When will Qantas reopen its international lounges?

As with Qantas' international flights, it's a staggered restart for the airline's lounges around the world.

By David Flynn, November 2 2021
When will Qantas reopen its international lounges?

International travel may be back for most Australians – at least those living in New South Wales and Victoria, as of November 1, with other states to follow over the coming months – but Qantas' international lounges will be slower to return.

Here's the rundown on which Qantas international first class and business class lounges will reopen, and when, accurate as of October 31, 2021.

Qantas Sydney International lounges

Qantas rolled out the welcome mat at its Sydney First Lounge on Monday November 1, in line with the restart of flights to London and Los Angeles.

The downstairs Sydney Business Lounge will remain shuttered until there's sufficient demand for both lounges to open – and that might not happen until at least early 2022, based not only on the gradual return of Qantas flights but of its many partner airlines as well as the Qantas A380 on Sydney-Los Angeles.

Qantas' stunning Sydney first class lounge.
Qantas' stunning Sydney first class lounge.

In the meantime, the highly-regarded Qantas first class lounges will admit not only the A380's first class passengers and Platinum-grade frequent flyers but welcome everyone who’d usually head for the business lounge, including:

  • Qantas business class travellers
  • Platinum One, Platinum and Gold-tier Qantas frequent flyers
  • Qantas Club members
  • business class travellers on Oneworld and partner airlines (such as Qatar Airways and Emirates)
  • Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold frequent flyers

As for complimentary Qantas lounge invitations, a Qantas spokesperson tells Executive Traveller that while the airline intends to allow these in the near future, they won't be accepted "for the initial international flights while we review capacity."

Reflecting this short-term shift away into being less an exclusive first class lounge and more of a shared ‘premium lounge’, the à la carte menu has also been pared back, although some favourites such as the salt and pepper calamari and the Instagramable 'pavlova in a glass’ remain.

(Also, for the time being, the day spa remains closed).

Qantas says the new hours of its Sydney First Lounge will be shaped around the airline's own timetable, with the lounge opening four hours ahead of each QF flight.

Read more: Here are the latest Qantas’ Sydney, Melbourne first class lounge menus

Qantas Melbourne International lounges

At the time of writing, Qantas doesn't expect to reopen its Melbourne First Lounge until November 22, 2021, when the airline recommences flights between Melbourne and Singapore, with Melbourne-London now slated to follow on November 27.

Qantas' cosy yet elegant Melbourne first class lounge.
Qantas' cosy yet elegant Melbourne first class lounge.

As is the case with Sydney, the Melbourne Business Lounge (aka 'the bunker') will be closed until sometime in 2022, with all lounge-worthy passengers on Qantas and partner airlines being directed to the first class lounge.

The lounge's menu is also in streamlined mode and the spas remain closed, while the Melbourne First Lounge will open four hours ahead of each QF flight.

Qantas Singapore International lounges

Qantas maintained two popular lounges at Singapore's Changi T1, and both have been sadly shuttered since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.

Executive Traveller understands that the Singapore Business Lounge is expected to be first to unlock its frosted doors "in early December", despite flights from Sydney and Melbourne resuming from November 22, with all lounge-eligible passengers directed to the independent SATS Premier T1 Lounge in the interim.

Plenty of room for social distancing at the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge.
Plenty of room for social distancing at the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge.

The Singapore First Lounge will remain closed until there's sufficient demand for both spaces to open, which isn't likely until early 2022.

Qantas has reportedly been able to re-hire over 30 of its Singapore lounge team, which means travellers can look forward to seeing plenty of friendly familiar faces.

Qantas Los Angeles International lounges

Qantas plans to reopen at least one of its LAX lounges by December 18, in line with the ramp up to daily Sydney-Los Angeles flights plus the restart of Melbourne-Los Angeles flights (currently pegged at four per week).

Qantas' LAX first class lounge.
Qantas' LAX first class lounge.

The airline says that "in the interim few weeks of operation, eligible Qantas customers will be able to visit the Star Alliance Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal in LA."

The Star Alliance LAX lounge.
The Star Alliance LAX lounge.

This is one of the best lounges at LAX with an excellent spread of food, an in-terminal terrace bar, plus an open-air outdoor deck.

The Star Alliance LAX lounge.
The Star Alliance LAX lounge.

If Qantas moves to open just one lounge at LAX from December 18, it's not know if this will be the airline's own first class lounge – with the same expanded access rules as Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore – or the business class lounge which is shared with British Airways and Cathay Pacific, and thus serves as a broader Oneworld Business Lounge.

Qantas' LAX business class lounge, which is shared with British Airways and Cathay Pacific.
Qantas' LAX business class lounge, which is shared with British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Qantas London Heathrow Lounge

Likewise, Qantas says its London Heathrow T3 lounge will also be back in action "in December" – potentially although not confirmed as December 18, again tied to Sydney-London flights moving to a daily frequency.

The cocktail bar at Qantas' London Heathrow Lounge.
The cocktail bar at Qantas' London Heathrow Lounge.

In the meantime, the go-to London lounge for Qantas passengers will be the British Airways' Heathrow T3 lounge – although if Cathay Pacific happens to reopen its own Heathrow T3 lounges, we'd recommend these as the best choice. 

Otherwise, if you've got an American Express Platinum Charge Card, Business Platinum Card or Corporate Platinum Card issued directly by AMEX in any country, including Australia (or of course the invitation-only American Express Centurion Card or Business Centurion Card), make a beeline for T3's new American Express Centurion Lounge.

Not keen on the BA lounge? The right type of plastic, or should we say metal, gets you into the AMEX Centurion Lounge.
Not keen on the BA lounge? The right type of plastic, or should we say metal, gets you into the AMEX Centurion Lounge.

This sumptuously-designed space boasts a superb à la carte dining room with a menu curated by Michelin-star Chef Assaf Granit, a well-stocked bar and even a 'high tea' cart.

Qantas Hong Kong Lounge

As for the Qantas Hong Kong lounge, this won't reopen. As Executive Traveller revealed in August, the lounge will remain permanently closed after the airline resumes flying to the Asian financial hub in early 2022.

"All of our other international lounges will be reopened, but in Hong Kong we've come to a relationship with Cathay to use their premium lounges there," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce told Executive Traveller.

We hope you enjoyed the BBQ pork while it lasted...
We hope you enjoyed the BBQ pork while it lasted...

Joyce said the airline had "looked at everything that we needed in individual markets" in planning its post-pandemic recovery, "and Cathay have some amazing lounges in Hong Kong, so we've worked with them to get access to their lounges – and of course they have access to our lounges here – and we think that's the best arrangement."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Hi David, do you have any further insights on whether Qantas will begin flights to/from Hong Kong in early 2022? Thank you in advance.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2568

Hey Lakepacificair - when Qantas announced closure of its HKG lounge the airline was planning to resume flights in February.

QF - Red

23 Nov 2012

Total posts 37

Any news on when we'll be able to access partner lounges such as emirates again?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2568

Hey Shragi – no, we've nothing on that as yet.

28 Aug 2019

Total posts 34

What about business class passengers flying out from Brisbane, any lounges for them to get into ?  Or, any lounges in Darwin for business class passengers flying from Brisbane via Darwin to London Heathrow ?  My wife and I are planning for a UK trip early January 2022.

28 Aug 2019

Total posts 34

When will Darwin open it's business class lounge ? And when will Brisbane open it's business class lounge ?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2568

Hey Dartpro - Darwin doesn't have a Qantas international business class lounge, just the temporary transit lounge (basically, the airport's Catalina lounge in the international terminal) while the Darwin stopover for London flights remains in place, which is expected to be "at least April 2022" Qantas has said.

As for Qantas' Brisbane international lounge, you'd expect this will reopen when Qantas can resume international flights from Brisbane, which was last reported as being early 2022, could be to NZ or might be the US and Singapore flights, depending on which are first.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

So sad that the HKG lounge has gone.  It was stunningly good.

BTW, the MEL Int'l Business Lounge is known as the Dungeon not the Bunker,

Yes, I really liked the Qantas Hong Kong lounge. Okay, it wasn't The Pier, but it had plenty of charm on its own, and I could happily get to HKG an hour before my flight, whiz through security at the right-hand side of the airport and head straight to the lounge for BBQ duck, dim sum and a cocktail!

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 508

I can understand the reluctance with opening QF lounge at oversea destinations consider the restrictions on inbound pac to Australian residents but seriously the same attitude on international lounge in Australian ports for outbound pax volume? That kind of hesitation does not spell confidence and most savvy pax (ie j and F class pax) can smell it.

If SIA is willing to open their lounge in MEL and SYD for just 2 flights a day, what excuses does QF not to open the international lounges at these ports for outgoing flights? 

None, that’s why QF chose to open to something 

What is interesting is that QF should have several outgoing flights to multiple international destinations from both 2 airports daily and yet they think the volume justifies only opening one, albeit the higher tier lounge for all who qualify for usual lounge access. 

SQ's Sydney and Melbourne lounges are still in 'soft open' mode and only for one flight per day, the evening flight, but this actually makes it even better to see SQ goes to this trouble.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 508

Agree

I assume the employment rules meant each shift is minimum 4 hours if using casuals or part time, and I assume there isn’t going to be more than 4-6 staff serving packed/plated food and reception service but still a big deal for a soft open during these time

Does Qantas/AA have an arrivals lounge in LAX where one can shower and relax, similar to the BA's arrival lounge at Heathrow?

I'm using BA's arrival lounge as an example. I don't know if it still operates but it was an excellent way to begin the day prior to heading into the city for meetings.

No, neither Qantas or American have an arrivals lounge at LAX. I really like the idea of arrivals lounges, and love it when an arrivals lounge is done well. BA's is excellent, the Swiss one at Zurich is also up there. Cathay used to have one at Hong Kong but it was too old and too small, unless you got in on the very first flight and beat the crowd there'd be a long queue for the showers, it just wasn't worth visiting after say 6-7am!

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 4

Hi everyone, I had the misfortune to spend ten hours in the miserable CX Wing lounge on Tuesday. As a Qantas passenger you will have no access to showers or any part of the First Class area of the wing. There are no newspapers or magazines to read as apparnetly you get covid from these and also using a shower. No one was able to show me ant details of the so called government regulations forbidding the use of the showers or reading a newspaper as I suspect the direction came from a bean counter and not a government official. JUst expect lots of left over fod down the cushins on the well worn out chairs and kill some time with playing spot the NOT WORN OUT section of carpet. See some pictures here https://goo.gl/maps/9Fe6cKMiCBRCYpko9

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 508

I am guessing you are also playing guess who is using the “I am not wearing my mask properly because I am drinking” excuse by people holding a coffee cup the entire day (same with “exercise” by walking around in light clothes). 

Definitely a shocker of a carpet. Would have simply used the good-ole “rearranging the furniture to cover the bare spots” trick but doesn’t look like the management cares atm

:))

Well fair play here, yes CX could do better, but this is not 'normal times' so I don't think you can draw any judgements on how QF passengers will be treated by CX after the closure of the QF HKG lounge mentioned in this article, if that's what you are suggesting? Obviously it would have been great to see CX do a maintenance refresh of The Wing during this lockdown period but don't forget the airline has been hemorrhaging cash for almost two years now, no domestic flying to keep it going, China closed, most of Asia closed. I would judge CX and its lounges by pre-COVID standards and they were pretty good, obviously The Pier was the place to be.


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