Why Qantas is revamping 6 lounges in 2019
Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Tamworth, Auckland and Tokyo are all being updated – here's what's going down.
By global standards, Qantas already operates top-class lounges. Spend time in any US airline lounge, for instance, and you'll soon be pining for the Qantas Club.
However, Qantas isn't resting on its laurels. As part of its annual results today, it announced plans to revamp six of its lounges. This is on top of the current revamps for lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. On that note, the Melbourne domestic lounge revamp is now complete, with the revamped lounge opening tomorrow.
Here's what's going on in each city, why Qantas is doing it and some challenges it will have to watch out for. I've visited every one of these lounges, some as recently as last weekend.
SYDNEY: The airline is planning a revamp of its International First lounge, which will be "refreshed" and will have 15% more space added. While that lounge (and its Melbourne counterpart) is arguably already the best in Australia, a touch-up won't go amiss. I just hope the extra 15% comes from more efficient use of the kitchen and backroom areas, rather than having to be cut from the adjacent Business lounge.
BRISBANE: Following that theme, the Brisbane international lounge is being expanded to cater for an extra 100 guests. That lounge can get crowded pre-flight, so this is a welcome development.
HOBART: Hobart's Qantas lounge is one of the runtiest in the land (though at least it's now airside – back in the early 2000s, it was landside). Again, it's going to be completely expanded. It would be nice if its hours were also extended so that passengers on Jetstar flights could use it; as I've noted elsewhere, Tasmanian frequent fliers get short shrift generally.
TAMWORTH: Coincidentally, I was in Tamworth last weekend and checked out the current regional lounge (full review coming tomorrow). It's not actually news that a revamp is on the cards as Tamworth Airport is doing a major redevelopment and the construction plans splayed all over the walls of the airport mention space for two new lounge areas. The lounge wasn't over-full when I caught my flight, but I'll never be one to knock extra space.
AUCKLAND: Auckland's existing First and Business lounges are being combined into a single space – an approach Qantas has already adopted at London Heathrow (below). This is good news for travellers who aren't Platinum or above as it means they get a better lounge experience. However, it's also good news for Qantas as a single lounge means lower costs.
TOKYO: Finally, we're told the Narita lounge "will be refreshed with a new design and improved dining options". This is the lounge of which I have the haziest memories. Note there's no mention of increased space here.
While the revamps might cause some temporary annoyance, it's good to see Qantas continuing to expand its lounge portfolio. It also gives me six more lounges to add to my review list!
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.