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Qantas: Lounges reopen from 1 July 2020

Qantas: Lounges reopen from 1 July 2020

Updated:

What seems like way back on 23 March 2020, Qantas closed all its lounges due to COVID-19, or as Qantas calls it:

‘government enforced restrictions that shut down the majority of domestic and international flying’.

With some of the state borders re-opening, and therefore an expected increase in flights and passengers, Qantas will open some of its domestic and regional lounges across Australia.

Lounge service changes

Qantas has 35 lounges across the country, but it only proposes to open 11 of them from tomorrow, 1st July.

But the lounges won’t be as you remember them. As part of the COVID-19 health measures, or as Qantas has branded it – the ‘Fly Well’ program, it will make the following changes:

  • Limit the number of guests to comply with state restrictions on indoor gatherings (and social distancing?)
  • All-day hosted ‘Snacking Station’ instead of ‘self serve’ buffets
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • Additional cleaning
  • Hand sanitiser stations

“We’re really pleased to welcome our Frequent Flyers back to our lounges across the country and get more of our people back to work.  We’ve already rolled out some service changes on board for everyone’s wellbeing and now we’re announcing some changes to the lounge experience as well.”

Stephanie Tully, Qantas Chief Customer Officer

Food in the lounges

Let me get over my outrage at the misuse of the term ‘bespoke’ and quote from the media statement:

Customers will be able to choose from a selection of bespoke dishes from staff offering a personalised tray around service, or select individual treats from serviced Snacking Stations.  They can also order coffee, fresh squeezed juice, beer and wine from the barperson and barista.

Don’t get me started on the newly invented term ‘tray around service’. What they mean is there will be no buffet, but things will be already plated and if your lucky someone will pop around to your seat and deliver an individual serve of dishes like:

  • roast field mushrooms
  • kale and cheese tarts with tomato relish
  • bacon and egg rolls
  • bacon, chilli and parmesan frittatas
  • blackberry cheesecakes
  • carrot and pecan cakes with cream cheese frosting.

I wonder if they will have Yum Cha carts like at a Chinese restaurant?

The distinctive food stalls in some lounges will also be open, so expect to get a bowl of noodles at Melbourne’s Spice Bar and a cheesy thin-crust slice at Perth’s Pizza bar.

Lounge refurbishments and cleaning

The Alice Springs lounge has been refurbished with new furniture and wallpaper, and the seating capacity has been increased by 25% with additional work benches, power and data outlets.

Qantas is opening the business lounges first, followed by the Clubs and Chairmans lounges. And it looks like some of these changes might be permanent:

“Some initiatives will become the norm while others such as capacity restrictions will ease as time goes on. We haven’t ruled out a return of the buffet, toastie and pancake maker in the future or the reintroduction of self-serve beverage stations when restrictions ease, in the meantime, we are hopeful Qantas customers will enjoy the extra personalised offering.”

Stephanie Tully, Qantas Chief Customer Officer

1 July Lounges openings:

Capital city loungesRegional lounges
Sydney Domestic Business LoungeAlice Springs Regional Lounge
Perth Domestic Business LoungeKalgoorlie Regional Lounge
Adelaide Qantas ClubTamworth Regional Lounge
Canberra Business LoungeCoffs Harbour Regional Lounge
Broome Regional Lounge
Karratha Regional Lounge
Launceston Regional Lounge

From July 10, expect Queensland and Victoria lounges to open as state restrictions ease. That will be followed by Chairmans Lounges opening in August. With virtually no international flights, all those overseas lounges will remain closed.

Membership extensions

Qantas previously announced that it was extending Qantas Club membership for 6 months for customers who have paid for their Qantas Club membership. That applies to those with a membership anniversary falling between 23 March 2020 and February 2024. Qantas Frequent Flyer members have already had their tier status extended for 12 months.

2PAXfly Takeout

Pfew!

If I take my flight towards the end of July (providing the South Australian border reopens), at least I will be able to access the club.

On a less personal note, this will be good for bringing things back closer to pre COVID-19 normality. It will feel odd, I’m sure what with social distancing and changed service. I’m probably more anxious about the flight than the lounge.

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