Qantas pulls the plug on London Heathrow arrivals lounge access

Access to the arrivals lounge at Heathrow T3 is no longer available to inbound Qantas passengers.

By Chris Chamberlin, January 23 2020
Qantas pulls the plug on London Heathrow arrivals lounge access

First class and business class passengers travelling to London with Qantas can no longer use the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow Airport after their 14-to-24-hour trek to the United Kingdom.

The arrivals lounge offered a post-flight shower, fresh cup of coffee and an à la carte breakfast for travellers touching down on the Roo's QF1 service from Sydney and Singapore, and the Melbourne-Perth-London QF9 flight.

American Airlines' Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3 was renovated in 2016.
American Airlines' Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3 was renovated in 2016.

A Qantas spokesperson confirmed the move to Executive Traveller, which came as part of a broader review of the airline’s lounge offering at Heathrow Airport – the same review recently saw the Qantas London Lounge open its doors to paying passengers who’d otherwise not have access to a departures lounge.

The airline's rationale is that with most of its premium flyers using Qantas’ complimentary chauffeur-drive service immediately upon arrival to head straight to their hotel, there was no need to renew its contract with American Airlines for access to the Oneworld member's Arrivals Lounge.

Executive Traveller understands that when the arrivals lounge had been available to Qantas passengers, only 1-2 guests would typically stop by each day, out of up to 126 business class and first class flyers as were eligible for access after descending into Heathrow.

American Airlines' Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3.
American Airlines' Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

Visiting the arrivals lounge while also making use of chauffeur-drive wasn’t an easy task, however, with the Qantas website providing no easy way to delay the pick-up time from Heathrow Airport when booking the service.

Savvy travellers wanting to use both privileges had to instead book their ride as normal, and then hunt down the local contact details of Qantas’ third-party chauffeur provider in London to request a later pick-up, allowing for some time in the arrivals lounge.

Except for on-arrival lounge access for Platinum frequent flyers (and above) on Australian domestic flights, London was the only international port where Qantas provided access to a dedicated arrivals lounge.

Still looking for a Heathrow arrivals lounge?

Although not complimentary to Qantas flyers as with the AA Arrivals Lounge, independent lounge operator Plaza Premium has several arrivals lounges dotted across Heathrow.

Depending on the lounge, entry can either be purchased, or access may be complimentary via a traveller’s eligible credit card or lounge membership.

In Terminal 3 where all Qantas flights arrive, Plaza Premium’s arrivals lounge can be found straight ahead after exiting immigration: the entrance being just outside the building. Inside is a light buffet, TV screens, a relaxation area, WiFi, restrooms, shower facilities, and machine-made coffee.

Plaza Premium's Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow T3 offers a light breakfast spread, but not à la carte dining as in the AA lounge.
Plaza Premium's Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow T3 offers a light breakfast spread, but not à la carte dining as in the AA lounge.

Entry is complimentary to all AMEX Platinum Charge Card and Centurion Card holders, or can be purchased online for approximately £41 (A$78) for a two-hour visit, £68 (A$130) for a five-hour stay, or £21 (A$40) for use of the shower only.

As of January 2020, this location has begun accepting Priority Pass cards as well – however, Priority Pass members must pay an additional fee to use the showers, which are instead complimentary for AMEX Platinum and Centurion guests showing their AMEX card.

Unlike many Plaza Premium lounges, Priority Pass cards, and others like LoungeKey and Diners Club, do not provide complimentary access here.
Unlike many Plaza Premium lounges, Priority Pass cards, and others like LoungeKey and Diners Club, do not provide complimentary access here.

Members of Plaza Premium’s Smart Traveller loyalty program can also spend 1,000 loyalty points for a shower-only visit, 1,800 points for a one-hour stay, or 2,500 points for three hours of lounge access.

Also read: Qantas may add Singapore or Hong Kong stopover to Perth-London flight

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 336

Well, that means no more flights on QF into LHR for me. I'll fly there on my other route, via HKG, and then onto LHR on BA, so I can use the BA Arrivals Lounge in T5.

If I'm arriving in London at 5am or 6am, there's no point arriving at a hotel at 7am to check-in! I

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 54

Nooooo! Angry about this...! I'll go CX through HKG then and get access that way.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 89

I recommend AGAINST using BA.

Business is a joke and First was definitely not worth it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 336

Well thanks, but as someone who regularly flies QF, BA and CX, I find BA Business to be just fine (provided you select the right seat - but this will no longer be an issue with their new Business suites). And I much prefer the BA food to QF's!

23 Jan 2020

Total posts 1

Qantas also offer on arrival lounge access to Qantas Club, Gold FF and Business Class passengers on overnight red-eye flights from Perth to SYD/MEL/BNE in order for them to freshen up/have breakfast in the morning.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 320

WHY? OH WHY? QF keep taking away access???

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 41

msport2012

Remember the ABBA song "Money money money"!!

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 12

Another reason to fly Virgin!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2017

Total posts 9

Which arrivals lounge do they use at Heathrow?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2019

Total posts 12

The Virgin Revivals Lounge.

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 12

ZAN......Virgin Atlantic. Flying with Virgin Australia to LHR you will connect with Virgin Atlantic in either LAX or HKG.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Sep 2018

Total posts 9

Arrival lounges are tremendously helpful after a 24 hour flight. I've used the Virgin Atlantic's LHR arrivals lounge a number of times. There's nothing better than a shower and coffee before leaving the airport.. Particularly with the 5am arrival time.

if only 1-2 people were using the service for Qantas, then it does make sense for them. For me, I'll keep flying Virgin to London now.

05 Jul 2013

Total posts 5

If only a few passengers were using the AA arrivals lounge, couldn't QF have negotiated a variable per-passenger cost arrangement with AA (presuming it didn't work that way already)? Seems short-sighted to completely eliminate a very useful and beneficial feature of early morning LHR arrivals. I much prefer arrivals lounge+Heathrow express+underground to the QF car service, given London morning traffic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 32

For a few extra dollars compared to QF Business, fly BA First with lounge access at both ends. No chauffeur drive in London, but the money you save on QF First you could get a Rolls Royce transfer!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 89

BA First is nothing to write home about.

I used them HKG-LHR & LHR-SIN.

Never again!

Seat: FILTHY, small and hard compared to QF F AND new QF J

Staff: unable to cope with First load. Absolutely terrible service!

B777 NEVER EVER AGAIN!!!

BA arrivals lounge: just not worth it!

in dire need of TLC

Staff need a rocket up their collective backsides.

Thank God that evil little Irish man Walsh is Gone. Ruined BA

05 Jul 2016

Total posts 21

Apparently Plaza Premium T3 Arrivals just joined Priority Pass

Thanks harko, that's brand new, and has been added into our story. It's worth noting that while Priority Pass members can now gain access, shower facilities are subject to additional payment, which isn't the case when entering by presenting an AMEX Platinum or Centurion card.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 411

This is totally consistent with QF's substandard in flight product. If you want to really fly 1st rate premium Qatar and Singapore are there screaming at you in the face. Once you've flown Qatar or Singapore you'll never fly Qantas again and realise how overpriced the Qantas premium product is in comparison. Just wait I'll bet the next enhancement will be chauffer drive ditched.

28 Jul 2018

Total posts 4

At the moment QF1 arrives at 6 am in the morning. An arrival lounge is a must. I hope Qantas will reconsider. If AA is expensive they can consider Plaza Premium. Hope Qantas Customer Service is reading these comments.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 336

And QF9 normally arrives at about 5am!!

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 12

My last flight to LHR arrived 5 am..........was very glad to a cess the Virgin Arrivals lounge!

06 Dec 2014

Total posts 23

One of the probable issues with the low use of the AA lounge is that Qantas don't make it very apparent. I had to search for this and eventually found out about it on these forums. My flight was due to arrive at 5am but got in at 6am - far too early to book in to a hotel/airBnB/whatever, so I spent a couple of very quiet and relaxing hours in the AA lounge. The showers were excellent, the food was good and so was the coffee. The chauffeur came up to the lounge to meet me.

Delaying the chaffeur drive pick up was also very easy. Once again, through this forum, I was given the contact details including the e-mail address of the chauffeur company. and I easily arranged a delayed pick up. The driver picked me up at 8:30 and was very happy to miss the main London rush hour.

I might also look at flying into LHR via a different route next time.

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 25

@holden interesting point about lack of comms. Did the Qantas app say “Relax...in the AA arrivals lounge” (as it does with all itineraries for outbound lounge access)? If not, that's really quite stupid huh!

The other thing I'd be interested to know is how the Qantas contract with American worked. Did AA charge QF a per-customer charge, or was it simply a blanket big fat annual invoice irrespective of amount of lounge use? (Probably a combination I bet, but still, seems a disappointing thing to have just cancelled like this).

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 52

Hang on! We arrived at LHR on the Perth to London QF flight and could not get in because the flight arrived early due to weather conditions. As a couple of gold and platinum travellers looking to freshen up prior to a connecting flight to Barcelona, I was less than impressed with a closed Qantas lounge door and found the next door lounge was prepared to let us enter. This kind of penny pinching crap really ticks me off as I can see at least half a dozen LHR arrival looming in the next couple of years. Alan, get your PA to regularly read the comments to get a feel of the discontent this move has generated by YOUR clients connecting to other European countries. Any wonder why the middle eastern airlines are achieving huge PX numbers?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 336

You're talking about the airisde Qantas lounge in T3. It opens at 8am. For intra-European connections from T3, it's intended that you use the BA lounge. (As you weren't flying to Barcelona on a Qantas aircraft, not sure why you would expect to use a Qantas lounge anyway ....)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Nov 2012

Total posts 2

I am a Gold card holder and usually travel Premium Economy. I will no longer take the Perth flight to London. Apart from my dislike of the aircraft, the arrival at LHR is not a good experience.

09 Apr 2017

Total posts 6

How annoying. To have had the possibility to have a shower etc. and not known about it. I did ask an onboard purser a few years ago if there was an arrivals lounge we could access, but he said not that he knew of. A shower, even if I had had one in Singapore, would have been most welcome, but also a place to relax before taking ongoing transport. (I think at the time I lurked here, but wasn't yet a part of the community, so couldn't ask the question. Damn!)

Like others I usually build in a decent buffer between the arrival time of QF1, and say a train up North, in case of a late arrival. And so have sat in the less than salubrious LHR arrival forecourt while waiting out the commuter crush. Or gone the squish and waited at the equally disheartening Paddington Station.

Ironically, I spent hours this past Sunday researching my April trip to Paris, working out where the BA lounge was etc in Terminal 5 and reading all the rules (and taking screenshots in case I need them) to ensure that as a Platinum I could still get into a lounge with a shower even if I didn't score a business class upgrade. Incidently, the option to use the AA arrivals lounge was NOT anywhere that I could see (and I was also researching for two other trips to the UK later in the year), so this info about the AA arrivals lounge access had already been pulled from the various sites.

I think it is short sighted of Qantas. Perhaps it would have been better utilised if we had know we could use it! The 5/6am QF1 arrival and hotel/airbnb check-in times at 2pm+ leaves a lot of time to be stinky. But, first world problem. I seem to have survived over the last few years :-) But, like others here, I may well look at other carriers in future.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

15 Mar 2019

Total posts 7

We used to use Virgin's arrival lounge - a true relief to shower and freshen up before the 2 hour drive home. Always disappointed that there wasn't a similar facility at Sydney for the red eye arrivals. Would not recommend BA to anyone. Do try one of the Middle East airlines, currently Qatar are are go to option when pricing compares favourably with Emirates. (Emirates also have the benefit of chauffeur service).

02 Aug 2016

Total posts 12

we used this lounge in October and it was a god send after such a long QF1 flight. BA business is awful but we will definitely not be using Qantas on our next flight to LHR. this penny pinching by Qantas is getting out of hand. I think they will start losing many of us if this continues.

15 Mar 2018

Total posts 19

Looks like the 1-2 passengers each day are commenting here.

15 Mar 2018

Total posts 19

I'll keep doing early check-in at the hotels for the storage and other benfits it provides.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 30

Please tell me the 1-2 people a day isnt the metric their data wizards used without any revenue weighting. Those 1-2 people a day might have been the 5-7,000 /month SC a year people like me who spend around / beyond $150k a year flying them and this is an extremely critical part of their monthly round the world journey. So no arrivals lounge in London for all their poorly timed flights forcing me to pay night before on a hotel to confirm a shower AND the hassle of finding that hotel before an 8-9am meeting in London morning traffic. This adds to my long term beef of no arrival lounge in intl for a shower in Sydney (because not everyone lives in Sydney or want to pay night before hotel in Sydney for a 30 mins shower). I remain completely dismayed by this airline and my Multi year P1 status is so tempted to walk. This might just do it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 336

Just fly into LHR on either CX or BA and you'll still have arrivals lounge access. That's the simplest solution and the one I'll be following.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2012

Total posts 17

Alan Joyce - stop taking away already provided services from your customers!!!! This is a rubbish decision. I only use the 2 complementary chauffeur services in Australia and caught the Heathrow Express. Given hotel rooms aren't available until midday this is just another cut in benefits and selling off services to others (like lounge access). Emirates and others are leaving your ‘premium' services for dead!!

20 Sep 2018

Total posts 2

It is yet another down grading for Qantas customers, after 30 plus years of loyalty to Qantas and an eye watering amount of spend for business and personally, this is the final straw, I'm protesting with my feet and finally switching to better value airlines who hopefully respect and value their customers. Because you are our national icon ive put up with sub standard fir so long, enough is enough. Qantas look hard at yourselves.


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