After being closed for more than three months due to COVID-19 restrictions (and a lack of passengers), Qantas will begin to reopen its Qantas Club and domestic Business class lounges from tomorrow. But the experience will be a little different, with social distancing and other health measures in place.
Qantas will initially reopen 11 of its 35 domestic airport lounges on 1 July as state-based restrictions are eased and demand for domestic air travel slowly picks up again.
Selected lounges will initially only reopen in NSW, SA, WA, TAS & ACT. From tomorrow, the Qantas Business Lounges will reopen in Sydney, Perth and Canberra. The Qantas Club in Adelaide will also open its doors again tomorrow, as will the Qantas regional lounges in Alice Springs, Broome, Coffs Harbour, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Launceston and Tamworth.
Lounges in Queensland and Victoria are scheduled to progressively reopen from 10 July, subject to state-based restrictions. Initially, the Qantas Clubs and Business Lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane will reopen alongside the Qantas Clubs in Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville.
The Qantas Club lounges in Canberra, Darwin, Devonport, Gold Coast, Hobart, Perth, Port Hedland and Sydney are currently scheduled to reopen sometime in August, along with all six of Qantas’ invitation-only Chairmans Lounges.
Where the Business Lounge at a major domestic airport has reopened, but the Qantas Club remains closed, eligible Qantas Club members and Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers (including Qatar Airways Gold members) will be invited into the Business Lounge if space is available.
Qantas’ international lounges are not expected to reopen any time soon, with Qantas international flights remaining grounded until at least October.
A limit to lounge capacity is one of several new changes brought in to comply with the current public health guidelines. Each lounge may have to stop accepting more people even if it is not quite operating at its usual full capacity, in order to enable social distancing.
Due to these capacity constraints, guests will now only be permitted if they are travelling on the same Qantas flight. Normally, guests are permitted into Qantas domestic lounges even if they are travelling on a different airline, or not travelling at all.
Qantas may also refuse access to passengers with complimentary lounge passes, such as those given to Silver frequent flyers or with certain credit cards, if the lounge is close to capacity.
Changes to Qantas lounge services
The capacity constraints are only temporary, and will remain in place as long as government restrictions limit the number of people allowed inside indoor venues. But some other changes may linger longer.
Qantas will continue to offer complimentary food and drinks in its lounges. But self-service buffets, drinks stations, toasties and pancake machines will not be available. Instead, a “hosted all-day snacking station” will be available and individually-plated “dishes of the day” will be offered by roaming lounge attendants. The Pizza Bar in the Perth Business lounge and popular Spice Bar in Melbourne’s Qantas Business lounge will be open.
Drinks including coffee, freshly-squeezed juice, beer and wine will be available to order from the bar or barista.
Hand sanitiser stations will be provided, but shower facilities will not initially be available. (Personally, I only really use the showers in Qantas domestic lounges after arriving on a long-haul international flight anyway, so that isn’t a huge issue while international flights remain grounded.)
“This is a new world for everyone as we introduce and evolve our services to the new travel climate, but we’re very confident that we can make this work well for our people and our customers,” Qantas’ Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said.
“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,” Tully added.
Qantas says it has taken the opportunity to conduct a deep clean of all its airport lounges during the extended closure. The lounge closures also coincided with a refurbishment of the Qantas Club in Alice Springs, which will reopen tomorrow with more seats, more power outlets and new Indigenous artwork.
Virgin Australia lounges remain closed
While the reopening of Qantas domestic lounges is good news for Qantas frequent flyers – and Velocity members with newly-minted Qatar Airways Gold or Platinum status, who have access to Qantas lounges when flying with Qantas – Virgin Australia lounges remain closed indefinitely.
A notice on the Virgin Australia website currently states:
We know that access to our lounges is an important part of your journey, however following the implementation of Government restrictions and new physical distancing measures, all Virgin Australia domestic lounges remain closed
While we are unable to confirm a date for the reopening of our lounges, we are continuing to monitor the situation closely as domestic travel resumes.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas lounges reopening 1 July 2020