The best Oneworld lounges at London Heathrow T3

While there are six Oneworld lounges to choose between, only three are worth visiting…

By Staff Writers, September 5 2023
The best Oneworld lounges at London Heathrow T3

Heathrow Terminal 3 is home to most Oneworld airlines flying into and out of London: even British Airways, which has its own hub at T5, maintains a busy schedule of European and longer-range international flights departing from T3.

And with a few exceptions – Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airlines and Royal Air Maroc use Terminal 4 – the bulk of the Oneworld roster lives at T3, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian.

That translates to a lot of premium cabin travellers and frequent flyers seeking some pre-flight respite in a Oneworld lounge.

And they’re certainly not wanting for choice, with as many as seven Oneworld member lounges from American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

Cheers: the Qantas International London Lounge has an upstairs cocktail bar and a downstairs gin bar.
Cheers: the Qantas International London Lounge has an upstairs cocktail bar and a downstairs gin bar.

Of course, a key benefit of Oneworld – and it’s a perk surprisingly many travellers remain unaware of – is that you can use the lounge of any Oneworld member airline, with your eligibility based on class of travel or frequent flyer status.

Just because you’re flying British Airways doesn’t mean you can’t visit the Qantas lounge instead; likewise, if you’re flying on Finnair and the checkin staff direct you to the British Airways lounge, you’re not actually obliged to do so.

Indeed, should you have the time or the inclination you can visit several Oneworld lounges – a mission made easier given that several of the lounges are almost next door to one another, and the furthest is but a few minutes’ stroll away.

With that in mind, here’s the Executive Traveller cheat-sheet for the best Oneworld lounges at Heathrow Terminal 3.

Note that each lounge may gear its opening hours around that airline’s departures from T3.

1. Cathay Pacific First Class lounge

Access: First class passenger, Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers

Cathay Pacific’s London Heathrow First Class lounge is like a compact version of the airline’s flagship The Pier First Class lounge at Hong Kong.

The smaller footprint makes it cosy rather than cramped, while the elegant decor and furnishings seem to invite a calmness that’s quite different to larger echoing spaces.

Cathay Pacific's elegant London Heathrow T3 first class lounge.
Cathay Pacific's elegant London Heathrow T3 first class lounge.

Enjoy a meal in the à la carte dining room, then take a glass of Champagne to one of the seats facing the window (the best one, which some frequent flyers have dubbed ‘the throne’, is in the far-left corner) and idly watch the airport in action. 

The spacious, well-appointed showers are another drawcard, although the shower zone is a common shared facility with the adjacent Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge (which you may also want to pop into for some snacks from the buffet).

2. Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge

Access: First class and business class passengers, Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers

Modelled on Hong Kong’s The Pier Business Class lounge, this Heathrow T3 version is a reliable go-to for business class travellers and passengers holding Oneworld Sapphire status (such as BA Silver and Finnair, Qantas and Qatar Airways Gold).

The signature Noodle Bar is a must-visit, while the spacious dining area is flanked by a well-stocked buffet plus ample snacks and sweet treats.

Add semi-private laptop-friendly lounge seats plus those first-rate showers, and it’s no exaggeration to say this could pass for some airline’s first class lounge.

3. Qantas International London Lounge

Access: First class and business class passengers, Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers

The Qantas lounge is almost a tie with the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounge – and that they’re located next to one another near gate 11 makes it easy to sample both and judge for yourself.

Reasons to put the Qantas London Lounge on your list include a wonderful gin bar boasting an array of premium gins (and other spirits), the dining room serving Qantas staples such as salt and pepper calamari, and an upstairs cocktail bar. Oh, and it also pours the best flat white in the T3 loungescape.

Spend your time at any of those three lounges and your journey will get off to a great start.

As to the other Oneworld T3 lounges of American Airlines and British Airways, we’d suggest giving them a miss or at least lowering your expectations compared to the Cathay and Qantas lounges.

True, the British Airways Galleries First lounge does have a dining room where you can tuck into the airline’s hamburger (or the ‘fake meat’ version) and a selection of other dishes ordered off the menu – and a decent choice of self-pour spirits and wines – but those are arguably the only reasons to visit this lounge.

Like the business class British Airways Galleries Club lounge and the American Airlines lounges, in our experience they’re simply not up to the overall standard of the excellent Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2015

Total posts 20

The Qantas lounge was unusable when I went recently. Absolutely packed. Took myself off to the Cathay F lounge instead, much more civilised!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 712

Would be really interested to read a comparison of the One World lounges at LHR, with Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse.  Go on David, you deserve it, go . . . on, but make sure you arrive a decent 3-4 hours before your flight.  

Excellent wrap-up, I completely agree although I do have a soft spot for the Qantas lounge, but a lot of flyers visit this and the CX business lounge, take the best of both. I continue to be astounded at how many people go to the BA lounge when they could be going to the CX or QF lounges, it's like they just don't know they can choose their lounge!

08 May 2020

Total posts 41

I’d put the Amex Centurion lounge ahead of Qantas, despite the lack of windows.  The food was in another league and much quieter

Except that the Amex Centurion lounge is not a OneWorld lounge, so not really relevant here? Nice option if you have the right Amex card of course.

Whenever I have popped into the Qantas 1st lounge (I am normally next door at CX ) it has seemed full of Americans. from what David mentions I suppose refugees from the American Airlines place.  Brits go to the BA lounge because they are Brits

12 Feb 2015

Total posts 91

The Qantas Lounge is not a First Class lounge. Access available to a wide range of frequent flyers and also Business Class passengers.

CX

16 May 2015

Total posts 23

BA First has best wines of the three lounges, and as a Brit, I like its comfort food. CX seems more civilized and less utilitarian.

05 Sep 2023

Total posts 2

As an Aussie I always use the Cathay First lounge then the BA one.

Best wines I agree.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Mar 2017

Total posts 4

can we do a rating of all the lounges from one world - not just the three listed - and give them a rating out of 10, or an ABCD or F! :)

NPC
NPC

02 Aug 2023

Total posts 4

Is the Emirates Lounge not an option?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

The mentioned lounges can be used by anyone with the required status/cabin class flying on any oneworld airline. The Emirates lounge can only be used while flying QF.

NPC
NPC

02 Aug 2023

Total posts 4

Is the EK lounge not an option?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 412

While waiting for BA to cancel my flight in mid-June at T3, I started at the Qantas lounge (made sure I got the salt and pepper squid), then went to BA first, on to Cathay first and then back to Qantas before returning to BA first to find out about my flight which of course been cancelled and BA did diddly squat to offer any assistance for. Lounge staff saying you're on your own figure it out yourself.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

I haven't used the LHR T3 BA lounges since the QF lounge opened and they moved out of the BA lounges.

I've only used the AA lounge once, and that was because I was flying out of LHR on AA and the flight was delayed. I moved from the QF lounge so that I'd have info about what was going on with the delay. When I entered, they wouldn't let me into the Flagship area, even though my status allowed my access. When I went back to the desk to ask a question, the 2nd agent said I should be in the Flagship lounge and not the Club.

17 Oct 2019

Total posts 5

Does anyone know if any LHR lounges allow Qantas Club Members (who only have Red status) access when flying to European destinations with BA? 

17 Oct 2019

Total posts 5

Does anyone know if any LHR Lounges allow Qantas Club Members (Red Status) access when flying to European destinations and back to LHR with BA?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 44

I rate BA F as better than QF at LHR T3. The Qantas lounge is crowded, noisy and unpleasant. The salt and pepper squid has become a tired cliché.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 89

I have tried Cathay F etc etc etc, I'm not a convert, I just don't like queuing for a meal.  BA is less than average, so that leaves QF, so if you manage your time of arrival for shower, meal and a drink and claim your space then life is 'all good', kick back, relax and charge your phone and have another G&T...

What I really miss is access to an arrivals lounge at T3 (please...?)...!!!

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 14

What's wrong with the American Airlines' Arrivals Lounge? As it is a bit hidden away (T3. landside, on the balcony) and not really advertised it's always empty, the breakfasts are fab and never a queue for a shower.

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 14

The BA lounges had a revamp with new furniture, a new bar and new catering last month, and I'm now swinging back towards BA again. The AA F lounge has of course also reopened this month, with new a la carte dining.

06 Sep 2023

Total posts 1

Very surprised about the negative views on the BA first especially when compared to Qantas (anyone).

Visited both lounges on 3 occasions last month and BA was far better than Qantas. Did not try the others as I found BA very pleasant and gave us everything we needed.

Firstly there was no queue for the showers! yet there was a queue for the even the toilets in Qantas

champagne in BA not in Qantas

space & quite in BA , Qantas crowded...

varied food options - hot & cold in BA, Qantas salt & pepper...is nice but as someone already said "tired...". 

For all of you who prefer the Qantas lounge - please keep going and we will enjoy the peace of the BA first.


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