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LHR T3 Oneworld lounge hopping starting with BA First

LHR T3 Oneworld lounge hopping starting with BA First

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Old Mar 20, 19, 10:50 am
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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LHR T3 Oneworld lounge hopping starting with BA First

Just did my first BA First from LHR T3, having previously flown them from T5. A lot will know that in addition to the BA First and Club lounges, one can also make use of the Cathay Pacific First and Business lounges, the American First and Business lounges and the single class Qantas lounge. We decided to take advantage of this and gave most of them a try. Some observations on the lounges we visited:


British Airways First lounge
∑ Frankly, BA really should look at the competition at T3 and feel somewhat ashamed of themselves.
∑ The dťcor was tired, unexciting, dark (the low ceilings don’t help) and in need of repair in places eg an enormous dent in a toilet door.
∑ The staff on the desk couldn’t look more bored if they tried – thank goodness they had their mobile phones to play with or they’ve probably been asleep.
∑ The food offering wasn’t bad. The BA burger was pretty good. The breakfast buffet was decent. Some nice finger sandwiches were available and apparently the scones for a cream tea were good.
∑ White and pink Champagne was available for self-pour in the Gold Bar area, which was a bonus. Laurent-Perrier Grande SiŤcle wasn’t available.
∑ Spirit-wise I tend to stick to gin. They only had Gordons and Bombay, which are very unexciting choices these gin-fashion days.
∑ The magazine selection was remarkably poor – presumably BA are paid by the publishers to make them available to high-spenders. The only magazine I bothered taking was Business Traveller.
∑ If I had to guess and had no idea of which lounge I was actually in, I’d definitely have assumed it was a Club lounge and certainly not First. With their Concorde Room in T5, BA really need to do something about this lounge – the worst of the T3 four lounges we tried by far.


Qantas lounge
∑ One of our favourite lounges of the four.
∑ A cheerful, smiling and friendly team on the front desk.
∑ Airy and bright with an impressive staircase to the upper dining level of the lounge.A bar on the ground floor dedicated to gin was manned by the Tony. He couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly, guiding us through the gin cocktails menu. Loads of different gins available to sample. Tony was happy to custom-make cocktails for us too. I can definitely recommend the Tanqueray with an Aperol ice cube. It felt like nothing was too much trouble.
∑ We were too early to try the full-service restaurant, which starts serving at 6pm for the evening flight to SYD.
∑ A quick wander upstairs to see the buffet, which had a wide selection of hot and cold, salads, sweet dishes and cakes. Looked pretty good. Lots of seating available. Didn’t spot any newspapers or magazines.
∑ There was circular bar upstairs which served drinks other than gin. We didn’t try that.
∑ The shower rooms were well maintained, very clean and provided Aspar branded shampoo, shower gel, etc. A very decent shower with rainfall head.
∑ Tony suggested we return at 6pm for the calamari, but we just didn’t make it back.
∑ All-in-all, a very pleasant experience indeed and well worth a visit, especially the gin bar if that’s your thing.

American Airlines First lounge
∑ On arrival at reception we were quickly informed that the lounge would be closing in approximately two hours, which immediately made us feel terribly welcome. We kind of got the impression that we were an inconvenience.
∑ There are two lounges – business and first and we decided to try the first lounge.
∑ I tried a small bowl of chicken curry, which was fine. A pasta dish was also available.
∑ Small bottles of water are available (take note BA, who even in First, are obviously keen not too see their high-spending customers walk out with water).
∑ We decided on Moet rose and went to open a new bottle only to be intercepted by lounge staff trying to persuade us not to. We did open it and very pleasant it was too.
∑ The sweets (some say candy) in jars were a nice touch. And who doesn’t love a Werther’s Original?
∑ Theresa, a lovely, charming lady from Northern Ireland, was one of the AA lounge team and came over to chat to use about South Africa/Cape Town.
∑ Overall the lounge was pretty unexciting and I’m glad we had alternative. Theresa is a real asset to their team.


Cathay Pacific business and first lounge
∑ We had high expectations for this one, having read positive reviews.
∑ We chose to sit in the First lounge, which wasn’t too busy. Excellent views of the apron but it was getting dark and started to rain.
∑ Very comfortable, smart and maintained, it had the feel of a good hotel.
∑ A snacking area was very well stocked with finger-food, soft drinks, fridges containing chilled food and drinks.
∑ Very decent bar selection with high-end brands.
∑ We went for dim sum and noodles in the club lounge. Very speedy with a feel for a Wagamama restaurant. We didn’t try the restaurant in the First lounge.
∑ Decided to take a shower, which were pretty busy so had to wait our turns. They provide Aesop products in the shower rooms. The water pressure from the rainfall showers was incredibly high.
∑ A few glasses of nice fizz later and we were ready to walk the long trek to the gate for our 21:30 BA59 flight to CPT.

If you have time on your hands and are in LHT T3 with lounge access, I’d suggest Cathay Pacific or Qantas as the defaults lounges to make use of. I can only assume that BA senior execs don’t use the BA First lounge at T3 and sensibly make use of the alternatives.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:04 am
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Pretty accurate summary, although I've not had opportunity to try the First variants of each.

In the AA lounge we had a very warm welcome from the chap on the desk who instantly clocked we were doing a 'tour' and apologised for not being as good as CX. As you were going for the fizz, you would have missed the gorgeous Saint Emilion red which was just a delight to drink. Bag a seat opposite the window for a view of airfield at sunset.

We actually didn't bother going into the BA lounge as we knew it wouldn't be a patch on the others. It's a shame, as you rightly say, that BA only have Gordons or Bombay (and Tanqueray on board). There's so many excellent gins to choose from.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:06 am
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Between the QF vs CX lounge I always prefer the latter as I find the formerís lighting too bright and a tad uncomfortable. CX feels ďhomeyĒ.

I donít know why BA lounge continues to exist in T3 when there are so many OW other (better) options.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:16 am
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Random question...which lounge would be better as between CX and QF travelling as a family with (very) small children?

We'll be one BA Gold, one BA Silver plus two kids - the youngest is a baby so does not count as a 'guests' but he eldest will be two and therefore counts as a 'guest' (strictly speaking).

I am assuming that Cathay would enforce guesting quite strictly and not allow our group of 4 into CX First lounge? To be honest, I love that lounge myself but don't think it's a good place to bring even a well-behaved toddler as it's very small and quite 'boutiquey'. So I can see that CX may want to enforce the rule strictly, and that I might not actually enjoy it all that much even if they don't.

So it would really be between CX Business (which I have not visited as I us CX First normally) or QF? I'm thinking QF sounds like it's possibly better set up for this?

This will be early afternoon, ahead of a short-haul flight on BA in ET...so really just a nice spot for an alcoholic drink for the grown ups (gin is good!) and a snack is all we need.

I'm thinking Qantas may be best?
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:16 am
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I still do like the breakfast at the BA FL but otherwise love the Cathay Pacific lounge.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by schoppen View Post
I still do like the breakfast at the BA FL but otherwise love the Cathay Pacific lounge.
+1 for me, the Cathay Flounge is far and away the best OW lounge in T3 IMO. As an added bonus I've never used it anywhere near a time when a CX flight was leaving so it's usually deserted.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by ratypus View Post
Random question...which lounge would be better travelling as a family with (very) small children?
Whichever one I'm not in. I'll send you my schedule.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:34 am
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I did pretty much the same hop on the way to CPT earlier this month. Despite the T5-T3 connection, in some ways I was glad we were departing T3.

I loved the QF bar and loved the serenity and class of the CX Flounge. For me though, AA was the worst. Compared to their new lounges in JFK or LAX itís atrocious. The food was awful, it was dull and outdated and didnít even have the redeeming factor that the BA lounge has, ie the menu

Great to have the variety of options though
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:34 am
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As a matter of interest, if you do the full set (BA, AA, QF, CX), what would that cost BA? (Or whoever's FF programme you use).
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:34 am
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HA! They're very well behaved (really!) and we travel with them a lot...our last flight (4 hours) the row in front didn't even realise we had the kids with us until after we landed!

I'm just conscious that CX First is really quite a dinky lounge where it's hard to find a quiet corner - by the look of things QF has a kid zone and more little spaces for us to go and hide out with a strong drink...
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:41 am
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Originally Posted by ratypus View Post
Random question...which lounge would be better as between CX and QF travelling as a family with (very) small children?
...
I'm thinking Qantas may be best?
QF for sure. It's big, it's not as 'hushed' as the CX lounge and it has a small, dedicated kids play area that I don't think the CX J lounge has (or that I haven't seen), which might be better for kids, even if it's just a parent playing with something in front of a baby to keep them entertained.

Personal opinion of course.

If I'm travelling on my own or with my partner, it's CX F 100% of the time, unless we specifically want to explore the gin bar at QF.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by andymcdonnell View Post
For me though, AA was the worst. Compared to their new lounges in JFK or LAX itís atrocious. The food was awful, it was dull and outdated and didnít even have the redeeming factor that the BA lounge has, ie the menu
AA's T3 lounge pair are in the pipeline for conversion to Flagship Lounge, as per JFK, LAX, ORD, MIA. I feel sure it will be an improvement.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by pythonisman View Post
QF for sure. It's big, it's not as 'hushed' as the CX lounge and it has a small, dedicated kids play area that I don't think the CX J lounge has (or that I haven't seen), which might be better for kids, even if it's just a parent playing with something in front of a baby to keep them entertained.

Personal opinion of course.

If I'm travelling on my own or with my partner, it's CX F 100% of the time, unless we specifically want to explore the gin bar at QF.
Great, thanks very much - we'll do that then! Plus, I've always wanted to experience the QF lounge but have never been able (when travelling alone) to forego the CX First dining room to do so...(I don't do lounge hopping...I like to get my space and spend some downtime!)
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by tjcxx View Post
AA's T3 lounge pair are in the pipeline for conversion to Flagship Lounge, as per JFK, LAX, ORD, MIA. I feel sure it will be an improvement.
And accordingly has the potential to push BA to the bottom.

I actually like the breakfast in the AA flagship lounge, it's got some nice cold options and also 250ml plastic bottles of water you can swipe for your flight.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by ratypus View Post
Random question...which lounge would be better as between CX and QF travelling as a family with (very) small children?

We'll be one BA Gold, one BA Silver plus two kids - the youngest is a baby so does not count as a 'guests' but he eldest will be two and therefore counts as a 'guest' (strictly speaking).

I am assuming that Cathay would enforce guesting quite strictly and not allow our group of 4 into CX First lounge? To be honest, I love that lounge myself but don't think it's a good place to bring even a well-behaved toddler as it's very small and quite 'boutiquey'. So I can see that CX may want to enforce the rule strictly, and that I might not actually enjoy it all that much even if they don't.

So it would really be between CX Business (which I have not visited as I us CX First normally) or QF? I'm thinking QF sounds like it's possibly better set up for this?

This will be early afternoon, ahead of a short-haul flight on BA in ET...so really just a nice spot for an alcoholic drink for the grown ups (gin is good!) and a snack is all we need.

I'm thinking Qantas may be best?
Qantas don't count the first 2 under 18 kids as guests, so all 4 can get into QF.
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