- bright and airy lounge
- superb Prosecco Italian sparkling wine
- on the small side
- relatively slow wifi
- fabulous noodle bar
- carefully picked wine list
Cathay Pacific's business class lounge is the smallest of the three oneworld business class lounges in London Heathrow's Terminal 3.
T3 is home to most non-British Airways oneworld airline flights from the airport, plus Qantas-BA joint flights on the Kangaroo Route to and from Australia.
Location & Impressions
The lounge is located in Lounge Area C (follow the signs for Airline Lounges once through the Duty Free maze) and is open from 5am until 10pm.
After winding your way through airport operator BAA's mandatory duty free shop, turn left after the Caviar Bar and follow the signs, heading up in the lift next to the cardboard cut-out crew member.
The white marble welcome area you emerge into is bright, clean and elegant, and two friendly staffers welcomed me and checked my boarding pass. Non-Cathay Pacific flights aren't called from the lounge, so make sure you keep an eye on the time.
In terms of styling, the lounge is very much inspired by the Wing, the Pier and the Cabin at Hong Kong, although it's significantly smaller than any of those lounges.
The business class side is one space split up by low waist-height walls and glass partitions. As you walk through, there's a business centre on your left, the dining area on your right, then seats ahead and to your right.
Sound echoes a little bit, and music is piped quietly through the speakers. Unfortunately, it wars slightly with the BBC News TV when the lounge is quieter and there is less background noise from other passengers.
Business class passengers departing on a Cathay Pacific or other oneworld flight are given access to the lounge, and oneworld Sapphire-level frequent flyers (equivalent to Qantas Gold) get in regardless of what class they're flying.
The First Class lounge is available next door for first class passengers and oneworld Emerald tier (Qantas Platinum) cardholders.
One of the main reasons to head upstairs to the Cathay Pacific lounge is the on-demand fresh noodle bar, which puts out some absolutely delicious fare.
All are fantastic, and can be customised. (Just want wonton soup without the noodles? No problem.)
There's also a good selection of hot food, with two curries plus rice and two pasta sauces plus fusilli (spiral) pasta. To go with, there's a small salad bar.
The wine is the other reason to visit -- all the bottles were very high class indeed, with something to please every palate. As something of a wine aficionado, I found every wine drinkable and some very interesting indeed.
The aromatic French Picpoul white was excellent, and I was stunned to find an Austrian Grüner Veltliner white -- a fairly rare drop -- which was even better. A very drinkable French Grenache rosé and a great Prosecco rounded out the chilled wines.
(In fact, the Prosecco was much nicer than the Ayala champagne served in BA's Galleries Lounge downstairs.)
The two reds were also interesting: a six-year old Spanish Rioja and a great 06 Cerro Romauldo from California.
The Cathay Pacific lounge's wifi speed was quite slow (especially when compared with the American Airlines lounge in the same terminal). At 1Mbps down and 0.5Mbps up, this isn't the lounge to visit if you need to get a great deal done online before your flight.
(My recommendation: get your online work done in the AA lounge's drop-in area, then reward yourself for your efficiency by heading upstairs to Cathay's space for noodles and drinks.)
The power points in the lounge are curiously hidden on the lacquered blond wood side tables with lights on top.
There are four UK points per table, so even if you don't manage to snag one of the seats right next to the table, there are enough points to stretch if you have a longer power lead.
A small glass-enclosed business centre with a half dozen or so Dell PCs is available if you haven't brought your laptop. As usual in the era of ultralight laptops and iPads, there didn't seem to be many people using the provided computers.
Once each of the Cathay flights have cleared out, the lounge empties out and is remarkably quiet and peaceful. Cathay have 6.20pm, 8.15pm and 10.20pm flights, so you'll find the lounge particularly calm if you arrive shortly before those departure times when people have headed to their gate.
There's a wide range of newspapers and all kinds of magazines available in the lounge too, and seats arranged in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows so you can sit back, relax and watch the planes trundle around the airport.
Expansive, marble and glass shower rooms -- the nicest in Terminal 3 -- are on offer if you want to freshen up before your flight.
Cathay's lounge is my personal favorite of the three oneworld lounges in Heathrow's Terminal 3. It's less hectic, has more natural light and better food than the British Airways lounge, but has a wine selection that is as good or better than BA -- especially the sparkling.
There's no spa like BA's lounge (although there's nothing to stop you from heading into the BA spa for a massage and then moving up to Cathay's lounge), but the views are the best of the T3 oneworld business class offerings: