lounge Heathrow dimsum

In addition to the noodle bar there is also a small buffet. During breakfast you can find a few hot dishes available (which I forgot to photograph – oops!) plus various plates with cold cuts:

Cathay Pacific Business lounge Heathrow cold cuts

The Cathay lounges tend to focus on Asian cuisine so if you are after something more Western then you may be better off eating in the Qantas lounge.


The Cathay Pacific lounge showers are shared by the First and Business class sections of the lounge and are by far the best showers at any Heathrow terminal:

Cathay Pacific lounge Heathrow shower suite

The dark brown marble is just absolutely stunning together with the gold fittings.

Stepping into the shower you feel like you have skipped the flight entirely and have already arrived at a stunning 5* resort:

Cathay Pacific First lounge Heathrow shower

It’s hard not to be blown away. Toiletries are by Bamford and have a lovely geranium smell:

Cathay Pacific First lounge Heathrow bamford toiletries


Although not quite as spectacular as the First Class lounge, the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge is still a lovely facility. It outclasses BA’s Galleries First lounge, with better food and drink options as well as much more modern and stylish decor.

If you’re looking to freshen up, a trip to this lounge will also get you access to the best showers at Heathrow.

I would consider the Qantas lounge and the Cathay Business lounge to tie as the second best oneworld lounges at Heathrow T3.

The Cathay lounge has more Asian dishes, better showers and more natural light. The Qantas lounge has mostly Western a la carte dining and a greater range of gins. What you prefer will depend on what you like, although personally I would visit both given they are just round the corner from each other.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2023)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit 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.

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £24.  You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £24 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (49)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Michael C says:

    Literally chose AA for LHR-BOS just to start the trip off here, followed by Qantas cocktails!

  • His Holyness says:

    Still got bathrobes in the showers?

  • riku says:

    >>Stepping into the shower you don’t feel like you have skipped the flight entirely and have already arrived at a stunning 5* resort<<
    I think it reads better if you remove "don't"

  • Cat says:

    Most people rave about the dan dan noodles, but my favourite is the wonton soup! Also, the Hong Kong milk tea is lovely.

    Cathy Pacific’s bathrooms are amazing.

    Looking forward to reading the First lounge review, Rhys!

    • AJA says:

      I love the won ton soup too! I like this Cathay Pacific business class lounge. My penultimate flight before Covid was a BA flight to Lisbon which allowed me to introduce my travelling companions to the delights of the dim sum at this lounge. They were amazed. The only issue we had is that there are no announcements in the lounge and we nearly missed our flight as we were enjoying ourselve and stayed rather longer than intended.

  • Ken says:

    alcoholic not alcholic.

  • planeconcorde says:

    Pre-COVID I have never been asked to scan my passport to enter. I hope that’s a typo.

    Also pre-COVID western style hot self-service buffet food was also available in the late afternoon and evenings. I hope that isn’t a permanent loss.

  • Michael AC says:

    I agree with the review but one thing that struck me when I visited was that staff weren’t the friendliest. I’d actually say they were quite rude to people, and this was when it wasn’t busy at all. Maybe I caught them on an off day, but it did leave a bad impression.

  • Mike says:

    I don’t understand how an airline literally based on the other side of the world can have a better lounge than our own national carrier based in their home airport.

    • Rob says:

      And with no flights at the moment …..

      Cathay doesn’t do crap. They literally don’t know how to do it. The ethos runs through the entire business. It’s all about culture and the people you employ.

      • john says:

        Although it seems like they may not be around for a huge amount longer with their financial woes!

      • flyforfun says:

        Even their Economy class was way better than most. The A350 was superb. Comfortable seats. Especially their magic headrests! Great food and good crews. I hope they survive!

        • Cat says:

          I agree with all of this – Cathay just don’t do mediocrity. Their hard product, their soft product, their lounges – all absolutely amazing. Flying first with them is absolute heaven. The food is divine.

          @LadyLondon – I share your concerns!

        • Track says:

          I was on CX Economy overnight hop, HKG to SIN I think. Was attended to better than in J class!

          The purser came to me at least 3 times to console for my predicament sitting in Y. Drinks, teas, brand-new pillows and blankets. Could’t feel more comfortable.

          This is what happens when crew does not ignore your polite signs.

      • Will says:

        Can’t agree with this enough.
        I used to have an employee who would say to me “it’s good enough” when he came up with a solution and I coined the phrase for him “good enough is not good enough”

        Oriental culture has a willingness to shame mediocrity that you can’t get away with in the west which is part of the reason why impressive is the exception rather than the norm here.

      • Lady London says:

        G*d help them with the Mainland China dominance emerging then

    • Thegasman says:

      Number of passengers? Imagine the cost of building/running something of this quality for the passenger volumes of BA at T5 (50+% of whom will be SH).

      It’s also in their financial interest to outdo BA as if they attract other airline passengers they will be pocketing ~£60/head “entry fees”. That will exceed marginal cost for 90+% of passengers so cross subsidises their own passengers. I’d even assume the lounge is profitable on these grounds or they wouldn’t have reopened for their current thin schedule.

      • Rob says:

        It is ONLY open to make money from the entry fees paid by passengers on other airlines!

      • Will says:

        I do buy that argument in part, but then what excuse has BA got for the concorde room to be bettered by the Cathay lounge, that’s simply F passengers or GGL holders.

        Likewise the toilets/showers. The investment in them is maybe once every 10-20 years, no excuses for the disgraceful ones BA have installed in all lounges.

        IMO concorde lounges should be exceptional in quality or service, fixtures and food/drink.

        F lounge (essentially gold card holders) should focus more on quality of food/drink and shower/toilets

        That leaves you with the issue of club lounges which have to mix silvers on eco short haul with long haul club world to Sydney. To me they need to sort that out, I’d be giving club world passengers F lounge access and making the club lounge short haul and silver card only and aligning the lounge with good priority pass standards.

        No excuse for anything less than the Qantas style toilet/shower in any LHR BA lounge.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The showers/toilets in the BA lounges across Heathrow are all shocking and they’ve been shocking since they opened.

          No one at BA wants to know otherwise they wouldn’t still be so shockingly crap.

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