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Whether you're traveling for business or vacation, it's nice to get a refresh after flying on an overnight flight.
However, most transatlantic flights on British Airways and American Airlines arrive in London early in the morning, well before hotel check-in times. Fortunately for eligible travelers, the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge offers the opportunity to get a shower, a bite to eat and a beverage before heading into town.
Here's how you can access the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge in Heathrow — and the perks you can expect.
» Learn more: British Airways First Class Lounge at Heathrow review
How to access the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge in Heathrow
As an arrivals lounge, the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge in Heathrow works a bit differently from other airline lounges. To access this lounge, you need to be a qualifying customer and fly on a qualifying flight.
You can gain access either by flying in a qualifying cabin or through elite status. American Airlines passengers can enter if they're booked in Flagship First or Flagship Business (including Flagship Business Plus). British Airways passengers need to be flying first or business class on a qualifying flight.
Otherwise, you need to hold Oneworld Emerald elite status to access the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge in Heathrow. That includes travelers with one of the following status levels:
British Airways Gold.
British Airways Premier.
Access is restricted to passengers arriving the same day into London Heathrow on either an American Airlines flight or a British Airways long-haul flight arriving into Terminal 3.
Basically, you won't be able to access this arrivals lounge if you fly one of the many other Oneworld airlines that arrive into Terminal 3 or a British Airways flight arriving from a European destination.
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American Airlines Arrivals Lounge Heathrow location and hours
The American Airlines Arrivals Lounge is located in London Heathrow Terminal 3. Once you exit customs, head right and look for lounge signs. Then, take the stairs or elevator to Level 2 to reach the entrance. The lounge is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For reference, during my most recent visit to this lounge, it took five minutes for me to walk from the baggage claim belt to the lounge entrance.
This arrivals lounge will be the most convenient for travelers arriving at Terminal 3. However, since the lounge is located outside of security, you can visit the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge if you fly on American Airlines into Heathrow Terminal 5. Just note that British Airways offers a more convenient arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 that you can consider visiting instead.
Perks of the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge in Heathrow
As an arrivals lounge, the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge in Heathrow isn't designed for passengers to pass the time. Instead, this lounge offers a few key perks to help passengers get refreshed before heading out of the airport.
The highlight of the lounge are the 30 individual shower suites. These sleek and well-stocked shower rooms have the essentials needed to clean up and refresh.
Body, hand and floor towels are located next to the shower plus a washcloth and another small towel on the counter. Amenities like lotion and a bar of soap are located on a small shelf. Travelers can use the hair dryer hung from the wall. The lounge even stocks a luggage holder in each shower suite.
The shower offers two spraying options: an overhead rainfall-style showerhead and a hand-held shower wand. During my recent visit, individual bottles of shampoo and conditioner were conveniently located in the shower.
One unique perk of this lounge is a valet ironing service. Each shower suite door is fitted with a specially designed two-way closet. After entering your shower suite, you can undress, then hang your clothes in this closet. When ready, close the door and press the valet button to summon a lounge staff member.
While you shower and freshen up, the lounge staff will iron your clothes and hang them back up in the closet for you to retrieve when you're done.
Buffet and à la carte dining
The other main reason to visit the American Airlines Heathrow Arrivals Lounge is to grab a bite to eat or something to drink.
If you're in a hurry, you can get items from the self-serve buffet — which stretches across the entire length of the lounge's main room. The buffet offers traditional English warm breakfast items, breads, mini-sandwiches, fresh and dried fruits, cereals, yogurts, muesli, juices, canned sodas, teas and espresso-based coffee drinks.
Travelers with enough time to sit down for a meal can order from the à la carte menu, which includes the following options like eggs benedict, smashed avocado, bacon roll, salad or "Ploughman's on malt bloomer." The short alcoholic drink menu features two options: bloody marys or Champagne.
At the rear of the lounge, passengers can access a small business center to check emails or print a document. A small private meeting room is also available for rental.
Did you forget to plug in your phone before you dozed off on your flight? Or just want to make sure your laptop is charged before heading to a meeting? You can power your devices using the outlets at the lounging chairs dispersed throughout the lounge.
The dining room tables in the main room don't have access to a power outlet. However, you can charge your devices using one of the many outlets available along an elevated bar in a side room.
The American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow recapped
The American Airlines Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 isn't the largest or fanciest lounge. However, it provides eligible travelers a much-appreciated respite between flying overnight to London and heading into the city.
Travelers can enjoy one of the lounge's many shower suites to tidy up, then, grab a bite to eat and caffeinate with tea or coffee. Plus, you can have your clothes pressed via the valet ironing service, documents printed in the business center or simply top off the charge on your devices.
(Top photo courtesy of JT Genter)
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