First lounges at Sydney and Melbourne, plus International lounge at Brisbane, signal opening of the larger air network
Qantas is reopening some of its prized premium lounges this week more than a year after shutting them down. The national carrier is ready to welcome visitors to its First lounges in Sydney and Melbourne as well as its International Lounge in Brisbane, a year after they closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.
While normally reserved for Platinum Frequent Flyers, Qantas is extending invitations to customers traveling in Business Class, as well as its Gold Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members until the neighboring Business lounges reopen.
The lounges are managed by Qantas’s ongoing partnership with Accor hospitality. Accor began managing the Qantas lounges in 2007 when the airline opened its flagship International First lounges in Australia, followed by the Domestic Business lounges, Chairmans Lounges and Qantas Club in 2013. Qantas and Accor have announced a new seven-year agreement to extend what has been a 14-year partnership so far.
As Qantas’ lounges in New Zealand remain closed, the airline is offering Platinum and Gold Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members access to Air New Zealand lounges in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
First Lounge customers will be offered an a la carte dining experience designed by Neil Perry featuring some of his most popular menu items, such as salt and pepper squid with green chili dipping sauce, healthy bircher muesli for breakfast and the signature slow-baked egg white pavlova, as well as menu highlights from other Qantas lounges.
The reopening of these lounges coincides with Qantas’ plans for launching of the two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble, an operation between Qantas and Jetstar to run up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman Strait on 15 routes, offering more than 52,000 seats each week.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said reopening three of its flagship international lounges was a key milestone in the national carrier’s recovery.
“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,” Joyce said. “Our lounges are a second home for many frequent flyers when they’re on the road and we know their re-opening will be well received.”
Qantas has already reopened most of its 35 Qantas Club and Business lounges across Australia as well as its Chairmans lounges. It will open the remainder of its international lounges in Australia and overseas in line with the broader reopening of international borders and network reinstatements.
Qantas has automatically extended Qantas Club membership for six months for eligible paid Qantas Club members with a membership anniversary between March 2020 and February 2024. Qantas Frequent Flyer rewards have also been extended according to member tier status for a year.