The spa pool at the Sofitel hotel at London's Heathrow Terminal 5.

Travel Insider Tip – Getting a Shower at London’s Heathrow Airport

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Long haul travel can really take its toll on the traveler. Transiting multiple continents can be a grind and the airlines don’t make it any easier for travelers – even their most loyal frequent flyers. Yes, there are some tips for making flights easier, but they are still…well…long. And when you get to the other side, all you really want to do is relax. Here is our definitive guide to London Heathrow showers.

London’s Heathrow airport is one of the busiest transit hubs in the world and we recently flew through there en route to South Africa. We also really needed a shower. This guide was borne out of our own feverish web searches on, “Are there showers at Heathrow airport?” The answer is absolutely yes, if you know where to look.

Assuming you don’t want to explore London on your Heathrow layover, you can relax at the terminal. There are a number of excellent restaurants at Heathrow and plenty of opportunities for duty free shopping. But, if you are travelling for 48-72 hours, sometimes all you really want is a shower!

Getting a shower at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is not as obvious as one might expect. The other terminals seem equally confusing. All the Heathrow showers cost money or require membership. Below, we give a terminal-by-terminal breakdown on showers at Heathrow, plus an in-depth look at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 (including the luxurious spa in the adjacent hotel!).

Showers at the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5.

Heathrow Showers Terminal Guide

Heathrow Terminal 2 Showers

  • Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (arrivals area, public side). 1 hour pass costs £30. 2 hour pass costs £40. Shower use an additional £15.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (departures area, passenger side). 2 hour pass costs £40.
  • Star Alliance Arrivals Lounge (arrivals area, public side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • United Club Lounge (Business class)/United Global First Lounge hybrid (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.

Heathrow Terminal 3 Showers

  • American Airlines Arrivals Lounge (arrivals area, public side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Cathay Pacific Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Emirates Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • No. 1 Traveller Lounge (departures area, passenger side)
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (arrivals area, public side). 1 hour pass costs £30. 2 hour pass costs £40. Shower use an additional £15.
  • Qantas Lounge(departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.

Heathrow Terminal 4 Showers

  • Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (departures area, passenger side). 2 hour pass costs £40. Shower use an additional £15.
  • Plaza Premium Lounge (arrivals area, public side). 1 hour pass costs £30. 2 hour pass costs £40. Shower use an additional £15.
  • Qatar Airways Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Skyteam Lounge (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.

Heathrow Terminal 5 Showers

  • Aspire Lounge and Spa (departures area, passenger side)
  • British Airways Arrivals Lounge, now called the Elemis Travel Spa (arrivals area, public side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • British Airways Galleries Lounge North (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • British Airways Galleries Lounge South (departures area, passenger side). Membership or category of travel requirements in place.
  • Note: The Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 5 (departures area, passenger side) does not have shower facilities.
The shower cabinet in the British Airways lounge.  These BA Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 Showers are basic, but clean and convenient making them our favorite Heathrow airport shower.
British Airways lounge shower cabinet

Heathrow Terminal 5 Shower Guide

Based on our experience, there were really only three viable options available for a London Heathrow Terminal 5 shower—

First, within the transit area, the British Airways Galleries Lounge North has shower cabinets. Depending on your long haul arrival, you might need to re-clear security to get to the departures area. At the time of this writing, these are not actually listed on the OneWorld website, but we can assure you they are there. We were a bit surprised to find out these Heathrow showers existed and are free for OneWorld members (Sapphire status or better), plus one guest. The shower cabinets are pretty standard – sink, toilet and shower. It’s pretty basic, but gets the job done.

The private showers in the  British Airways lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5. Showers in the BA lounges Heathrow Terminal 5 are private and free for club members or first-class travelers, as well as OneWorld Priority members.
British Airways lounge shower

Second, for those leaving the airport, on the land-side, there are showers at the British Airways Arrivals Lounge (now rebranded to be called the Elemis Travel Spa) on the second floor. This requires you are traveling in First Class or Club World on British Airways, are a Gold Executive Club Member of British Airways arriving on a BA long-haul flight, or are a OneWorld Emerald member. Please note, unlike other lounges, no guests are allowed.

Finally, you can freshen up at Sofitel Heathrow hotel, which is connected to the terminal by a short covered walkway. The Sofitel offers both a day pass for their spa as well as the opportunity to rent a day room if you want to sleep. While this is the most expensive option, it is also the most luxurious. The Sofitel spa gives you the opportunity to take a dip in a whirlpool, sweat it out in the sauna, enjoy a cold beverage and get a massage. Sofitel Heathrow spa day passes are £30.00 per person. (Read reviews of the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel here.)

Heathrow showers on a layover - the Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow's T5 is a great spot to get a shower at Heathrow in total luxury.

It turns out that it was easier for us to freshen up than we might imagine (in the BA Galleries Lounge North), however, out of date websites left a certain amount of ambiguity to the process. If you’re researching the Heathrow showers situation like we did, the good news is that you have several options to freshen up before hitting the town or connecting to your next long haul flight.

Bonus reading: There are some long-haul flight tips that will make your experience less painful. We won’t go so far as to say truly enjoyable, but it will be tolerable.

6 thoughts on “Travel Insider Tip – Getting a Shower at London’s Heathrow Airport”

  1. Let me also suggest going to terminal 3, hitting up their no loyalty program lounge at 1F and paying £10 for a wonderful, refreshing shower.

  2. Question which I am not sure will be answered in time as travel is today and I have just come across your website

    These are all really useful tips. I have had problems before as well when I get off another airline and then check in for a BA flight, as I didn’t arrive on a BA flight they wouldn’t let me ha e a shower.

    Any tips for my son (17) who is getting off a Virgin Atlantic flight (economy) from Mumbai at Terminal 3 (after spending the day in Mumbai and flying in from Goa) and then flying on a BA flight from Terminal 5 to JFK (business) and then transferring terminals there again to a Jet Blue flight home?

    1. Your son should be able to use the BA lounge on the airside in Terminal 5 after passing security and before boarding the flight to JFK.

  3. Soraja van Greunen

    Hi Lance
    Thanks for the useful info.
    I am arriving on British Airways at terminal 5 and leaving on American Airlines from terminal 3. Will I be able to shower at terminal 3? Do you know if my baggage will be checked through? From what I’ve read on BA website, it seems that if it is a connecting flight on the same ticket, luggage will be checked through from the first flight.

    1. Since BA and AA are codeshare partners, if you are on the same ticket (same record locator), your baggage will be checked straight through – likely tagged with a purple Long Layover ticket. The Heathrow Admirals Club, Terminal 3 has showers (located on the air-side past passport control).

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