Qantas investigating after passenger hits out at 'disappointing' airport lounge visit

A Qantas passenger hoping to grab a quick bite before his flight claims the airline's club offering was seriously lacking.

A coffee machine (right) and toasted sandwich maker (left) stations closed and covered at the Cairns Qantas club
The coffee machine and toasted sandwich maker stations were closed at the Qantas Club at Cairns airport. Source: Supplied

Qantas is investigating after a passenger's disappointing experience at one of its exclusive lounges where “pretty well all” the food and drink offerings were closed.

Loyal passenger Peter was at Cairns airport when he and his wife decided to visit the Qantas Club at Cairns airport on May 6. They claim that there was no hot food on offer and only two slices of bread along with “old condiments, a bit of ham and a bit of cheese” — despite paying hundreds of dollars in annual fees to be members of the club.

“It was a bit average and disappointing,” Peter told Yahoo News Australia. “There was basically very little that was edible.”

A fridge of salad items and condiments at the Qantas Club in Cairns.
One passenger described the offering as a few 'old condiments'. Source: Supplied

The man's experience comes just months after the airline announced it would be jacking up the yearly membership by 17 per cent to access its two-dozen domestic lounges. That’s despite more reports from customers saying the service isn’t up to par.

Peter, a loyal Qantas club member, said it’s “the first time we’ve had something this bad”. “What a disappointment when we got in there,” he told Yahoo, describing the offering as “suboptimal”.

Peter was able to make a toasted sandwich, but as soon as he was finished, he claims a staff member turned off the machine and covered it in a white cloth. Peter’s wife had to request two more slices of bread and for the machine to be plugged back in.

“They were quite reluctant,” he claims, adding that staff were packing up the lounge around them. “They were washing the floors and packing up when we got there,” he said.

While Peter admits that their 10:50pm takeoff to Darwin was late, he argues “they shouldn’t be packing until we’re gone”.

A Qantas spokesperson told Yahoo the airline is investigating what happened.

“We pride ourselves on delivering enjoyable dining experiences for all visitors to our lounges and are looking into what’s happened here,” the spokesperson said. “The Cairns lounge is open an hour before each flight and stays open until the flight departs.”

A Qantas Boeing 737 passenger plane takes off from Sydney Airport.
A Qantas Boeing 737 passenger plane takes off from an Australian airport. Source: AP

Peter said other passengers using the lounge were just as shocked at the service, with many agreeing it has gone “downhill”.

“I was expecting a couple of hot dishes and a glass of wine and be on my way. I didn’t think that would be that hard,” he said.

The experience comes as annual fees for new members will go from $699 to $828, which is on top of the $129 joining fee. Existing members will also pay more to renew their subscription, which will go from $540 to $629.

Qantas says the price change is the result of covering “cost increases passed on from a range of suppliers” as well as “a reduction in the membership fees for several years during the pandemic”.

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