American Airlines has just reopened its most premium lounge at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), which is unique in the carrier’s lounge network.
American International First Class Lounge now open
American Airlines has just reopened its International First Class Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3. The lounge closed at the beginning of the pandemic, and until recently there was no indication of it reopening. The lounge is located within the Admirals Club, and is in the “Lounge H” area of the terminal. The lounge is open daily from 5AM until 7:30PM.
The 120-seat American International First Class Lounge is a standard oneworld first class lounge. It’s open to:
- American Airlines and other oneworld first class passengers; one guest is allowed
- oneworld Emerald members departing same day on a oneworld flight; one guest is allowed
Business Traveller notes that the lounge has undergone a “cosmetic refresh,” and a new kitchen has been installed, allowing the airline to offer “an exclusive buffet offering and a premium a la carte menu.” It’s nice to see that some improvements have been made to this lounge, as it was previously way outdated. However, I suspect the refresh was fairly minor.
No, this isn’t an American Flagship Lounge
The lounge that just reopened at Heathrow is American’s only lounge in the world that’s referred to as an “International First Class Lounge.” Several years back, American began introducing Flagship Lounges, which are the carrier’s new premium international lounges.
The plan was initially for American to introduce a Flagship Lounge at Heathrow Airport, though it seems that plans for that have been scrapped. There hasn’t been any official clarification as to why that is, though the prevailing theory is that this is because American is eventually planning on moving to Terminal 5 at Heathrow. A couple of years back we saw American splitting operations at Heathrow, though that’s not the case anymore.
So this lounge is known as the International First Class Lounge both because it has stricter entry requirements (due to its smaller size), and because it hasn’t been renovated to reflect the full Flagship Lounge design and amenities.
So this lounge will for the foreseeable future continue to be an oddball in American’s network.
Heathrow Terminal 3 has amazing oneworld lounges
It’s of course fantastic to see more lounge capacity brought back. For eligible travelers visiting the American Airlines lounge at the airport, this will also be a very nice improvement. However, it’s worth acknowledging that Heathrow Terminal 3 is probably the best airport terminal in the world when it comes to the variety of oneworld lounges that travelers have access to.
This lounge complements:
- The Qantas Lounge, which is open to all oneworld first and business class passengers, as well as oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members
- The Cathay Pacific Business Lounge, which is open to oneworld business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members
- The Cathay Pacific First Lounge, which is open to oneworld first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members
- The British Airways Galleries First Lounge, which is open to oneworld first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members
- The British Airways Galleries Business Lounge, which is open to oneworld business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members
It’s also expected that a new Qantas First Lounge is coming to Heathrow, though that’s still a few years off from becoming a reality.
After a closure of a few years, the American International First Class Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 3 has reopened. The lounge has reportedly undergone a mild renovation and should have improved catering. Nonetheless this remains the quirkiest lounge in American’s network, as it’s not a standard Flagship Lounge.
More lounge capacity is always a good thing, but savvy oneworld flyers will likely continue to use the other excellent lounges in the terminal.
What do you make of the American First Class Lounge Heathrow reopening?
I think the real reason the lounge was not upgraded to Flagship status is because American is eliminating international first class in when the new C seats begin arriving in 2024. So, there was no reason to make significant improvements to a lounge that will be permanently closed in the next year or two, depending on how long it takes to convert the 777-300ers to a three-class configuration.
You should make a review of this lounge, as it is one of the few lounges at LHR that doesn't have many reviews on the internet.
If they let BA customers in, it will be as overcrowded as the existing BA lounges in Heathrow. Pass.
Currently, AA has only three flights per day that are 777-300s. The rest are 777-200s or 787s. This means that AA has not more than 24 actual first class passengers per day who might use the lounge. (I prefer the Cathay Pacific first class lounge instead.) The rest are either EP, PP, One World first class passengers, or One World Emerald members. Also, in February 2024, AA will begin to pull its 777-300s for retrofit...
Currently, AA has only three flights per day that are 777-300s. The rest are 777-200s or 787s. This means that AA has not more than 24 actual first class passengers per day who might use the lounge. (I prefer the Cathay Pacific first class lounge instead.) The rest are either EP, PP, One World first class passengers, or One World Emerald members. Also, in February 2024, AA will begin to pull its 777-300s for retrofit to remove first class seating. My suspicion is that LHR routes will be the last to see the 300s disappear. Nonetheless, we're looking at 12 to 18 months. And, with its own first class a thing of the past, what will AA do with the space?
Currently, AA operate from LHR:
3x 77W to DFW
2X 77W to LAX
2x 77W to JFK (3x in the summer)
1x 77W to MIA
AA also operates to LHR from PHL, RDU, ORD, and CLT and they do return from LHR to those airports.
LHR to CLT flights are currently 3x daily, all 777-200s.
American isn’t splitting its operations at LHR anymore as far as I know. They moved back to T3 exclusively at some point last year or in late 2021
Good report. The list of other one world lounges at LHR that I may have access to on my way to India in BA J is useful.
T3 is also the home of LHR's Amex lounge.
@d3kingg The Cathay lounge at lhr is my favorite lounge in the world. Quiet, great plane spotting. Dumplings on demand. Moet :)
I liked flying the upper deck on ba in the 747 but it was always a shame to miss this lounge because of it.
I’ll have to check that lounge out. I have a 10 hr layover. After a daytime excursion into the city I’ll still have plenty of time. I’m flying out of T5 and apparently there is a bus airside that goes between T5 and T3 .