Qatar Airways plans to expand its London Premium Lounge this year in response to increased popularity for the both the airline and its London-based flights.
The Oneworld member has six daily flights between its Doha hub and London Heathrow, with two of those on its flagship Airbus A380s, which adds a score of first class flyers to the hundreds of business class passengers making the seven-hour journey.
The schedule itself is also prone to lounge-crowding peaks, explains Dan Martin, Head of Loyalty at Qatar Airways. “The flights tend to bunch together, so that makes for a lot of pressure (on the lounge),” Martin tells Executive Traveller.
“In the morning there's two within about an hour and a quarter of each other, and in the afternoon likewise there's two flights within an hour of each other, so that really squeezes things.”
The lounge will continue to be restricted to travellers on a paid business class and first class ticket, although the extension could pave the way for an exception for Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum members booked in economy.
“As Privilege Club, we're constantly talking to the lounge people and saying ‘if you've got capacity then we would love to make use of it’”, Martin says. “So if the lounge is satisfying all of the business class passengers' demands, and there's still some room, we'd like a Platinum member who travels in economy to go into the lounge as well.”
While that’s more an ‘if’ rather than ‘when’, Gold and Platinum status-flyers in economy can still use the adjacent Malaysia Airlines lounge at T4.
Travellers who have used their frequent flyer points to upgrade from economy to business class are also not on the door list for the Premium Lounge, and continue to be redirected to the Plaza Premium Lounge at T4, where a contract with Qatar Airways provides complimentary access before the flight.
Qatar Airways Singapore Premium Lounge
Next on Qatar Airways’ lounge to-do list is the opening of its Singapore Premium Lounge, which Executive Traveller understands is close enough that the ceremonial red ribbon is being ordered and the over-size scissors are being sharpened.
Located on the upper ‘lounge level’ of Terminal 1, adjacent to the Emirates and Plaza Premium lounges at the start of the C Gates wing, the design and facilities will likely be along the same lines as its London, Paris and Bangkok counterparts, which means a refined space with a sense of seclusion.
Passengers should be able to look forward to an à la carte dining room – a rarity in any business class lounge, and more typically the domain of an upmarket first class lounge - along with a ‘deli counter’ self-serve buffet, a tended bar with Champagne and made-to-order cocktails, plus several spacious and well-appointed shower suites.
Access will be limited to business class and first class travellers on Qatar Airways and fellow Oneworld airlines (British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas all share the same terminal) – although status-holders booked into premium economy or economy – will still be able to call into the lounges of BA and Qantas, including the recently-opened Qantas Singapore First Lounge.