Qantas revs up for Asia: new lounges & services, maybe lie-flat beds

By David Flynn, February 5 2013

Following an extensive overhaul of scheduled flights to Singapore and Hong Kong, Qantas will cap its new Asian focus with the introduction of new lounges and in-flight services along with a potential upgrade to business class seats on the route.

Australian Business Traveller spoke with Simon Hickey, CEO of Qantas International, about the next milestones in the Red Roo’s Asian roadmap.

First up is an extension of the Q-Eat service, which lets business class travellers pre-order their meal for night flights before they step on the plane.

Already offered for the supper service on flights from Los Angeles to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Hickey says Q-Eat will be introduced on Singapore and Hong Kong flights “within the next two months”.

This will be followed by a worldwide rollout to all Qantas night flights “over the next six months.”

Hickey sees it as a perfect fit with the airline’s recently-introduced sleeper service.

“If you’re coming out of Singapore or Hong Kong (on a night flight), what you really want to do as a business person is to get to sleep” Hickey explains.

“It’s the most important thing, because you’ll be getting up in the morning early and you’ll be going to straight into the office. AndI know, because I’ve done it a lot!”

Qantas Singapore Lounge

Singapore will also be the first to see what Hickey describes as “a new type of model” for Qantas international lounges – an integrated lounge to accommodate both first class and business class travellers that's set to open on March 31.

And while “there will only be one lounge” compared to Singapore’s previously separate First and Business lounges, Hickey says “there’ll be some differentiation within that lounge” in terms of service.

“The Qantas Singapore Lounge will be a fantastic experience” Hickey enthuses. “It will be like our great international lounges in Sydney and Melbourne in terms of the experience and the style.”

(We’re not at liberty to reveal some of the specifics we’ve heard about the Qantas Singapore Lounge but we reckon it will set a new benchmark, not just for Qantas but for international airline lounges as a whole.) 

The revamp of Qantas First Lounge in Hong Kong will follow in September, with both this and Singapore sharing a total $9 million bill.

Better seats for the big birds?

And while admitting that upgrading business class on the Red Roo’s international Airbus A330 fleet to lie-flat bed is under consideration, Hickey is playing his cards close to his chest.

“We’re looking at making sure we’ve got competitive product so I don’t want to make any announcements about what we are doing with product.”

“But we are going to make sure we’ve got competitive product across our network, as we did with the Boeing 747 reconfiguration.”

This rated really well with our customers, they’re actually now rating that as highly as the A380, especially the 747’s front section which is very spacious.”

Keep up to date with the latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers: follow @AusBT on Twitter.

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.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

Came back on QF52 in the nose cone of a revamped 747 recently.

Bloody brilliant.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Feb 2013

Total posts 45

Flew revamped 747 to Santiago last year, was indeed fantastic.

Just a pity QF hasn't upgraded interior of 747 on SYD-SIN. While QF considers upgrading seats on A330, I will continue to look for alternatives to asia.

"There are now nine Boeing 747-400 aircraft operating on selected B747 routes including Brisbane-Los Angeles, Sydney-Dallas, Sydney-Santiago, Sydney-Los Angeles- New York, and Brisbane -Singapore."

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2012

Total posts 42

An interview of whaffle - defer, may be, and catch up on some aspects.

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 98

David, you mention that the HK lounge opens Sept. Did Simon mention when the Singapore one opens, apart from earlier than HK?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1380

Per the Qantas announcement, Sing renos meant to be done by end March

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 98

Geez that's soon - thanks

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 13

I thought they were not reopening first class lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong because they were no longer running first class services into those ports. So what is with the revamp of the Hong Kong first lounge? Have I missed something?

Connected to that, this idea of differentiating service within the same lounge is rather intriguing. On what basis? Platinum status?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2011

Total posts 19

“We’re looking at making sure we’ve got competitive product"

So does this mean we may see a J class 1-2-1 config on an A330.  Just a thought :o)

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2013

Total posts 55

'If you’re coming out of Singapore or Hong Kong (on a night flight), what you really want to do as a business person is to get to sleep” Hickey explains.'

Is the above an excuse to make the HKG to SYD breakky below par? I would prefer a decent breakfast. Why don't provide business paying customers a choice?


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