Qantas waits for border rules to relax before re-opening more lounges

Many Qantas Clubs will remain closed – as will the invite-only Chairman's Lounges – until states and territories re-open borders.

By Chris Chamberlin, September 10 2020
Qantas waits for border rules to relax before re-opening more lounges

Qantas will hold off re-opening any more Qantas Clubs, Business Lounges and its invitation-only Chairman's Lounges until more states and territories open their domestic borders.

Previously, the airline had planned to re-open these facilities from September, but any lounges that are currently closed will remain shuttered "until further notice", Qantas confirms.

"Qantas Lounges across the network will be gradually reopened when domestic travel demand returns with the opening of state borders and subsequent increase in flights," a spokesperson for the airline tells Executive Traveller.

"As domestic network capacity is currently still sitting at 20%, the re-opening of lounges will be aligned to the increase in domestic flights."

This impacts the return of all Chairman's Lounges, as well as Qantas Clubs in Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Devonport, Gold Coast, Hobart, Perth, Port Hedland and Sydney.

Melbourne's Qantas Club and Business Lounge will understandably also remain closed, following an extension of Victoria's lockdown restrictions over the weekend, paired with the continuing closure of other state and territory borders that would otherwise also limit Victorians from travelling.

Rockhampton's Qantas Club is similarly still shuttered, even though all QantasLink flights from Rockhampton Airport are to destinations within Queensland, which are not impacted by current travel restrictions or border issues.

The Qantas spokesperson explains that this closure is due to "works underway in the terminal which directly impact the lounge space."

Domestic lounges that Qantas had previously re-opened will remain open for eligible travellers.

This includes Business Lounges in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth, and Qantas Clubs in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Emerald, Gladstone, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth and Townsville.

Also read: Qantas delays opening more Qantas Clubs, Business & Chairman's Lounges

Qantas CEO questions border closures

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has previously taken a stand against 'politically-motivated' border closures, calling for jurisdictions with no or few COVID-19 cases to reopen to states and territories sharing similar circumstances.

"We still don't understand why states with zero cases for a long time have borders closed to states with zero cases," Joyce said last month.

"That doesn't seem to make any medical sense, or match any (medical) advice that we've seen. Surely, these decisions should be based on the facts, the health advice, and the level of cases that we're seeing around the various states."

For example, Queensland continues to declare the ACT a COVID-19 "hotspot", which bans visitors from the territory, and requires returning Queenslanders to complete 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine.

That's despite the ACT being COVID-free for two months, and Queensland's own description of a 'hotspot' as a "place in Australia where health officials have found a lot of people with COVID-19."

Western Australia similarly remains closed to most visitors from other states and territories, including those with no community transmission of COVID-19.

In most cases, entry into WA is granted only under special circumstances, accompanied by 14 days of compulsory quarantine.

"While timelines will be unpredictable, we need to better understand the criteria by which border decisions will be made by governments and the circumstances under which they will re-open or close again," Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah echoed.

Read: Qantas CEO calls out "politics" on domestic border closures

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Apr 2018

Total posts 4

One thing to note is if you are flying intrastate and have a lounge pass which would ordinarily only give access to the Qantas Club you'll be able to access the Business Class Lounge instead while the Qantas Clubs are closed.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 279

I think that is subject to crowd numbers, and I can’t recall where I got this impression or if I have read it somewhere, but if there is getting close to their limit , I think they will admit business class and platinum and above only.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 773

Why spend money if you don't have to?

Etihad - Etihad Guest

16 Feb 2019

Total posts 2

Interesting Darwin is still closed with some very high flight numbers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 281

Not according to BITRE stats, Darwin is struggling and is only about half the pax numbers of somewhere like Townsville or Mackay.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Mar 2018

Total posts 61

It's clearly meant to change behavioral patterns. They don't want Australians to take the short-cut to the cheapest port, because it puts pressure on fares and perceived demand from the NDC. I would think that they will open the international lounges first, because I'd expect NT to be neutral, and open quickly... WA will have a Asia, Europe bias whereas QLD will be most open to Northeast Asia, SA the most open to the EU between them and NSW and VIC, and the latter two being more western facing sans SIN and BKK and HKG I think.

There are a lot of North and South Americans who've applied to be Australians. A LOT. This can't happen because Australia needs to accommodate the imminent overcrowding in the UK and Indonesia in the longer term, then India in the very far future.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 403

Most interesting is the Chairman's Lounges staying closed - that is clearly aimed at our politicians.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 808

Chairman's Lounges are expensive to operate.  There is nowhere near the travel volume currently to justify the cost.  Many federal politicians are travelling on RAAF aircraft so they wouldn't be using the Chairman's Lounge anyway.  I wouldn't expect to see Chairman's Lounges to reopen until MEL-SYD-BNE are properly reopened.


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