Showers for Days: American Airlines London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge
After red-eye flights, there's nothing like a proper shower to get refreshed for the day ahead. American Airlines knows that well and has an arrivals lounge in London Heathrow (LHR) that's packed with 30 showers. But there's more to love about this lounge than just the showers. Let's take a look inside this small but very nice lounge.
In order to enter the lounge, you must be arriving on a long-haul flight into London Heathrow Terminal 3. So this effectively limits access to American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qantas flights.
All business- and first-class passengers on these long-haul flights are eligible to enter. Passengers with oneworld Emerald status can access the lounge when flying in economy.
The landside lounge -- after baggage claim and customs -- is designed primarily for passengers to get a quick bite to eat and a shower before heading into town. So the lounge itself is fairly small.
There are 12 two-top tables, 12 plush lounge chairs and eight stools. The stools and lounge chairs each have two US power outlets, two UK power outlets and two USB plugs. The two-top tables, however, don't have an easy power source.
If you want to hold a meeting before or after your flight, there's a private meeting room available for rent.
For those who need to catch up on emails and aren't traveling with a laptop, there are three desktop computers and a printer/scanner/copier in a separate room.
The relatively small lounge has an even smaller bathroom. There's just one urinal and one stall in the men's restroom and presumably two stalls in the women's restroom. But if you have an urgent need, you could always request one of the many shower rooms — they each contain a toilet.
Food and Drink
The food in the lounge consists of three options: hot buffet, cold buffet and a la carte.
The a la carte menu is going to get you the tastiest options, but it'll take a few minutes for your dish to be prepared. I've tried the smashed avocado on toast (above) and smoked salmon tartine (below) on separate visits. Both were excellent, although the dishes aren't necessarily going to fill you up.
No worries, though, as you can always supplement the dish with items from the buffets. In the mornings, the hot buffet contains bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes, garlic mushrooms and baked beans.
The hot buffet switches to a brunch menu at 10:30am. During my visit, the following items were available for brunch: chicken tagine, vegetable tagine, couscous, pasta carbonara, scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes and garlic mushrooms.
There's also a cold buffet serving fresh fruit, yogurt, cold cuts and pastries.
At 10:30am, the selection switches to the brunch menu, with a selection of sandwiches; assorted dips with marinated olives and crudites; a salad of marinated feta cheese, tomatoes and shallots; make-your-own Caesar salad; and a selection of meats and cheeses.
A coffee machine provides espresso drinks and hot chocolate.
There's a cooler with canned sodas and bottled waters, and nearby are carafes of chilled juices.
The highlight of this lounge is undoubtedly the showers. While there are just 44 seats in the lounge, there are 30 showers.
The overhead shower heads are tall enough for bigger travelers — even all 6 feet, 7 inches of The Points Guy himself.
Each shower has a collapsible luggage rack for keeping bags off of the floor.
Next to the sink, the lounge provides cotton swabs, cotton balls, shower caps and a bottle of dental rinse. Each shower room has a hair dryer built into the wall.
This lounge offers a feature I haven't seen in any other lounge: a valet pressing service. A guest needing to look fresh for a meeting — whether in the lounge or in the city — can place his or her shirt and pants in the double-door compartment built into each shower-room door. With a press of a button on the wall, a lounge worker comes to collect the clothes to be pressed while the guest showers.
On one of my visits, I was shown around by an American Airlines media representative, so I got a chance to see where the clothes go from there. On the wall behind the pants press, you can see the board that lights up to indicate to staff when there's new clothes to pick up.
This lounge is perfect for what it seeks to accomplish: welcoming premium passengers to London with a refreshing shower and a delicious bite to eat. For those who just need a conference room at the airport to handle important face-to-face business, the lounge's meeting room makes this arrivals lounge the only place you'll need to go.