London's Heathrow Airport finally has a dedicated Qantas lounge. Following in the footsteps of the Singapore, Hong Kong and even Brisbane international lounges, the Qantas London lounge has local design influences in a single space for first class and business class flyers, along with travellers in any class holding applicable frequent flyer status or even Qantas Club membership.
With dine-on-demand from set menus, spacious shower suites plus gin and cocktail bars, the Qantas London lounge is a step above a regular business class lounge and an impressive addition to the current selection of Oneworld lounges at Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge.
However, Qantas first class passengers and Platinum frequent flyers along with Oneworld Emerald members may find the lounge a little underwhelming by the usual standards of a first class lounge.
Location & Impressions
The Qantas London lounge is easy to find, although its identified on directional signage simply as ‘Lounge B’ – just follow the signs for Lounges or Gates 1-11, taking a left turn shortly after exiting Terminal 3’s central core of duty free shops, cafes and seating.
The two-level lounge has a prime position and the entrance is easy to spot with the familiar 'flying kangaroo' adorning the wall.
The ground floor is the smaller space of the two levels. There’s a dining area with table service and some self-serve dishes, and the gin bar.
A striking staircase (or a lift, for those with large bags or mobility issues) leads you to the upper floor which is the real showcase here.
It features the cocktail bar with views over the departure gates and airfield, another self-service food area, six showers, a business zone and a relaxation zone.
The lounge has a total capacity of over 230 passengers so there's plenty of seating scattered around, mainly on the upper floor, from tables for two to six people, long couches and seats in pairs with a small table.
There are also two small private rooms, reserved primarily for VIPs but also available for other guests on request if you want to get some work done without distraction before your flight.
Both floors have a view of the tarmac, however the positioning of lounge means the view is limited unless you’re right in front of a window.
In any event a large proportion of the ground floor windows overlook the aircraft gates next door to the lounge.
There’s a pair of male and female toilets on the ground floor, with additional toilets on the upper floor.
While there are only two Qantas flights a day, departing around 12 noon and 9pm, the lounge is open from 8am to 8.30pm daily, so it’s also available for the vast majority of British Airways, Finnair, Emirates, Cathay Pacific and JAL flights out of T3.
The busiest times for the lounge would from two hours before each Qantas flight, but the more that passengers on those other airlines decide to visit this lounge, the busier it will become throughout the day.
The Qantas London Lounge welcomes the following travellers:
- first class and business class passengers on Qantas flights and those of Oneworld airlines departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3 (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, JAL, LATAM, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines)
- Qantas Platinum One, Platinum and Gold frequent flyers (and one guest) and their Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents, on Qantas or Oneworld flights
- Qantas Club members (and one guest) on Qantas flights
- Holders of a Qantas Club lounge invitation who are on a Qantas flight
- Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold cardholders on Qantas flights
Note that if you're flying in Qantas first class or hold Qantas Platinum or Platinum One frequent flyer status, you can also visit the adjacent Cathay Pacific first class lounge (our pick) or the nearby British Airways first class lounge, under the lounge access rules for these fellow Oneworld airlines. Qantas first class passengers are also admitted into the Emirates lounge.
Likewise, Qantas business class passengers of those holding Qantas Gold frequent flyer status can visit the Terminal 3 business class lounges of Cathay Pacific, British Airways and American Airlines.
Qantas has its mandatory ‘Rockpool dining experience’ at the London lounge, which centres on the ground floor dining room’s à la carte menu with table service, which is offered during select hours.
A brunch menu is served until around 1pm – during my visit this listed eggs benedict; a quinoa kedgeree bowl with smoked salmon and poached egg; and roasted field mushrooms and herbed bruschetta with semi-dried tomato and rocket salad.
That's not a stain on the plate next to my eggs benedict, it's a 'design element' of the new dinnerware.
After 1pm this changes to a lunch menu at the upstairs buffet with light snacks of cakes and fruit downstairs.
The full dining service restarts in the late afternoon, ahead of the evening departure of flight QF2 to Sydney.
There’s also the option of hot and cold meals at self-service areas both downstairs and upstairs.
The Gin Bar has a very impressive selection of gins, including several Australian varieties, and these can be mixed with a quality Fever Tree tonic water.
The upstairs bar focuses on cocktails, beers, wines and other spirits.
What about Champagne? While not listed on the menu, Petaluma Croser – officially categorised as a ‘sparkling wine’ as it hails from South Australia instead of the Champagne region of France – is available on request.
Espresso machines at both bars ensure that quality coffee is always available, while tea fans will find a large selection of Dilmah teas to choose from.
The lounge’s upper floor has a workstation bench with four seats and easy access to AC and USB sockets, plus one Apple iMac and a printer.
There are plenty of tables scattered around the upper floor where you could also park your laptop and get down to work, but most don't have power points in close proximity – you’ll have to be seated by the wall to plug into an AC or USB powerpoint.
There are also powerpoints at the downstairs dining area, fitted into the bench under the banquette seating.
Note that all powerpoints in the lounge use a standard UK socket, so remember not to put your socket adaptor into checked luggage.
I found the WiFi performance a sluggish 5Mbps both for downloads and uploads. While sufficient for basic needs, this will be a disappointment to those trying to transfer large files, while the 22ms ping rate will impact apps such as Skype.
Six large and well-configured showers, with both rain and wand shower heads and Aspar toiletries, can be found on the upper floor.
There’s no dedicated quiet zone in the lounge. Due to the open layout – which puts dining on the main level, and on the upper floor a bar at one end and the self service food area the other – most parts of the lounge will have high footfall and associated noise during the busy hours.
If noise is going to be an issue, ask at the lounge’s reception about booking some time in one of the two private rooms.
How good a lounge this is will depend on your benchmark. As business lounges go, Qantas has certainly delivered: in some respects it's better than the Cathay Pacific business lounge next door, and it's certainly the best Qantas international business lounge so far.
On the other hand, first class travellers will feel short-changed because they get almost nothing more than even a Qantas economy class passenger holding a lounge pass. Likewise, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers who have become used to 'first class' treatment might decide to sample T3's other Oneworld first class lounges from British Airways and Cathay Pacific.