First look: Qantas opens new London Heathrow lounge

By David Flynn, November 28 2017

Qantas will open its all-new London lounge at Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 tomorrow, Wednesday November 29 (UK time), and it’s the most impressive addition yet to Qantas’ international business class lounge network.

Like its siblings in Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles, local influences to the lounge’s design give it a unique identity and a sense of place – this is very much a London lounge.

The elegant interiors are undeniably British and draw from a ‘London at twilight’ palette, with deep greens and rich blues throughout the furniture.

Warm-coloured timbers, stone and brass provide a nod the city’s historic architecture.

This is perhaps most evident in the marble finish, brass chandelier and quilted settees of the upper level cocktail bar, which evokes the cosy feel of a small private club.

Travellers can take in a view over the airfield while sipping a classy cocktail (or a wine or beer, with both Australian and European brands on offer).

There’s a second bar downstairs, and this is perhaps the lounge’s signature touch: it’s a gin bar stocked with over a dozen quality Australian and British brands.

Given that there few things more iconically British than a gin and tonic, this is Qantas’ ‘Aussie airline, London lounge’ philosophy writ small (and served with a wedge of lemon).

The bar showcases some of Australia’s top-shelf artisanal gins such as Victoria’s Four Pillars, Sullivans Cove Hobart No 4 single malt, Adelaide’s Green Ant and Brookie’s Byron Bay Dry Gin from the NSW north coast.

These stand alongside classics such as Beefeater, Hendricks and Tanqueray No 10 plus two Sipsmith blends, oriental-spiced Opihr and The Botanist Islay dry gin.

(And if you are having a gin and tonic, you'll be pleased to know that Fever Tree is the lounge's tonic water of choice.)

At both the downstairs and upstairs bars you can also sip a barista-pulled coffee – and as at the other Qantas international lounges, they serve a fine flat white.

The downstairs dining room has ample room for preflight nosh, with 23 of these tables for two...

... and five seats for solo dining at the bar.

There's a British influence on the seasonal à la carte menu: tuck into a ploughman’s platter or a pot pie…

… and finish up with scones served with jam and cream, accompanied by a cup of tea served in Royal Albert china.

If you want to get straight into ‘Feels like home’ mode there’s the familiar salt and pepper squid with green chilli sauce from the Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.

However, in keeping with Qantas’ push towards ‘health and wellness’ ahead of those length flights back to Australia – including the non-stop London-Perth Boeing 787 Dreamliner service – there are also dishes such as brunch bowls with eggs, avocado and kale, and zucchini and haloumi fritters.

“It’s a long flight, so we’re taking a holistic approach to passenger wellbeing on and off the aircraft, and the new Heathrow lounge is an important part of that,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce explains.

Thankfully, this doesn't mean a ban on sweet treats and other 'comfort food'.

Also read: The feel-good factor – how Qantas wants to change long-haul flying

Simpler fare is available at a self-serve buffet with a selection of hot and cold meals.

This includes a breakfast spread to start the day...

... with an 'all-day' menu coming in around lunchtime through to when the lounge closes in the evening.

Other creature comforts include plentiful AC and USB outlets…

… six spacious showers suites with Aurora Spa amenities...

... a workzone, which includes this high bench with wireless printing...

... plus two rather small private rooms, which will likely be available for any traveller when they're not being used by VIPs.

If this all seems like rather a lot of lounge for just two Qantas flights a day, it's because the airline is geared for growth – starting with passengers of Terminal 3's other Oneworld airlines.

"Any (eligible) Oneworld passenger will have access to this lounge," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce tells Australian Business Traveller, "so if British Airways passengers prefer our lounge to the BA lounge they will be able to use it, and BA will be charged for that. JAL use the BA lounge at the moment but they'll probably use this one now."

Joyce also says that as other T3 airlines lacking their own lounge tender for lounge access "we'll be in the mix."

Qantas is also looking ahead to the start of non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London, made capable by ultra-long range jets such as the Boeing 777-8.

"We have two flights a day today, but we have four slots, with BA renting the other two," Joyce explains. "Eventually when we can fly direct from Sydney and Melbourne in 2022 we're going to use those slots so we’ll have four flights a day."

But what about first class?

Across both floors there’s seating for some 230 passengers, but there's a clear sticking point for some of Qantas’ most valued passengers – those flying first class on the daily Airbus A380s from London to Sydney and Melbourne.

Despite that first class traffic, the lounge doesn't have an exclusive first class zone: instead, it follows what Qantas calls a ‘premium lounge’ mode where everybody from first class to economy passengers with Gold frequent flyer status or Qantas Club membership muck in together.

However, there will be disappointingly few perks reserved for first class passengers – even fewer than at with the airline’s other single-class lounges in Hong Kong and Singapore where the list of benefits include Champagne and shirt pressing.

"There will be tables reserved for first class and Chairman's Lounge members," Joyce tells Australian Business Traveller. "The crew and airport staff know who's travelling and will reserve tables for them."

"There are two private rooms which will be available, and some other private seating areas (in the lounge) which will be reserved for them as well."

And that's it – so while Qantas' London lounge is a superb business class lounge, we expect many savvy first class passengers, along with Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, will at the very least pop next door to check out Cathay Pacific's first class lounge.

Qantas passengers have previously been directed to the lounges of Oneworld partners British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines, and eligible travellers can continue to use those lounges, of course.

And it’s not an either-or choice – Qantas’ first class and business class passengers, along with Gold and Platinum-grade frequent flyers, can visit all of those lounges including the new Qantas lounge if they desire.

The lounge will be the starting point for the non-stop 17 hour trek from London to Perth on Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, as well as the daily QF2 Airbus A380 flight to Sydney via Singapore from late March when Qantas pulls the plug on its notion of a Dubai hub with partner Emirates.

The Qantas London Lounge is open daily from 8am to 8.30pm and welcomes a long list of travellers, including:

  • first class and business class passengers on Qantas flights and those of Oneworld airlines departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3 (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, JAL, LATAM, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines)
  • Qantas Platinum One, Platinum and Gold frequent flyers (and one guest) and their Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents, on Qantas or Oneworld flights
  • Qantas Club members (and one guest) on Qantas flights
  • Holders of a Qantas Club lounge invitation who are on a Qantas flight
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold cardholders on Qantas flights
 
David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

JPeuty Banned

JPeuty Banned

07 Nov 2017

Total posts 29

It's about time! I had a feeling we wouldn't get to see this puppy open in 2017.

Very good to see a premium collection of gins (I hope they have a premium selection of tonic to go with them!), and of course, barista-made coffee.

Well done QF!

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

Just missed being able to go inside this new lounge, but I’m sure I’ll get an opportunity sometime in the future.

Would have preferred a separate QF First Lounge space. Hope it’s just as easy to get into the CX FLounge once the QF Lounge opens. I know in some airports e.g. SFO, CX tends to use capacity constraints to deny access.

terryj

terryj

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Sep 2016

Total posts 10

It's a shame I was in LHR T3 a week too soon. I don't think this is actually the first Qantas operated lounge at LHR as I distinctly remember using the Qantas Club in Heathrow in the late 1980s.

GoldCanyon340

GoldCanyon340

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 29

There was a Qantas Club at T3 into the mid 1990s and was upstairs from the current BA lounges. This isn't the first QF operated lounge at Heathrow.

GavinFauvel

GavinFauvel

29 Nov 2017

Total posts 1

BA fly to Marseille from T3 so I'm looking forward to trying it out having seen the hoarding next to BA's lounge a couple of weeks ago.

traveller99

traveller99

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 107

I take a lot of BA flights to Europe, which all leave from Terminal 5.

Trying to work out how I could try out the QF lounge in Terminal 3.

I guess I could check in bag at terminal 3, then go to terminal 5 to use the lounge, but I think part of security screening is the boarding pass which will show my departing flight does not leave from terminal 3.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Selfie

Selfie

British Airways - Executive Club

18 May 2017

Total posts 12

Fly to Helsinki! Those flights leave from T3 :)

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

There are still plenty of BA flights into Europe which depart from T3 - Nice, Lisbon, I think also Barcelona, those are just three off the top of my head. I may have a list somewhere which I could dig up...

Nick Sydney 2

Nick Sydney 2

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

I think you have answered the question. Once airside that's it. The T5 lounges are pretty good albeit can get crowded

tarmac

tarmac

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2015

Total posts 22

Not an exhaustive list, but BA flights from T3 currently include:

Europe: BCN, BIO, BUD, GIB, HEL, LIS, LYS, LUX, MRS, PRG, VIE, WAW

Africa: ACC, NBO

North America: DEN, LAS, MIA, PHX, YVR

Looking

Looking

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 118

Odd powerpoint choice, they could have installed multi adapters to allow for both UK and AU plugs.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 558

I agree about the powerpoints. I assume this is some OH+S law. The same thing happens in some lounges in Hong Kong.

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

I think you will find Qantas has no option to do this due to airport rules - if they could have fitted an airplane-artle multi-country socket I’m sure they would have, because it’s an obvious idea.

Nick Sydney 2

Nick Sydney 2

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

It is OHS stuff. As long as one can charge off a USB outlet thats ok. My cabin luggage is light so I don't care to carry a bulky adaptor plug. Rules is rules as they say in GB!

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 263

Anyone who lives in the UK won't need an adaptor, and almost anyone visiting the UK will have a power adaptor that they've used during their visit. I don't see this as an issue. And lounge staff will probably have a supply of adaptors on hand for the few that need them, as they do on QF flights.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 511

So true. Also it may well be that there are Aussie sockets there too. The discussion is based on just a single close up shot of a single power point.

deany83

deany83

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 135

Wow looks great

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 390

I'll be charging QF for Cathay First lounge. Don't see why I should be loyal enough flying first and being platinum as well as LTG and not have that loyalty recognised. All that money effort and hype with no dedicated F/P1/P area? Even AA have flagship lounges! Just like the QF 787 hype when clearly the A380 is still superior to fly in.

John Phelan

John Phelan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 323

What a shame that QF has not recognised your importance. Perhaps you would be happier flying on a different airline?

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 390

Nothing to do with my self importance...which aspect of the word "loyalty" evades you? If I'm paying 12-15K to fly first I really don't think I should be subjected to a pub atmosphere which is inevitably what these lounges turn into (...been to HKG or SIN of late?)...albeit a very classy one. Is it really too much to ask a premium 1st rate carrier for a separate area? Pictures look great because there is nobody in the lounge.

Fonga

Fonga

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

Be interesting to know if airlines now see their lounges as distinct profit driving entities of their own. It seems clear that having a great lounge in a key terminal/airport offers a couple of advantages - serves the needs of your customers first and foremost; but it also gives pax of other airlines the chance to see your product and perhaps persuade them to fly with you in future. On top of that though QF charges all those airlines whose premium passengers choose your lounge. That must generate good income that at least covers the cost of the lounge and maybe more. Good business strategy.

And congratulations Qantas on what looks a very classy addition to your lounge portfolio.

Bargainhunter70

Bargainhunter70

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2017

Total posts 1

Can you use this lounge if flying Emirates Business to Dubai as a Qantas Gold FF ?

Hilliard

Hilliard

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2017

Total posts 1

It's a pity the same kind of effort isn't made here in Australia in the Qantas International Business Class Lounges. Eight to ten years ago they were reasonably impressive, but not a patch on their latest offerings.

StudiodeKadent

StudiodeKadent

20 May 2015

Total posts 584

The new Brisbane lounges are great. QF will upgrade Melbourne and Sydney soon... I think MEL is next on the list actually.

Don't worry, getting them "up to speed" is all in the works.

bl812

bl812

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 184

mr joyce's cost saving tactics-if u fly first class go to CX lounge-thanks! I would rather fly with them if this is the case not to mention SQ where they really treat a first class customer as they should be-they turn this one to a mini Dubai anyone get get in so at full capacity it will be a disaster-could have been easily convert a strictly flying first class enclave here

Kobble

Kobble

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2017

Total posts 1

Re power outlets. Emirates have both UK and Aus power outlets in the Emirates Lounge at MAN so not an OH & S issue, perhaps poor planning?

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

Perhaps different rules at different airports?

sdtravel

sdtravel

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2015

Total posts 107

CX only have the UK and USB plugs in their lounge so i suspect its along the lines David suggests. Airport rules.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 511

Noting of course Hong Kong uses a UK socket!

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 263

David, there's another category that you should add to the long list of entitled guests. The Qantas Complimentary Lounge Pass should also be accepted this Qantas operated lounge.

JPeuty Banned

JPeuty Banned

07 Nov 2017

Total posts 29

I have it on good authority that due to capacity constraints, they may not be included.

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

I beg to differ: Qantas says that in common with all other lounges except the LAX business class lounge (as that one is a shared Oneworld lounge), those single-use Qantas Club lounge passes are accepted at the London lounge.

brettmacf

brettmacf

25 Jul 2011

Total posts 12

It looks beautiful. But don't the opening hours seem a bit odd? People connecting from QF9 will have to go elsewhere if they have an early connection to Europe out of terminal 3 and it closes 45 mins before QF2 departs. It's fine for departure of QF10. Or am I wrong?

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 263

Qantas Lounges worldwide stay open until the last Qantas flight for the day departs. It's a common complaint by Jetstar customers in some regional airports that the Qantas Lounge closes too early.

John Phelan

John Phelan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 323

Pax coming off QF9 and connecting to BA services to Europe can use the BA lounges. The reason it closes 45 mins before QF2 departs is because that's when QF2 will board - it's the same in lots of airports - the lounge closes when the airline's last flight boards.

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 260

If you’re working in the F class department at QF now’s the time to be looking for a new job. Ps the London lounge looks sensational...great job Qantas.

Fergo747

Fergo747

30 Nov 2016

Total posts 14

Lounge looks great and can't wait to try it out. Although I can't help but feel that without a dedicated F / Plat zone there is increasingly less impetus to strive to achieve Plat or above. All benefits have been essentially eroded as these business lounges become pseudo F-lounges. F-lounges IMO were the last real perk of the WP with the many other enhancements over the last few years

alex_upgrade77

alex_upgrade77

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 244

Interesting to see how many BA Silver card holders will use this. A lot probably, given how average the BA lounges are at T3. And a nice way for QF to raise further brand awareness now that the BA/QF JV is long ended and they're back to being competitors, especially when QF start flying LHR-SIN again. LHR-SIN is one of BA's most lucrative routes and QF will be wanting take some of that market share away.

Ladtsmt

Ladtsmt

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 30

All that for only TWO Qantas flights a day! Other One World airlines need to come in to make the expense worthwhile. (It's a long while before there'll be four Qantas flights each day).

markpk

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 456

David,

Is this being run by Accor for Qantas? Like Sydney First and LAX First?

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

Indeed it is, Mark.

traveller99

traveller99

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 107

David, any idea what airlines charge each other when another airline's passenger uses its lounge? eg a BA customer using the new QF lounge? Is it cash money per passenger or a "credit" against QF passengers using a BA lounge?

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

I have a very good idea of what those rates are (and they're charged directly to the airline) but I'm not at liberty to reveal them.

Cool Cat Phil

Cool Cat Phil

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Dec 2016

Total posts 6

Indeed, I've been told what the MEL QF F lounge charges other airlines, and was quite surprised. It is not as much as one would think.

AGoldring

AGoldring

QFF

13 Feb 2016

Total posts 12

No champagne????


Scare bleu......off to CX F class lounge then...:-(

Stubbsy747

Stubbsy747

British Airways - Executive Club

26 Sep 2012

Total posts 1

I am a real fan of the Cathay Pacific lounge at T3. Am flying through T3 this week........question is, is the new generic premium QF lounge better than the CX First Lounge?

samson12

samson12

12 Oct 2012

Total posts 12

Incredibly disappointed. Visited the Qantas London lounge today for the first time. My experience - it was packed, the food was ordinary, the whole decor and was cheap and tacky. The lack of space for P1 etc is a major problem. I left and went to the BA First lounge - space, quiet etc. Very disappointed and very surprised - I love the Sydney, HK, and SG lounges. Qantas has stuffed this one up, in my view.

rg

rg

24 Mar 2014

Total posts 14

Flying j class on EK a ticket -!access to qf London lounge?

Ladtsmt

Ladtsmt

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 30

I'm another passenger deeply disappointed with the new London lounge. After reading how wonderful it is I found it noisy, the menu rather boring, and the staff off-hand. The good thing was I could go to the Cathay lounge and received a welcome, service, tasty food, and champagne, not just sparkling wine. Maybe next time I'll try the BA first class lounge, but Qantas has blown it for me. The Qantas lounges of 10 - 15 years ago may not have had some of the contemporary fancy fittings, but they had a 'something', sadly now gone.

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