The best Oneworld lounges at London Heathrow T3

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

By David Flynn, October 27 2022
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.

Apart from Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airlines and Royal Air Maroc’s use of T4, the bulk of the Oneworld roster lives at T3 – American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian.

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

And they’re certainly not wanting for choice: at the time of writing there are six Oneworld member lounges to choose from.

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 say you should use the British Airways lounge, you’re not 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 lounges of American Airlines and British Airways: no. Just no.

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, they’re just tired, worn out affairs in the shadow 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 605

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 45

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

CX

16 May 2015

Total posts 18

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.


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