By Albert Kuan
Qantas Plans International Lounge Reopening, Shutters Hong Kong Lounge
Planning for easements in global travel restrictions, Qantas has announced plans to reopen its international flagship lounges in Singapore, London and Los Angeles in anticipation of Qantas international flights resuming in December. The Oneworld alliance carrier seeks to resume many overseas flights from its Sydney and Melbourne hubs — including those to Singapore, London and to destinations in the U.S. — in December 2021.
Qantas aims to resume international flying from December 2021 flying to “low-risk” countries served prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, including Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce believes the operation plan is reasonable as these countries have a solid vaccination scheme and increasing levels of vaccination. However, this is also all pending the Australian government’s promised easing of travel restrictions once Australia passes its own vaccination goals.
Qantas closed all its international lounges in March 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many international Qantas flights were grounded during this time and still remain that way to this day. As of writing, a large number of Qantas club lounges used only for Australian domestic and trans-Tasman services have resumed service.
Although Qantas has announced the reopening of all its international lounges, it also confirmed a few days ago its Hong Kong lounge would be permanently closed. The airline advised its business class travelers and frequent flyers would be directed to lounges operated by Oneworld partner Cathay Pacific.
A week before Qantas announced its lounge reopening plans, Star Alliance reopened its only flagship lounge in the U.S. in Los Angeles after nearly 20 months of closure. Although Los Angeles lounges operated by Alaska, American, Delta and United reopened in late 2020, many Los Angeles lounges dedicated to international travelers in Tom Bradley International Terminal, often referred to as TBIT, remained closed despite international travel recovering.
The Star Alliance Lounge is the most recent lounge to reopen at TBIT since Covid-19 with the easement of international travel restrictions. SkyTeam’s KAL Lounge, operated by Korean Air, reopened earlier this summer, and Emirates is now operating its Los Angeles lounge with limited hours.