Qantas to start 'cocktail hour' in airport lounges

Qantas to start 'cocktail hour' in airport lounges

Qantas is now serving cocktails in its domestic airport lounges as part of a refresh of the entire lounge experience.

5pm to 6pm has been declared 'cocktail hour' in the Qantas Business Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, adding a little more fun, and dare we say sophistication, to domestic travel.

"We're very much into bringing 'surprise and delight' into the lounges" says Helen Gray, the airline's Head of Domestic Product & Service.

The cocktail service will begin on Tuesday November 4, which is Melbourne Cup Day, and so the menu will feature classic race-themed tipples such as Mint Juleps (a mint and bourbon whiskey combo which is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby).

Gray plans for a roster of "summer-inspired cocktails" to be served through to Christmas, including a special Qantas Christmas Cocktail from December 17-30.

And although the cocktail hour will run only on weekdays, she suggested to Australian Business Traveller that "I'm sure the guys can rustle something up on special request on the weekends".

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

26 comments

  • eminere

    eminere

    31 Oct, 2014 11:11 am

    Yep, I can see women in tacky bodycon mini dresses with boobs spilling out over plunging necklines and topiary bushes perched sideways on their head sophisticating the hell out of Melbourne Cup Day.

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    31 Oct, 2014 01:54 pm

    VA has the 'topiary bushes' market covered..providing boxes for your 'creation'...but only if you flying out of SYD.. seems other ports aren't valued as much as SYD in VAs eyes....not sure where these boxes get stowed inflight...is there a box limit per flight??

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  • Mal

    Mal

    31 Oct, 2014 11:34 am

    Such a cynic, eminere! :)

    Great to see Qantas having a bit of fun and doing some different things in its lounges.

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    31 Oct, 2014 12:04 pm

    Cue the fifo bogans asking for 3 at a time!

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    31 Oct, 2014 12:21 pm

    'fifo bogans' wouldnt be seen dead holding a cocktail glass lol ... its only in Business Lounges SYD MEL BNE CBR (not Qantas Club Lounges)...so QF dodges the bogan bullet in PER lol

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    31 Oct, 2014 12:34 pm

    so ....no different to the 'suited bogans'

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  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    2 Nov, 2014 10:41 am

    Qantas needs to be much stricter on dress and conduct in the lounges! The bogan quotient (both suited and hi-viz) is cause for concern, though noticeably less visible in the Business Lounges.  This is a marvellous idea!

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  • Merc25

    Merc25

    31 Oct, 2014 12:28 pm

    Great to see Qantas doing something different,looking  forward to having one on my next trip.well done Qantas

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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    31 Oct, 2014 12:35 pm

    It appears to be Business Lounges only.  The QF Club remain as is.

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  • Pushka

    Pushka

    31 Oct, 2014 02:54 pm

    And the cocktails will be available in Adelaide which doesnt have a Business Lounge?

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    31 Oct, 2014 03:08 pm

    >5pm to 6pm will be declared 'cocktail hour' in the Qantas Business Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra

    So, presumably not.

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  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    31 Oct, 2014 05:05 pm

    Great! Can just see the Kath, Kim and Kel brigade makinga scene.

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  • Nathan Jordan

    nathanjordan

    1 Nov, 2014 10:26 am

    Upon attempting to enter QC : "I'm sorry sir, we don't ACCEPT 'Video Ezy' cards..."

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  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    1 Nov, 2014 10:40 am

    yes yes, exactly ... LOL. Perfect.

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  • planemad

    planemad

    31 Oct, 2014 05:22 pm

    Kudos to Qantas for being creative!

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    1 Nov, 2014 01:47 am

    Sounds good, but just for comparison sake, Qatar serves Krug in its Business Lounge at Doha! Even if you are just doing a short regional hop. Even the Qantas First Lounge doesn't reach this height with its drinks list. Qatar aren't stingy with it either. Still good on Qantas for uping it's own offering.

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  • Worldflyer90

    Worldflyer90

    1 Nov, 2014 07:41 am

    I agree that there's always room for improvement, though I was in the Al Mourjan lounge a few weeks ago and the staff member I was talking to said the Krug was only there because the first class lounge was yet to open. 

    They served the mint juleps in the business lounge in Canberra last night and if nothing else it was a nice touch and good to have the option. They seemed to be pretty well received by the fairly full lounge.

    I certainly agree with you though that there is always room for improvement.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    1 Nov, 2014 10:06 pm

    > "Sounds good, but just for comparison sake, Qatar serves Krug in its Business Lounge at Doha!"

    That is absolute tripe.

    Even ignoring the reference to First, you must remember that DOH is Qatar's gateway to the world. That Krug is there because there are passengers in long-haul Business across the globe, paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for the privilege. (Or rorting points. That's also alright.)

    The Qantas Business Lounge for Qantas Domestic is, in contrast, almost a tin-pot operation. The longest flight is to Perth. Competition is restricted to another tin-pot operation that doesn't even have a Platinum/Business-only lounge, instead cramming everyone beyond the rank of Nobody into one barn. In the local context, it is unparalled.

    I put it to you, gippsflyer, that the Cocktail Hour sees Qantas offer good variety in flavour and colour at the end of the business day, brightening up with 'surprise and delight' the time of day these road warriors need to relax.

    If you viewed this Cocktail Hour within the appropriate local context, there is nothing to complain about.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    1 Nov, 2014 10:49 pm

    You clearly haven't been in said AUH lounge - it services passengers travelling flights much the same of as our domestic flights (as I specifically pointed out in my post). That is, on regional configured aircraft plying short sector routes. I find it amazing that such a lounge is offering flowing Krug (regardless that it may not be forever and ever) - now that is Wow! worthy and a sign that Middle Eastern airlines are providing leading edge amenity (Australia no longer has the crown for lounge experiences). Even when I've been travelling First on Qantas, they normally only have a bottle (two at the most) of top shelf champange (I quite like the Comtes de Comtes), so it generally is substituted before flights end - which makes the endless bottles of Krug in the Lounge even more unusual.

    Get your knickers in a knot if you must (or tripe, if that's what floats your boat), but given that one could already get basic spirits in a Qantas lounge, the only thing added here is some mixers and a few shakes of a cocktail jar. If such a benefit, for an hour on weekdays only, causes you to gasm as if sliced bread had just been invented then I say you hadn't lived or travelled much. As I said "good on Qantas" (hardly a complaint is it), but as enhancements go it's barely good, let alone "wow" or "surprise and delight". Although sounds like you could do with all the relaxation you can get, before you bring on a coronary. Sorry if you feel I've somehow diminished your pet airline (which is of your interpretation, and which you have chosen to take personally), but I find it hard to take seriously the overhype on such a minor enhancement.

    I don't get, by the way, the aspersions you cast against people using points, "rorting points" you called it. I wonder if you refuse to use your own points? I certainly don't see the points I earn flying as tainted, and my Qatar flight was paid in cash (not points) so I don't understand your relevance here. If airlines say you can redeem points for air travel, then by definition it cannot be rorting. 

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  • watson374

    watson374

    1 Nov, 2014 11:33 pm

    Is this lounge of yours in AUH or in DOH? Please establish which port this lounge is in before further discussion.

    Tangled undergarments or no, the core message is that it is unreasonable to expect a domestic Australian carrier, full service or no, to serve the last name in champagne when the scope of the said carrier is strictly domestic.

    Unless the lounge is exclusively for short-haul use, the implication of the lounge being in either AUH or DOH is that it is part of a global hub and therefore has the amenities to match. Domestic operations out of Sydney are in comparison much like a Lufthansa rubber duck in the middle of the North Atlantic (i.e. not very large).

    And by rorting, I refer to those who seek to extract maximum value from premium travel - which, as I have already said, is alright. I use my points for award travel, thank you very much.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    2 Nov, 2014 12:10 am

    Yes, DOH (late hour slip), and I appreciate the please to moderate the command language used to obtain clarification (it is perfectly fine to disagree, but to be abusive or haughty does no-one any favours).

    You seem to construct artificial fences for yourself, but I don't find merit in them (nor do I have to, despite your forcefulness to submit to your world view). If it takes me three and a bit hours to fly coast to coast here, and three and a bit hours to fly within the Middle East (or less), then that's like for like flying. I don't care how a company carves that up (although you seem to have forgotten that some domestic flights provide Qantas Platinums Qantas First Lounge access) - and that doesn't change the very slight enhancement you upsell beyond its merit here.

    Any reasonable person would say "Krug before boarding a flight of an hour or two duration - awesome!", instead of getting into a huffy about how that makes an hour of basic spirit cocktails during weekdays pale as "Wow".

    But then, you are hardly going to change your view given the way you have conducted this thread, and given I don't feel the need to force others to always agree with me - there is little point to this dance (just a shame you decided to play not the ball in your angry contribution - WorldFlyer played the ball, and sounded more reasonable because of it, your anger even infected points usage despite you conceding using points "is alright"... This is AusBT, not QT at APH, tub thumping is over the top).

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  • watson374

    watson374

    2 Nov, 2014 01:12 pm

    Having had a morning to recover, I apologise for coming across too harshly last night.

    References to offal meats aside, I stand by my original view that it is unreasonable to expect a domestic carrier in the Australian market, full service or no, to provide such free flow of Krug. Ideal though it may be, it is unlikely to happen as I believe it would be unreasonable to expect more than a select few carriers to be willing to go to such lengths (outside the three global carriers based in the Middle East). I believe the appropriate corporate buzz phrase is 'edge case'; that is to say, the case of the Qatari lounge offering Krug is exceptional and quite outside the realm of 'normal'.

    Nevertheless, if we are to stand back and view the situation from a detached perspective I am today inclined to believe we can create a more conciliatory viewpoint that, within the limits of what can be reasonably expected in the domestic full-service market in Australia that is effectively a duopoly between Qantas and Virgin Australia, the Qantas offering is satisfactory if not quite groundbreaking as part of the Business Lounge product, particularly in comparison with the Virgin Australia product which does not have this upper tier of lounge.

    The Qatari lounge is very much a singular exception and while certainly delightful, if you are to cast my expectations as too low, I can only cast yours as too high.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    2 Nov, 2014 05:07 pm

    I'm pleased to say we are in wholehearted agreement that flowing Krug in any lounge is not a reasonable demand - that's what makes it a real "Wow" and a true "surprise and delight". Quite frankly I was blown away to enjoy a few glasses in Qatar's lounge. That's why I'm surprised you think a demand was made. My bone was about PR hyperbole (about said cocktails), not the cocktails themselves. I'm glad that we ended off on a more positive note, in any case.

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  • Darkavid99

    Darkavid99

    2 Nov, 2014 12:25 am

    Ah, poor old Adelaide and Perth again.

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  • Jamesv

    Jamesv

    2 Nov, 2014 04:46 pm

    And you cant even get spirits in the Virgin lounges-well done Qantas! Lift your gameVirgin!

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  • slim

    slim

    16 Dec, 2014 11:43 am

    Hi,
    What a lively discussion.
    So, just curious: has anyone had any of these "summer-inspired cocktails"?
    I'd also be keen to know (tomorrow) what the special Qantas Christmas Cocktail is.  Please share if you are/end up in the know!

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