Qantas is set to bolster its lounge network over the coming 12 months, with new international and domestic lounges where business travellers and frequent flyers can escape the crush of the airport terminal.
The airline – which analysts expect to report a full-year profit as high as $1.5 billion when the company files its preliminary FY16 results at the end of this month – has six lounges on a works list which could see further additions before the year is out.
International lounges will follow what Qantas refers to as its 'premium lounge' model, with a single facility for all flyers rather than splitting the space into separate business class and first class lounges.
On track for to open in October, the spacious lounge will – like its Asian siblings – offer seasonal menus with a 'plate of the day' selection, plus a tended cocktail bar.
On the domestic front, Brisbane's local Qantas lounges will be grouped together into a single 'lounge precinct' which will incorporate a 'refresh' of the existing Qantas Club and an all-new Qantas Business Lounge (below) extending further out above the valet parking area.
The business lounge will sport design influences already seen in the Qantas Business Lounge at Perth (below), which represents a bold new look for the airline's domestic business class lounges compared to the 'classic corporate' vibe of its Sydney and Melbourne siblings.
AusBT review: Qantas Business Lounge, Perth Airport
Those lounges will open in stages from early 2017, Qantas says, along with a new invitation-only Chairman's Lounge to complete the make-over.
March 2017 will also see a ribbon-cutting at Qantas' new flagship lounge at London's Heathrow Airport.
While all Qantas passengers will share the same premium lounge it's expected that additional services – such as free clothes pressing, 'off the list' wines and champagne, and first dibs on shower bookings – will be offered to travellers in first class along with members of the exclusive Chairman's Lounge plus Platinum One frequent flyers.
The split-level lounge will seat 230 travellers, with "a Rockpool menu and dining experience" featuring seasonal menus with a British bent, and potentially changing throughout the day to reflect the lunch and dinner departures of Qantas' Airbus A380 flights to Melbourne and Sydney.
There's also be tended wine and cocktail bars on both levels, with the upper floor affording views over the runway.
Qantas currently shares the Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge of British Airways, but sees the substantial investment in its own lounge as a marker for the airline's long-term commitment to London and the Kangaroo Route.
The Qantas London Lounge will flank new business class and first class lounges from Cathay Pacific, which are due to open by September 2016.
The CX lounges will be open to Qantas passengers as part of both airlines' membership of the Oneworld alliance.
Also lined up on the to-do list is Auckland, which currently makes do with what many travellers regard as among the worst lounges in Qantas' international network.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously stated "we have Auckland on the plan, it's a question of when we'll do it."
Joyce has told Australian Business Traveller that a new Auckland lounge would be "like the other (international) lounges... we'd like to have the best lounge in NZ, but these things take time."
It's expected that a new Auckland Lounge would also follow the 'premium' model, bringing first class and business class passengers into a single space, while also playing the same cards such as a Rockpool seasonal menu and a tended bar serving beer, wine, cocktails and barista-pulled coffee.
Auckland is Qantas’ most popular international destination due to high trans-Tasman traffic, but is anchored by a lounge experience which now pales by comparison to the all-new flagship lounge of competitor Air New Zealand (below).
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