Oneworld frequent flyers are spoilt for choice for when it comes to lounges at London Heathrow terminal 3, and I was recently able to check out the relatively new Qantas lounge on a flight with British Airways from London to Budapest.
Location and eligibility
Qantas is easy to spot from the main shopping areas - head for Lounge B (most of the major lounges are located alongside each other in a row at terminal 3).
The lounge is open from 8am until 8.30pm, so bear in mind you’ll not be able to access it if you have a particularly early or late flight.
Eligible passengers include Qantas first and business customers, plus a guest, as well as oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, who can also admit a guest. Last year, Qantas began trialling paid access to the lounge, charging non-status passengers £55 per visit.
The Qantas lounge is a beautiful facility, split between two levels. There’s a brass-gilded staircase, or you can use the (slow and small) lift to move between the two.
On the evening of our visit, bad weather caused the cancellation of a number of Qantas flights, meaning passenger numbers were low. As a result, the lower-level section of the lounge remained closed.
When we arrived, there were only around ten other passengers, meaning it was no problem to find somewhere to sit, even though only half of the lounge was in operation.
The lounge features two signature bars. Downstairs, there’s the Gin Bar, where you can sample gins from around the world, as well as a selection of other alcoholic and soft drinks.
Head upstairs for the Cocktail Bar, where you’ll go to order coffees and any other drinks you might want to have while you’re on the upper level.
There didn’t seem to be a wine list available from the bar, but I was offered a shiraz, pinot noir or a cabernet sauvignon when I asked about a red wine. Presumably, there’s plenty of good Australian wine on offer, but I didn’t get the chance to find out what was being served.
The decor in the lounge is impressive. We especially liked the wood panneling, the marble tables and counters, the parquet herringbone flooring and the sleek curves of the wall.
There are different seatings areas dotted around the lounge.
The Qantas London lounge is a stylish place to relax, with nice lighting throughout.
Food and drink
Despite how few passengers were around, the lounge had a full buffet (upstairs), with a selection of hot and cold dishes.
There were various salads, vegetables, roasted pumpkin, a potato salad and hummus.
Hot dishes included Portugese-style chicken with roasted capsicum (not very flavourful), pilaf rice and a pea and mint soup.
Those with a sweet tooth could go for home-made scones with clotted cream, jam and strawberries, as well as a flourless lemon and rosemary polenta cake with cream cheese frosting and a chocolate cake.
Qantas advertises an a la carte menu on its website, though presumably that was unavailable due to the lower level restaurant being closed.
I knew to ask for the famous Qantas salt and pepper squid, however, and the staff were happy to bring out several plates for us to share.
As well as the buffet, there’s a Quench hydration bar stocked with a selection of teas and juices.
Aside from the squid, which is always great, we weren’t too impressed with the quality of the food (though it could be that the lounge wasn’t at its best when we visited).
The kids ordered hot chocolates from the bar, where you could also pick up sweet treats like fudge and popcorn.
After having some drinks and snacks, I worked for a bit and was pleased to see that there were plenty of electrical sockets around.
Washrooms and other facilities
The bathrooms are stunning and feature luxurious Aspar toiletries (an Australian brand).
The washrooms were all clean and well maintained when we visited, and it’s possible to shower if you would like.
There was also a kids’ room, which kept the little ones occupied for a little while.
Service was pretty low key on this quiet Sunday evening. The staff weren’t especially proactive and we had to visit the bar every time we wanted something, even though they really weren’t many passengers to look after.
Qantas says it has partnered with Sofitel to offer its London passengers “the same high standards you expect” from the luxury hotel brand, though I wouldn’t say we experienced any exemplary service.
None of the flight information screens were working in the lounge, or in the terminal itself due to a technical fault, so we left the lounge earlier than we needed to in order to check our gate with the staff at the British Airways lounge next door.
It’s always great to visit the Qantas lounge in London, but the best part of flying from terminal 3 is being able to hop between the various oneworld lounges.
My advice would probably be to eat in the Cathay Pacific lounge, but save some room for squid and cocktails afterwards in the classy Qantas lounge.
What’s your favourite lounge at London Heathrow terminal 3?