One of my favorite things about flying are the lounges. By this I’m not talking about a domestic airline lounge with free peanuts and occasionally a Budweiser. I’m talking about lounges with full restaurants, bars and spas, and more. For my return to JFK from Barcelona I purposefully scheduled a 5.5 hour layover in London (even though the direct flight was the same price), after all it was my birthday! After landing and collecting my checked bag I headed to the AA Flagship checkin at terminal 3. Within minutes I was checked in and through security.
Qantas First & Business class lounge
Being an Executive Platinum member with American Airlines which translates to Emerald Status with all OneWorld member airlines I had access to 4 lounges in London Heathrow’s Terminal 3. First I decided to stop at the brand new Qantas Lounge. This lounge is a combined business and first class lounge. It is a stunning space with two levels and decent views of the tarmac.
The food at the lounge was surprisingly good and all very health orientated. They had a nice buffet spread and a menu with a few options to order. I choose a quinoa bowl with kale, chicken and a poached egg. Everything was very good and the lounge was the swankiest of the bunch.
Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge
After having breakfast at the Qantas lounge I made my way over to what is my favorite lounge in London and up to now in the world (I saw up to now because I fully expect this to change soon).
One of the reasons I love this lounge so much is becasue of the decor. Plus I love that it’s always empty. I always snag a corner chair looking out at the tarmac. More importantly, however, is the food at this lounge is terrific. When I first arrived I went to go eat at the noodle bar in the business class lounge that’s connected.
Seriously though, the fact that there is a free noodle bar in the lounge is just awesome. I had a shrimp dumpling and noodle soup.
I also love the shower rooms at the Cathay Lounge which are eons better than the hospital feeling ones at the British Galleries Lounges.
And then after a few hours and a couple tv shows later I decided to have lunch at free restaurant in the first class section of the lounge. I ordered a sautéed black sea bass with asparagus over risotto. It was restaurant quality and something I’d pay for, of course free is always better!
American Airlines Flagship First Lounge
When I had about an hour left I went on over to check out the other lounges I had access to. I started at the AA lounge which I had access to the First Class portion. It looked like a hospital waiting room. And the food options were quite limited.
That being said since it’s a first class lounge they did have champagne and I loved that they kept a bottle of Chambord and a jug of orange juice nearby, both very good at masking subpar champagne. There was one bright spot, bright enough to bring me back to this lounge. They had the single most comfortable recliner of the 4 lounges I visited and the chair I’d search out if I ever wanted to take a long nap in LHR.
British Airways Galleries First Class Lounge
As expected British airways runs a lot of lounges in London. Their best lounge is the Concorde Room which is in Terminal 5 and only accessible if you are flying first class with British Airways. Then they also have their Galleries Lounges first and business class lounges both in Terminals 3 and 5. These can be accessed if you are flying business or first class respectively on any OneWorld airline or if you have OneWorld status. The highest tier, emerald, gets you into the first class lounge. Partly becasue people don’t realize they have other options, this huge lounge is often times at capacity.
One of the best things about this lounge is the top shelf liquor on offer. There is champagne, Johnny Walker Blue Label among many other options. They also feature different small gin, scotch or Irish whiskey. They often times have brand representatives on hand with the presentations.
Although the British Airways lounge is very nice I generally don’t spend time here unless I want a full English Breakfast but then I always make my way over to the Cathay Lounge. Now that the Qantas lounge has opened I might spend more time there now especially if I want a healthy meal. It’s also worth noting that the Qantas lounge is far and away the best business class lounge in the OneWorld London portfolio. So if I ever lose my AA Executive Platinum status (which I probably will) I’ll still have a nice option in London.