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Where can you fly on British Airways from Terminal 3 for the Qantas and Cathay lounges?

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Long time readers of HfP will know that when you are flying from Heathrow Terminal 3 you are spoilt for choice when it comes to airline lounges.

The excellent Qantas lounge (review here) has now been open for over five years, and is regarded as one of the best business lounges in the UK.  You also have the Cathay Pacific lounges (review) which are a great place to go if you have a BA Gold card and would like to enjoy some fine restaurant dining in the first class lounge.

If that wasn’t enough, American Express has also made Heathrow Terminal 3 its home for one of the first Centurion lounges to open outside the US.

Heathrow Terminal 3

As well as the amazing Qantas and Cathay Pacific lounges, you can also visit the T3 American Airlines and British Airways Galleries lounges.  These are both perfectly acceptable but not in the same league as the others.  If you have a Priority Pass card, there are also two excellent independent lounges – Club Aspire and No1 Lounge.

Have you flown from Terminal 3 in a while?

All this means that Heathrow Terminal 3 is the place to be if you want to relax in style before a British Airways flight (unless, of course, you can use the BA Concorde Room in Terminal 5.)

Remember that you need to be travelling in Club Europe / Club World to access the lounges, or have a British Airways Silver card or above, or oneworld equivalent.  You will need a BA Gold card or equivalent to access the First Class private dining section of the Cathay Pacific lounge.

You should also note that not all the lounges are open all day, so they may not be an option for very early or late evening flights.

Which British Airways routes operate from Terminal 3?

British Airways doesn’t provide an official list so we asked aviation analytics firm Cirium for help. This list is for the Summer season, for flights now until the end of October.

It only covers BA flights, and only short-haul and mid-haul routes. We didn’t think even our readers would take a long-haul holiday specifically to try a few lounges ….

You can also access these lounges with a business class flight on any other oneworld airline using Terminal 3.  A very attractive option would be the handful of Finnair’s Helsinki flights which use the new A350 long-haul aircraft which I reviewed here.  Book yourself in business class, for cash or Avios, and you can check out the new Terminal 3 lounges and then fly to Helsinki on a flat bed!

You can also fly on Iberia to Madrid, which occasionally uses a long haul aircraft with lie flat business class seats. Both Finnair and Iberia do this for cargo purposes.

Note that this list is correct as of the time of writing but some routes may move between terminals at short notice or may operate across different terminals at different times in the Summer season.

British Airways short-haul and mid-haul routes from Terminal 3:

  • Algiers
  • Billund
  • Bucharest
  • Bastia
  • Budapest
  • Figari
  • Gibraltar
  • Gothenburg
  • Krakow
  • Ljubljana
  • Luxembourg
  • Marseille
  • Nuremberg
  • Olbia
  • Oslo
  • Perugia
  • Prague
  • Pula
  • Sofia
  • Stuttgart
  • Valencia
  • Vienna
  • Zagreb
Cathay Pacific lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

Which lounge should you visit in Terminal 3?

If you have a British Airways Executive Club Gold card or are flying in First Class, the obvious choice is the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge, reviewed here.

If you have a British Airways Executive Club Silver card, it is a toss up between the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge, reviewed here and image above, and the Qantas London Lounge, reviewed here.

If you don’t have status but do have an American Express Platinum card, you can visit The Centurion Lounge, reviewed here.

If you don’t have any status but do have a Priority Pass, there is a No1 Lounge in Terminal 3, reviewed here. You can guarantee entry by paying £6 to reserve a spot via this website. Bookings for cash can be made here. There is also a Club Aspire lounge in Priority Pass, review here, which can also be pre-booked.

Rhys selflessly spent a day touring the various lounges in Terminal 3, and you can read his final rankings here.

If you have a British Airways Gold card or equivalent, you can also visit the American Airlines First lounge which has just reopened. Rhys was there this week and a review will follow.

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 (93)

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

  • Vit says:

    Thanks Rob. I could do a quick hop across to BLL from EDI for work using Rynair. But maybe a bit of detour for some lounge-time may not sound so bad. What people considers better between QF vs. CX lounge? I’m only BA Silver.

    • Paul says:

      It may depend on your time of travel. Our Monday early afternoon visit to both … QF was dead; no restaurant, lousy buffet, any seat available, zero reason to stay. CX was lovely; it felt like a lounge (not a dining hall).

    • Londonsteve says:

      During dining hours QF. Outside of these, unless you’re a big gin fan, probably CX. I prefer the elegant decor of QF and the coffee is simply some of the best I’ve ever had. I also prefer the Croser sparkling wine in QF compared to the average quality French champagne in CF but that’s a matter of taste. Arrive early and visit both?

      • NorthernLass says:

        We found the gin and pink grapefruit cocktail paired superbly with the eggs benedict last week, hoping to do that again before our flight to VIE in July!

    • Vit says:

      Thanks everyone. I think the shortest transit from EDI I could find is 3.5hrs. Take away disembarking, T5 to T3, and boarding. 1hr ish each at each lounge sounds good while getting some work done. 🙂

  • chris1922 says:

    QANTAS did nothing for me I have to say, a school lunch hall came to mind. The BA lounge was rammed, no spare seats anywhere. Cathay was an oasis of calm, and probably the best lounge food I have ever experienced.

    • Lumma says:

      Qantas is only good when the downstairs gin bar is open in my opinion

  • Damien says:

    I’ve only ever went to the CX First one. However, I’ve an evening flight from Terminal 3 coming up. Gonna make a day of it and travel round the other lounges to see what they’re like. Finishing in the CX one.

  • conspicuous-capybara says:

    My most frequent routes are Oslo, Billund, and Vancouver, and I visited Porto earlier this year. I’m _almost_ annoyed that I rarely get to use the First Wing during my one year of Gold that’s unlikely to be renewed any time soon!

    Cathay F is lovely, of course, but the table service has been very hit and miss, and it’s always been very full when I’ve been.

  • Mike says:

    When I was in the BA lounge in T3 just over a week and a half ago they were asking, over the tannoy, for people to go to the Cathay lounge (if gold) and the AA lounge due to being full. What they never mentioned is what the usage was like at those lounges, why would I get up, wander to another lounge that may or may not be full? If anyone from the T3 lounge is reading, your announcement should always contain information about how full, or not, a lounge is if you expect someone to leave a lounge they are sat in. Also, since you had the far area closed, it would be useful to put on the closed sign the reason, as many people wandered to the that area and there was no obvious reason for it closure.

  • SammyJ says:

    Strange question and I can guess the answer, but if you had a boarding card for a T5 flight, would that (along with BA Gold) get you into the T3 oneworld lounges?

    I do love a T3 lounge crawl, but got a couple of Virgin PE flights coming up so Dragonpass would be my only option there which isn’t very exciting. If the times alighted and there was a super-cheap BA ticket to anywhere available from T3, is there any reason not to book it just for the lounge access? Just wondering what happens if that was then moved to T5… a gamble I guess!

    • Rob says:

      You can’t use T3 if flying from T5 (technically not impossible but for all practical purposes it is). Have a weekend in Gibraltar instead!

      • NorthernLass says:

        I second this – your flight will likely be the only one landing at GIB at any given time, so you can be through immigration instantly. Book a couple of nights at the HIEX and you’ll have a lesiurely 15 minute stroll there from the terminal as well. Must be one of the least hassle destinations on earth!

        • Richie says:

          ….until it’s a bit windy and you’re diverted to Malaga.

          • Alex Sm says:

            Something that happened to us last year. 7 hours of precious time lost, Pride parade missed but 10,000 Avios landed in the account as compensation. Fair enough

        • Mutley says:

          GIB is a throwback to the 1970’s, and really awful pubs.

          • Alex Sm says:

            Why go to pubs in Gibraltar if they have nice modern restos and bars

          • NorthernLass says:

            When were you last there? We just ate out there 6 days in a row, not a single meal in an awful pub! We had Italian, Brazilian, Spanish and a couple of different Asian cuisines. All taken sitting outside in glorious sunshine with lovely views, paid for in GBP on Amex or Virgin MC with no FX fees!

          • Rob says:

            There is an element of that (welcome back Early Learning Centre and other brands long forgotten in the UK) but for a weekend you can stay on the Sunborn yacht hotel, go up the mountain to see the monkeys, generally have a mooch around in the sun then come back. Almost perfect for a weekend actually.

      • jj says:

        I don’t think that was the question, Rob. The intriguing option would be to have two tickets for the same day – one with Virgin with no lounge access, and another dirt cheap throwaway flight with BA that you don’t intend to take but which should in theory provide lounge access for one plus a guest in the CX first class lounge for a OneWorld Gold. Probably much cheaper than an inferior third party lounge, but would it actually work?

        I’d love to know if anyone has tried it.

        • Alex Sm says:

          There are easier ways to get to a lounge or otherwise entertain yourself before the flight

        • SammyJ says:

          That’s exactly the question – I’ve got 2 Virgin flights coming up with no lounge access. If there was one of these sale fares to anywhere for say £39, that’s better value for 2 of us in the Cathay/Qantas lounges than using dragon pass credits. Practically the stars would probably never align. . Just wondering if a T5 boarding card would be accepted or if it needs to be T3!

  • daftboy says:

    While the service is usually good, I really don’t rate the Qantas lounge, I find it quite dead and soulless and the decor is quite bland for the space (the ugly windows upstairs don’t help). Cathay is just a cut above for me, but I guess the good thing is people have different preferences!

    • SammyJ says:

      On the contrary, I love the Qantas lounge, love the decor and – other than the dodgy sparkling wine – find the food and drink excellent.

  • Mike says:

    Rob, aren’t we missing a trick here with Iberia flights, which now operate out of T3?

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

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