Cumulatively, London has some of the best lounges in the world. Lounges, like everything related to commercial flying, are all based on airline alliances. Since my airline of choice (forced on me more than anything), is American Airlines, I am tied to the OneWorld alliance, which includes British Airways, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Qatar and of course American Airlines among others. This leads to having airports with a strong presence by one alliance and therefore a cluster of lounges that I can access as a emerald OneWorld member. London’s Heathrow is one of these airports. In terminal 5 you are stuck with the British lounges which are quite good. Terminal 3, however, offers more options. The British lounges in T3 aren’t as good as the ones in T5 but having access to Cathay’s new first class lounge more than makes up for it. In addition I think that a lot of people don’t realize that when flying on a OneWorld airline you have access to any lounge operated by a OneWorld airline. This is awesome as it means that the British Galleries and American Admirals Clubs are usually bursting to the seams with people the much better Cathay lounge was a peaceful zen.
There are a few things I prize in a lounge. First being a place to relax away from the sometimes hectic terminal. I also want easy access to outlets to charge my devices. And then of course I want good food and if you throw in expensive booze all the better. In addition I also love when there are good views of the tarmac preferably facing an international terminal where I can spot all the exotic big birds. Having access to a shower in a lounge is also a nice touch, although one I almost never use. Well the Cathay lounge ticked each and every one of those boxes.
The first class lounge offers a corner view of the tarmac which was awesome. There were outlets located, discreetly, at every seat.
The first class lounge offers a complimentary table service restaurant. The menu looked good although I was there for breakfast so I’m already looking forward to the next time I take off from London’s Terminal 3 to try out their lunch/dinner options.
I ordered the Eastern Set breakfast. They had plenty of western options too but I was in Cathay’s lounge so I figured why not.
The first class has a self service bar with limited, but nice options. They did have a couple champagnes on offer retailing in the $50 range. It’s also worth noting that as far as fine scotch goes the British Galleries First lounge does have far superior offerings such as Johnnie Walker Blue and Mcallen 12yr whereas here they just offer Johnnie Walker Black. Not a big deal at all for me as I love to look at the expensive bottles but usually go for a glass of champagne anyway and in this case being 7am nothing at all.
After having breakfast I decided to stroll through the business class lounge. It was much bigger but also deserted at 7am. They offered their food in a buffet style and set up in a really nice room with a long table in the center. They did also have extensive cafeteria style seating around the corner.
Interestingly the business class lounge had a full service bar instead of the self service bar in first class. The options were also much more extensive although decidedly not as top shelf, no champagne on offer here. My only guess is that they have much more control over the booze especially if this lounge does ever fill up.
And lastly the famous noodle bar located in the business class lounge. This is one of the main reasons I want to return to this lounge. Since it was 7 am I decided not to bother the chefs who were prepping for their day. But having a noodle bar like this completely complementary in a business class lounge is definitely something pretty awesome. Again the amazing part is that thousands of people a day walk pas this lounge either not knowing that they have access or preferring the familiarity of their nice, yet boring British Airways lounge.
This is the second best lounge in London after The Concorde Room, which is much harder to gain access to. I also have never been to the Virgin Clubhouse which is out of network so I need to be flying Virgin Atlantic to get in.
I love having access to this on a short intra Europe flight. This is definitely one of the better perks of remaining loyal to an airline. Airlines have been slashing benefits and the number of free upgrades is always on the decline as they charge less for business class seats. That being said is doesn’t cost very much to remain loyal to an airline so any benefit I receive is the frosting on the cake.