Why the Qantas first class lounge needs to be much more 'exclusive'

By Gary Walter, April 6 2018
Why the Qantas first class lounge needs to be much more 'exclusive'

TALKING POINT | Do you remember when the Qantas First Lounge first opened its doors in May 2007? I do, and it is no understatement to say that it was by far the world's best airport lounge.

Many would say that is still the case, but I disagree. The Qantas First Lounge seems to have lost a bit of its shine over the past 11 years.

The Rockpool menus are no longer outstanding, especially when it comes to the seasonal dishes. Spa appointments have been cut back to only 20 minutes and that is if you can get them at all, because only three of the five treatment rooms are ever in use.

And too often the lounge is just too crowded and too busy to feel like it is an exclusive luxury travel experience.

Of course there are worse places to be than the Qantas Sydney First Lounge. The Qantas Sydney Business Lounge is "just one floor below but a world apart" as one of my colleagues says.

Thankfully the Qantas Sydney Business Lounge is getting refurbished. Should Qantas take notice of suggestions from AusBT readers like a dedicated room to better seating options for solo travellers to fewer noisy TVs and an outdoor terrace, the result will be a world-class business class lounge.

And if that happens then Qantas will have a golden opportunity to rethink its approach to the first class lounge and return to the Qantas First Lounge's original potential.

The Qantas First Lounge delivered new heights of luxury to elite Qantas travellers. Qantas magazine, May 2007
The Qantas First Lounge delivered new heights of luxury to elite Qantas travellers
Qantas magazine, May 2007

Here are my suggestions for that. I am writing from a point of balance. I am a longtime QFF Platinum member and I fly almost exclusively first class with Qantas on its A380 routes, most of the time using Qantas points to upgrade from business class although sometimes there is no contest for booking straight into first class when a First Sale fare is just $1,000 more than a Business Flex fare.

Most of my non-QF flights are in the premium cabins of Oneworld partners, unless I have no choice but to book a QF codeshare on Emirates.

So I use the Qantas First Lounge a lot and I care about it a lot. I also care about the 'value proposition' it adds to my premium travel with Qantas. So if Qantas should care to bring back exclusivity to the lounge to make it a special experience like it used to be, here is where it should start.

Make the Qantas First Lounge a truly exclusive lounge

Restrict entry to first class passengers on Qantas, Emirates and OneWorld partners with their own first class out of Sydney, namely British Airways and Qatar. Apart from them, only Platinum One and Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer members and naturally Chairmans Lounge members would be allowed in as a 'reward' for their loyalty.

"What about Oneworld Emeralds who are not flying with Qantas or not in first class with BA or QR?", I hear you ask. They should be sent to the new Qantas Business Lounge. Well, why not? After Qantas finishes its renovations it'll be the best business class lounge in the Qantas lounge network.

Emirates Skywards Platinums already have their own Emirates lounge anyway, and as for BA Golds and CX Marco Polo Diamonds and the rest, it's not as if you will be tossed out into the cold. There'll still be a great lounge for you, and as long as there is a lounge at your disposal Oneworld won't complain.

And while we're at it: are you travelling on the domestic leg of an international Jetstar flight, such as those Sydney-Melbourne or Sydney-Brisbane hops? You're having a lend of Qantas, and you know it, so it's off to the business class lounge with you too.

This will immediately alleviate over-crowding in the Qantas First Lounge especially around morning and lunchtime peaks plus, shudder, school holidays, and when there are delays of course, which has a knock-on domino effect where the lounge almost becomes 'standing-room only'.

Longer spa sessions (and more of them)

Another benefit of this is that the spa suddenly becomes less crowded so Qantas can bring back longer sessions, 30 or even 45 minutes instead of today's 20 minute sessions.

Even if Qantas chooses not to redirect the bulk of Oneworld Emeralds to its business class lounge there's no good reason those passengers should still receive free spa treatments.

After all, why should somebody who has paid their money to Cathay Pacific for example be entitled to everything in the first class lounge for free, including taking a spa booking which a loyal Qantas customer might otherwise enjoy? 

The solution is to make spa treatments free for Qantas passengers and maybe first class travellers on partner airlines, but everybody else can pay for them. This will weed out the freeloaders, open up more slots for Qantas' own passengers and maybe even make it possible to hire more spa staff to provide sessions in those other unused rooms.

OneWorld makes provision for this by stating that as a Oneworld Emerald accessing a first class lounge "Spa and Pre-Flight Dining facilities are excluded". This is called the 'Concorde Room Clause' because it is what allows British Airways to restrict Oneworld Emerald access to its Concorde Rooms, the Elemis spas and preflight dining at JFK.

A dedicated first class space

If Qantas still decides to keep the first class lounge as 'open' as it is today, at the very least the airline should partition some space for first class passengers.

I would suggest getting rid of the Library area which is rarely used and convert that and nearby space into an exclusive 'first class lounge within a lounge' with its own dining area and casual seating.

I know these will be controversial and maybe inflammatory ideas to many Australian Business Traveller readers but I believe they are seriously worth consideration if Qantas wants to bring back the glory days of the Qantas First Lounge. What do you think?

Gary Walter

Gary Walter is a travel manager for a large Australian company and, in his spare time, an enthusiast of squeezing the most out of frequent flyer programs.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 Mar 2015

Total posts 48

Have to agree on the Rockpool menus and the restaurant staff are more like fast food operatives half the time.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

Can't agree with that very pessimistic view, the menu is not as stellar as it used to be but I always find a few dishes to enjoy and most of the staff are excellent, especially at recognising return guests like myself.

22 Jun 2016

Total posts 2

Which “large Australian company” is paying for their staff to fly first class or on the most expensive business flex ticket? What an outrageous use of shareholders funds.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 97

well, if you're the travel manager.....

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

Actually many companies insist on booking business flex fares because they want that flexibility in case meetings arrangements etc change. Some companies make a habit of booking standard fares outbound but flexi fares on the return because meetings etc at the start of trip can be pretty much locked in but things can change and develop later during the trip. Also as the author shows first class can be a pretty good deal and also upgrading with Qantas Points from business.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2017

Total posts 4

I think you'll find that a lot of companies have this policy, but the cost of a flexi fare, vs. the risk of things changing that dramatically lead to non-flex tickets the majority of the time. That is my experience at my last four employers anyway... Unless you are a consultant and can on-charge the cost to someone else.

Eli
Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 97

Who says he works for a "large Australian company"?. Perhaps I missed that. Wow, people are miserable!.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 6

Says it in the bio at the end of the article, at the start of the comments section.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2011

Total posts 106

Where does it say it's a publicly listed Company?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 135

Hopefully one who rewards there hard working employees! Who says they are listed?

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 97

Well thanks, I guess you don't want my type (gold for years but never quite get to platinum) to ever experience this lounge!

Just once would be nice :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 386

Then do a points upgrade to F - not that difficult.

30 Jun 2011

Total posts 50

Points upgrade for a lowly Gold? You are kidding John, dm12 would have to fight off the WP1s & WPs first. Love the way the author wants to turn the place into his own private spa, those WPs booking JQ flights won't be happy. Remember when Joyce grounded the fleet? (Who could forget). They flicked me a First lounge pass as compo. Yeah, it's nice.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

I came into this article expecting it to be a rant but it's actually well reasoned and makes sense at least from the perspective of somebody who flies first or is QFF Platinum. The lounge has become a lot more crowded and I agree that a lot of non-QF passengers should be sent to the business lounge and certainly not be given free spa treatments, Qantas should make this a lounge for Qantas passengers and frequent flyer first and foremost, after all they are the ones paying money to Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 105

How would you feel about all other One World Airlines doing the same and locking us out? Australians love using the Cathay F lounges for example. The alliance is meant to be recipricol benefits that’s the point of it. Besides the Concorde room of course for BA (which is in addition to OWE accessible BA F lounges I might add) and Qatar F I believe.


I think the negatives outweighs the positives in a idea like this and it’s a bit of a case of be careful what you wish for when we get locked out of the amazing Cathay F lounges in return serve so to speak.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

I also think this article is well written and makes some good points, but I agree that the point of OW is reciprocity. I don’t think it would be practical to restrict access to those with OW Emerald. I am not even sure it would be allowed with OW rules.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 May 2013

Total posts 17

Totally agree - whilst I agree that restricting access to people flying JQ domestic sectors, this shouldn't apply to OWE. Under Oneworld rules, QF would have to create a "fake" First lounge (like BA at LHR T5 and QR at DOH) if they want to lock OWE out of the existing First lounge in SYD.


Anyway, if there's a burning lounge "issue" for First Class passengers on the QF network..... it's not the SYD lounge, they should focus on lobby QF for a better lounge arrangement in SIN instead.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 May 2016

Total posts 8

Totally agree, there Monday and the few reserved white chairs are a pathetic excuse for a platinum benefit. Also the range of the bar is awful there.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 170

Would agree with your comments. It is very easy to suggest all of these changes for someone who spends most of their travel time going international in F and J for work. However most of us are domestic road warriors travelling weekly interstate in Econony. For me the best perk and something that keeps me going on those 5.15am airport drives is knowing tye F lounges in Australia and abroad are available.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

All interesting ideas and something for Qantas to think about but I can't see it happening (there'd be way to much backlash).


Out of curiosity do you (and others think) that it's just a Sydney problem or a network-wide issue with Melbourne and LA included (oh and Auckland...)?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 105

I kind of half agree and half don’t. Interesting good article nonetheless. As a Qantas Plat / OWE I love using CX Pier F & The Wing F when flying Y/W or J class. So it doesn’t sit well with me to make the Syd F lounge (which has well and truly been surpassed as the best lounge these days) more exclusive when It benefits me in HKG.

07 Jan 2014

Total posts 42

QF can't allow entry to its own Platinums but refuse entry to other oneworld emeralds. It can refuse entry to all oneworld emeralds including its own, which is what QR does at its lounges, but it cannot pick and choose which emeralds to let in.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 105

Agree with you totally. It benefits us so much in other ports and the alliance is meant to be recipricol. As a Qantas Y pax and a Qantas plat / OWE I can get a private cabana at the Wing F lounge it benefits us elsewhere!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1235

Exactly. That the author doesn't seem to grasp this simple concept provokes incredulity.

12 Apr 2011

Total posts 74

My impression is that the lounge is busiest around the QF NZ flight departure times and other QF flights. I would expect that the bulk of passengers for these flights are QF members so I’m not sure if excluding non-QF elite members is really going to reduce the crowding that much?



Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Oct 2017

Total posts 4

To this point, trans-Tasman departing from arriving/domestic Gates has long been spoken about and could be relevant to this issue.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 386

Yes, or perhaps there could be a "special" lounge for trans-Tasman, to keep them out of the main First and Business lounges.

12 Apr 2011

Total posts 74

Also, qantas contracts their lounges out to other airlines (CX, MH) and I doubt they’re going to give away this revenue.

JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

I agree with almost all of this. Qatar and BA have set a precedent for keeping other OW memebers out of their top tier lounges, and QF should reward their own first.

But the QF platinums getting in on JQ are not 'having a lend on Qantas'. QF has purposefully decided to allow access, which makes sense given that JQ flights are often used to add frequency on routes like the Trans-tasman ones.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2417

JBL: article cites only passengers "travelling on the domestic leg of an international Jetstar flight, such as those Sydney-Melbourne or Sydney-Brisbane hops", aka 'JQ F lounge runs'. Only those are suggested to be moved to the business class lounge.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Haven't been many of these at all over the last couple of years, particularly in SYD

JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

You're right, I misread. I can't imagine there are many people doing the domestic runs though. For the ones that do, it seems like a nice way for QF to reward loyalty

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 995

QR and BA still allow OW members access to the lounges in question. They have created additional lounges, outside the oneworld network, for their excuslive preiuim lounges

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 41

Anyone traveling on a JQ domestic leg from the International terminal should not have access to the First Lounge. On that I’m in agreement with the writer. I also see the benefit of partitioning off a section of the lounge exclusively for First Class Passengers. I do not want to see the entire Lounge become a Concorde Room type place reserved for QF Elites and F passengers, can’t think of anything worse quite frankly.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 581

Are there any domestic legs left that leave from the international terminal? I thought they had gone the way of the dodo.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

The issue is where would the rejected pax go.

The Business lounge is even busier, and the renovations will probably make this worse, at least temporarily.

The spa is effectively restricted to F pax anyway given they get advance bookings via telephone.

And I haven't seen any reduction in the quality of the food, maybe it's just familiarity with the menu.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 386

Qantas would have to provide an extra lounge in that case for oneworld status pax, as BA does at LHR ("Galleries First") and QR at Doha ("Al whatever")

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

Qantas has 3 first class lounges. If Qantas starts restricting access to other OW members, then there will inevitably be further restrictions by other oneworld members.


So, whilst I am sure restricting access pleases you, I am also sure it will upset QF Platinums flying through HKG and wanting to visit Cathay's excellent first lounges.

For QF as a business, I'd guess there are more QF platinums to keep happy (who I'd suggest spend a chunk of money with QF each year), than the few people who exclusively pay to fly first class.

By all means, make some improvements to the F lounges, but you shouldn't be isolating a large base of your custom to do so.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 May 2016

Total posts 8

Agree. The benefits of being platinum outside of the first lounges are more and more limited. So if there is an opportunity to use, i would want to use.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 160

Totally disagree with option 1. The main reward for my loyalty between OW Sapphire and OW Emerald is access to the First Class lounges. If i'm relegated to the Business Class lounges then i'd likely only be loyal to the point of Sapphire and then for the rest of my travels 'spread my wings' a little. What would be the extra benefit in attaining Emerald if the main perk is withdrawn? QR has been guilty of taking this approach and the backlash has been pretty scathing. They don't even allow you to use the J class lounge if you use points to upgrade from economy to business which just seems plain mean. BA take a similar approach at LHR but even they don't direct OWE passengers to the Business Class lounge and provide something better than Business but though not quite on the level of The Concorde Room.



SQ

23 Oct 2015

Total posts 20

I would have thought having a First Class Section of the First Class Lounge would make more sense - AKA SQ and the Private Room. This is for pax flying First Class only, everyone else stays in the First Class Lounge


I understand that people with status, or some such entitlement, want to be there, but when I'm paying 12-20k of my own hard earned, I don't want to have to stand in the corner of a lounge, waiting for some low-cost-carrier to late-board simply so I can get a seat.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 105

I understand your point of view. The reality is the paid person could be on a trip of a life time and have spent $10k with the airline on their big “once in a lifetime trip” while Mr and Mrs QF platinum one are taking a cheeky JQ787 relax break in Bali have put 100k through the company that year.


The Airline has to reward loyalty over a long term and look after the passengers who spend the cash and earn the status no matter what class of travel is that day.

SQ

23 Oct 2015

Total posts 20

That’s possible but I’m more in the category of high status AND flying first class. I’m not in the lounge due to my long term worth to the airline, I’m there because I’m flying first.


To me the clue is in the label. I’m paying for it and I want first class service, asa far as I’m concerned, that includes a lounge without half of the Qantas network inside it.

Maybe I’m just more used to, and attuned to, the service ethos of the Asian airlines?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 105

The Cathay lounges are full of us Qf Plats flying Y or J back to Australia! Swings and round abouts.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 386

And as AA has now done in the new Flagship Lounges - actual First pax have a private dining space within the lounge.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Agree with the other comments, QF is in an alliance! That means play by the rules. Incredibly selfish to entertain the thought of restricting other OWEs to ‘your’ lounge when you are free to use other equal (and often better F lounges) at other ports.


And even if QF were selfish enough to do such a thing they would need to open a separate ‘OWE 1st class lounge (or hole)’ in order to satisfy OW rules. They CANT restrict them to a J lounge. Only one other airline does this (Qatar) and it’s considered a scum move.


Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

And the statement pertaining to OWEs that “There'll still be a great lounge for you, and as long as there is a lounge at your disposal Oneworld won't complain.” is factually wrong. There needs to be an F lounge. That means a green oval and no blue oval.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

I believe you're mistaken, there does not HAVE to be a first class lounge, as long as there is a lounge for frequent flyers it doesn't matter if it is a business class lounge or an 'intregrated' all-class lounge.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Ok I worded it badly.


There does not have to be an F lounge but IF there is a OW F lounge at an airport then OWE must have access to that lounge. The only way to skirt around this is by creating a separate “1st class lounge” (ie a crap hole) designated for OWEs and keeping the true F lounge restricted (ie those dirtbags Qatar).

It’s pretty clear!

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

The article’s statement is still 100% incorrect.


And conflicted by their own references link where OW makes it clear that airlines must provide a minimum standard to all OW members but are free to go above and beyond for their own FFs. That’s how the dirtbags at Qatar get away with their setup. But dumping OWEs in a J lounge when an F lounge exists would not fly.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 995

No. There needs to be an F lounge.
At ports where the member airline has a separate lounge for F class pax, they also need to have a lounge for OWEs separate from J/OWS.
If this wasn't the case, then QR wouldn't have needed to build 4 lounges at DOH. 1 F only, 1 J only, 1 OWE, 1 OWS.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 132

I've never been in to the QF F lounge but if I ever were to, I'd want that exclusive feel. As a VA gold/plat usually flying Y, I totally get it when I'm relegated to the Krisflyer Gold lounge in SIN rather than the proper lounge. So I guess the suggestions in this article make sense to me.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

VA is not part of an alliance. There is no requirement for partner airlines to offer a minimum standard of lounge. SIA can relegate VA flyers to the toilet if the wanted to.


Completely different scenario to QF. Membership of OW mandates a minimum standard of lounge for partner airline FFers.

24 May 2017

Total posts 4

Also, even people with KrisFlyer Gold only get into the KrisFlyer Gold lounge (the same applies to anyone with *A Gold status - which is the top *A tier - equivalent to OWE). The proper J lounge in Changi is reserved for those travelling in J or people with PPS status (which is more akin to QF Platinum 1). So SQ does not treat pax with status in partner FF programs any differently to people with equivalent KF status.

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 88

In other words you want to retain access for yourself (based on your personal travel patterns) but kick everyone else out.


Never mind that all the other passengers you want to exclude will not fit in the business lounge in addition to those who already go there.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2011

Total posts 106

Did you miss the suggestion in the article that Qantas create a dedicated First Class space within the existing lounge?

05 May 2016

Total posts 587

It would be nice if QF had F seats on flights to SFO, HNL, QF9 (MEL-PER-LHR) etc. but they don't. If the FLounge was restricted to F passengers then QF would be locking out a lot of passengers that they're not even giving the choice to fly F by not putting F seats on the aircraft.


I too would be concerned about possible reciprocal action if QF locked out other airlines OWE from the FLounge. The CX FLounges in HKG and LHR are fantastic.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 521

As with the lounge losing its lustre so has the in flight experience. The business class style lavs with razors in a paper mouth rinse cups sporadically placed(classy eh) Hand cloths fraying at the seams and so thin no better than a premium paper hand towel, a pencil case poorly stocked amenity kit and food that is really at business class levels. Generally service is too laid back...no real differentiation from Business Class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

Restricting access to only QF members? Oh no. It is an absolute no from me. If QF WP can enjoy the 1st class lounge in HK, it is only fair dinkum that Marco Polo diamond gets reciprocal when they are in Sydney.


Is the Sydney 1st class lounge too crowded. No I don't think so either. It is best if the lounge is at designed capacity.

So what is the issue here? Perhaps expectation management.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 215

And can you imagine the commercial and reputational embarrassment for Qantas, to not offer an Emerald exclusive lounge for OW at the airline's primary hub?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 215

This article is so ridiculous I actually had to scroll upwards to see which AusBT staffer authored it. That floor plate is enormous, and there is more than enough square footage to accommodate OW Emeralds. I say this as a QF Plat myself. (Where exactly are the OW Emeralds supposed to go? Crush them into the Business lounge, where there isn't enough space?)

SO WHAT if the other carriers have a dedicated F cabin service out of SYD?? What on earth tangible difference should that make to QF?

(Qantas doesn't offer lounge access out of the kindness of their heart, they invoice partner carriers for it. First carries a premium as well. What is in it for QF by shrinking their customer base?)

You've talked about value proposition, but you're already a loyal QF flyer. So making the lounge "more exclusive" is hardly going to increase your patronage.

The absence of logic here is astounding.

If you're so desperate to have an "I'm MORE special than everyone else!" experience to preen your peacock feathers, then I might understand lobbying for a separate BA Concorde Room -style subspace within the lounge. Fortunately -- judging by the comments -- most AusBT readers aren't as shallow (and don't seem to need ever greater lounge exclusivity for validation).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1235

Hear hear. I checked out when I got to the part about turfing out non-QF OWEs. Ridiculous. And I say that as a QF Plat.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

If JQ passengers on domestic itineraries are the issue, then that’s easily solved. JQ is not covered by the OW agreement so QF is free to cancel their access on a lounge by lounge basis at anytime.


But that said, given the infrequency of such flights, the proportion of passengers on such flights with WP or above status and of that group the proportion that are aware that they can use the F lounge, will banning them have a meaningful impact on lounge capacity? Doubtful.

This article reeks of selfish elitism. F class passengers can go choke on their smashed avocados and 2nd tier champagne if they can’t handle the sight of an occasional JQ ticket. You purchased a commercial ticket not a private charter.

sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Yes, 'faded glamour' - lounge and flight. As for that library... ditch it, it reminds me of a Fawlty Towers style Guest House, kind of expect to see The Major perusing a copy of The Times.

14 Nov 2015

Total posts 37

What about a dress code? Doesn't even have to be particularly strict. I once saw a bloke in the Sydney F lounge who looked like he just stepped off Khao San Road. Singlet, shorts, scruffy hair, scruffier backpack, needed a wash...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 215

Qantas already enforces a dress code at domestic lounges, which it introduced in 2015 with quite a splash of publicity.

https://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/qantas-club-dress-guidelines/global/en

There's really very little excuse to arrive at a Qantas domestic lounge for a short inter-city flight looking like you crawled out of a garbage compactor.

International lounge dress code policies are a much greyer area, and are harder to enforce, due to:
- travelers transiting to / from an ultra long-haul flight wearing sleepwear or gym attire.
- cultural differences in dress standards w/ large number of foreign pax.
- not a consistently applied policy across the OW lounge network.
- considerably higher ticket sale price on international fares creates an expectation that the client is entitled to lounge access regardless of attire.

Obviously lounge dragons could, should and would deny entry to pax based on inappropriate attire w/ offensive slogans, too revealing, etc.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2017

Total posts 4

I think QFF has already been devalued enough. Surely the lounge would be basically empty if it was only OW F passengers.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

At peak hours for QF flights and especially during holidays crowding is an issue. But QF peaks are around morning, then lunchtime to early afternoon, the rest of the time the lounge is very quiet, in fact if you visit of an evening because you're on a QR flight or the CX overnight or QF to Tokyo, it's almost empty.

I agree 100% with no domestic JQ flyers having F lounge access. I agree with the idea of charging non-QF flyers for using the spa, even if it's on a nominal cost-recovery basis. I think that having a first-only 'dining room' area is an excellent idea because no first class passenger should have to wait for a table in the main dining room and they should be afforded a more 'exclusive' experience. But I think the biggest issues of crowding can be overcome by limiting extra guest access by families as another person has already suggested.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

OW requires that lounges accept at least one guest travelling on a OW airline. Unlike CX, QF is already pretty stingy and only offers this bare minimum to its own members, So the only way QF can make more room by restricting guests is by removing the child access policy.

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

Here's a suggestion. How about limiting access to those passengers who've actually purchased a f/c ticket, not just a business ticket (paid for by their employers) and then used points to upgrade? That'd keep it exclusive AND fair to those poor suckers who've actually payed to be there - cue gasps of outrage

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Not so much gasps of outrage, more gasps of incredulousness at the silliness of such a suggestion.

 
What makes a paid F flyer deserve more than an F upgrader? The latter has still ‘paid’, they’ve simply used mixed currency (cash and points).
 
What next? Limit J upgrades to J toilets but Y seats? How petty and complex do you want to make it?
 
And what has the employer paying have to do with it? A 16 yo pimply rich kid who buys a Porsche with ‘daddy’s money’ is just as entitled to drive it as a self made millionaire.

Mr Miyagi: You can discuss the topic, but leave the personal attacks and remarks about other readers at the door: your post above has been truncated accordingly.

You've been reminded of our comment policy previously which outlines these basic rules, and these reminders need not continue.

S
S

13 Sep 2013

Total posts 115

... and the award for the most pretentious article of the year goes to...

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

@ too right you are!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Feb 2017

Total posts 23

looking forward to vising the QF first lounge in Sydney in a few weeks before the emirates flight to christchurch. do they serve spirits from 5:00am?

British Airways - Executive Club

06 Apr 2018

Total posts 8

If qantas wants to make its product more exclusive the first thing they should do is stop redemptions and upgrades into first on points. Keep it for those who can truly afford it. Air France and to a degree LH both do this and their product is well regarded. In the meantime I’ll continue to enjoy the F lounge with my family in tow...

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 317

Yeah the F lounge gets busy, sometimes, but quite frankly where is not busy these days when flying? Yeah the F lounge probably needs a re-fresh agree, and the library could probably do with a re-think, but over all the staff are wonderful (Greg at front desk), food is great, lounge feels great, I recently held an early AM WebEx session in one of the offices and was very grateful for the privacy (staff couldn’t have been more accommodating) and I like that everyone is OW WP or above, irrespective of travel class. I’ve never felt that someone has queue jumped me.

As for the spa treatments you can happily have my spot, I couldn’t care less about that.

IML
IML

06 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

I agree that the lounge is not quite as good as it used to be, but I've felt in recent years that Qantas has been making cuts across the board to make its Business and First class offerings below par, rather than above the average. I now fly Emirates or Singapore Airlines before Qantas (even though the SYD SQ lounge is pretty terrible, but the SIN one is great).

That being said, I have four problems with this article.
1. There is no published data to support the ideas that the changes would make a difference. Where is the breakdown of visitors of QF status, passengers from OW operated flights and when during the day these people visit to justify its whole premise? How many people are from OW or 'just' platinum status are causing the crowding? The author travels on Qantas, so it could be that the crowding is coming from Qantas flights at the times he visits and the changes would make little difference. It's all speculative.
2. The author states that only 3 out of the 5 spa rooms are in use. This means Qantas has cut back Spa availability by 40%. This crowding is a result of Qantas cuts. Making the lounge more exclusive won't magically open the other 2 spa rooms.
3. Qantas has cut First class on many routes, so a Platinum member who wants to fly First Class to the many destinations where Qantas doesn't fly first class will fly either in Business with QF or First Class with another airline. So they get excluded under this exclusiveness idea?
4. Airlines charge each other for lounge access from another OW member. So Qantas is earning money from a OW visitor to its lounge. So why would Qantas change the policy?

All that being said, the BA Concorde room at Heathrow is fantastic and way better than the first class lounge.

Just out of interest, what where lounge facilities where available to first class passengers before the current Sydney and Melbourne First Lounges?

Qf

26 Apr 2015

Total posts 19

Pre the current F lounge opening, the F lounge in Sydney was quite small, no spa, no dining, but I actually preferred it to the zoo you have now. It was quiet with good service.

You get a good meal on the plane in F (although with Qantas, not all that different to J, but that’s another issue), so why do you need dining before you fly. The Spa was nice, but I actually prefer Spa treatments in nicer locations. So as an F passenger, all I am looking for, is a quiet space with the ability to get a drink and a light snack, if I am a bit hungry. I went to the current F lounge in July 2007 and I thought it was a beautiful space, with excellent service. It is still a beautiful space, but the rest of it matches Qantas - patchy and inconsistent.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 161

Maybe a lounge at an international airport that has experienced 41% growth in passenger numbers since it was opened simply needs to be expanded?

Yes it is fairly obvious that spa appointments should be separated out from other facilities, which simply means QF can decide to offer it only to their Platinum, P1 and first class passengers and if the other airlines want the facility for their passengers, then pay for it separately.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 135

this is great friday night reading... let me grab my scotch!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

Wow, I really have to digest so much of the content before making any 'valid' points.


As a P1 sitting in the Singapore Lounge flying F (upgrade) on Saturday night I will be happy with whatever happens.

The article is certainly a talking point !

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2417

That's exactly what these 'talking point' articles are meant to be, Smithy – raising an issue for consideration and discussion. I don't agree with all of the author's points but think some (such as a dedicated first class dining area and a better way to manage the spa facility) are quite valid.

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 57

From one of the best, if not the best, lounge 10 years ago on offer for first pax this lounge started its decline a few years in. Those bathroom drawers in the shower rooms were so well stocked to the point the bottom draw is now empty and whats it the top draw is bare bones quality. The lounge being overcrowded is a no-no for first class category and as for the spa it has gone downhill since sofitel ceased ops there. In-flight don't even get me started. If it wasn't for the bedding and bed there is NOTHING (when compared with the ME3 and top Asian and Euro carriers) truly first class about the Qantas A380 F cabin, service, lavs or 'lounge'. Los Angeles F lounge is a zoo for all, London lounge is now a zoo for all, Singapore lounge is a zoo for all, Hong Kong is a zoo for all and don't even get me started about the Dallas F lounge...joke of the century.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 215

Could you be a bit more melodramatic?

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 36

Maybe don’t fly first class then if it’s not worth the money. Obviously most people have already done this, and QF has scaled back accordingly. Fly J or PE and stop whining.


Frankly, spending 15k on a plane ticket when people are struggling to eat in our own country makes me sick - especially when wildly suitable cheaper options are available.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 36

100% agree with Gary

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Qantas need a dedicated lounge for p1 and chairman's and no others

To enter.

CX

16 May 2015

Total posts 12

As a personal gripe, as someone normally using the lounge when transferring to/from a WLG flight to/from somewhere in Asia, I find there aren't enough desks if you want to do some work. They reduced the number of desks a couple of years ago, and now seem to have only the three with the PCs on. Everything else is just low (comfortable) chairs.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2016

Total posts 12

Interesting topic.

I agree the library section could be better utilized, full stop. Perhaps an exclusive BA concorde room style approach but would need to think what would it be specifically and how many F passengers really per day. maybe F, P1 and Chairmans.
i think the menu is still very good but would love to see the minute steak back!!! broke my heart when that disappeared.
I also agree comments regarding restricting access to be careful what you wish, I love using CX lounges. Wing and Pier when flying QF, Finnair etc.
Bottom line for me as a long time Qantas Plat that typically gets to 1500-2000 SCs pa but not enough to break through to P1 its probably a part of the reason i stick with QF internationally. take it away and i'll rethink. I'm sure Qantas understand that. It is probably one of the main remaining benefits of Platinum.

21 Apr 2017

Total posts 35

If this was implemented would QF Platinum customers be fine with reciprocal treatment ie. denied access to the F lounges of other OW carriers unless flying first?

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 88

What's the justification for excluding Jetstar domestic passengers?


Why is a passenger on a $325 JQ25 fare to Cairns less deserving of F lounge access than someone on a $298 QF9 red e-deal to Perth?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 135

because you are flying Jetstar! Jetstar passengers should get nothing...

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

The justification for excluding Jetstar domestic passengers is because as the article explains those passengers are booking that domestic leg of an international flight only to get first class lounge access. The extra time and hassle involved in doing a domestic flight from an international terminal, which then lands at an international terminal at the other end, compared to a simple domestic service is only done so the passenger can enjoy the first lounge's food and drink and spa. Some might call that 'taking advantage of the system' but I agree with the author, those travellers should be shunted to the business class lounge.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2016

Total posts 13

very interesting debate....

maybe important to remember - the F lounge for a first class traveler is something that you have bought - with money or points, or a combo of both - for everyone else that gets access its a reward for your loyalty, simple as that - Qantas know this very very well

it does not make any difference if your going on a JQ $50 fare to somewhere or 8K bus class to London, you get access to what is a great space, service and experience as a reward for your loyalty and continued year on year loyalty.

This forum is remember a business traveler forum, so (and yes I'm assuming) most of us are being funded by our employers or at least subsidized - lounge access is a perk to smooth your transit experience, based on how often you are in the air

myself as a heavy traveler.... that travels to places that often don't even have a sealed runway, let alone a spa, I try and spend as least time in the lounges as possible, I'm there to catch a plane and get as quickly to where I am going as possible, we should all remember this....

great article to spark debate - thank Gary


bsb
bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 72

Ha. I’m self employed. I pay for my WP status all by myself. Ain’t no one subsidising me daniesut

01 Mar 2018

Total posts 8

Totally agree. I would put my money on the statistics on P1 and WP members that a large amount of them are heavily subsidised and do not have to pay one cent out of there own pockets for the status level like a great many others.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 175

It’s pure commercial reality. The incentive worked, more people have earned the right to acces the lounge.


No harm in creating another lounge above it with more restrictive access but you can’t deny people what they’ve paid for.

19 Jul 2017

Total posts 5

Interesting logic. I can only assume the OP would be happy with domestic business lounges being restricted to actual J passengers also.

CP
CP

SilkAir - KrisFlyer

28 Mar 2017

Total posts 14

A dedicated F Lounge is an imperative for QF. Loyalty is rewarded with many benefits included Lounge access but revenue pax need to be similarly cosseted and feel appreciated. It is a fine line to keep all premium passengers feeling appreciated but ultimately, the full fare revenue passenger ought be prioritised in terms of lounge provision.

08 Aug 2017

Total posts 44

If it’s about revenue (which it is!) presumably full-fare economy passengers doing >20 long haul trips a year is more valuable to the airline than someone doing the 1.5 discounted First trips between SYD and LHR (that is required to retain Platinum)? The latter is just $15k in revenue (and at high cost). The former generates revenues at lower costs in the tens of thousands.

08 Aug 2017

Total posts 44

I have the privilege of using the First Lounges because I’m OWE flying Y and PY a lot. And it’s a perk that I value enormously. Perhaps the key one that keeps my loyalty.


When I travel F it is on my own dime with my partner as small consolation for amount of the time I spend away.

Even when I’m paying for two First Class tickets I’m absolutely not churlish enough to resent other people in the lounge.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

For the record I fully support the stringent enforcement of a strict dress code so long as it doesn't apply to my young children as they hold pretend meetings with each other in the meeting rooms and stream Peppa Pig on those high def Apple monitors as we await our discount JQ / MH flights to our family holiday destinations. Yep 100% OK with that .



Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Why the Qantas first class lounge needs to be much more 'exclusive'