Qantas will reopen its international First Class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne on Monday 19 April, along with its international Business Lounge in Brisbane, to coincide with the launch of the long-awaited trans-Tasman travel bubble.
This is not just good news for Qantas Platinum & Platinum One members travelling across the Tasman with Qantas or Jetstar. It’s also great news for Qantas Business class, Gold and Qantas Club members who will also temporarily have access to the Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne!
The Qantas First Lounge in Sydney is the flagship lounge of the flying kangaroo, and is widely regarded as one of the best airline lounges in the southern hemisphere. As well as sweeping views over the airport – and Sydney – the First Lounge is renowned for its exceptional service and a great dining menu. So this is a great temporary upgrade for Qantas customers who would normally have access to the Qantas international Business Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. (The Business Lounges will remain closed until enough demand returns for Qantas to justify running two international lounges at these airports.)
“If you’re making a comeback, you should do it in style. That’s why we’ve decided to open our First lounges ahead of our other lounges and give more of our customers the opportunity to experience them,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
Across the Tasman, Qantas customers who would normally have access to the Qantas lounges in New Zealand will instead be sent to the Air New Zealand international lounges in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. This arrangement is also temporary, and will remain until enough demand returns for Qantas to justify reopening its own lounges in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand’s flagship international lounge in Auckland is a very nice space, so this is definitely not a downgrade for Qantas customers in Auckland (nor other New Zealand ports).
Qantas is also planning a future renovation of its Auckland Business & First Lounges, combining the two spaces into a new, modern lounge similar to the current Qantas international lounges in airports such as Brisbane or London Heathrow.
The new Qantas First Lounge experience
The Qantas First Lounge experience will be slightly different in 2021, for obvious reasons, with all customers and staff required to wear face masks (except when eating) and socially distance where possible.
The spa & showers will remain closed for now, but the meeting rooms and library haven’t gone anywhere.
The dining menu will be slightly pared back, compared to pre-covid times, but lounge guests are unlikely to be disappointed.
“We’ve done some tinkering with the food to make sure that we can deliver, we can do the volume,” said celebrity chef Neil Perry, who continues to design the Qantas lounge menu.
That said, a-la-carte dining will continue to be offered. Favourites such as salt & pepper squid, corn fritters, bircher muesli, brioche toasties, pavlova and lamb noodles from Neil Perry’s Spice Temple restaurant will remain on the menu.
Lounge guests can also continue to expect an extensive wine list and great service from the lounge’s enthusiastic staff.
In fact, the reopening of the Sydney First Lounge will allow 64 Qantas and Accor staff to return to work from next Monday. Most of these staff had been stood down for the past year, and even though some had already found other employment, they wanted to come back to work for Qantas. The staff are so excited to be back at work, and the service will likely reflect that.
From next Monday, Qantas will operate 14 daily return flights across the Tasman. Seven of those flights will be operated by Airbus A330s featuring lie-flat Business Suites, with the remainder on Boeing 737-800s.
Air New Zealand reopening its Australian lounges
From 19 April, Air New Zealand will also reopen its international lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Air New Zealand Business class customers, as well as Airpoints Gold & Elite and Star Alliance Gold members flying with Air New Zealand across the Tasman, will have access to these lounges.
If you live in Australia or New Zealand and have Qantas Gold, Platinum or Platinum One status – or the equivalent of Gold status with almost any other airline outside of Star Alliance – you can even apply now for an Air New Zealand status match and experience Air New Zealand’s lounges for at least the next four months. This new Air New Zealand offer is a response to the current Qantas status match offer which is also available to residents of Australia and New Zealand.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas First Lounges to Reopen