Executive Traveller exclusive
Qantas will unlock the doors to its flagship international first class lounges when the Australia-New Zealand bubble open on Monday April 19, ensuring that the airline's premium passengers and frequent flyers get their trans-Tasman trips off to a five-star start.
While the Sydney and Melbourne business class lounges will remain closed for now, that means the first class lounges will welcome business class travellers, Gold-grade Qantas Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members, along with the usual Platinum and Platinum One-tier frequent flyers.
"If you're making a comeback, you should do it in style," says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
"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."
Status-based access will also extend to eligible frequent flyers of Oneworld partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways with a Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire card tucked into their travel wallet.
The airline locked the doors of all international lounges towards the end of March 2020 as the airline grounded all overseas flights in the early days of the coronavirus.
Now, just over a year later, visitors to the Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges will see many familiar faces of staff who were previously stood down or reassigned to domestic lounges.
"Our lounges are a second home for many frequent flyers when they're on the road, and we know their reopening will be well-received," Joyce said.
Qantas' Brisbane international lounge will also open on April 19, although the airline's lounges in New Zealand will remain closed.
In their place, Qantas has arranged access to Air New Zealand's international lounges in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown for business class passengers, Platinum and Gold-grade frequent flyers and Qantas Club members.
The new Qantas First Lounge menu
The Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges will serve an à la carte menu featuring several iconic dishes such as salt and pepper calamari and the signature pavlova, with other offerings drawn from previous seasonal iterations.
Here's what visitors can expect.
- Seasonal fruit salad
- House made muffin
- Neil’s healthy Bircher muesli with apple, cranberry and hazelnuts
- Buttermilk pancakes with cinnamon yoghurt, berries and maple syrup
- Brunch bowl with goats’ cheese, avocado, cherry tomato bulgur and green tahini
- Brioche, leg ham and Gruyere toasted sandwich
- Scrambled eggs with bacon, pork chipolata, spinach, tomato braised beans
- Brioche, leg ham and Gruyere toasted sandwich, rocket and lemon
- Salt and pepper squid with cabbage salad, green chilli dipping sauce and aioli
- Roast cauliflower with carrot and almond hummus, zucchini, preserved lemon and hazelnuts (GF, VG)
- Tamarind chicken with eggplant, jasmine rice and lime pickle yoghurt (GF)
- Red braised lamb shoulder with chilli paste and noodles
- Signature pavlova with seasonal fruit, mascarpone and Persian fairy floss (GF)
There'll be a selection of beers, red and white wines and spirits, of course, plus mimosas as a welcome drink – and while there'll be no Champagne listed on the menu, Executive Travellerunderstands that bubbles will be available "on request".
Revised operating hours
The opening hours of the Qantas international lounges will be shaped by the airline's own flight schedule (and that of low-cost sibling Jetstar): for example, the Sydney First Lounge will initially open at 6am and close by 8pm.
Any passenger eligible for lounge access can visit the lounge during that time; however, flights departing outside those hours – such as the evening services of Cathay Pacific Qatar Airways and Emirates – won't be accommodated.
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