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.
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.
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.
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.
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.