Changi Airport Lounges Oneworld Reviews

Review: Qantas Singapore Business Lounge

Often touted as the best oneworld lounge at Singapore Changi airport, the Qantas Lounge has recently been expanded. We stopped by in September 2019 to check it out.

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The Qantas Singapore Lounge, no doubt soon to be rebadged the “Qantas Singapore Business Lounge” to avoid confusion with the upcoming Qantas Singapore First Lounge later this year, opened its doors back in April 2013. It marked the first of David Caon’s premium designs, now common across the airline’s latest lounges and in-flight products.

Last year the Australian carrier significantly increased operations at Changi having once again routed its A380 Sydney to London flights through Singapore, also using the superjumbo on Melbourne – Singapore services and increasing capacity on some other routes, like Perth.

That put some strain on the existing lounge, with a welcome expansion added in August 2019 increasing capacity to almost 600 guests.

We thought it was about time to pay a visit and write a full review of the popular facility, which is also available to selected oneworld, Emirates and Jetstar passengers.

General details

Opening Times: 2.30pm to midnight
Showers: Yes
Spa: No
Bar: Yes
Wi-Fi: Yes
Multi-standard Power Sockets: Yes
USB Charging Sockets: Yes

Lounge access

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This lounge is available to passengers flying on a Qantas or Emirates flight, or on a oneworld member operated flight:

  • in First Class or Business Class; or
  • in Premium Economy or Economy Class and holding Qantas Platinum OnePlatinum or Gold status, Emirates Platinum or Gold Skywards status* or oneworld Emerald or Sapphire status**.

* Qantas or Emirates flights only
** Qantas or oneworld flights only

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This lounge is also available to passengers flying on a Jetstar flight (coded JQ, 3K or BL):

  • on a Jetstar Business Max fare; or
  • holding Qantas Platinum OnePlatinum or Gold status.

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If you are a Qantas Club member flying on a Qantas (QF) or Jetstar (JQ, 3K or BL) flight number you are also permitted access.

Guest policy

Passengers using this lounge on the basis of their Qantas Frequent Flyer status can bring one guest into the lounge with them. The guest must be travelling:

  • on a QF or oneworld flight number, if the member is flying Qantas or oneworld; or
  • on the same flight as the member, if the member is flying Emirates or Jetstar.

Passengers using this lounge on the basis of their oneworld status can bring one guest into the lounge with them. The guest must be travelling on a oneworld flight number.

Passengers using this lounge on the basis of their Emirates Skywards status can bring one guest into the lounge with them. The guest must be travelling on the same flight as the member.

Passengers using this lounge on the basis of their eligible travel class can bring one guest into the lounge with them, provided the passenger is travelling:

  • Qantas or Emirates First Class; or
  • Qantas Business Class

The guest must be travelling on the same flight as the passenger in these cases.

Note that Emirates Business Class passengers without Platinum or Gold Skywards status are not entitled to any guest allowance.

Location

The Qantas Singapore Business Lounge is located on Level 3 of Changi Terminal 1’s transit area, one level above the departure concourse.

Qantas check in desks are located at Row 8 in Terminal 1. After checking in and clearing the immigration desks, make a left turn towards the C gates, then take the first escalator on the right up to the lounges.

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Click to enlarge. (Image: MainlyMiles / CAG)

The escalator is well signed, and located just after the electronics duty free shop.

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Route to the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This level 3 lounge complex also houses the British Airways, Thai Airways and SATS Premier lounges in Terminal 1.

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Other lounges in the same complex. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Turn left at the top of the escalator and the Qantas Business Lounge is straight ahead at the back of the corridor.

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Click to enlarge. (Image: MainlyMiles / CAG)
Corridor Entrance
The lounge entrance is at the end of the corridor. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

First impressions

As you enter the lounge it’s a quick transition from Changi’s ‘casino carpet’ to a more modern industrial-style flooring, with a semicircle of decorative floor tiles flanking the two welcome podiums.

Entrance 2
Lounge entrance. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
Podiums
Welcome podiums. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

These are set against a stark white backdrop with a backlit motif – the iconic Qantas kangaroo. We’ve visited many airline lounges at their home base and this is quite an entrance in comparison, considering Singapore is an outstation lounge for the airline.

We arrived armed with our Qatar Airways Business Class boarding cards and the lounge agent welcomed us inside, with a polite reminder that calls are only made for Qantas flights, so we would have to be aware when to leave in order to make it to our gate in good time.

A decorative wooden wall adorned with the Qantas logo runs along the corridor as you make a 90-degree turn from the reception area into the lounge itself.

Entrance 3
Lounge entrance. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The first thing that strikes you about this lounge is the decor. It has a broadly industrial look, with polished concrete floors and exposed ducting in the ceiling above many sections, especially the dining area.

Most of the walls are white, with white marble used in places. Seating areas in different colours offset the stark decor.

Despite being over six years old, the lounge is clearly being excellently maintained and could still pass as almost brand new if you didn’t know otherwise.

Bar

The first section you reach on entering the lounge is the bar. Cocktail bars are fast becoming the expectation for Business Class lounges around the world.

Remarkably, the Qantas Lounge remains the only Business Class airline-operated facility at Singapore Changi Airport to feature a manned bar.

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Bar at the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Bar at the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

That will change next year when home carrier Singapore Airlines finally reopens its dated SilverKris Business lounge in Terminal 3, including a tended bar, but in fact we expect Qatar Airways will beat them to it.

The Gulf carrier’s premium lounge in Terminal 1 is expected to open its doors in December 2019, and will almost certainly include their signature martini bar.

Back to the Qantas lounge though, there’s a wide selection of spirits and the bar tenders will happily mix you a cocktail, or just a glass of wine, beer or a soft drink.

Speaking of beer the lounge currently offers Perth-based Little Creatures on tap, which is a nice Aussie touch and a refreshing change from the Heineken and Tiger they were previously pouring.

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Little Creatures is on tap at the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The two options offered during our visit were Pale Ale (Hoppy & Balanced) and the Dog Days (Juicy Fresh).

The Pale Ale is a favourite of ours, so it was an obvious choice.

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Little Creatures Pale Ale. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If Little Creatures isn’t your thing, cans of Tiger or Heineken are still available. A self-service chilled water dispenser is located at one end of the bar, with some snacks at the opposite side. Both of these can also be found dotted around other parts of the lounge.

You can sit at the bar itself, or if you wish at the low yellow chairs and tables in the bar area.

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Bar seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

These sit alongside another bar counter with high bar stool seating.

Bar Overview
Self-serve bar counter. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

On our previous visits to the Qantas lounge this was simply a seating option, but it has been repurposed as a self-serve drinks counter with all six wines, bar snacks and chilled water available, alongside the appropriate glassware.

Bar Counter
Self-serve bar counter. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This is a great idea for when you just want to grab a drink then go and find a seat, especially when the lounge becomes busier in the evenings at which times the bar staff may be quite busy.

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Self-serve bar counter. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Seating options

If you make a left turn when you enter the lounge then walk away from the bar you’ll find a variety of seating options across a very large L-shaped area. There are half-height wall and plant dividers plus full-height wooden slats to break up what would otherwise be a massive space.

Natural light is available along the right side, which overlooks the Terminal 1 check in counters but is brightly lit during the day from the terminal’s floor-to-ceiling windows at the main entrance side and glass ceiling near the lounge side.

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Natural light during the day from the lounge windows overlooking the check in area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Seating options include work-height tables, low armchairs with dining tables and banquette style seating.

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Armchairs and banquette style seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

At the back right corner of the seating area next to the windows, at the end of the row of green seats, there is a small children’s play area.

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Window seats. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Window seats and children’s play area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Some of the seating areas are structured for couples and small groups, in pairs and quads, with single seats likely to be the favoured option for those travelling solo.

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Group and couple seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Solo seats. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There are self-serve drinks stations dotted around the lounge with coffee machines, wine, soft drinks and light snacks.

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Snacks and wines. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Coffee machine. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This machine will no doubt produce you a perfectly acceptable cup of coffee, but take our advice and head to the bar where you’ll get a far superior barista-made one. We had a cappuccino and a flat white from the bar and they really hit the spot.

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Solo seats. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There’s more banquette seating at the far left back wall, close to one of the self-service drink and snack areas.

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Banquette seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Seating extension

The recent extension to this lounge, increasing total seating capacity to 570, is at the far back wall of the seating area, opposite the bar.

This brand new extension features a mixture of banquette seating, dining chairs and tables.

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Seating extension. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

It was achieved by extending the lounge by several feet along the back end, then removing the previous wall which was where the row of green plants now feature.

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Seating extension. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Dining area

To the other side of the bar, if you walk straight ahead after entering the lounge, is the large dining area.

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Dining area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The layout here includes some tables for three, couple options by the window and three large communal dining tables each seating up to 12.

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Large communal dining tables. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

These are great for socialising with other lounge guests, but if you’re travelling alone and prefer some solitude just pick one of the couple tables by the window instead.

There is also counter-top seating at the live cooking station.

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Counter-top seating. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi is easy to join with the password displayed in a few locations around the lounge.

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Wi-Fi speed test

We recorded a lightening fast 62 Mbps download and 134 Mbps upload speed during our visit – no issue even if you have some data-intensive work to catch up on.

These data speeds even beat the test we did at the airline’s flagship Sydney First Class lounge last year, with speeds in the 40 Mbps range there. The Singapore Airlines lounges at Changi still fall well behind here, so we hope the upcoming revamp of those facilities will address this.

Power outlets

Most seats in the lounge are equipped with a multi-standard power socket and a pair of USB ports for keeping your devices charged.

Power Sockets
Most seats have two USB charging sockets and a multi-standard power socket. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Take a look under the table of your chosen seat to make sure you’ve got one before you get too settled. There are some seats without the option.

Business facilities

The Qantas Singapore Lounge lacks any dedicated Business Centre or work area, presumably since modern travellers tend to work on their laptops and there are a range of seating options from desk-height tables, high tables and low armchairs.

Reading materials

There is a library section inset into the wall near the toilets, close to the bar.

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Library behind the bar seats. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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Library. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Here there is a wide range of reading materials such as magazines and international newspapers, including some Australian dailies.

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Reading materials. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Showers

The showers are located at the back corner of the lounge, past the dining area. The shower attendant at the entrance podium will assign you a shower room, or add your name to the list if the showers are all occupied.

There are 20 private shower suites in the Qantas Singapore Lounge (yes, twenty!). According to the staff that’s more than any other lounge at Changi, so you shouldn’t be waiting long to secure one even with the lounge at full capacity.

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Corridor leading to the showers in the Qantas lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

It certainly gives you a very good opportunity to freshen up after a busy day in Singapore prior to your evening flight, or if you’re in transit for example on the long journey between London and Sydney.

The shower itself was starting to look a bit dated and didn’t offer a rain head option like you tend to see in the latest hotels and lounges, but it was clean and worked well.

The shower rooms are spacious and include a separate toilet, sink and vanity area with a stool.

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Stool and vanity area in the shower room. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Toiletries are from the Aspar range by Australia’s Aurora Spa, in common with the flagship Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney (see our review).

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Shower toiletries. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Selections in the shower include shampoo, conditioner and body cleanser, while alongside the sink you’ll find hand wash and hand cream.

A fresh towel is provided alongside some basic amenities – a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and shower cap.

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Amenities. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Wine and Champagne

The first thing to note is that there is no Champagne as such served in the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge, instead the airline serves an Australian sparkling cuvée from Rothbury Estate.

As always, we check on the Vivino rating (out of 5 stars) for the wines offered in this lounge.

Vivino
Sparkling wine
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Rothbury Estate Premium Selection Sparkling Cuvée N.V. 3.3 stars
White wine
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Upside Down Sauvignon Blanc 2017 19 Crimes Hard Chard 2018
3.3 stars 3.7 stars
Rosé wine
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Matua Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 3.7 stars
Red wine
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Wolf Blass Private Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Wynns Shiraz 2017
3.0 stars 3.6 stars

The sparkling wine rates surprisingly poorly, we actually found it quite a pleasant drop. It’s not expensive however and can be picked up for around AU$10-15 a bottle in Australia.

We definitely feel Qantas could be doing something more special for its Business Class lounge in Singapore. Next door at the British Airways Singapore Lounge they are pouring Joseph Perrier Brut Champagne, typically priced at AU$50-60.

As for the other wines these were reasonably well rated, though perhaps a little less so than we’ve seen in our other Business Class lounge reviews, including the SilverKris lounges and the Cathay Pacific lounge at Changi.

Nonetheless it’s good to have two options of white and two of red wine, plus a rare rosé.

Dining

There are three dining options in the Qantas lounge, a salad station for a light meal, which also includes a dessert area, a hot buffet, and an à la carte selection of the day, prepared fresh by the chefs.

Of course you can also enjoy any combination of these, depending on how hungry you are.

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Dining area. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Salad bar

In our experience one thing Qantas always does really well in its lounges is a range of salads.

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Salad bar menu. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The Singapore Business Lounge is no exception and on our visit there were five ‘exciting’ options, plus a more basic mixed leaf option for the less adventurous.

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The five more interesting salads, plus some fresh fruit. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
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The more basic mixed salad, and some fruit. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Of course this was a perfect starter for us, paired nicely with a glass of the Little Creatures Pale Ale!

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DIY starter. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

I went for a mix of the pumpkin salad, the chicken salad and the mixed tomato salad. All fresh and excellent.

All day dining

Qantas offers a rotating selection of two dishes, freshly prepared by the chefs. The menu is Neil Perry-inspired, and always includes a local option. During our visit a Chicken laksa and a Hakka braised pork were on the menu.

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All day dining options. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

We took a break after the salad starter, but once we returned no sooner had we pulled up a pair of seats at one of the communal tables, the lounge staff came across and offered us something from the menu. Within a few minutes our order was delivered to our seat by the friendly waitress.

She also kindly prepared us a glass of sparkling wine and a Shiraz. It’s certainly an impressive edge to have table service in a Business Class lounge.

I went for the braised pork which was excellent, very flavoursome and piping hot as you would expect from a made-to-order dish.

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Hakka braised pork with water chestnuts, rice and coriander. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Eddie opted for the Chicken laksa, which was tasty but could have been a bit more spicy for that perfect local finish. Presumably they play it safe in the lounge to cater for a wide range of tastes.

There is some sambal chilli and onions provided on the communal tables if you want to spice it up a little.

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Chicken laksa. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Both options were served in decorative porcelain dishes, which was a very nice touch.

On previous visits to the same lounge we’ve eaten at the bar counter in the dining area, which is a great experience as the chef makes your preferred dish to order right in front of you.

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Dinner at the bar counter on a previous visit to this lounge. This was a few years ago, when we were taking Emirates Business Class to Melbourne. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Hot buffet

If the chef’s dishes of the day don’t appeal, and salad doesn’t exactly do it for you, there is also a hot buffet selection in the dining area.

Menu Buffet
Hot buffet menu. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

During our visit the lounge was serving a braised lamb main dish, with rice and potatoes, or a vegetarian pasta.

Additionally, a soup dish was available. There is also a selection of breads in this area. We didn’t try anything from the hot buffet but it looked good.

Dessert

The dessert section is alongside the salad bar.

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Dessert menu. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There were four options in total the day we visited, but who could resist the mountain of chocolate brownies towering over the alternatives?

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Chocolate brownies. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Facilities for First Class passengers

This is currently a shared lounge for Qantas First and Business Class passengers, a situation which will be resolved as early as November 2019 with the opening of the dedicated Qantas Singapore First Lounge.

Nonetheless with three Airbus A380 departures per day from Changi, to London, Sydney and Melbourne, Qantas has made some concessions in the current lounge to the First Class passengers and Platinum One members flying on each of these services.

Qantas calls this the “tailored host experience” and it includes a reserved section of the dining area, towards the back close to the shower entrance.

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A section of the dining room is set aside for First Class and Platinum One passengers. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There are also some seats in the lounge itself set aside for First Class guests.

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One of the reserved seating sections. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Finally these customers benefit from priority shower access (vital for those flying all the way from London to Sydney for example), real Champagne (currently the 4.2-star rated Veuve Cliquot Brut), plus a shoe shine and shirt pressing service.

Peak hours

One criticism of this lounge since Qantas ramped up operations through Singapore in 2018 has been overcrowding during peak hours. At one point access had to be restricted, with Qantas Club and some Gold members being redirected to the adjacent British Airways or SATS lounges.

That has driven the airline to increase the size and seating capacity of the lounge from 460 to 570, significantly easing the strain.

Qantas is also opening a 240-seat capacity First Class lounge at Changi in November 2019, next to the Dnata lounge near the D gates.

The airline confirmed to Mainly Miles that First Class passengers on Qantas and Emirates services, as well as Qantas Platinum One or Platinum status, Emirates Platinum Skywards status or oneworld Emerald status members will be eligible for access.

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Qantas Singapore First Lounge reception. (Image: Qantas)

Even top-grade Qantas members (Platinum and above) flying on Jetstar will be able to use the new facility.

This should significantly ease the peak hour crowds at the existing Business lounge, with many current guests no doubt opting for the First lounge instead once it’s available.

The upcoming Qatar Airways lounge in Terminal 1, opening in December 2019, will also help. We noticed we weren’t the only passengers in the lounge with Qatar Airways boarding cards, who had politely declined the invitation to the SATS lounge.

Until the new First Class lounge opens, peak times here are from 6pm to 8pm, then another smaller peak from 10pm to around 11.30pm. This coincides with the main Qantas departures to both Australia and Europe.

Service

If airlines are good at hospitality in the air, then hotels are good at hospitality on the ground. It’s a simple enough theory, but Qantas has taken it one step further with this lounge, which is managed by luxury brand Sofitel.

That means the staff you interact with here actually work for them rather than Qantas or another third-party company. This arrangement is in common with the Qantas First Class lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles.

As such the service here feels more like that you might expect in a hotel club lounge, rather than an airline one.

A couple of the staff were very engaging during our visit, striking up conversation and chatting with us about our journey.

Even when the lounge became busy in the evening the staff remained attentive, proactively clearing glasses and plates as well as offering drink refills. That’s not a service we would usually expect in a Business Class lounge.

I think we only returned to the bar once during the evening to get a top-up, but that was more to stretch our legs than anything else.

Summary

Singapore is the largest overseas hub for Australian flag carrier Qantas, with the airline operating 50 weekly departures across five non-stop destinations from the city. Their lounge in Changi’s Terminal 1 also caters for selected Jetstar customers – and it doesn’t disappoint.

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Entrance to the Qantas Singapore Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This lounge still gets very busy in the evenings, though that situation should improve with a dedicated First Class lounge and another oneworld Business Class option from Qatar Airways coming in late 2019.

Overall the manned bar is a great feature, staff are friendly and proactive, seating options are varied and the food selection and quality in particular really stands out.

Obviously it would be far better if Champagne was offered, with a relatively cheap sparkling wine currently available. That goes together with our opinion that the wine quality in general could go up a notch too, to match other airline-operated Business Class lounges more closely.

All things considered though, the Qantas Singapore Business Lounge is one of the nicest at Changi Airport. It beats the current Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business lounges in almost every respect, with the inclusion of Champagne at the SIA facilities probably the only superior factor.

We also love the Cathay Pacific lounge at Terminal 4, with its signature noodle bar and Champagne offering, but it falls short of Qantas without a manned bar and lacks any shower facilities.

If you’re eligible for access then this is one lounge we’d recommend arriving at the airport early to experience, especially if you can use it in the quieter 2.30pm to 6pm window where it feels like you have it mostly to yourself.

We only wish Qantas would add some morning flights from Singapore to Australia, as this excellent lounge might then be open all day!

Review Summary
Review: Qantas Singapore Business Lounge
Summary: Though it gets quite busy in the evenings, this is without doubt one of the best Business Class lounges at Singapore Changi airport, including a manned bar, ample shower suites and excellent food options. Sadly though, there is no Champagne offered.
Author: Andrew
Visited: September 2019
Among airline-operated Business Class lounges:
Rating: 4-5star.jpg
4.5 out of 5

(Cover Photo: Qantas)

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