Qantas doesn't expect to cut the ribbon to its new London Heathrow airport lounge until late 2017, representing a delay of six months beyond the original promise of a March opening for the split-level space.
A source associated with the lounge's construction tells Australian Business Traveller that the project team is now targeting "late September, definitely October" as the opening date.
Australian Business Traveller understands that the Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 has been beset by similar construction and contractor issues which led to a similar four-month delay for Cathay Pacific's new business class and first class lounges (below) in the same terminal.
Fortunately, with the Cathay Pacific lounges now open, Qantas passengers have a far better option than the tired old British Airways lounges at T3.
Qantas business class travellers and Gold-grade frequent flyers heading home on QF2 and QF10 can enjoy Cathay Pacific’s signature Noodle Bar and a buffet spread at The Food Hall, along with a fully tended bar.
First class and Platinum-grade frequent flyers gain entry to the lounge's first class annexe with its a la carte dining room.
Both lounges share access to eight well-appointed shower suites where travellers can freshen up before their flight.
Qantas Club members can't use the Cathay Pacific lounges but can cool their heels at the far less salubrious Admiral's Club lounge of Oneworld partner American Airlines.
PREVIOUS | Qantas will open a new flagship lounge at London's Heathrow Airport next year as the airline continues to upgrade its international lounge network.
Due to open by March 2017, the Qantas London Lounge at Terminal 3 will follow in the footsteps of its contemporary counterparts at Los Angeles, and to a lesser extent Hong Kong and Singapore, but give the 'Qantas international lounge' model a uniquely British bent.
While all Qantas passengers will share the same lounge it's expected that additional services – such as free clothes pressing, 'off the list' wines and champagne, and first dibs on shower bookings – will be offered to travellers in first class along with members of the exclusive Chairman's Lounge plus Platinum One frequent flyers.
The lounge will boast a "Rockpool menu and dining experience" with a full-service wine and cocktail bar, showers and a children's zone.
Qantas currently runs two daily Airbus A380 flights out of Heathrow, with the Melbourne-bound QF10 departing at noon and Sydney's QF2 at 8.35pm.
In addition to first and business class travellers the lounge will also be open to Gold and Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members as well as eligible flyers on Oneworld airlines departing from T3.
The new lounge will seat 230 people across a split-level facility located on the footprint of the former SAS lounge at Terminal 3, according to a person familiar with the plans who wasn’t authorised to comment publicly.
The Scandinavian airline shuttered its T3 lounge in late 2014 after shifting flights to the Star Alliance hub of T2.
Qantas currently shares the Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge of British Airways, but sees the substantial investment in its own lounge as a marker for the airline's long-term commitment to London and the Kangaroo Route.
"The Kangaroo Route is at the heart of Qantas' identity and London remains one of our most important destinations" said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
"We want the first dedicated Qantas lounge at Heathrow to be something special," adding that it would be "a fresh jewel in the crown".
Joyce – who today reported a record $921 million pre-tax profit for the airline over the six months from July to December 2015 – has previously talked up the possibility of non-stop Boeing 787-9 flights from Perth to London.
That route could see passengers from the east coast cities flying to Perth to make the 14,000km, 18 hour trek to Blighty as an alternative to today's superjumbo stop-overs at Dubai.
Oneworld partner Cathay Pacific is also working on its own new-look London T3 lounge, which will open in June with separate business class and first class zones and take its design cues from the warm residential vibe already seen in CX lounges at Tokyo Haneda, Bangkok, Manila and most recently The Pier First Class at Hong Kong (shown below).
Photos, video: Cathay Pacific opens new The Pier First Class lounge
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