QANTAS: Finally, upgrades, refreshes and new domestic and international lounges
The pandemic caused chaos to Qantas lounge renewal plans back in late 2019 and early 2020. Now, three or so years later, Qantas announces a revitalised program of premium lounge renewals and new lounges across its domestic and international network. Qantas will have 42 domestic (12 regional) lounges, and nine overseas lounges.
Good to see, after the losses during the pandemic, some of the post-COVID travel windfalls are being returned as benefits to frequent flyers in the form of upgraded lounges.
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Here is the program for the AU$100 million of new and refreshed domestic and international lounges:
- 2023: Re-opening of a refreshed Hong Kong International Lounge
- 2023: Qantas International Lounge Auckland opens
- 2023: Upgraded Adelaide Qantas Club
- 2024: Updated and expanded International Business Lounge in Melbourne
- 2024: New Adelaide Business Lounge
- 2024: New Broome Regional Lounge with double the seats
- 2024: Refurbishment of Port Headland Regional Lounge
- 2025: Upgraded Adelaide Chairman’s Lounge
- 2025: New First Lounge at London’s Heathrow Airport
- 2025: Complete refurbishment and expansion of the International Business Lounge in Sydney
- 202?: New Hobart Qantas Club
Qantas is boasting a brand new First Lounge at Heathrow Airport, London to join the current lounge which will morph into a business lounge:
…expected to feature direct access to boarding gates, sweeping views of the airfield, a focus on wellbeing features and an unrivalled dining experience. The targeted opening date will align with the first Project Sunrise flights direct to Sydney.Qantas Press Release
The new London lounge will be the fifth Qantas First Lounge, joining Los Angeles, Melbourne, Singapore and the original First Lounge in Sydney, originally designed by Marc Newson.
But you are going to have to wait two years for London at least. According to the published schedule from Qantas, we are talking late 2025.
A refresh of the outrageously outdated Auckland First and Business lounges is also on the cards. You won’t have to wait too long, as that is scheduled for re-opening this year, 2023. As I understand it, the two separate First and Business lounges are to be combined into a joint ‘Premium’ lounge
Hong Kong – to reopen April 2023
Hong Kong – lounge which was never to be reopened, is to be reopened! It happens to be one of my favourite lounges, although it will have a bunch of different furniture on its re-opening. But, Qantas is confirming that the yum cha trolley will be returning.
Melbourne Lounge – expansion
Scheduled for a first stage reopening mid-2024, Melbourne is going to get a refreshed and larger Business Class International Lounge with work commending this year, 2023.
Sydney Interntional Business Lounge – 2025
As my home airports business lounge, this has needed work and expansion for some time. It is to be expanded from something close to 400 seat capacity to 600, but we will need to wait. Work will start in early 2024, but the first results won’t be sean until 2025 and beyond
Hobart – from tiny to bigger
If you have ever visited the Hobart lounge, it is tiny and gets flushed everything a flight departs. The upside is you can easily sit directly across from your local politician. The new lounge will be increase from 96 to 150 seats, but Qantas isn’t providing any timeline. That’s probably because it depends on the overall terminal development, so maybe too soon to issue target dates.
Combining high vis and tasteful linens – that’s the passengers, not the decor, this lounge will double in size from 49 to 100 seats by 2024.
I probably know this lounge best, and although a leader when it opened it’s beginning to show its age. Although large, it will become larger and upgraded, with a dedicated Business Lounge opening in stages from 2024. It’s also going to get an upgraded chairman’s lounge.
Who gets in?
Well leaving aside the invitation-only Chairman’s lounge, Qantas Frequent Flyers who have Gold status and above get entry to Qantas Club Lounges as part of their benefits. Qantas Platinum members and above get entry to domestic Business Lounges (Oneworld Saphire), and International First lounges (Oneworld Emerald) irrespective of class of travel. If you are travelling up the front of the plane, either on domestic Business or international First, you automatically get access to the appropriate lounges whatever your frequent flyer status.
A lot of Qantas lounges are beginning to look tired. They looked that way before the pandemic hit, and some were scheduled for a refurb. Then the pandemic hit, and with all that uncertainty, it is understandable that plans were put on hold. Understandable but annoying, as with a minimum of travellers occupying lounge seats, it would have been the perfect time to shut them and redecorate!
To be honest, it felt like there was no better time to travel and use Qantas lounges than during the pandemic. Lounges were virtually empty, and pandemic service was delivered to your seat by individual order! I loved it.
Although I will have less reason to post photos of lounge neglect shame and acquire the appropriate schadenfreude, I applaud Qantas for rolling out an extensive program of Lounge renewal and expansion.