Qantas will open a 'pop up' international lounge at Darwin Airport from November 1 to cater for passengers in transit on its flagship Kangaroo Route flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London.
The airline has revealed it will take over Darwin Airport's Catalina Lounge for the next six months, during which time the top-end city will stand in for both Singapore and Perth as the stopover on these direct Boeing 787 flights between Australia and the UK.
With room for around 100 guests, Qantas will roll out the welcome mat to the following travellers on QF1/QF2 (Sydney-London) and QF9/QF10 (Melbourne-London):
- Business class passengers
- Platinum One, Platinum and Gold Qantas Frequent Flyers
- Qantas Club members
- Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members
While the Qantas' Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner carries 236 passengers, the layout of the Catalina Lounge offers scope for Qantas to increase its capacity by adding more seating as needed, with the ability to plan ahead to a large extent based on the frequent flyer status of travellers on each flight.
However, Qantas won't unlock the doors to its London lounge until flights ramp up in December – in the meantime, it says eligible passengers on QF2 to Sydney and QF10 to Melbourne will be able to visit the British Airways lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3.
What’s on offer at the Qantas pop-up lounge?
Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully says the airline's aim is to deliver that familiar Qantas lounge experience during the 90 minute stopover.
"We know that spending time in our lounges is one of the most enjoyable parts of the travel experience," she says.
"Given the relatively brief transit time of 90 minutes, our focus will be on offering a comfortable space for customers to stretch their legs, enjoy a brunch or light supper and to refresh before their onward journey."
Travellers can top up with a signature welcome mocktail dubbed 'Top End Lemonade', and grab a bit at the serviced buffet, which will feature menus tailored to suit the time of day and drawing on "local culinary influences such as a Darwin markets-inspired Asian style soup".
Premium Australian wines, beers and non-alcoholic drinks will also be available, along with comfortable seating and handy AC powerpoints to recharge your tech in transit.
Due to Western Australia's ongoing border closure, Qantas says it expects to reroute both the Sydney-London and Melbourne-London flights via Darwin "until at least April 2022."