Qantas have been busy over the past few months, opening new lounges around the world. The latest, in LAX’s TBIT terminal, opened yesterday in partnership with their good friends and One World carriers British Airways and Cathay Pacific. The new (and vast) space, designed by Woods Bagot, has been long awaited and compliments the terminal’s other spacious and well designed airline lounges. Woods Bagot also designed the airline’s First Class terminal in Sydney as well as the airline’s lounges in Singapore and Canberra.
The contemporary design reflects Californian culture combined with signature elements from each airline, featuring a communal fireplace to relax and socialise around and a central glass atrium providing natural light and space. As well designed and complete as it appears, the lounge will jump from it’s current 400 customer space to a whopping 600 customers when the lounge is fully open in 2015. This combined with the new world-class Qantas First Lounge, will be more than double the size of the former space.
Qantas International CEO, Simon Hickey, said the new multi-million dollar lounge demonstrates the airline’s commitment to its customers and to Los Angeles as one of the most popular hubs in the airline’s overseas network. “The new Los Angeles Business Lounge is proof of our ongoing investment in our product to ensure we provide the best travel experience possible for our customers when they are on the ground and in the air,” said Mr Hickey.
“As well as an overall upgrade, we’ve significantly increased the amount of space in the lounge for our premium customers. It’s designed to reflect the culture of California, while providing a place to relax, socialise and work before their flight.
“Los Angeles is our major gateway to the US and with our partners we connect our customers to more than 270 destinations across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The lounge provides Qantas customers with a wider selection of dining options, so they can maximise their sleep onboard our overnight flights to Australia.”
The dining matches the airline’s current offerings around the world, marrying Qantas lead chef Neil Perry with Californian cuisine. Food carts similar to the pop-up dining concept offer freshly prepared dishes such as delicious tasting crumbed cod tacos with red cabbage slaw and lime chipotle mayo and Asian-spiced chicken wings. Customers can also enjoy a variety of hot and cold dishes from an enhanced buffet.
Interestingly, when it comes to service, Qantas has partnered with Sofitel to offer a service experience consistent with the standards across its Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore lounges. The LA service includes a hosted experience for customers travelling in First, Platinum Frequent Flyers and oneworld Emerald members with exclusive services including shirt pressing, shoe shining and priority access to showers.
Right now, this will be useful, as until completion the Business Lounge will only have 9 showers. In 2015 the lounge will grow to include seven additional shower suites bringing the total to 16, as well as a Family Zone and a dedicated dining area. Customers in the dining area will be offered a daily plate choice with matching premium wine or beer and able to enjoy Qantas signature dishes from an additional buffet area.
When the new Qantas lounge is completed, the airline plans to open the First Lounge also accommodating over 200 customers. While the new Qantas First Lounge refurbishment is in progress, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways First and premium tier Frequent Flyers will be able to use the new Los Angeles Business Lounge.
Tom Owen, Senior Vice President, Americas for Cathay Pacific said: “Cathay Pacific travellers are accustomed to a premium lounge experience due to our renowned airport lounges in Hong Kong and around the world, and the new Los Angeles business lounge certainly delivers on this expectation.
“Our major investment in the Los Angeles business lounge is a reflection of the importance of this market to us and we are pleased to join with fellow oneworld carriers Qantas and British Airways in welcoming our customers inside.”
Steve Clark, Head of North America, Asia Pacific Customer Service and Operations for British Airways’ said: “This new lounge facility reflects British Airways’ commitment to delivering customer service excellence both in the air and on the ground. We now operate a double daily A380 between Los Angeles and London Heathrow and our customers will surely benefit from the investment in the lounge.”
At thedesignair.net we are loving the iconic mid-century American designed furniture; the central fireplace with circular seating and the Aurora Spa amenities found in the showers. The food carts are a nimble and fun touch, and obviously the large selection of drinks and cocktails will always be well received. The lounge, like many lounges around the world that are now opening, is being true to its local environment, and it is this sympathetic approach that always wins when it comes to honest design. This is one lounge we cannot wait to put our feet up in!