What do Qantas first class flyers want from the Singapore lounge?

By David Flynn , October 10 2017
What do Qantas first class flyers want from the Singapore lounge?

TALKING POINT | Qantas' decision to return to Singapore as the stopover for Airbus A380 flights from Sydney to London from March 2018 has left first class flyers feeling decidedly second class.

It's nothing against Singapore – a city which most Australian Business Traveller readers consistently rated well above Dubai as their preferred transit point for flights to London.

(Our 2016 reader poll saw Singapore clock up a staggering 46% of the vote, with Hong Kong at 26% and Dubai at barely 9%.)

The issue is Qantas' Singapore lounge, which the airline positions as a 'premium' lounge shared by all eligible travellers – from Qantas Club members to Gold and Platinum-grade frequent flyers, business class passengers and, as of March 25 2018, first class passengers on the flagship QF1/QF2 Sydney-London superjumbo service and the Melbourne-bound flight QF36, which is also being upgraded to an Airbus A380 from the same date.

Perks for the pointy end

Qantas is expected to extend to first class flyers the same perks as Platinum One frequent flyers (and Chairman's Lounge members) – a 'soft product' package which amounts to real Champagne (usually Veuve Clicquot), priority access to showers, and a shirt pressing and shoe shine service.

But is that enough? There's certainly a substantial disconnect compared to the Emirates first class lounge at Dubai, which currently hosts the superjumbo stopovers of QF1/QF2 and QF9/QF10.

That lounge is admittedly a very different proposition: after all, it is Emirates' flagship first class lounge at the bustling Dubai hub, which is now the world's busiest international airport.

By comparison, Singapore is a just a red dot on Qantas' network map, and will see only three flights with first class cabins departing each day – QF1 en route to London, the return leg of QF2 heading back to Sydney, plus QF36 to Melbourne.

The Sydney-London flights will be on the ground for around 90 minutes, which equates to less than 60 minutes of lounge time – although London-bound passengers connecting from Qantas' Melbourne and  Brisbane flights onto QF1 will have more than five hours up their sleeves.

So what's the fix for first class flyers? 

Qantas has, for the time being, ruled out building a dedicated first class lounge for Singapore, but should the airline look to carve out some space from the Singapore lounge's existing footprint to create a 'First Wing'?

Should there be a first class dining room boasting familiar Rockpool-inspired dishes from the menu of the Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges, plus French Champagne and cocktails made to order?

If you're a regular first class travellers on Qantas' flights to London, what do you feel the airline should do to look after first class flyers at Singapore?

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 61

I may get laughed, but is there any chance Qantas would atttempt do a deal with BA for first class flyers to gain access to their Singapore Concorde Room?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Aug 2012

Total posts 24

I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but logistically it poses a few issues. The Concorde Bar in Singapore has capacity for 41 guests, BA and QF both have 14 seat First cabins.

The QF1 service will depart at around the same time as BA16, with BA12 departing a short while later. The BA15 service will depart at around the same time as QF2 and QF36.

So based on full First cabins, the Concorde Bar would be at capacity, plus any Concorde Room Cardholders or BA Premiers.

Although it’s not beyond the realms of possibility, I’d be surprised if BA did this especially as having a dedicated First facility in Singapore gives them an advantage on the ground.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2016

Total posts 40

I've been in BA's Singapore Concorde Room many times.

There's hardly enough room to swing a cat and there are no windows.It's a dark and depressing place.

Qantas wouldn't want their First Class passengers there even if BA offered.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Aug 2012

Total posts 24

To each their own I guess. I don’t mind it, it’s a relatively quiet space with a decent bar that’s away from the throng of the main lounge.


I agree it’s not the most inspired space I’ve been in, but I appreciate having a dedicated area as a First passenger.

I suppose there must still be some appeal if you’ve chosen to visit the Concorde Bar on multiple occasions?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2016

Total posts 40

What you chose and what your company mandates you fly are two different things.

Fortunately the company will use Qantas between Singapore and London so my lounge problem is solved.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Aug 2012

Total posts 24

My point was that with an F class ticket with BA you could use either the QF Lounge, The primary BA lounge or the Concorde Bar, and you chose to use the latter on multiple occasions.


Unless you were unaware of this, you’ve recognised that BA’s offering for F pax is superior to what Qantas offers in Singapore.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

I think having a temporary cut off area with a la cart dining like the old Residence area at Etihad Business lounge. That would be fine.

29 Sep 2015

Total posts 4

... Nothing says luxury like a piece of rope

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

That is why I said “temporary” until a more permanent solution is built/found.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2016

Total posts 40

Exactly,couldn't agree more.Qantas do in fact keep a reserved area in Singapore for Chairman's Lounge and Platinum One members.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 308

This has got to go down as the ABT 2017 quote of the year!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2014

Total posts 38

The question really is about the competition. If you are used to travelling on Singapore Airlines, and using their First Class lounge - then an upgraded section of the Qantas lounge (even if it is one of their best overseas Club Lounges - along with HK) is not really going to cut it.

27 Apr 2017

Total posts 39

A poster on the Australian Frequent Flyer forums did an excellent graph showing that the lounge will have more people than seats for several hours a day.

Consequently, getting a seat is likely to be the special perk reserved for P1 & CL members. What luxury!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 74

QF will either need to reflect the lower standard of the overall product in F via the airfare charged or determine a unique space for F class passengers (not staff!) I did fly QF F to LHR via SIN on a number of times with QF and basically the product has not changed in almost 10 years. F is equivalent to others J now with downgrade of the lounge. Not a smart move by QF who should be attempting to bring customers back after the DXB disaster. That is after withdrawal of SIN and moved to DXB I have not flown QF international to Europe since. BA has a stronger product than QF!

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 2

QF should resume HKG as a stopover to LHR route to provide one more choice

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 379

You can, of course, fly QF to HKG and then connect to LHR on either CX or BA.

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 2

QF should also resume HKG-LHR by extending QF127/128, with A380 used all the times. F pax and WP will be sent to the CX First Lounges then

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 379

QF doesn't have enough A380s to do that, unless they take a couple off another route.

05 May 2016

Total posts 581

And it would also need to pay for the additional slots at Heathrow needed. Two A380s + a 787 would probably be too much capacity for LHR except perhaps at seasonal peak times on peak days.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 516

Well in keeping with the on-board F experience QF currently offers a business lounge in SIN and is really all that's needed. The F experience on QF is no longer reflective of price paid, which is premium, other than the sleep/bedding aspect. Food, service polish, lavs, IFE, on board bar and even showers with a proper F lounge direct access to ac from lounge are all aspects that will keep me flying EK metal on QF paper so a win-win of sorts where I get my money's or points worth if I'm in F. I Really hope QF get it right with the A380 upgrades and make ultra long haul flying fun again.....they can do it - they did so in the glam 70's with Captain Cook lounges which were extravagant to say the least. I think Qatar have it down to perfection...a refined & polished F offering, not too blingy like EK but definitely not boring or J on steroids like QF currently is.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 86

Having got quite used to Emirate first lounge, is there anything Qantas could do?

The best we could hope for is a OneWorld first lounge with Qantas, BA and CX being major "shareholders".

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 516

I'd also like to give credit to QF's F cabin downstairs where it's much quieter than upper deck and the 1-1-1 config. Everything else is J Class standard as above.

10 Oct 2017

Total posts 5

Any chance QF could switch to T4 and use CX's new facilities there? Despite both not being the closest of partners.

On another note, I know it's cute to mention the red dot thing, but don't do it in such a disparaging way. A lot of your readers are in Singapore and I don't think it's appreciated how you used it in this article.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 194

A dedicated F lounge for QF F ticketholders primarily. If Qantas was thinking more of a OW lounge to spread out the costs, the other airlines should be made to have very different times of day to use. The LAX OW F lounge becomes awfully crowded at times making it hard to get a shower, or enjoy the lounge generally. Many, many of the natives (US residents) have worked out how to worm their way into that lounge with one or other of the alarming array of cards they all have.

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 91

As a regular user of the current QF9/10 MEL-LHR in F, I won't be going via SIN due to:

(a) already stated lounge concerns - that's going to be a circus. and

(b) 5+ hours connection time waiting for the QF1 in SIN on the outbound. I assume that timing is to allow the A380 to get back to MEL to operate the outbound LAX QF93?

I have already booked flights in F MEL-LHR on the codeshares with EK post 24Mar2018, but QF will probably loose me altogether to SQ /EY. Have been burnt a number of times before with significant delays on the QF A380 services to/from LHR, and have run out of patience trying to be a loyal Plat / Lifetime Gold flyer and paying premium First fares for a business class outcome.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

From MEL outbound you can do QF37 (330) / QF1 (380) combination with only a 1-hr layover in SIN, rather than 6-hrs on QF35

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 91

Thanks moa999 - but no First cabin on the A330 unfortunately; as the original article is specific to First Class pax via SIN.
A330 flight up to SIN is OK if you are in J all the way through to LHR (or terminating in SIN), although the new B787 PER-LHR then becomes a worthy option also.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 269

That's an interesting take... you'd rather do J MEL-PER-LHR on the 789 than A330 J MEL-SIN/A380 F SIN-LHR? You can then do A380 F MEL-SIN-LHR.


The difference in the J seats on the 789 and A330 is very subtle (I think the divider is the only major difference).

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 91

nix584 - No, it is only if heading all the way MEL-LHR in J that the 789 via PER becomes viable in lieu of the current A380 J Skybed Mk2 (before refurbishment) SIN-LHR.
Sure, there is the F option on the A380 MEL-SIN, but the 5+ hour connection time will not suit everybody; and some don't value some free food and drink in a lounge as much as others apparently do.
If I wanted busy crowds (and possibly have to stand) to eat my food, I can go to a street vendor......

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Feb 2015

Total posts 9

Again QF is diminishing their standards. Have not used the QF Singapore lounge since they don’t serve champagne and stopped the Singapore Slings. Used to have a good QF/BA First lounge a few years ago. This new route does not tempt me to us QF to London anymore. BA and EK (on QF coded) much better product. I foresee the QF London lounge will not be much better, no First lounge. QF seems to be down grading their lounges. Not been to the Brisbane International QF lounge, but again no First lounge, granted only P, P1 and Chairman card holders will use. Am I seeing a trend, QF reducing the standards?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 168

...I'm just happy we're back in Singapore. Everything else isn't that important.

12 Aug 2017

Total posts 77

First World problems!

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 308

Yes would be nice to have a F lounge at SG but honestly how would you seriously get a business case approved to fund and build for a few flights. If SG was again the hub for multi flights across UK Europe maybe you’d have a case but today the answer would be no.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 516

Nothing unreasonable about at least a separate area for F, P's and CL's. It comes down to price paid and loyalty at the end of the day. I think for J,QC & Golds QF offer prob the best lounges out there in LHR, SIN, HKG. Just doesn't cut it for F and senior tier pax.

SMM
SMM

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 10

Having travelled to SIN several times as a P1 I have NEVER been offered anything other than the standard lounge offerings. Basic at best and far from a First Class experience as it gets. The Emiriates first Lounge at Dubai is world class. QF will need to sort this out ASAP

I think that first (and business) passengers would want the chauffeur drive included as was the case when QF1/2 was via dubai. Looking at the qantas website now, its not clear if QF2 singapore to sydney only (ie not originating in London) still gets this service included. Does anyone know?

djw
djw

10 Apr 2018

Total posts 2

Flying to SIN on QF1 in F tomorrow. No chauffeur for QF1/2 when it's not through to Europe. Disappointing. Watching the comments of others experience in Singapore lounge with interest!

06 Apr 2018

Total posts 3

Its utter rubbish that first class passengers don't get access to a FIRST class lounge. I was recently in the Qantas Hong Kong Premium lounge and it was very ordinary. I then went across to the Cathay Wings First lounge using my Platinum FF card and it was a world of difference. Qantas will lose first class passengers if they don't provide a separate tier of lounge at their stopovers. Also the quality of spirits served on board the first class cabin is despicable compared to Emirates and SIA

djw
djw

10 Apr 2018

Total posts 2

Singapore lounge: a free-for-all on the "reserved" seats. You have to use a some DYKWIA even to get the half decent bubbles. But once you do the staff are lovely (though too polite to ask the reserved space invaders to remove themselves).


My overall experience of F: Minimal difference from being WP travelling in Business.

06 Apr 2018

Total posts 3

I am traveling to LHR via Singapore on QF35/1 on first. Have never taken this sector before on QF, only Emirates/ SIA. Do QF offer pajamas on first on Mel- Sin sector? Lounge in Singapore doesn’t sound promising for first class passengers. What about Qantas LHR lounge? Separate first lounge? Any insight from other travelers?

Not sure, but I did get PJs between singapore and sydney recently in first.

The singapore lounge is a fairly good business class lounge, not good enough for first class but they will give you a bit of VIP treatment (escort you to your seat, give you real champagne etc)


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