When you’re a long way from Australia, visiting a Qantas lounge can sometimes feel like you’re already back on home soil. There’s certainly an element of this with The Qantas International London Lounge. Yet given its UK location, there’s a pleasing sprinkle of English influence as well.

Separately, this lounge clearly serves many of Qantas’ own passengers. But its opening hours aren’t trimmed to match only these flights. From morning to night, eligible travellers aboard the Roo’s many partner airlines can also hop on by. As it happens, that’s what brings me to The Qantas International London Lounge today.


Here at Heathrow, The Qantas International London Lounge resides in Terminal 3. After security, it’s a quick walk. Just follow the signs to Lounge B. You’ll spot Qantas’ lounge practically straight ahead after passing through a busy corridor.

The space spans two storeys. The entrance, along the terminal’s concourse, is on the lower level. That’s where you’ll find reception, a gin bar and a dining room. But most of the space is upstairs. Just take the lift (when it’s not out of service, as it is on this visit), or the grand staircase in the centre.

I’m visiting mid-afternoon on a weekday, after QF10 pushes back for Perth and Melbourne. As it happens, Qantas’ evening flight today – QF2, the Airbus A380 service to Singapore and Sydney – is cancelled. This makes the lounge unusually quiet.

Still, I can’t help but smile. In the end, it’s these superjumbo disruptions that unexpectedly find me in London. I’m taking my ‘Plan C’ to Norway after rebooking some connections, in response to Qantas changing the time of my Sydney-LA A380 flight by 12 hours. And not once, but twice – within 24 hours of departure. But that’s a story for another day…

Whatever brings you to Blighty, The Qantas International London Lounge currently opens at 8 am every day. Normally, the space shuts at 9 pm. But with QF2 off the schedule today, the staff decide to close at 6 pm instead. It’s not something they advise when I arrive, despite handing over a boarding pass for an 8:15 pm flight. I learn this only by overhearing the staff chatting loudly about their cleaning duties, and how these are being brought forward to accommodate the early closure.

Telling passengers that they’ll soon need to leave might have been a higher priority.

Layout and seating

I’m pointed straight to the upper level of The Qantas International London Lounge when I arrive. At first look, the style bears a strong resemblance to a private members’ club. Muted tones of walnut, grey and blue drive that theme forwards.

Brass accents and a stone-clad bar also give small cues towards Qantas’ latest International First Lounge style, as seen in Singapore. That’s no accident, given this lounge is designed to cater for both Business Class and First Class flyers. Qantas plans to eventually build a separate London First Lounge, although that’s not expected until late 2025.

So what awaits travellers in Qantas’ current multi-purpose lounge at Heathrow? There’s the usual mix of comfortable seating but with an English twist. Several chesterfield-inspired sofas surround the upstairs bar. After travelling from Brisbane, Sydney and Los Angeles – and still not being at my final destination – I appreciate being able to relax here.

The overall floor plan upstairs represents a hollow rectangle. Those ‘long’ legs on each side are largely filled with casual, short-stay seating. Frequent travellers might recognise some of the chairs as mirroring what you’d see in Qantas’ domestic and international Business lounges.

Venturing to the back corner finds tables better suited to dining. There’s also a large cluster of seats that’d be great for a group. But during the lounge’s busiest times, I can imagine things would get quite ‘cosy’ in this nook as unrelated travellers jockey for elbow room.

Separately, there isn’t anywhere ideal for working on a laptop. The seating upstairs caters more towards relaxation and dining. Sure, there’s power dotted around – but seldom at the same place as a table. Even if you find that perfect combination, you’re then trying to work in the middle of the (often busy) dining room.

For an airline that so often caters to frequent business and corporate travellers, it’s quite an oversight.

Food and beverage in the Qantas International London Lounge

I’m no stranger to London, but as it happens, this is my first visit to the Qantas International London Lounge. I’m quite looking forward to the airline’s advertised ‘waiter table service‘ here for my late lunch. But today, the downstairs section – including the entire dining room – isn’t staffed.

It’s odd, because this lounge isn’t just for Qantas passengers. It’s open all day to cater for a host of other oneworld Alliance airlines and travellers too. For instance, I’m flying British Airways to Oslo. Because of that alliance partnership, I qualify for entry here in exactly the same way as somebody travelling on a Qantas flight.

But whatever the circumstances, dining today means a visit to the relatively simple buffet upstairs. There are a few hot dishes, joined by salad, fruit and sweets. But on the whole, it’s not much different to what you’d find in a Qantas Domestic Business Lounge. And yet, this is an international lounge at the airline’s flagship destination – the final stop of QF1 and the base of QF2 on the return.

I have plenty of time up my sleeve. And for that matter, my ticket, frequent flyer status and other memberships grant me access to nine other departure lounges here in Terminal 3. Rather than graze the domestic-style buffet, I save my appetite for the feted Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge next door.

For now, I go in search of coffee instead. That’s one aspect of Qantas’ lounges upon which I’ve come to depend. And while the brew here lacks the latte art more common in the Roo’s Australian lounges, it certainly hits the spot after countless hours of travel.

Qantas’ gin bar in London

The Qantas International London Lounge is also known for its gin. But gin lovers, take note – there isn’t much variety at the regular cocktail bar upstairs. Downstairs though, in the centre of the lounge’s dining space, sits a second bar. That’s the proper gin bar, and where you’ll want to visit for something beyond a basic spirit.

It’d be a shame to stop by and not try one of these gins. I head down and find nobody working behind the bar. But I quickly find a staff member to assist. Looking for a gin I haven’t previously tried, an East London gin and tonic it is.

It makes for smooth sipping and it’s also nice to see a quality tonic (Fever Tree) in use. But the perfect G&T generally has a garnish to match. And yet today, that’s not an option.

The shelves may stock 21 different gins (at my count), but lemon, lime, cucumber, orange and grapefruit would be a good place to start. This is a gin bar, and this is London, after all. A quiet day doesn’t make it impossible to keep a few citrus segments cool in the fridge. Or fruits on-hand to cut as needed.

On another note, there are some things tucked away for a special few. You’ll be among that VIP set if you’re flying Qantas First. You also make the cut if travelling as a Qantas Platinum One or Chairman’s Lounge member. Most noticeably, that’s your ticket to the Champagne, versus the Australian sparkling poured for everybody else.

It’s a tad ironic that this doesn’t extend to Qantas Platinum members. Particularly when there’s plenty of Champagne to enjoy in the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge next door, which the same status unlocks.

Lounge amenities

Beyond the gin bar, The Qantas International London Lounge has a few features up its sleeve. For instance, private shower suites are available and come stocked with everything you need. Multiple restrooms are also found here.

Given how busy Terminal 3 can be, boarding calls aren’t made within the lounge. Flight information screens are dotted throughout instead. It’s worth noting that it can sometimes be difficult to locate your flight. That’s because these displays cycle through all the codeshares, without keeping the prime flight code on display.

For example, I’m on BA770 to Oslo at 8:15 pm. But when I’m hovering, this flight displays as ‘JL7711’ instead – being the Japan Airlines codeshare. If you’re a confident traveller, skimming the board for your destination and departure time should be enough to find your flight. Of course, as long as there’s not a duplicate.

Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge, but speeds are paltry. My tests – taken when the lounge is almost empty – reveal download speeds averaging a mere 4.78Mbps. Uploads are even worse, averaging 4.69Mbps. I’d hate to think how this would shape up when the lounge is bustling before QF2 and QF10.

Curious, I switch over to Heathrow’s own free Wi-Fi network to compare speeds. On that service, downloads average 100Mbps – more than 20 times faster than Qantas’ lounge network. Uploads are even zippier on Heathrow’s free Wi-Fi. Or to be precise, over 23 times as fast as the Qantas lounge, at 112Mbps.

Qantas is known for its fast Wi-Fi in other lounges, but for now, the speeds in London are a real let-down. It’s hard to imagine why travellers would knowingly use Qantas’ own Wi-Fi, when there’s a free and much faster alternative.

Accessing the Qantas International London Lounge

The Qantas International London Lounge doesn’t only cater for passengers on Qantas flights. Its location and Qantas’ partnerships make it possible to visit when travelling from London on a whole host of airlines.

Welcome desk at The Qantas International London Lounge
You can access this lounge by cabin class, status, memberships, one-off passes or even pay for entry. [Image courtesy of Qantas]

In fact, if you’re willing to pay, it doesn’t matter which airline you’re on. Here’s how to get inside.

  • Class of travel: passengers flying in Business Class or First Class with Qantas or another oneworld airline. This privilege also extends to Emirates’ Business Class and First Class travellers departing on a QF or EK flight number. (For First Class only, +1 guest on Qantas, oneworld and Emirates flights).
  • Connecting flights: travellers connecting between a oneworld flight of five hours or more in Business Class or First Class, and a oneworld flight of less than five hours in a lower cabin.
  • Courtesy of frequent flyer status:
    • Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One (+1 guest), plus Chairman’s Lounge (+2 guests). Available prior to Qantas, oneworld and Emirates flights.
    • Other oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers, prior to Qantas and oneworld flights (+1 guest).
    • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO (+1 guest). Available prior to a Qantas or Emirates flight booked on a QF or EK flight number.
  • Via airport lounge membership, lounge pass or paid entry:
    • Qantas Club members departing on a QF flight number (+1 guest). Ironically, that guest can now be travelling on any oneworld flight, while the actual Qantas Club member must be booked on a QF code.
    • Travellers who redeem a single-use Qantas lounge pass for access when travelling with Qantas. These passes are offered to Qantas Silver members as well as via selected co-branded credit cards.
    • Any passenger departing Heathrow Terminal 3 can purchase access at the door. This costs £55 for up to two hours (~AU$108) or £110 (~AU$215) for an entire day. This is available when flying on any airline – even competitors like Delta and Virgin Atlantic.

The verdict

For Business Class passengers and Gold-grade frequent flyers, The Qantas International London Lounge isn’t half bad. But it must be said, Heathrow Terminal 3 is home to some fantastic lounges. And in most cases, if you can access the Qantas lounge, you’d probably qualify for others too.

With that in mind, I’m not sure what would bring me back to the Qantas lounge next time, given those alternatives. Doubly so as a Qantas Platinum (oneworld Emerald) frequent flyer.

For dining, I’d make my destination the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge – conveniently located just a few steps down the hall. For working, well, it’s hard to suggest the Qantas lounge with its slow Wi-Fi and limited workspaces. Instead, the lounges of American Airlines and British Airways get more appealing.

The Qantas lounge is instead a more compelling choice for some relaxation, given that’s what most of the seats cater towards. But then again, the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge has a long line of comfortable chairs with excellent tarmac views. For that matter, so does Cathay’s Business Class Lounge.

I can’t help but think that the Qantas lounge is most popular with travellers who don’t realise they have alternatives. And of course, with those for whom the Qantas lounge is their only option.

But for my money, it’s hard to really recommend the Qantas lounge given those other options. Especially when a weekday visit here finds a domestic-style buffet, slow Wi-Fi, nowhere ideal for laptop work and a gin bar that’s not stocked with essentials.

I’d be curious to visit again when there’s a Qantas flight soon to depart. But ultimately, this review reflects my experience. It’s the experience I have as a Qantas member travelling on a Qantas partner airline – even booked through Qantas. And on that front, there’s definitely room for improvement.

Feature image courtesy of Qantas. Other photography by Chris Chamberlin, who accessed the lounge as a regular guest.

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The Qantas International London Lounge was last modified: August 15th, 2023 by Chris Chamberlin