Qantas will reopen an initial 11 domestic and regional lounges in Australia from 1 July 2020 following the easing of travel and venue capacity restrictions. Domestic business class lounges at Sydney, Perth and Canberra, along with Adelaide’s Qantas Club, are among the first to relaunch.
The airline closed its domestic and international lounges on 23 March after the Australian government enforced restrictions that shut down the majority of domestic and international flying.
With the relaxing of state-based restrictions and an increase in domestic capacity, Qantas is able to begin a phased reopening of those lounge facilities which support the current domestic network, starting with 11 of its 35 Australian domestic lounges.
The initial regional lounges to open are located in Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Broome, Karratha and Launceston.
Guests numbers will be capped to comply with state-specific restrictions on indoor gatherings.
In the lounges, an all-day snacking station will replace ‘self serve’ buffets and drinks stations, disposable coffee cups and sanitising stations will be rolled out and additional cleaning protocols adopted.
The reopening of the lounges is the result of weeks of planning to ensure the lounge experience complies with state regulations and Qantas’ own enhanced standards while continuing to provide customers with a positive and relaxing experience, says Qantas Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully.
“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.”
Customers will be able to choose from a selection of bespoke dishes from the 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.
The individually plated menu items will change daily and will include a variety of dishes such as roast field mushrooms, kale and cheese tarts with tomato relish; bacon and egg rolls; bacon, chilli and parmesan frittatas; blackberry cheesecakes and carrot and pecan cakes with cream cheese frosting. Melbourne’s Spice Bar and Perth’s Pizza bar will also be in operation.
One of the first lounges to reopen will be the newly refurbished Alice Springs lounge where members can expect new furniture, wallpaper designed by Indigenous artist Jimmy Pike, a 25% increase in seating capacity, workbenches and increased power and data outlets throughout.
All lounges have undergone a deep clean during their closure.
Initially, Qantas will invite customers to visit the business lounges or regional lounges subject to capacity, with plans to reopen Qantas Clubs and Chairmans Lounges in coming weeks.
“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,” Tully said, adding that the Aussie flag-carrier hasn’t ruled out a return of the buffet, toastie and pancake maker, or self-service beverage stations in the future.
Queensland and Victoria lounges are scheduled for progressive reopening from 10 July as current gathering restrictions are eased. Qantas’ Chairmans Lounges are scheduled to open in August.
All Qantas Lounges at international airports both in Australia and overseas remain closed.
Qantas has automatically extended Qantas Club membership for six months for those eligible paid Qantas Club members with a membership anniversary between 23 March 2020 and February 2024. Qantas Frequent Flyer also extended member tier status for 12 months.