Readers support Qantas enforcing dress code at airport lounges

By David Flynn, February 17 2015
Readers support Qantas enforcing dress code at airport lounges

More than four out of five business travellers and frequent flyers support Qantas' controversial decision to enforce its 'smart casual' dress code at airport lounges.

When news broke last week of the airline's move to crack down on poorly-dressed passengers, Australian Business Traveller ran a poll asking readers if they supported the Red Roo's call.

With 3,224 votes at the time of writing, the response was a staggering 84% vote in favour of the dress code with barely 16% against.

Haven't voted already? Just click below to have your say!


In explaining the decision to more rigorously enforce the existing dress code, a Qantas spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller that while "the vast majority of our members meet and exceed the guidelines... we have had some feedback from customers that they want to see those guidelines apply to everyone."

Read: Qantas to enforce dress code at airport lounges

The results of our poll indicate that Qantas is on the money with this, although there's no doubt it will make for some awkward moments after the tighter door-policy debuts on April 1.

Expect a few angry blasts on social media as Qantas lounge managers begin to turn away long-time and perhaps lifetime Qantas Club members, status-centric frequent flyers and even business travellers who fail to meet the 'smart casual' code.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

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.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Why it is "controversial decision"? Some pax dressed beyond any jokes.

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Check out the comments under the original AusBT article, on Facebook etc, plenty of people don't agree. But as AusBT says, most business travellers and frequent flyers have no problem with this. I agree with them, some people need to put a little more effort into how they dress, not even just for the sake of lounge access but to take a little more care with their appearance!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Honestly, it's controversial because people are just too precious and fearful. It's actually pretty simple - don't look like a complete idiot and you'll be right.

Define how a "complete idiot" looks like.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

That would be a question for the Immigra- I mean, the airline.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 102

I just can not fathom why someone elses apperence even registers on peoples emotional landscape. 

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

I do not care, but some do. It is enough that plenty of people forcibly packed together in tight space like aluminum or plastic tube 10 km above ground, so I guess we can do courtesy each to other and make our trip not that unpleasant – IMHO it already unpleasant enough. I reckon that airlines should enforce dresscode on board as well, and especially so in economy where people sitting much closer each to other.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Tank tops, hairy armpits, dirty worn out thongs and soiled safety shirts are not my idea of smart in lounges. Come on lets have some decorum.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 57

Seriously, how difficult is it to wear a polo shirt and a pair of trousers with slips ons or boat shoes? Thongs and singlets are simply not appropriate and I'm pleased to see these new requirements. There. I'm officially a grumpy old lady.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 102

Could you let me know what about it bothers you? Assuming they are other wise clean?

I am really curious why people let it get to them. 

Peggy, how do you know that ensamble you've described constitutes smart casual?

That is the point isn't it? Qantas needs to make it clear by definining specifically what item of clothing is appropriate. 

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 231

No they don't.

People just need to use their common sense. No thongs, singlets, dirty clothes or offensively worded t-shirts. In any community, and the Qantas club is a community of frequent flyers, the rules work best when they are based on respect for the feelings and beliefs of others. Dressing appropriately is a sign of respect.So if that means wearing proper shoes, shirts and pants/shorts that are clean, and no singlets, then I think that is all the guidelines you need provide and all that Qantas will insist upon.

One person's sense of what's appropriate cannot be imposed on another. When was everyone programmed to think exactly the same way?

So is a sphagetti strap blouse a singlet for women and therefore appropriate? Or is it only men who are banned from singlets? 

The rules in the community determine that people are pretty much allowed to wear whatever they want (Thank God we're not France or Belgium). Why is respect only afforded to the majority? How is one's freedom to choose clothing respected if the mob has imposed their standards?

Qantas needs to decide its standards based on factually consistent criteria (e.g. closed-toed footwear, men's shirt with collar, women's top non-backless, blouse/dress straps to be no less than 2 inches wide etc. etc.) if it wants to go down this path (I'm not asking it to) and not community standards or social norms, which are arbitrary and subject to interpretation. 

It is that simple - and all this palava would end. Then if you're unhappy with Qantas' standards don't fly with them. There is never this uncertainty which forces people to default to the most conservative criteria. That is blackmail!

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 231

Community standards are arbitrary and subjective everywhere you look Babushka, think school or work uniforms. Why do we wear ties to important meets, or black to a funeral? To show respect.

This is not a big ask by Qantas. Happy to see them require a minimum standard in line with community opinion, which apparently endorses the move.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1001

Dress "standards" are subjective. What one person thinks is “smart casual” won’t match what another thinks.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

They should extend the ruling to cover high-vis and mining clothing. Absolutely no beef with the hard working miners and their well earned status credits, but a sea of high-vis and the smell of grease isn't entirely condusive to a business lounge in my opinion... The showers are there to enable them to change into something a little more comfortable and enjoy a beer at shift change.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

I had access to First Class Lounge at SYD a couple of years ago. As this was my first time ever accessing such a lounge it was a "no brainer", dress for the occassion, dress smart, this aint McDonalds haha

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 102

I had access to the first class lounge because i forked out nearly 14,000$ for a ticket. I dressed how i feel comfortable not to try and make someone i have never met feel comfortable. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

All that money and still no class, such a shame

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

And you may find to sh!t or p!ss in the corner of lounge also acceptable just because you paid $14,000?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 102

This is a strawman argument. 

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Of course it was sarcasm and your stance incredibly lame. However YMMV.

Hurrah to the rule of the mob!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 776

There's another more serious angle to this "what should people wear" argument. Safety. Although the odds of this are millions-to-one, if you're trying to evacuate a burning fuselage with crap everywhere like sharp bits of metal, maybe some fire - the people wearing real shoes and covered sensibly will stand a better chance of survival. Take your emotions out of the equation and think about it. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Aug 2013

Total posts 18

I always thought evacuating a burning fuselage was the time you took footwear off so you dont damage the slides?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Not really relevant to the lounge specifically though, is it?

Anyway if you base your footwear decisions on survivability in million-to-one scenarios, you'll want something with a nice thick rubber sole in case you get struck by lightning or electrocuted in a number of other ways. 

You'll also want them to be boots, which will protect you from snakes.

On the other hand you want something you can run in, in case you're chased by a bear.

Honestly I'm not sure what the safest general-purpose footwear option is. Probably a good pair of running shoes with kevlar-lined knee-length socks?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

31 Jan 2012

Total posts 108

Looks like I'll have to pack my suite for the mines if I want a free feed and to chow down as much grog as I can. Can't be more stereotypical can we ausbt readers. See how long this lasts before the big FIFO company's make some nose about this. I'm sure Fluro soiled night shift mining clothes ain't smart casual. Sure after 4 weeks on shift I'll change after I come straight from the site. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

You proved our point right there " I want a free feed and to chow down as much grog as I can "

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

31 Jan 2012

Total posts 108

I don't actually work in the mines and my views are the same as yours. Stereotypes and not always correct

09 Jul 2014

Total posts 31

Way to represent your company. Yes I can really see them going in to bat for their greasy booze-guzzling employees being able to keep up that image.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Well at 84% saying yes it tells the story.

paa
paa

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 62

First a dislaimer - I have worked all my life in a white collar office role, with no high vis in sight. But I am staggered at the attitude expressed by some toward those who work in harsher environments, need to work in high vis gear to meet safety requirements, and like those who work in an office, have a right to travel to and from their work dressed for work. I can only put this down to one of two possible causes - unfounded elitism, or fear of being around those who appear different. Both are pretty sad.

As for the Qantas policy, it is bad policy and it is controversial. Simply because they have handled this incredibly badly by not specifying any detail, and leaving it to the whim of a lounge dragon to make decisions on the basis of are they haveing a good day or a bad day. Ambiguity is bad for policy enforcment and credibility. They will lose money from this decision. It is an open door for Borgetti to publish and/or publicise a clearer policy and push the line of you will always know where you stand with Virgin. 

I am more than somewhat amused by some of the descriptions of smart casual by readers, and in particular the lady David quoted in his earlier article - to me these are descriptions of smart casual from the nineties days of Friday mufti. I had to laugh!

I know there will be many of you who disagree and will be frantically clicking the little red down arrow, but if you judge people by how they look or by what they wear then I say you are wrong.

It is so refreshing to hear a rational voice! Thank you paa!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 102

Especially that last line. Good post! 

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

So according to your logic it is perfectly acceptable came to wedding party held in nice mention in singlets, shorts and thongs? Or say in Borat "dress"? There should be line drawn somewhere - no-one object "blue collar" dress, but dirty and greasy hi-vis vest could be tossed into bag, or it so difficult? Show respect to others and they will show it to you. Show arrogance to others and they pay you the same.

British Airways - Executive Club

17 Feb 2015

Total posts 9

Surprised at how much emotion this provokes

Personally I disagree with the dress code. I pay a lot of (my own) money to travel first and business class. Provided you are clean and unoffensive (no swear words...), it should not matter if I am wearing a T shirt, shorts and sandals (with clean feet!) - which is what I wear to fly in hot climates. Who cares if it is fluorescent? And surely that's better than a hot sweaty mess in a jacket, shirt and sweaty socks - who, more often than not, is barking into their mobile phone like the DYKWIA that they are...

Those who insist on men wearing chinos and polos really ought to get a life...

...and if anyone turns me away from the QF F lounge, I will be insisting on a full refund of my fare, and the revenue upon which I obtain OW Emerald status

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 390

and i pay $60,000 a year for my air tickets out of my own pocket, I too am emerald one world and I dont want to be seeing people dressed as if theyve just come off the beach.

Velocity Platinum

10 May 2013

Total posts 82

No thongs? Yes, that's right international visitors... Only briefs and boxers are allowed!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jun 2013

Total posts 367

There are a lot of trades out there that have Qantas club paid for them by the company they work for and yes some are platinum FF most will dress smart casual .

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 390

When I raised this issue last year after seeing some passengers dressed in a slovenly manner in the Singapore Lounge (and then later in the new HKG Lounge) with bare feet on tables etc and called for the dress code to be enforced, I was shouted down by so many. I'm glad the tide has turned. Well done Qantas now lets make sure its enforced. People have been given enough warning. Show some decorum. No one is saying a collar and tie is essential but its also not the pool or beach.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Sep 2013

Total posts 178

Well said crosscourt and Fonga.  And it's not just about how you dress, but also how you conduct yourself. Too many people with feet on seats, both in lounges and at departure gates, whilst others have to stand, and bad language.  We all have rights, but it's not just about us, it's about all of us and in a lounge or more particularly once on the aircraft, smelly armpits and feet are the last things we need to add to a usually long flight.  If these are the type who will fly elsewhere, they will be no loss to Qantas.

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 31

It is all well and good for QF to enforce their dress policy - but they don't define their dress policy beyond a nebulous "smart casual".

While the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) has some overly poncy examples in their member dress code booklet, at least it suitably defines what is and isn't allowed. I don't need to worry if I'm "smart casual" enough, I can consult the book and see that I definitely need to have a collar on my shirt.

I travel for sport quite often, can I get in if I'm wearing a clean and tidy team tracksuit with runners? Will I be turned away by an overzealous lounge dragon?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jul 2014

Total posts 22

The issue of dress standards is clearly finalised by the fact 84% of respondents support Qantas' decision to enforce appropriate dress standards. Well done Qantas for announcing this ruling.  Those flyers who aren't able to comprehend what is meant by an appropriate dress standard, or those who are only capable of thinking about themselves, are free to find an alternative airline. Neither Qantas nor the 84% of flyers in favour of the ruling will miss them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Sep 2014

Total posts 21

Qantas is a private company and can enforce a dress code much like any school, country club, night club and for that fact anyone who has visitors to there house. It's simple to me. Or is it wrong that a restaurant or grocery store insists you wear shoes and shirts?


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