Heathrow Terminal 3
Terminal 3 is the Heathrow home for a number of airlines in the OneWorld alliance, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Quantas. BA also run some of their flights from T3. With these airlines offering both business and first class lounges, it results in a large number of options for anyone with OneWorld frequent flier status. Sadly Virgin Atlantic are not part of OneWorld, so the Clubhouse, arguably the best lounge in the whole of Heathrow, is not on offer today.
First stop is the American Airlines Flagship lounge, probably the natural choice for most people flying AA, but it all feels rather dull. There’s an OK view of the tarmac, but neither the decor, nor the food and drink selection are particularly inspiring.
We end up not staying for very long. On the way out though, we spot a large jar of colourful American jelly beans by the door, along with carry out sweets bags, so stock up for the flight.
Next and final stop is the Cathay Pacific first class lounge. The merits of the various T3 lounges are hotly debated on the Flyertalk BA forums, but this lounge attracts almost universal praise. We head to the dining room for an excellent lunch before it’s time to head to the gate.
Heathrow to Philadelphia (140 TP)
The aircraft for this leg is an Airbus A330-300 series, quite a large widebody twin-jet. I’ve flown this type a few times with Virgin Atlantic, but this is my first time with American. The business class cabin feels a bit dated compared to AA’s more modern offering on their Boeing 77W Aircraft, but the reality is there’s little to complain about on a daytime flight.
Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I’ve only ever had good experiences with AA, and the cabin crew on this flight are also very attentive. There are numerous courses of food – lunch, sandwiches, snacks, and later in the flight their trademark ice cream sundae.
The prevailing Atlantic winds when flying to the US can easily knock 100mph or more off your groundspeed, and the predicted flight time today is a little over 8 hours for the 3700 miles from London to Philly. Fortunately there’s a pretty decent movie selection on the in-flight entertainment, so there’s time to catch up on the latest adventures of Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible: Fallout, and the 2018 film Beirut. AA also provide good quality Bose noise cancelling headphones, which is a nice touch. Despite the headwind we eventually touch down a little before our scheduled arrival time.