The airline closed its domestic and international lounges on 23 March, as a result of 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 from 1 July.
Lounges to open on July 1 are the Adelaide Qantas Club, Alice Springs Regional Lounge, Broome Regional Lounge, Canberra Business Lounge, Coffs Harbour Regional Lounge, Kalgoorlie Regional Lounge, Karratha Regional Lounge, Launceston Regional Lounge, Perth Domestic Business Lounge, Sydney Domestic Business Lounge and the Tamworth Regional Lounge.
The airline says as part of the Qantas Group’s ‘Fly Well’ program, a number of measures will be put in place across the lounge network to promote the health and wellbeing of passengers and staff including:
-Capping the number of guests to comply with state-specific restrictions on indoor gatherings;
-A hosted All-Day Snacking Station replacing ‘self serve’ buffets and drink stations;
-Disposable coffee cups;
-Additional cleaning protocols; and
Qantas Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully, said the re-opening 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.
“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,” she said. “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 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 from roast field mushrooms, kale and cheese tarts with tomato relish; bacon and egg rolls; bacon, chili and parmesan frittatas; to 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 per cent increase in seating capacity, work benches; and increased power and data outlets throughout.
The airline said all lounges have undergone a deep clean during their closure and 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.
“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.”
All Qantas Lounges at international airports both in Australia and overseas remain closed, while the airline has also 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.