Will 2022 be the year Oneworld finally opens its own airport lounges?

First promised in 2019, the alliance’s own-branded lounge network remains a work in progress.

By David Flynn, February 11 2022
Will 2022 be the year Oneworld finally opens its own airport lounges?

Oneworld is well-regarded by frequent flyers, especially for the perks of its Emerald status when it comes to accessing first class airline lounges.

But the group has long lagged rivals Star Alliance and SkyTeam in opening its own Oneworld-branded lounges in strategic locations, to be shared by eligible passengers on all member airlines.

2019 was supposed to be the year that all changed, with the announcement that Oneworld would establish its own network of lounges bearing the Oneworld brand.

“The idea is that we develop these where no single airline has a massive presence, but we have multiple airlines flying into the same airport, maybe with daily flight,” Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney told Executive Traveller at the time.

“So while collectivity we (as Oneworld) have a lot of flights, no single airline could justify the cost of the lounge.”

The first Oneworld lounge was promised to open in late 2019, with Gurney admitting “we’ve actually got three (locations) we are pursuing, we just haven’t decided what the first one is going to be – it could be any one of those (three).”

Oneworld-branded lounges would be open to eligible travellers on any member airline.
Oneworld-branded lounges would be open to eligible travellers on any member airline.

Moscow was supposed to be first

Moscow's Domodedovo Airport was later revealed as hosting the debutante Oneworld lounge with an opening date set for 2020, although it wasn’t made clear how the Oneworld-branded space would co-exist with the flagship business class lounge of Moscow-based alliance member S7 Airlines.

However, long before Gurney could cut a thick red ribbon with a pair of over-sized prop scissors, the pandemic arrived and plans for the Moscow lounge were put on hold.

As international travel returns, Oneworld is now keen to pick up the pace on two delayed projects: the development of its own branded lounges and the rollout of an alliance-wide upgrade system to let frequent flyers use their miles or points from the loyalty scheme of any Oneworld airline to upgrade their seat on any other.

A Oneworld spokesperson tells Executive Traveller the group is forging ahead with plans for “the first Oneworld-branded lounge. We anticipate sharing more details later this year.”

Bur that lounge might not be Moscow, in line with Gurney’’s remarks to Executive Traveller “we had a number of lounges (planned), and the opportunity in the pipeline at that point in time saw Moscow the one we moved forward with first.” 

In late 2020, Gurney noted “it’s still the plan to have Moscow as a lounge, but whether it'll be the first one or not, I think it is an open question.” 

A range of other possible locations for Oneworld lounges have been rumoured over recent years, including the finally-open Berlin Brandenburg airport, Seoul’s Terminal 1 and Sao Paulo Terminal 3.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport could be a prime candidate for a Oneworld-branded lounge.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport could be a prime candidate for a Oneworld-branded lounge.

Gurney has previously forecast the network of Oneworld lounges could reach double digits.

“Developing a program like this is only valuable if you can get some economy of scale around it, so we think there are double digit numbers of opportunities globally,” he outlined to Executive Traveller in early 2019 – especially in the case of new airports and new or redeveloped terminals which could allow all Oneworld member airlines to co-locate of facilities including check-in desks and departure gates, similar to London Heathrow’s Star Alliance Terminal 2.

“Oneworld aims to bring its member airlines operating at all airports worldwide together under one roof, to smooth transfers for passengers connecting between different carriers’ flights, wherever the opportunities are available and wherever it makes sense,” Gurney explains.

Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific jointly developed this Oneworld Business lounge at LAX.
Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific jointly developed this Oneworld Business lounge at LAX.

Wherever and whenever they arise, the Oneworld lounges will be an integrated "premium lounge with a very high-quality experience,” Gurney told Executive Traveller.

They’d welcome business and first class passengers departing on all Oneworld airlines, as well as top-tier frequent flyers holding each member airline’s equivalent of Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire status.

However, Gurney allowed that “if there are airports that have a particularly high concentration of first class passengers” a seperate first class lounge would be considered.

The closest to a true Oneworld lounge that currently exists is the business class lounge at Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Airport, which was launched as a joint project between Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific and is managed by Qantas.

British Airways is one of three Oneworld airlines at Singapore with its own lounge.
British Airways is one of three Oneworld airlines at Singapore with its own lounge.

Elsewhere, Oneworld member airlines have forged ahead with their own lounges : a good example being Singapore, where Changi Terminal 1 boasts four lounges operated by British Airways, Qantas and Qatar Airways.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

23 May 2013

Total posts 43

With British Airways recently closing their SFO lounge for a refurb I bet this will be the first location

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2011

Total posts 91

You’d think if they smash together CX, AA, QF and BA into a massive lounge at LHR T3 they could generate some savings

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1393

Possibly, but many of the LHR T3 lounges are new so they wouldn't want to spend anything for a while.


I see this as more for new airports/ terminals, with some possible rebrands (eg LAX and closer to home maybe PER)

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1035

The QF LHR lounge is new, the AA and CX lounges were renovated within the last 3 years.

While the AA lounge is in the same lounge 'district' as the other 3 oneworld lounges, there is a corridor to a gate wing and another non oneworld lounge between them.

I'm still surprised by the recent investments airlines have made in LHR T3 with the airport master plan to demolish the terminal to allow expansion of the new T2 into the T2/T5 "toast rack".

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1035

I do have to wonder where these sorts of lounges would go.
They'd have to be in large airports where a majority of oneworld members fly to, that aren't oneworld hubs or already have large member airline lounges.

Off hand, I can only think of FRA and SFO. Maybe CDG.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 153

Interesting but this would put unique benefits offered to Silver level tiers at risk no? Qantas Club passes would be less valuable if QF lounges are converted (although that might not be the case), and Marco Polo Club Silver would be less valuable as more oneworld lounges replaces CX's own lounges.

CX

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 128

I would assume that MPC Silver would still get access to the oneworld lounge if on a CX flight - after all, CX will be paying the lounge operator for it. It's not really very different from a MPC Silver getting lounge access at, say, Phuket where CX use the TG lounge

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 686

This significant lounge announcement is part of a larger 'refresh' of the oneworld alliance brand which, incidentally, celebrated it's 20th anniversary yesterday - with a significant knees-up in London.


A completely redesigned and refreshed oneworld website is already revealed and can now be viewed online. Also promised for imminent release is an entirely reworked mobile app as well as new product re-branding, complete with new taglines.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Sep 2016

Total posts 7

How about SIN as a candidate for a Oneworld branded lounge?

I can't see that happening at the moment, not with QF opening a first class lounge, but when Singapore's new T5 terminal opens I could imagine all the OneWorld airlines moving to T5 and a single OneWorld lounge there although it would probably need to have a first class lounge as well as business class.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 620

Wouldn’t expect to see that considering OneWorld airlines operate from all 4 terminals at SIN. If they were all in the same terminal then sure.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Dec 2016

Total posts 43

Probably a bit small minded, however Perth could do with a dedicated One world lounge to replace the International Qantas Business lounge that Qantas no longer uses for their own flights

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1393

Could see it happening, albeit a name change doesn't mean a refit.

Also may not be good for QFFrs on JQ

28 Feb 2018

Total posts 5

Good idea, but it doesnt sound like Oneworld is 'thinking big' ... the media coverage refers to a handful of new lounges acoss the world over the next few years. Hard to see Perth making the cut unfortunately

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2017

Total posts 7

As detailed in another article on this site, Seoul Incheon is the obvious first candidate.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 103

Hi David . My wife and I recently flew from Budapest back to LHR on BA on what they call business class. Trying to discover on their website prior to our departure, if there was a lounge , it was not until we checked in that we were told that their lounge was a D7. Pity that this information was not readily available on their website or am I missing something?


American Airlines - AAdvantage

02 Jun 2019

Total posts 16

OneWorld lounges work great at airports where no one in the alliance has dominant flights but is flown by several alliance airlines LAX, SFO, Seoul and Paris would be such cities.


Heathrow is perhaps unique because OW has multiple terminals and it's a very important destination for AA, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, each want their own lounges even if it makes sense to have a terminal 3 super lounge.

In Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong it makes sense for the alliance to use the excellent hub airlines lounges.

Miami is a funny creature, AA has several lounges there but BA & Iberia have their own lounge in concourse E since they don't use AA concourse D.

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 101

I am surprised that 7 oneworld airlines fly into Seoul yet Qantas doesn't.

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 46

Definitely hope Seoul would be one of the first. Flew CX out of ICN last month and the lounge there is one of the worlds International lounges I've used. They did have a high end Soju which I'd never tried, that was the only positive though.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 186

Toronto, which is accessed by BA and CX?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1087

I assume a Oneworld branded lounge would still be largely funded on a user basis.  It is hard to see the value of QF contributing much to a lounge in Moscow or Berlin given so few of its passengers would actually ever use it compared with airlines such as BA,AY etc.

Is the current arrangement that there is some sort of chargeback when a member's passenger is hosted in another member's lounge?  I flew to KUL from MEL on MH a couple of years ago and the gate agent carefully noted down my details as I entered the QF Lounge even though it was my QF Gold status that actually made me eligible for entry.

07 May 2015

Total posts 30

As I understand it, if you are say flying business class on CX and you walk into the Qantas lounge, Qantas charges Cathay; but if you access the Qantas lounge using your frequent flyer status with CX or any other OneWorld airline then OneWorld is charged. I think that's how it works.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1087

Thanks, I wonder how it works when a Cathay J pax with Emerald status enters the lounge.  Which comes first, the cabin class or the status level?


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