Review: American Airlines Arrivals Lounge Heathrow T3

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UPDATE 23 January 2020 – Qantas Elites can no longer access the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow T3 (click for more info)

Back in August American Airlines reopened its arrivals lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 after a 5-month refurbishment project and the promotional photos of the new space looked really good. The old arrivals lounge was small and not really a very relaxing place to be if you needed to kill some time before heading in to London so I was very keen to see what the new space was like.

As I haven’t had any trips that have seen me arriving back into Heathrow Terminal 3 in the past few months I contacted American Airlines to see if they would allow me to take a look around….and very kindly they said yes.

The American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow T3 is located above the arrivals hall (just past customs). As you enter the arrivals hall look for an elevator positioned opposite a row of shops (which you can’t miss) and take it up to level 2.

The entrance to the lounge is in the same place as it has always been but it looks a lot more modern than it did before:

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The lounge opening hours are 05:00 – 15:30 and access to the lounge is limited to passengers arriving on a same-day-flight. Entry criteria are noticeably stricter than the criteria to access an Admirals Club.

Entry Criteria

Arrivals on American Airlines

Flights must be operated and marketed by American, or marketed by British Airways and operated by American.

  • First and Business Class passengers
  • All oneworld Emerald members
  • British Airways Premier members

Arrivals on British Airways

Flights must be international long-haul and marketed and operated by British Airways.

  • First and Business Class passengers
  • All oneworld Emerald members
  • British Airways Premier customers

Arrivals on Qantas

As of January 2020, Qantas First Class and Business Class flyers no longer have access to the American Airlines arrivals lounge.

Arrivals on Cathay Pacific

Flights must be international long-haul and marketed and operated by Cathay Pacific

  • First and Business Class customers

The Lounge

As you enter the lounge there’s a seating area straight ahead which is a big improvement over what was on offer before.

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Immediately on the right is a second seating area with dining tables and chairs…..

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…and two high-bar work areas with multiple power outlets:

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Just past this seating area and still on the right side of the lounge is a separate work/business area with armchairs, PCs and a printer/copier/fax:

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The last room on the right side of the lounge is a conference room that can be booked in advance:

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On the left side of the lounge is where you’ll find a few more dining tables and chairs and where the drinks and food are set out buffet-style:

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The catering staff and the food in the lounge have been contracted out to Rhubarb and, if first impressions are anything to go by, that’s good news for oneworld flyers.

The staff were probably the most pro-active of any I’ve encountered in an American Airlines lounge in that they were quick to ask if there was anything they could get me (as they watched me wandering around) of if I’d like a drink or food brought to my table.

The lounge offers both à la carte and buffet dining with the à la carte options available all day and the buffet varying depending on the time of day.

À la carte options

Egg Benedict – Poached egg on a toasted muffin with York ham and hollandaise

Protein Pancakes – 2 oat and buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries and maple mascarpone

Bacon or Sausage Butty – Choose from either grilled bacon or Cumberland sausage on toasted bloomer with tomato and chive butter.

The Buffet – 05:00 – 10:30

Continental Breakfast:

  • Breakfast granola with fresh yoghurt, strawberry compote and mint
  • Tropical fruit brochettes
  • Whole seasonal fruit
  • Selection of Danish pastries, croissants and fresh breads
  • Flapjack bars with dried fruits, pumpkin and flax seeds
  • Organic Porridge

Create Your Own Breakfast:

  • Choose from:
  • Crispy bacon
  • Scrambled egg,
  • Cumberland sausage
  • Slow roasted vine tomatoes,
  • Garlic field mushrooms

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Fresh Smoothie Bar:

  • ‘Popeye’ – Apple, pear, spinach and celery
  • ‘Berry Breakfast’ – Wild berries, banana and honey

The Buffet – 10:30 – 15:30


  • Assorted dips with marinated olives and toasted pita shards
  • Tomato, feta and basil salad with sumac dressing

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  • Moroccan cous cous salad
  • Selection of Danish pastries, croissants and fresh breads
  • Whole seasonal fruit
  • Soup of the day
  • Selection of freshly baked breads
  • Chicken and spring vegetable fricasse
  • Scrambled egg
  • Slow roasted vine tomatoes
  • Garlic field mushrooms

As well as all the food options and the smoothies the lounge offers soft drinks and orange juice….

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…there were tea and coffee making facilities at the end of the buffet bar…..

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…and the champagne on offer was Moët:

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American is keen to emphasise that it’s partnering with local business and looking to source local produce for its lounges at Heathrow and the airline is keen for the new Arrival lounge to have a British feel to it…and I think they’ve succeeded in that.

I thought the food spread was pretty good for an arrivals lounge and, when you compare what was on offer to the Cathay Pacific Arrivals lounge in Hong Kong when I visited a few weeks back, the AA lounge wins by a mile.

When details of the new arrivals lounge first emerged I found hard to believe that the lounge had as many shower cubicles as reported, 29, but that’s exactly how many it has.

And they look good.

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 The toiletries are C.O. Bigelow just like the latest Business Class amenity kits…..

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…and then there’s the best feature of the lot – the valet ironing service.

The doors to all the shower rooms are actually mini-wardrobes that open from both sides and the way it works is this:

  • You let the attendant know that you’ve got a shirt that needs ironing.
  • You open the “wardrobe” from your side of the door and hang up your shirt.

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  • While you’re having a shower the attendant opens the other side of the “wardrobe”……

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….takes the shirt for ironing and replaces it in time for you to get changed and ready for your meeting.

How cool is that?! 🙂

Bottom Line

I’ve given American Airlines quite a bit of heat recently for the changes it has been putting through the AAdvantage program (and I stand by every comment I’ve made) but I’ve got to give them credit for this.

The space American had to work with isn’t the biggest but they’ve done a very good job of maximizing what they have and have managed to create a very comfortable environment in which to relax.

The staff in the lounge are excellent, the choice of food appears to be better than in a lot of arrival lounges I’ve visited and I love that they offer so many shower cubicles.

Most importantly, I’m happy that American has kept the entry criteria to the lounge as tight as they have – this isn’t a big space so it’s right that the number of people given access is controlled carefully – Joanna won’t be happy that I can’t guest her in on our next trip but for once I won’t be complaining 🙂


    • British Airways Premier is an invitation only level of the British Airways Executive Club that doesn’t have very many members. My understanding is that it’s only given to super-high profile flyers like heads of state, CEOs of multi-national corporations etc… Unfortunately a BA Silver card won’t get you into this lounge.

  1. That “magic ironing closet” is a great idea! Wish I could get one for my home..
    Quick questions about arrivals lounges in general – is there a limit to how long you’re allowed to stay there? Is there a time by which you have to check into the lounge once your plane has landed? Conversely, if you know that you haven’t got long once you’ve landed and need to be on your way, can you call or email ahead of time to book a shower slot?
    Thanks for all the detail in your posts – really helpful if you’re going to experience these things for the first time.

    • Taking the questions one at a time:

      – As far as I can tell there’s no limit to how long you can stay in the arrivals lounge and, considering the airline status most passengers using the lounge will hold, it’s unlikely they would be moved on…at least not before the 15:30 closing time.
      – There isn’t any documented time by which you have to check in to your lounge after you land.
      – The shower cubicles are on a first come first served basis so you cannot reserve them ahead of time. Having said that, 29 shower cubicles combined with the strict lounge entry criteria, it’s unlikely that you would find yourself in a position where there would be any significant wait time.

      Hope this all helps and thanks for your kind comments.

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