Qantas is opening up paid access to selected first class and business class airport lounges, with prices ranging from $50 to $215 for a stay of up to three hours. There's no requirement for travellers to be flying with Qantas or any of its partner airlines – any passenger on any airline can buy their way into some of the Red Roo's swishest spaces.
As Executive Traveller reported earlier this week, the concept has been trialled at Qantas' London Heathrow lounge with a walk-up rate of £55 (A$103).
Qantas has confirmed that the program is now being extended to seven international lounges.
The following Qantas lounges now offer paid access to any traveller regardless of travel class, frequent flyer status or airline:
- Los Angeles first class lounge: US$150 (A$215)
- Los Angeles business class lounge: US$75 (A$108)
- London Heathrow lounge: £55 (A$103).
- Hong Kong lounge: HK$450 (A$83)
- Auckland business class lounge: NZ$60 (A$56)
- Wellington business class lounge: NZ$55 (A$51)
- Perth T1 international lounge: A$70
"In order to best utilise our international lounges, we will from time to time offer paid access outside of peak hours," a spokesman for the airline told Executive Traveller.
However, the airline maintains this move won't lead to overcrowding. "Paid access is dependent on sufficient space being available, after eligible customers from Qantas, Oneworld airlines and partner airlines are accommodated," the spokesman stressed. "Check-in staff will extend the offer only when capacity will allow."
Executive Traveller understands that paid access will be at the discretion of each lounge manager, with the aim of boosting revenue outside of the normal peak hours associated with Qantas and partner flights.
In the case of the Qantas LAX first class lounge, for example, despite opening at 6.30am it's busiest in the late evening prior to Qantas' flights back to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which all depart around 10.30-11pm – although the lounge is also available to first class and Oneworld Emerald-grade frequent flyers on Oneworld partners including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL and Qatar Airways.
Similarly, Qantas' flights from Hong Kong all leave in the evening, although the lounge is now used by airlines such as JAL with morning or afternoon departures.