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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.
Executive Traveller has reported that Qantas First Class and Business Class customers no longer have access to the American Airlines arrivals lounge at Heathrow T3 following a “broader review of the airline’s lounge offering at Heathrow Airport” by the Australian flag carrier.
Apparently Qantas doesn’t believe that its flyers really need to have access to the American Airlines arrivals lounge as they can already avail themselves of the complimentary chauffeur service that First Class and Business Class passengers are offered (this includes passengers on award bookings) and get themselves to their hotels soon after they land….but there’s one slight problem with that argument.
Qantas’ daily A380 service from Sydney to London lands int Heathrow at 06:15, the airline’s daily service between Melbourne and Heathrow lands at 05:05 and the famous non-stop service between Perth and London also lands at 05:05 so Qantas’ passengers will, presumably, be arriving at their London hotels at no later than 08:00 when using the chauffeur service…but how many London hotels are allowing these flyers to check-in at that time of day?
One of the nicest things about an arrivals lounge for travelers arriving into a city off a long-haul flight at an ungodly hour of the morning is that it allows them to shower, freshen up, change and have something to eat before heading to their hotels or to their meetings…a chauffeur service doesn’t really do that.
Unless London hotels have suddenly started letting guests check-in at all times of the day (very unlikely) I highly doubt that many Qantas’ flyers are getting off their flights, enjoying a chauffeured drive into London and walking straight into a hotel room where they can freshen up for the day ahead.
I also highly doubt the statistic that Qantas passed on to Executive Traveller that says that only 1 or 2 Qantas flyers would use the arrivals lounge every day. That sounds very like other statements we hear when airlines remove benefits that attempt to claim that they’re only doing what passengers have said they want them to do.
Besides, if Qantas passengers are genuinely using the American Arrivals lounge in such low numbers then if probably down to the fact that they don’t know it’s there rather than down to the fact that they don’t need to use it.
Also, if only 1 or 2 passengers are using the lounge every day, what’s the issue with continuing to provide access? It can’t be costing much.
The removal of access to the American Airlines arrivals lounge at Heathrow T3 is a definite negative for Qantas’ premium cabin passengers and although the Plaza Premium arrivals lounge in the same terminal is now part of Priority Pass that’s hardly a like for like replacement.
Qantas can spin this news however they want to, but a benefit cut is a benefit cut whichever way you look at this and this is a cut that I expect will disappoint quite a few flyers.