Qantas will reopen its domestic lounges for the first time in three months from tomorrow as coronavirus travel restrictions ease.
The Australian airline will reopen 11 of its 35 domestic lounges including the Sydney, Perth and Canberra business lounges and the Adelaide Qantas Club on Wednesday.
Regional lounges in Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Broome, Karratha and Launceston will also reopen.
But with social distancing measures still in place, Qantas lounges will operate very differently with their popular self-serve buffets noticeably absent.
The reopening of Qantas lounges comes ahead of the Queensland, Northern Territory, and Tasmania borders reopening later this month.
A Qantas Lounge worker applies hand sanitiser to a woman’s hand. The Australian airline will reopen some of its domestic lounges with social distancing measures in place from July 1
Strict social distancing will be in place when Qantas reopens the popular facilities.
Lounges will cap the number of guests to comply with restrictions on indoor gatherings, which vary from state to state.
Disposable coffee cups will replace reusable ones, sanitising stations have been set up and extra cleaning procedures will be in place.
‘All lounges have undergone a deep clean during their closure,’ a Qantas press release read.
Qantas’ popular self-serve buffets will be replaced by a ‘hosted All-Day Snacking Station’ where a member of staff serves food.
Lounge customers can also order ‘bespoke dishes’ from a ‘personalised tray around service’ as well as coffee from the lounge barista and alcohol from the bartender.
Melbourne’s Spice Bar and Perth’s Pizza bar will also be in operation once the lounges reopen.
A Qantas Lounge worker offers food from a ‘hosted All-Day Snacking Station’. The stations will temporarily replace the lounges’ popular self-serve buffets
Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said travellers will enjoy an ‘extra personalised’ experience at their lounges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘This is a new world for everyone as we introduce and evolve our services to the new travel climate, but we’re very confident that we can make this work well for our people and our customers,’ Ms Tully said.
‘Some initiatives will become the norm while others such as capacity restrictions will ease as time goes on.
‘We haven’t ruled out a return of the buffet, toastie and pancake maker in the future or the reintroduction of self-serve beverage stations when restrictions ease.’
At this stage, Qantas will only reopen some of its business and regional lounges as well its Adelaide Qantas Club.
A Qantas Lounge worker brings a woman ‘bespoke dishes’ as part of their ‘personalised tray around service’. The airline is limiting customer contact with surfaces by replacing self-serve buffets with ordering from attendants
Chairmans lounges will reopen in August while international lounges in Australia and overseas will remain closed since international travel has not fully resumed.
Queensland and Victoria lounges are scheduled for progressive reopening from July 10 as current gathering restrictions are eased.
Currently, both states only allow for 20 patrons to dine at businesses, which will increase to 100 in Queensland from July 10 and to 50 in Victoria from July 12.
After closing their borders to travellers for months, Queensland and the Northern Territory will reopen their borders on July 10 and July 17, respectively.
Tasmania will reopen on July 24 but South Australia remains closed to NSW, Victoria and the ACT while WA is still completely closed.
NSW, Victoria and the ACT’s borders are already open but international travel is not expected to resume until July next year.
A pumpkin soup, sausage roll and blueberry cheesecake served at a Qantas Lounge