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.”
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