Chronic lung diseases represent a significant global burden. Their increasing incidence and complexity render a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and personalized approach to each patient, critically important. Most recently, unique biochemical pathways and disease markers have been identified through large-scale metabolomic studies. Metabolomics is the study of metabolic pathways and the measurement of unique biomolecules in a living system. Analysing samples from different compartments such as bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and plasma has proven useful for the characterization of a number of pathological conditions and offers promise as a clinical tool. For example, several studies using mass spectrometry (MS) have shown alterations in the sphingolipid metabolism of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sufferers. In this article, we present a practical review of the application of metabolomics to the study of chronic lung diseases (CLD): COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and asthma. The insights, which the analytical strategies employed in metabolomics, have provided to the dissection of the biochemistry of CLD and future clinical biomarkers are explored.