After being shuttered for almost 20 months, the Qantas Lounge at London Heathrow T3 finally reopened its doors on 10 December and is welcoming oneworld flyers once again. Fortuitously, I was flying out of Heathrow Terminal 3 shortly after the lounge reopened so I paid it a visit and took a look at what it's offering as the travel world struggles to get back to some semblance of normality.
Qantas has said that following the announcement from New South Wales than it plans to open up to vaccinated visitors from 1 November and that vaccinated visitors will no longer need to quarantine, it will bring forward the relaunch of a couple of its key routes. Specifically, the Sydney - Los Angeles and the Sydney - London routes are two that will be coming back sooner than planned.
with Australia's borders still firmly closed and with international travel looking unlikely before the latter half of this year, Qantas is bringing back its 'Mystery Flight' concept in a limited (and slightly tweaked) way, as the airline looks to promote domestic tourism.
Right at the very start of the year, Qantas announced that it was planning to restart international flights from July 2021. That news led to the airline receiving a short, sharp rebuke from the Australian authorities for preempting what should be a governmental decision. Now, following confirmation that Qantas' international flights will now not resume before October, it would appear as if the airline has come to heel.
One of the bigger consumer stories that has emerged during this pandemic is the story of tens of thousands of travelers struggling to get their canceled trips refunded by airlines all over the world. Qantas is one of the airlines that has been less than stellar when it comes to returning customer funds and now the airline is offering customers incentives if they choose to accept a credit for future travel over the cash they're owed.
Qantas has unveiled the 3-year recovery plan it will be following as it navigates its way out of the current crisis, and the details shared by the airline show Qantas cutting a significant number of jobs, keeping a large proportion of its fleet grounded, retiring its 747s earlier than planned and admitting that the days may be numbered for in A380 aircraft.
Project Sunrise is Qantas' ambitious plan to offer non-stop flights from the Australian east coast to cities in Europe and cities on the east coast of the United States. Back in December, the airline announced that it had selected the Airbus A350-1000 to be the aircraft that would operate the first groundbreaking routes and that it would be making a final decision on the viability of the project in March 2020. That announcement now seems like a lifetime ago.
A recent trip to the Qantas First Class lounge at LAX (courtesy of my airline status) reminded me that the Australian flag carrier is now allowing passengers of all airlines and all cabins to pay to access some of its lounges around the world. When you see what some of these lounges are charging you may be tempted to give one of them a try.
The entry criteria to the American Airlines arrival lounge at London Heathrow T3 have always been stricter than the entry requirements to most other oneworld airline lounges and now it seems that the lounge is about to get even more exclusive as Qantas pulls the plug on access for its flyers.
Today marks the opening of the new Qantas First Class lounge in Singapore which will work in tandem with the existing Qantas Business Class lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 1. Qantas has now released details and a few images of the new lounge and it looks pretty good.