Review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge London Heathrow LHR

Introduction
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I spent the night at the Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 4. I reviewed it last year, so won’t review it again this time around — I have a hard time getting too excited about a Hilton, let alone an airport hotel.

My flight to Charlotte was departing at 2:25PM, so I decided to leave my hotel at around 10:30AM. I had to first walk into Terminal 4, and then take the Heathrow Express from there to Terminal 3. The entire process took about 20 minutes.

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 exterior

American and US Airways have a dedicated premium check-in area at Heathrow that’s actually sort of nice, though I was intending to carry on more bags than Santa Claus, so figured I was better off not using it. Instead I just used one of the self service kiosks.

From there it was a quick walk to the Fast Track security line, which was one of the less bad experiences I’ve had with security at Heathrow. I was through in maybe 10 minutes.

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 airside

From there I navigated my way through the maze of duty free shops.

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 airside

The American Admirals Club (and Flagship Lounge) is located at Lounge Pier H, which is shared with the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. Am I the only one that looks at the passengers taking the elevator up the Clubhouse with disgust jealousy every time I’m entering the Admirals Club?

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 airside

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London Heathrow Admirals Club entrance

Once you enter the lounge there are first a few security officers that usually ask you questions, though when they saw I had a US Airways boarding pass they allowed me to pass.

There was a friendly lady at the reception desk, who directed me to the Flagship Lounge, which is located immediately to the right of the entrance. As a reminder, the Flagship Lounge is American’s international first class lounge, which is for first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members (a vast majority of people using it are oneworld Emerald members, in my experience).

The Flagship Lounge at Heathrow is fine. It’s furnished similar to its counterparts in the States, and does have a fair amount of seating. It gets quite busy before noon when most flights are departing, and then gets a bit quieter later in the day.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge seating

There are lounge chairs, table-top seating, cafe style tables, etc.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge seating

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge seating

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge seating

I usually just grab a seat on one of the booths in the corner of the lounge, since it’s private and a good place to work from.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge seating

There’s also an entertainment room next to that.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge seating

The lounge does boast nice views of the Terminal 3 tarmac, so that’s pretty cool.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge view

The lounge has a decent size buffet. When I arrived they were serving brunch. There’s both a buffet as well as a small a la carte menu.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

The bar is self serve, with soft drinks, juice, booze, wine, beer, and a cappuccino machine.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge drink selection

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge drink selection

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge drink selection

Brunch was on offer, so they had a couple kinds of soup, which were accompanied by croutons and bread rolls.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

Then they had snack mix, along with the signature stale cookies.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

Then they had yogurt, fruit, muffins, croissants, etc.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

Shortly after noon they switched from brunch to “heavy” afternoon tea, I guess you could say. They had veggies, sandwiches, scones, etc.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

Then there were a couple of hot dishes, including a fricassee and frittata.

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge buffet

Here’s how the food selection was described (not totally sure I get what’s up with the font):

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London Heathrow American Flagship Lounge brunch menu

Wifi in the lounge was fast, and after a week of over indulgence I wasn’t interested in food or drinks, but rather just in getting work done, and the Flagship Lounge facilitated that.

At 1:30PM I decided to leave the lounge for gate 27, which was maybe a five minute walk away.

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 departures hall

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 departures hall

Boarding passes had to be scanned to enter the gate area, though they did have a Fast Track lane, so I was through pretty quickly.

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 departure gate

Once in the gate area it occurred to me that I still hadn’t been asked the standard Heathrow security questions (who packed my bags, do I have any electronics, when did I buy my electronics, can I describe all my electronics, etc.). I’ve always been asked at Heathrow, and then received one of those “stickers” on the back of my passport.

I figured it was an anomaly and didn’t want to have my boarding delayed as I like to take pictures when the cabin is still fairly empty, so (stupidly) went up to the gate agent to say that I still hadn’t been asked security questions.

So she called over a security agent and said “he wants you to ask him security questions.” She responded “well what do you mean?” “I don’t know, just ask him something.”

“So… um… did ye pack yo bags?”

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 departure gate

So I guess they don’t actually do security questions at Heathrow anymore, at least not for US Airways? Or something? Oops! I was trying to prevent a problem by being proactive about it, but I guess I only created one.

Anyway, at 1:45PM boarding was finally called, which was a bit of a free for all since boarding passes had already been scanned, and everyone just kind of ran for the jet bridge.

Flagship Lounge Heathrow bottom line

The Flagship Lounge at Heathrow is a perfectly nice lounge.

Funny enough my favorite lounge at Heathrow is the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, which I far prefer to the British Airways Concorde Room (despite the fact that the former is a business class lounge and the latter a first class lounge).

In terms of Terminal 3 oneworld lounge options, there’s also the British Airways Galleries First Lounge that I could have used as a oneworld Emerald member. I do slightly prefer it to the Flagship Lounge. I’d say the food selection is roughly comparable, though the British Airways Lounge has a better drink selection. That being said, for this layover my goal was just to get work done as efficiently as possible, and the Flagship Lounge did the trick for that.

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Comments

  1. Don’t forget you can also use the CX lounge in Terminal 3 as a One World Emerald. I was there last weekend and it was completely empty. They have a decent noodle bar and Veuve on stock.

  2. Great review as always Lucky! You writing skills are second to none! It is always a pleasure reading your posts! Thank you!

  3. “There’s….a small a la carte menu”

    Really?

    We’ve been thru there half a dozen times flying AA LHR-LAX, and no one has ever mentioned that. I’d ask how to find out about it, but we’re coming home via the LH FCT next summer, so it’s a moot point.

  4. LMAO about the security questions! i had to laugh out loud in the office!
    that’s so funny… “ask him something”!!!
    😉

  5. I’m surprised by how you didn’t comment on the interior and design of the lounge. This is plain ugly!

  6. Ben, I second the comment about the CX lounge in T3. There’s even a dedicated First Class Lounge separate and apart from the main lounge. Very nice and, most importantly, very quiet and uncrowded. Great views of the gates and main runway as well.

  7. Ben, I have a spend a night at a Heathrow airport hotel next year. Which hotel would you recommend for best price to quality ratio?

  8. good review. Some questions.

    So first class only…not biz and not for folks w an admirals club pass? Can emerald members bring in guests?

  9. Have you been to the new United Club in T2? Probably the nicest UC in the network, which may not sound like much when i think of some of the other UCs, but is really nice.

  10. @ Luis — Which terminal are you arriving at and departing from? It’s such a massive airport that the answer really varies based on the terminal.

  11. @ Mdtravel — Emerald members can bring in one guest. Business class passengers and those with day passes can use the Admirals Club.

  12. Yikes – that is one ugly lounge! United has it’s problems and the options for London don’t hold a candle to BA/AA but the regular United Club in the new LHR T2 is lightyears ahead from an aesthetics standpoint. Does American have new club designs in process or rolling out soon? United’s new club designs that I’ve seen in BOS, SEA, LHR and SFO are lightyears ahead of these Admirals clubs (though the US food selection is just as bad as always).

  13. You asked for security questions? What a noob move. I flew BA on an AA ticket last week, used Fast Track without knowing it was special and only got asked questions when my tablet was under my bag, and the scanner thought it was still IN the bag.

  14. Hi Ben,

    I am surprised no questions where asked prior to boarding. Coming in from a BA flight from Vienna and connecting with American on the last leg towards Los Angeles I got asked tons of questions during the connecting process and then prior to boarding, though I had my security sticker on the back of my passport. Security for me at LHR is always a pain in the a## and one of the hubs I try to avoid doing connections at.

    Flagship Lounge can use some good upgrading but for what it offers I believe its just fine to put in some work for a few hours. defo agree with you. As always, great work 🙂

  15. Can’t think why you’d choose AA’s FL over the BA or CX lounges. The space is unattractive and the catering mediocre. While I was EXP I enjoyed Galleries First, always very peaceful in the afternoon, but now as a lowly PLT I hope to check out the Cathay lounge in a few weeks.

  16. @ “Mdtravel — Emerald members can bring in one guest. Business class passengers and those with day passes can use the Admirals Club.”

    And that is a diff lounge than the flagship lounge yes ?

  17. Ben,

    Love your stuff but don’t understand your chip against BA and its Lounges. The AA Flagship Lounge at LHR is a disgrace while the two BA Lounges at T3 are rock solid. I love to fly the AA 77W from London to the US but the Flagship Lounge is to be avoided.

    – the dude

  18. Also surprised you chose the AA FL when the BA F and CX F lounges are just down the hall. The AA FL looks like a doctor’s office waiting room (granted, it’s an improvement over its grandpa’s rest home look of years ago). CX F has great food ( love their dan dan noodles) and floor-to-ceiling windows all around. BA F has the champagne bar, wine bar, and separate sit-down dining room in addition to their buffet.

  19. CX is far and away my favourite OW lounge at T3. Now that the decent champagne is gone, there is little to draw me to BA. As for AA, I’d say that calling it a pit of despair is somewhat generous. There are plenty of non-lounge dining options that provide a nicer setting.

  20. I will be flying from Madrid and leaving the next day on American for LAX. Do I keep my luggage overnight or turn it in after immigration?

  21. Haha you asked for security questions… Being british I can just imagine the woman’s face like err what? Are you saying you have something in your bags… Call the police!

  22. Hi Lucky,

    I kid you not. The last 2 times I was at the LHR Flagship Lounge in the past 6 months, I saw mice scatter from side to side. i brought this up to the reps and they did acknowled there was a rodent problem. Which is why I now spend my time in the BA lounge. So much nicer experince for my taste. Wonder if this issue has been resolved.

  23. @Lucky – im flying aa first class out of T3 shortly – can i use BA’s Galleries lounge (in lieu of AA’s FL)?

  24. I am traveling LHR-LAX first class October 2016. I’m a platinum member. Can I use the CX or BA lounge or must I use the AA Flagship Lounge? Thanks.

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