Photos: new London arrivals lounge opens for Qantas flyers

By David Flynn, August 10 2016
Photos: new London arrivals lounge opens for Qantas flyers

Qantas travellers arriving into London on the daily QF1 flight from Sydney will have the option for a 'soft landing' at the new-look Arrivals Lounge of partner American Airlines.

Now open after a five-month makeover, the AA Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 3 has been upgraded with 29 new private showers and dressing areas, along with a valet pressing service to help you avoid that "I've just arrived on a 22 hour flight from Australia" look.

American is also spruiking better meals at the lounge cafe, with a "full breakfast and lunch buffet" including several made-to-order dishes, smoothies and real (espresso) coffee plus a 'Grab-n-Go station' if you're hungry but in a hurry.

It all sounds like a pretty good pit-stop before jumping onto the the Heathrow Express to make your way into the city.

Never popped in for a quick post-flight visit before? Try it on your next flight: the lounge is located to the right of the Terminal 3 Customs Hall, upstairs on Level 2, and opens from 5am to 3.30pm.

This makes it a little tight for the inbound QF9 from Melbourne, given its 2.15pm touchdown at London, but you may still have time for a shower and a civilised cuppa and what's promised as "quintessential afternoon tea" before heading to the city.

Access to the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge

To enjoy the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge, Qantas travellers will need to have flown in on a first class or business class ticket; likewise for Cathay Pacific passengers.

Note however that there's no access for Platinum-grade Qantas Frequent Flyer members or Marco Polo Diamond members in economy or premium economy on those flights.

British Airways flights into T3 include lounge access as part of the deal for passengers in first or business class, as well as those with Oneworld Emerald or British Airways Premier status.

American Airlines' own flyers get through the door if they've made the trans-Atlantic hop in first or business class, or have Oneworld Emerald or AAdvantage Executive Platinum status.

However, no traveller – regardless of airline, travel class or frequent flyer status – can bring a guest into the lounge.

Also on the London lounge front: Cathay Pacific's new first class and business class lounges at Heathrow T3 are slated to open in September, with a dedicated Qantas lounge to follow in March 2017.

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jun 2015

Total posts 24

David, are we aware of anything similar for QR pax landing in LHR?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 241

Nice design. Any other photos released yet? So access rules are basically any OneWorld passenger in business or first?

I've often wondered with arrivals lounges, what is the usual baggage situation? I'm assuming they're landside to allow you to collect your bags and then lounge around, (pardon the pun).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 241

Jono, yes, they're landside so you need to collect your luggage first, but there are luggage storage facilities available.

As a side note, I think these Arrivals Lounges by BA and AA are limited to those eligible passengers coming off long haul flights, not flights from within Europe inc Turkey. A few years back I tried to enter the BA Arrival's lounge with a Club Europe (Europe Business Class) boarding pass and was told that I wasn't eligible.

The BA T5 Arrivals lounge is definitely limited to BA long haul and their own Gold Card holders.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1249

Arrivals lounges are not covered by OW agreement. Access as follows:

If flying AA metal (on AA or BA code) - F, J, OWE, AA Exec platinum, BA Premier 

If flying BA - F, J, OWE, BA Premier on long-haul flights

If flying QF - F & J long haul

If flying CX - F & J long haul

Agreed. David has policy changed as per your article? Or does article need editing?

The term "Emerald or " is not accurate as access is only for BAEC Gold or Aadvantage Executive Platinum, why flying long haul/across the pond i.e. BAEC Gold flying from BUD for example into LHR T3 do not get access (BUD/LHR classified as short haul).

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1249

Not necessarily... according to the AA website, OW Emeralds get access, but only when flying BA long-haul or AA. They don't get access when flying other OW airlines.

Noted. Had s look at the AA website. You are right. That must have changed recently.

So the AA rules are now more aligned with CX than BA's. BA still bar OWE access to their Arrivals lounge.

So as a follow through: The implications for QFF Platinum or other top tier OW FF member, when flying across the pond to LHR, fly AA metal and AA code (to be safe) so that you'll get access to the arrivals lounge, if you require access. Flying BA on those routes would not give you access.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1249

I concur with the AA part,  but my reading of rules is that flying BA  long haul also allows access to AA lounge for a OWE.

What happens to OWE if youre flying BA metal on an AA code is not clear.

I'm actually flying AA next month into LHR, so will check it out.

You are right! There is a little drop down section on the AA site that provides further explanation for BA services. Whoever designed that AA page did a very poor job - the information is everywhere and one section contradicts the other.

The caveat on the first section says effectively only transatlantic flights. But the second, drop down section essentially says all long haul BA codes/metal. 

So for a non BAEC OWE flying BA code/metal:

  • JNB/LHR arriving at T5: No arrivals lounge access - BA lounge - BA rules
  • CPT/LHR arriving at T3: Access to arrival lounge available - AA lounge - AA rules.

BA/AA fine job completely messing this up!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 139

Well TRB even those of us with AA elite status possessing a reasonable modicum of intelligence and no room-temperature IQ sometimes have trouble navigating the minefield of AAs T's & C's; no harm, no foul! ;-)


22 Oct 2012

Total posts 316

If flying into LHR on QF F or J, then one has access to QFs Chauffeur Drive.  I presume one exits into the public Arrivals area, goes over to the QF CD office and tell them that I'll be an hour or two in the AA Arrivals Lounge.  Is that how CD would then work?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

Just to update: American Airlines has confirmed there is a strict 'no guests' policy at the Arrivals Lounge (regardless of your airline, travel class or frequent flyer status)

25 Oct 2016

Total posts 2

I can see access on ...

Is there anywhere on that confirms access to this lounge for Qantas First class and Business class passengers arriving into London on QF2?

25 Oct 2016

Total posts 2

... sorry QF1 ...

07 Nov 2017

Total posts 2

David are you able to advise if this lounge will accommodate the new QF9 arriving 5:10am from March 2018? And if my partner and I are travelling in business, can we take our 2 children in who are traveling economy? Thank you

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