If you’re travelling on a oneworld airline with lounge access eligibility, and are departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3, you’re in luck – with a number of different lounges to choose from – including separate First and Business lounges from American Airlines, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Qantas has also just opened a joint Business and First lounge. Without exception, the First Class Lounges are accessible to those travelling in First and oneworld Emerald members, whilst the Business Class Lounges are available to those ticketed in business, along with oneworld Sapphire members.
With such a choice, it can be difficult to know which to choose – without hesitation, I’d advise you to head straight to the Cathay Lounges – which are far superior to their rivals – including the British Airways Lounges, despite Heathrow being their main hub…
I was travelling with British Airways to Lisbon on this occasion, and being oneworld Emerald I had no difficulties obtaining access, including a guest. The First Class Lounge features a main lounge area and a separate restaurant area, which boasts à la carte dining. Lounge visitor numbers vary quite a bit during the day, depending on Cathay’s Hong Kong departures, and the lounge is usually busiest from mid to late afternoon. This said, on the number of occasions I have visited, I have never had a problem getting a seat in either the main lounge area or the restaurant.
I recommend trying to get one of the window recliner seats, and have spent many a happy hour plane spotting from these. Each seat has a side table, with usb and power plug charge points, making it easy to be able to work and catch-up with email.
Wifi is available, although it can sometimes be on the slow side, it should also be noted that for some reason obtaining a decent phone signal to make calls appears to be difficult, although some would argue this to be a distinct advantage!
The lounge benefits from a self-service bar area, which has a good selection of spirits, and wines – with three champagnes to choose from, including a rosé. The staff in the lounge are excellent, and the lounge is always kept in a pristine condition, with drinks being regularly replenished at the self service bar. The business lounge has a fully tendered bar, with cocktails – although I’ve never asked, I’m under the impression if you did, a member of staff would be more than happy to bring you one.
If you’re looking for food to grab and go quickly, you’re probably best heading to the business class lounge instead, where there is a hot buffet. In the First Lounge, there are snacks available, such as a small selection of wraps, crisps, biscuits and fresh cakes, but if you’re looking for something more substantial, you’ll want to head to the restaurant instead.
The menu appears to change every month or so, but I’m yet to receive a disappointing dish. The portion sizes are on the small side, but I tend to opt for three courses – and always find it to be a good experience. Service is fairly speedy, but can be a little slow when the restaurant area is busy.
We’ve included a copy of the menu from our most recent trip – on this occasion we opted for the Deep Fried Brie and the Teriyaki Chicken to start with, followed by the Chilli Chicken and Fish and Chips for our main course, and finally, the Irish Torte and Chocolate Fondant for dessert.
For me, a trip to the Cathay Lounge when travelling through terminal 3 is the obvious choice – you can be assured of good quality food, and a relaxed environment. It is far better than both the British Airways and American Airlines options, which are both somewhat disappointing, especially as they’re supposed to be ‘flagship’ offerings. Luckily, due to oneworld access rules, you’ll have no problem obtaining access to the Cathay lounge instead!