Qantas Lounge Hong Kong Closing Permanently

Qantas Lounge Hong Kong Closing Permanently

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Qantas has revealed plans to close one of its four overseas lounge locations.

Qantas closes Hong Kong lounge

In 2014, Qantas opened a beautiful lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. The lounge had seating for roughly 300 people, and spanned about 2,000 square meters (over 21,000 square feet).

The lounge was closed around the start of the pandemic, given strict travel restrictions in both Hong Kong and Australia. It has now been decided that this lounge closure will be permanent. As reported by Executive Traveller, the Qantas lounge Hong Kong won’t be reopening. Qantas customers will instead be directed to the lounges of oneworld partner Cathay Pacific, as the Hong Kong-based airline has quite a lounge footprint at the airport.

The Qantas Lounge Hong Kong will close permanently

On the plus side, this is Qantas’ only international lounge that won’t be reopened — Qantas plans to reopen its lounges in London, Los Angeles, and Singapore, as demand recovers.

The Qantas First Lounge Singapore will reopen eventually

The economics of airport lounges

I’m not surprised to see the Qantas lounge Hong Kong closed, and for that matter I never fully understood the purpose of the lounge in the first place. At outstations, airlines generally have two choices — they can operate their own lounge, or they can use a partner airline or contract lounge.

Generally there are a few considerations when deciding whether to open a lounge:

  • Does the airline care about offering its “own” experience on the ground? Emirates is known for operating lounges at outstations even with limited service, because the airline cares about offering a consistent experience
  • Is it cheaper to operate a lounge or send passengers elsewhere? Obviously the fixed costs of operating a lounge are high, but the alternative is paying for each passenger who accesses a partner lounge, and that can add up at a busy outstation
  • How much revenue can be recouped through admitting others? Airlines take different approaches to this, but in some cases an airline can operate a lounge at a profit by participating in something like Priority Pass

In the case of the Qantas lounge Hong Kong, a few things come to mind:

  • All Qantas premium cabin passengers and eligible elite members could also access Cathay Pacific lounges, given that both airlines belong to oneworld, and those lounges were largely superior; so it’s not like Qantas operating its own lounge was materially improving the passenger experience
  • While Qantas had some agreements to sell access to its lounges, it certainly wasn’t going all the way in maximizing revenue, in the sense that the lounge didn’t partner with Priority Pass
  • In other words, the lounge wasn’t a huge differentiator for the airline, and probably cost the airline a lot of money; with questions surrounding whether Hong Kong will ever see a full recovery in demand, I can see the motivation for closing this lounge
Cathay Pacific has some great lounges in Hong Kong

The way I view it, the only real loss with this change is the overall decrease in oneworld lounge capacity at the airport. Even though I rarely visited this lounge, I was happy others decided to visit the lounge, as it kept other oneworld lounges emptier.

Bottom line

The Qantas lounge Hong Kong will be closing permanently, and Qantas passengers will instead be directed to Cathay Pacific lounges (which they’ve had access to all along). Ultimately this decision probably makes sense — unfortunately on some level it reflects that Hong Kong may never fully recover to what it was several years ago, or at least if it does, it’ll be a very long time.

What do you make of Qantas closing its Hong Kong lounge?

Conversations (37)
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  1. Wilhelm

    Even when borders are fully reopened, I strongly doubt Hong Kong will come back as anything near what it used to be. The new security law is killing business and tourism alike.

  2. Jozef

    Could you provide some numerical evidence for examples of lounges that operate at a profit when contracting with Priority Pass? Thanks.

  3. Nick

    what a funny closing conclusion "it reflects that Hong Kong may never fully recover to what it was several years ago..."
    Now replace in the sentence above "Hobg Kong" with "Qantas" and you may have something more meaningful. Qantas did not make Hong Kong what it was. If there was a relation, it was most likely in the other direction...

  4. James

    Biggest loss will be to Jetstar (3K) customers who had a Qantas Club membership as they no longer have access to any lounge in HKG.

  5. Jalem

    Please do your research, Ben. That lounge Alo catered for all JAL flights ex-HKG, not just Qantas flights. Qantas also had a lot of flights ex-HKG pre-Pandemic. The lounge was always full. It was profitable and made sense to operate. Don't say "it doesn't make sense" when you don't even know the full picture.

  6. EthaninSF

    As others have said, if you did not have access to F lounges, this was a nice alternative to the CX business lounges. It was bright and airy and had a nice buffet with lighter, more casual food (that also felt more like a meal). I visited a few times when lounge hopping at HKG, especially if it was close to my gate. The Pier is a spectacular lounge but quite far from the gates...

    As others have said, if you did not have access to F lounges, this was a nice alternative to the CX business lounges. It was bright and airy and had a nice buffet with lighter, more casual food (that also felt more like a meal). I visited a few times when lounge hopping at HKG, especially if it was close to my gate. The Pier is a spectacular lounge but quite far from the gates I always seemed to be departing from. The QF lounge will be missed simply for variety in options.

  7. Douglas DeNunzio

    The correct company of wanted the debate of a330-300.

  8. Morgan

    Thats a shame, I never got to visit it, but that makes sense.

  9. Bim

    Former Australian expat in HK here. I absolutely loved the QF lounge. Never understood the praise of the CX lounges, which I found to be average and crowded. The staff at QF were from an Accor hotel (can't remember which) and were very friendly and helpful. There was always great coffee and cocktails. Forget the CX noodle bar, the QF lounge had a great buffet with hot and cold food, great dessert too, and they...

    Former Australian expat in HK here. I absolutely loved the QF lounge. Never understood the praise of the CX lounges, which I found to be average and crowded. The staff at QF were from an Accor hotel (can't remember which) and were very friendly and helpful. There was always great coffee and cocktails. Forget the CX noodle bar, the QF lounge had a great buffet with hot and cold food, great dessert too, and they catered to dietary requirements. The calmest One World lounge, I just loved it. Sad.

  10. Andy

    I'm not surprised. I always wondered why they operated this (very nice) lounge.

    1. QFFlyer

      As a transit hub to/from Australia, I assume QF would have been paying CX a fair chunk for its elite to access CX lounges. Having a QF lounge there saved on this but also brought in revenue from other OW elites accessing it (including maybe CX elites, as it was arguably better than CX's J lounges in many ways).

  11. ernestnywang

    1) CX and QF lounges are both good. When I have time, I'd visit both.
    2) I believe QF used to get money from CX pax who used the lounge, even if these pax also visited the CX lounge.
    3) The QF HKG lounge used to be BA's "The Hong Kong lounge." It had a rich history since Chep Lap Kok opened.

  12. Jerry

    As a Oneworld Emerald, the only purpose the QF lounges in HKG and LHR serve is for a good cup of coffee. HKG didn't even offer proper Champagne. It was a nice space, and I often found it to not be very crowded, but I'm not sure what purpose it actually served.

  13. lefty

    With the deteriorating relationship between China and Australia and the government tightening grip on Hong Kong, I'm not surprised Qantas is doing this (ofc with travel not recovering+operating cost issue) and would imagine more airline would follow suit later.

  14. Willem

    They had better coffee of course than Cathay, otherwise no big loss

  15. CF_Frost

    Makes sense. It's hard to say when or IF significant business demand will materialize for HKG. I'm guessing that HKG could become an even smaller outstation.

  16. DMNYC

    I'm surprised, Ben, at your assessment of the Qantas lounge. Maybe it's just because I have a different opinion.

    I'd always found it a bit of a better lounge experience than the CX lounges (where even the CX F lounges are usually a bit crowded). The QF lounge was open and bright, almost never crowded, with plenty of open space to sit by yourself, great service from roaming wait staff, a nice buffet with food...

    I'm surprised, Ben, at your assessment of the Qantas lounge. Maybe it's just because I have a different opinion.

    I'd always found it a bit of a better lounge experience than the CX lounges (where even the CX F lounges are usually a bit crowded). The QF lounge was open and bright, almost never crowded, with plenty of open space to sit by yourself, great service from roaming wait staff, a nice buffet with food that always felt fresh, simple, and tasty (and menu specials that the wait staff could bring to you), good wines, great coffee, great clean showers.

    Whenever I would leave from a gate not in one of the far piers, even as a OWE, I would always use the QF lounge instead of the CX lounges.

  17. A K

    sorry * meant Chase lounge, not Capital One

  18. A K

    Could it be due to the need to make space for the Capital One lounge that's supposed to be opening? Not sure if the propose lounge in HKG is supposed to be just a rebranded Plaza Premium lounge or a separate lounge altogether.

  19. R B

    When I lived in HK and travelled a lot, I would rotate between The Pier and the Quantas lounge.

  20. iv

    I enjoyed this lounge when I wasn't flying CX-F. It was always a part of my lounge tours in HKG.

  21. ptahcha

    As typical, Lucky is showing his skewed view of the world in this piece. While the Pier is an excellent lounge, similarly with Wing First, not everyone have access to those lounges. The QF lounge is a business class lounge, which has more accessibility, and arguably a better lounge experience than Wing Business and the Bridge, with more seats and better food/beverage options, with staff who actually wants to engage with customers. This is a sad loss.

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ ptahcha -- You know, it's possible to disagree without one person having "a skewed view of the world?" I totally get that not everyone is oneworld Emerald or in first class, but personally I find Cathay Pacific's business class lounges (including The Wing and The Pier) to be excellent.

    2. Eskimo

      @ptahcha

      How is this a sad loss to you? Your reply seems like you've never been into any of these OW lounges in HKG.

      I think both CX and QF are good in its own ways, depending on preferences. I personally think CX made to order food is much better than QF food. Also yes for QF coffee, and yes to CX tea.

    3. QFFlyer

      The CX J lounges are fine and more than good enough, although I agree this one was better. I am sad that QF are losing their lounge there, many good memories from there and the BBQ pork was epic. I used to head here before the CX F lounges (my HKG visits always worked in many hours at the airport).

  22. Eric

    This is such a shame. I really enjoyed this lounge. This was perfectly located for those originating out of HKG, by immigration. Cathay is shutting down the Gate or G16 lounge next door so it could be the airport wanting to redevelop that space into more duty free or luxury good stores. The Qantas lounge was better than a CX business lounge but not better than their first class lounges. Emerald level frequent fliers used...

    This is such a shame. I really enjoyed this lounge. This was perfectly located for those originating out of HKG, by immigration. Cathay is shutting down the Gate or G16 lounge next door so it could be the airport wanting to redevelop that space into more duty free or luxury good stores. The Qantas lounge was better than a CX business lounge but not better than their first class lounges. Emerald level frequent fliers used Cathay, either the Wing next door or the Pier if they were doing to make the hike anyways.

  23. ORDPLATAA

    What a bummer. I always enjoyed my visits to the Hong Kong Lounge - especially on a long layover. While CX has some of the best airport lounges - I found the Hong Kong Lounge to be a quiet place to relax as some of the CX lounges can get a bit chaotic. Never had a problem finding a seat, getting a drink or having to wait to grab a bite to eat. The downside...

    What a bummer. I always enjoyed my visits to the Hong Kong Lounge - especially on a long layover. While CX has some of the best airport lounges - I found the Hong Kong Lounge to be a quiet place to relax as some of the CX lounges can get a bit chaotic. Never had a problem finding a seat, getting a drink or having to wait to grab a bite to eat. The downside was the lounge's location - a bit of a hike from the main pier of CX gates but that's probably what helped in the crowd control for that space.

    1. QFFlyer

      But it was immediately after security, so very handy if you just wanted to quickly run in and fix yourself up. Plus, that BBQ pork.

  24. HenryLAX

    I don’t even know whether I should be laughing or ponderously jeering at lucky for being in the business for a good part of 2 decades and still thinks QANTAS shutting their HKG premium lounge has anything to do with costs.

    anyone who even paid any attention to the events will realize that flying Ryanair over Belarusian airspace is a safer proposition than transiting at HKG, let alone visiting that Asian gulag

    1. Never In Doubt

      I’m trying to place the genesis of this weird trolling attempt, but am having trouble.

      Give me a hint.

    2. Jkjkjk

      Yes. It is definitely safer, any foreigners who disagrees with the protestor would be beaten or in some case get burned alive. But lest not worry, with the national security law, law and order will be restored and let’s hope HK will be on par with the other authoritarian dictatorship city state that people on this website tend to like Singapore.

    3. Jkjkjk

      *safer to fly over bulgaria on ryan air
      Transiting in HK was terrible. The last time I was there, the airport express was stoned by the protester and you need to walk along 5 lanes highway just to get to safety… NED and American government ruined HK

  25. Alex

    This lounge was built at the height of the QF/CX frenemy war when the two only worked together because they were in the same alliance.

  26. MDA

    Qantas has released their plans for restarting international travel and HK is not on the list. I am sure it is wishful thinking.
    In addition Qantas are “rewarding” Australians who have been vaccinated with points, SC or $20 vouchers. Then there is a mega prize.
    Lastly they are making it mandatory for all staff to be vaccinated.
    Lots happening. Sadly borders still closed.

  27. Mike

    This is such a pity - as this was my go to lounge when the CX lounges get's packed. I preferred the shower here (outside of the QF flight crowds) and much better place to relax compared to the CX lounges which tend to get crowded most of the time.
    With CX The Bridge lounge closing seems when travel does pick up, there's going to be some possible overcrowding issues at the remaining OW lounges in HKG.

  28. Joe

    Bit of a shame, but not that surprising a decision. After my first couple of Hong Kong trips I never bothered going to the QF lounge on a 'lounge crawl' through HKG. Straight to The Wing or The Pier! Increasingly The Wing as the menu in The Pier got progressively downgraded.

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EBWaa

What a strange and stupid comment.

Ben Schlappig

@ ptahcha -- You know, it's possible to disagree without one person having "a skewed view of the world?" I totally get that not everyone is oneworld Emerald or in first class, but personally I find Cathay Pacific's business class lounges (including The Wing and The Pier) to be excellent.

Never In Doubt

I’m trying to place the genesis of this weird trolling attempt, but am having trouble. Give me a hint.

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