Review: Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

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Recently, I found myself flying out of Heathrow Terminal 3 for the first time in quite a few years, and this gave me the opportunity to revisit the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge that I haven’t reviewed since 2017.

Lounge access rules & opening times

The Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge at Heathrow is open 7 days a week between 05:30 and 21:00 and can be accessed by the following flyers:

  • Passengers booked into a First Class cabin on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline that is departing on the day of access.
  • First Class passengers connecting between oneworld marketed and operated flights on the same day of travel, or before 06:00 the following day when travelling between an international long haul (defined as an international flight marketed and operated by any oneworld carrier with a scheduled flight time longer than 5 hours) and an international short haul or domestic flight (and vice-versa).
  • Oneworld Emerald status holders traveling on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline (in any cabin) on the day of travel.
  • Guests of First Class and oneworld Emerald flyers who are traveling in any cabin on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline on the day of access (1 guest per First Class/oneworld Emerald flyer).

Note: Lounge access for connecting passengers will be determined based on the cabin booked on the international long haul ticketed flight regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight (i.e. if you are booked into First Class long-haul and are connecting to Economy Class short haul at Heathrow, you can access the First Class lounge).

Lounge location

Finding both of the Cathay Pacific lounges at Terminal 3 is straightforward:

  • Proceed through airport security and head out of the main airside shopping area following signs for departure gate 11.

people walking in a building

  • As you exit the shopping area via the wide hallway you see in the image above, you’ll be presented with a T-junction at which you should turn left.
  • Ahead of you, on the right-hand side, you’ll see a sign that reads “Lounge C” and, upon closer inspection, you’ll see that the sign says Cathay Pacific as well.

a sign in a building

Both the First and Business Class lounges are one level up from the gates and can be accessed using one of the two elevators provided.

As soon as the elevator doors open, you’ll see the lounge check-in desk directly ahead (you can see the corner of the desk in the picture below) …

a hallway with wood paneling and a sign… and the hallway you see above leads to the Business Class lounge and the spa/showers.

The entrance to the First Class lounge is on the same wall as the elevator doors, diagonally across from the check-in desk and directly across from the flights board you can see in the image above.

The lounge seating areas

In square footage, lounge is quite small, but it feels welcoming and, somehow, it doesn’t feel small. The seating looks and feels like it’s designed for both comfort and functionality and that’s the perfect combination. It’s also not something I get to say very often when reviewing lounges in Europe or the US, and I certainly don’t get to say that about many lounges at Heathrow (although the BA First Lounge in T5 has a few more comfortable seats now).

a room with couches and tables a room with couches and a table

The type of seating on offer varies as you pass through the lounge …

a room with chairs and tables a row of chairs and a table a room with leather chairs and a lamp

… and had these pictures not been taken in the early hours of a winter morning, you would be able to see how light the lounge can get thanks to the fact that it overlooks the airport apron.

Here are three images from a few years back that will give you an idea of what I mean:

a room with a row of chairs and tables a row of chairs and tables in a room with windows a room with a coffee table and chairs

The seating is very nice, but the one thing that you have to be mindful of in this lounge is that if you need to power a device, you’ll have to choose your seat carefully. Power outlets aren’t in abundance here, and some can even be secreted away.

a table with a drawer
To access the power outlets in this area, you have to pull them out of the side table.

Lounge dining options

The lounge offers three dining options.

Option 1 – You can choose to sit in the restaurant area of the lounge and dine from a complimentary a la carte menu.

a restaurant booth with green booth seats and a table with chairs a restaurant with tables and chairs a restaurant with tables and chairs

Option 2 – You can choose to eat from the restaurant area’s a la carte menu and have the meal served in one of the lounge seating areas.

Option 3 – You can help yourself to the complimentary buffet items that are set out in a galley-style area of the lounge.

a food display in a restaurant a refrigerator with food on shelves a shelf with food on it

a shelf with different types of food on it a counter with food on it a display of food on shelves a coffee machine and food on a counter

As you can see from the images of the buffet, breakfast was being served during my visit, and rather than settle for the buffet, I chose to dine in the restaurant.

This was the menu …

a menu on a table
Click or tap to enlarge

… and because old habits die hard (I always choose the same thing), I ordered the ‘Chinese Set Breakfast’, a grapefruit juice and a flat white (you can choose as much or as little off the menu as you like).

a plate of food on a table

The congee was very nice, the dim sum were pretty good too, but the noodles weren’t great. They seemed to have been reheated rather than cooked fresh, and that’s never good.

Lounge drinks

Cocktails, hot drinks, and smoothies can all be ordered from the a la carte menu, but there are other options as well.

There’s a self-serve coffee/tea/hot drinks machine in the buffet area, there are smoothies and juices in the refrigerator in the buffet area, there’s a bar with self-pour wines, champagne, and various spirits/liquors, and there’s an under-counter refrigerator where you’ll find beers, sodas, and mixers.

a shelf with different drinks on it

a bar with bottles of wine and glasses a group of wine bottles and glasses on a table a group of bottles of alcohol on a table a refrigerator with drinks and bottles

If you can’t find something to your liking in this lounge, you’re probably being too fussy … but you should ask a member of staff for whatever it is that you’d really like anyway because they’re there to help and there’s no knowing what they may come up with.

Lounge showers

The First Class lounge shares the shower facilities with the Business Class lounge and if you want to freshen up, you’ll have to check-in at the attendants’ desk near the entrance to the Business Class lounge (a few yards away from the entrance to the First Class lounge).

This is what the shower cubicles look like:

a bathroom with a sink and mirror a shower with a glass door

They put a lot of the other Heathrow lounge shower cubicles to shame – especially the abominations that pass for shower cubicles in the British Airways First Lounge at T5 – and with good towels and good water pressure, this is a good place to freshen up when you’re on a layover (or if you couldn’t be bothered to shower before you left home!)

A few years ago, the washrooms and the shower cubicles both featured toiletries from Aesop (which was reason enough to visit). Now, however, the toiletries are by Bamford.

a bathroom sink with soap dispensers and a tray of toiletries

That’s not something to complain about … it’s just that Bamford isn’t as good as Aesop 🙂

Bottom line

I’ve been a big fan of the Heathrow Cathay Pacific First Class lounge since it opened its doors in its current guise seven years ago, and I like it just as much now as I did back then.

The truth is the lounge hasn’t really changed much since it got its big makeover in 2016/17 (although the breakfast buffet is noticeably better now), and that’s not a bad thing because between the comfortable seating, the (mostly) good food, the decent drinks selection, and the attentive staff, it has been one of the best lounges at Heathrow for years. Why change a winning formula?


    • Yes, I think so. The Qantas lounge (which is close by) is also good (and considerably bigger) but the Cathay FC lounge is likely to be quieter.


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