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British Airways is now directing its Sydney business class and first class passengers to The House lounge – formerly the den of Etihad Airways – rather than the Qantas lounges which have been BA's longstanding choice.
Lounge-worthy travellers checking in at Sydney airport for the daily BA16 flight to London via Singapore are being handed invitations to The House.
This includes Silver and Gold frequent flyers in the British Airways Executive Club loyalty scheme, along with equivalent Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald card-holders.
However, as savvy travellers would know, the Qantas lounges remain available to BA flyers under the common lounge access rules of the Oneworld alliance to which both BA and Qantas belong.
This is especially the case with the Qantas first class lounge, which is easily the lounge of choice not only for BA's first class flyers but top-tier BAEC Gold, Qantas Platinum and other Oneworld Emerald members.
That said, some travellers will still prefer The House to the Qantas business class lounge due to its a la carte menu.
No1 Traveller, the London-based operator of The House, has been working to improve the lounge since taking over from Etihad Airways, and is keen to woo other airlines, alongside relaunch partners Etihad and Virgin Australian, to make The House their preflight home.
Plans are underway to increase total lounge capacity by 50 percent, with a spokesman for No1 Traveller telling Australian Business Traveller that the lounge's 662m² footprint contains many under-utilised areas, including 'back office' areas such as the kitchen and staff room, although several of these are small stand-alone pockets rather than swathes of contiguous space.
The prayer rooms will remain as a specific requirement of Etihad, but could be relocated – along with the showers – while the usually-empty 'business centre' nook near the front of the lounge may be converted into a private room.