With the launch of the trans-Tasman travel bubble just days from launch, Qantas has unveiled a “historic” change to its flagship lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
After being closed for more than a year, the airline’s CEO Alan Joyce said the doors of the airline’s lounges at the international terminal will no longer be reserved for Platinum Frequent Flyers.
Speaking from the flagship Sydney lounge at the international terminal, Mr Joyce said the doors to the First Lounge will swing open to customers travelling in Business, Gold Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members until the neighbouring Business lounges reopen.
Mr Joyce said reopening three of its flagship international lounges was a key milestone in the national carrier’s recovery which has decimated the aviation industry around the world.
“If you’re making a comeback, you should do it in style. That’s why we’ve decided to open our First lounges ahead of our other lounges and give more of our customers the opportunity to experience them,” Mr Joyce said.
“Our lounges are a second home for many frequent flyers when they’re on the road and we know their reopening will be well received.”
Neil Perry, the airline’s executive chef, said guests to the lounge will have access to some of the “favourite” menu items as the international lounge doors reopen.
“We have done some tinkering with the food to make sure that we can deliver and do the volume,” Mr Perry explained at the lounge reopening event on Thursday.
“Some of the things we will be doing is of course our fabulous signatures from the first class lounge.
Mr Perry highlighted the lounge’s signature squid dish will make a return, along with his pavlova and a “lamb noodle” offering as part of the evening menu.
“Breakfast will start with a nice healthy Bircher muesli and of course those beautiful brioche toasties,” he explained.
Mr Joyce said the airline was expected to return to 90 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic capacity by mid-year, while all domestic crew were now back at work and corporate travel had returned to 65 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels.
The airline boss said their first class flagship lounge had been “locked in time” for more than a year, and the reopening – and allowing Qantas Gold Members and Business travel passengers – through the doors was a history-making decision.