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oneworld cuts cross-airline lounge access for business, first class

By John Walton     Filed under: qantas, business class, OneWorld, British Airways, london heathrow, Qantas Business Lounge, Singapore Changi, business lounge, Galleries Club, Terminal 3, Galleries First

UPDATE | Following Australian Business Traveller's story on oneworld lounge access, a senior oneworld rep contacted us to explain that the change was due to an unauthorised change made during a website update.

You're able to use any oneworld airline's business lounge if you hold a business class ticket, or first class lounge if you've a first class ticket.  

PREVIOUS | The oneworld airline alliance, in which Qantas is a major partner, has slashed its lounge access policy for business and first class passengers.

Passengers forking out for the expensive seats at the front of the plane are now restricted to only visiting the lounge of the airline they're flying, oneworld's new-look website states:

When you fly First or Business Class with a oneworld member airline, you are free to enjoy that airline’s First or Business Class lounge (depending on which class you are flying) before departure, regardless of your frequent flyer tier status.

Travellers in those premium cabins previously had access to the first or business class lounges run by any oneworld partner airline.

However, frequent flyers don't need to panic -- oneworld's new rules apply only to the ticket you hold, not to your level of frequent flyer status.

Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members (which equates to Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum and Gold, for instance) will still be allowed into any lounge of their choice.

  • Emerald tier frequent flyers can use First Class, Business Class or frequent flyer lounges.
  • Sapphire tier frequent flyers are welcome in Business Class or frequent flyer lounges.
  • As an Emerald or Sapphire member, your lounge access is regardless of which cabin you are flying in.
  • Emerald and Sapphire members may invite one guest to join them in the lounge.

Yes, that does seems a bit arse-about: people paying for first class are restricted to their airline's lounge but frequent flyers who may be sitting in economy can take their pick of lounges!

Oneworld's new rules will be a real blow to Qantas business and first class passengers travelling to and from London but without the benefit of frequent flyer status.

They'll be stuck in the deeply underwhelming joint Qantas/BA first class and business class lounges in Singapore and the dark, dim British Airways Galleries lounges in London.

Card-toting frequent flyers, including Qantas' Gold (oneworld Sapphire) and Platinum (oneworld Emerald) members, can enjoy the light, bright Cathay Pacific lounges at Singapore Changi and London Heathrow -- and can also slip into the best oneworld lounges in Terminal 3 at London Heathrow.


About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 6/12/11 by TimH

Tokyo's Narita is another place where this can be a factor.  The JAL lounges - especially the first class lounge - are a league ahead of the Qantas lounge.

2 on 6/12/11 by woganfan

Another Oneworld "enhancement".  Slowly they will erode the frequent flyer status as well meaning QF Platinum will not be allowed to use the CX lounges in HKG for example.

1 on 6/12/11 by TimH

So true.  Am sick and tired of being "enhanced", "streamlined" and "modernised"

3 on 6/12/11 by Al

I'm amazed they are cutting lounge access for the people who spend the most money, buying First and Business Class tickets, but keeping it for people who may have spent not a red cent on that airline but racked up Gold or Platinum with an alliance partner and may have bought the cheapest seat on the same flight. Makes me wonder though if this is a prelude to limiting lounge access to your 'host' airline unless they have no lounge at the airport, eg if you're flying Qantas to HK you could only use QF's HK lounges, not Cathay's far superior ones. I reckon this will come next!

4 on 7/12/11 by AusFlyer

Wow... are we really all bitching about the fact that we may only be able to use the lounge on the airline that we are flying rather than picking from a raft of OneWorld lounges? Really? Have we really become so snotty that this is causing angst amoungst people? Lounge access must be one of the least important benefits to me... I prefer to get points, be upgraded on the flight and get my luggage off first than worry about which one of the lounges I can use!

5 on 7/12/11 by comcats2168

This is terrible!  If OW thinks that this is an "enhancement", this will be bad for me.  I sometimes fly CX from Melbourne to Hong Kong and that means I will have to use the tiny CX lounge instead of the better Qantas lounge.  Grrr!

6 on 7/12/11 by Rufus

What AusFlyer said.  QF passengers without status can only use the QF lounge?  Diddums!

7 on 1/2/12 by AirportAddict

I sort of think that it is fair enough. It is one thing to be flying first or business but you deserve more when you have done a heap of flying. But i do hate it how they are slowly strangling benefits.

1 on 22/5/12 by Platinum1FF

Why am I not surprised, the goal posts change daily with these clowns, if it were not for QF monopilizing the domestic market in Australia I would not go near them, VIRGIN VIRGIN,,,,that is the future of the business traveler

8 on 1/6/12 by LoveToFly


Just wondering where in the one world website it states the above. I couldnt find it and am flying 1st from LHR - MEL with Qantas and was hoping to use the various lounges. I dont beleive its right that a 1st ticket doesnt get you all the access. I Understand that people who fly lots amass high status as they should, but alot of this trave is possibily paid for by work, where as alot of 1st class travel is individual people paying for their own trip, (perhaps a trip they have saved for over a number of years.) but just my thought. Each to their own.


I only could find the below on the one world section, but could be easily be looking in the wrong section.


Indulge yourself before departure in a wider range of airport lounges when you fly First Class or Business Class with a oneworld member airline.

Customers flying First or Business Class have access to the equivalent class of lounge regardless of their frequent flyer status. (First Class passengers may be accompanied by one guest travelling on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline).


1 on 1/6/12 by John

Hi LoveToFly -- oneworld "walked this one back" in journo parlance. Apparently someone changed the lounge text on their website without being authorised to do so. It's a little difficult to believe, I know.

Apologies that I missed updating this one in a round of updates following the walkback! I'll make sure that it's updated right now.

1 on 1/6/12 by LoveToFly

Thanks John for the update. I can imagine its easy miss something like this. Im happy with this news as now I get to see what the other lounges are like in T3,



1 on 1/6/12 by John

No worries! I thought I'd tracked 'em all down, but there was one more hiding! You've read my strong opinions on the best London Heathrow Terminal 3 oneworld lounge, right?

1 on 1/6/12 by LoveToFly

Indeed I have, i look forward to checking them all out. Its my 1st time in 1st class so I cant wait to experience that. In the mean time theres a economy flight from MEL - DUB with Ethiad to look forward. Frantically trying to get to Virgin Gold Member so I can use the Ethiad lounges for that trip. On a side note love the daily updates on all things travel.


1 on 4/7/12 by Ian_from_HKG

John, I can't help wondering if you should delete this article - or at the very least change the title to make it clear that oneworld have NOT cut lounge access for premium passengers - if you want to keep the thread, perhaps something along the lines of "oneworld confirms cross-airline lounge access for premium passengers after all"

9 on 31/8/12 by Ian_from_HKG

Really disappointing that this article - with its now deeply misleading headline - still appears on your homepage.  Come on guys - amend the headline, or delete the article...

10 on 20/6/13 by Bert

Odd how when you ask for loyalty benefits back from Qantas for being aloyal traveller it just doesn't add up! Especially when you fly on One World partners like Malaysia and Cathay and they refuse to give points to a Lifetime Qantas Club member.


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