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Singapore Changi Airport is home to Singapore Airlines, and so technically a Star Alliance Hub. However, various oneworld carriers (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines) also heavily use the airport, resulting in a high volume of premium passengers in need of a good oneworld lounge.
For me, the lounge of choice here is the Qantas Singapore Lounge. Open to all passengers flying in Business or First Class on a oneworld airline (or Emirates), as well as holders of oneworld Sapphire/Emerald or Emirates Skywards Gold/Platinum status flying in Economy, this lounge is a nice place to enjoy a little free time at the airport before a long-haul flight. Opened in 2013, the lounge operates from 2:30pm till 11pm.
I had access to this lounge because I was departing on a oneworld carrier (Qatar Airways) in Business Class. My flight was QR 939, flying the brand new A350 in Business Class, courtesy of these cheap QR J fares ex Scandinavia. The fare was a remarkable £770 return: flying from Stockholm to Bangkok and back from Singapore to Stockholm.
The Qantas Singapore Lounge is located in Terminal 1 after immigration.
In my case, I was flying Qatar Airways in Business Class from Terminal 3. While I was handed an invitation for the rather underwhelming dnata lounge in Terminal 3 [LINK], I instead chose to go to Terminal 1 and enjoy the Qantas Lounge. All terminals at Changi Airport are connected airside, with transfer vehicles similar to the ones operating at Gatwick expediting the transfer between the terminals. In my case, the transfer from Terminal 3 immigration to the lounge in Terminal 1 was about 10 minutes using the SkyTrain service.
I reached the lounge at around 6.30pm, giving me plenty of time to enjoy the various amenities. The friendly receptionist checked me in, and didn’t mind at all that I was flying from T3 – simply recommending that I leave at least 15 minutes before boarding begins.
On arrival, I was immediately struck by the generous size of the lounge.
The layout is also straightforward. Continuing straight from the reception, you enter the dining area, with a live cooking station to your right and several seating arrangements at the windows overlooking T1’s check-in area to your left. The bar and various other seats are then located on the left hand side upon entering the lounge. This area was substantially more crowded than the dining area at 7pm, though they were never uncomfortably full.
My major gripe with this lounge is just how close the seats are. I imagine it being quite uncomfortable when the lounge is at capacity (though I am not sure if that ever happens), and tricky if you have confidential business to do. That said, at the moment the BA lounge next door is closed for renovation and so all BA premium passengers are directed to this lounge. Rush hour is probably later in the evening, when BA 12, BA 16 and EK 404 all leave within 35 minutes.
Seating issues aside, the lounge feels very modern and comfortable. The obvious downside is the lack of tarmac views, though you have a nice view of T1’s check-in area, to the extent such things float your boat.
Design-wise, the open ceiling pairs neatly with the rest of the lounge, providing for a spacious yet comfortable feel. Despite being modern it didn’t feel cheap or like a branch of IKEA or Starbucks, something not many lounges pull off these days. In my opinion, Qantas have really hit the spot with their lounge designs across their network in Asia.
The shower facilities were truly excellent. There are 20 shower rooms, and they were were spacious, meticulously clean and had high quality amenities, with a range of complimentary Payot Skincare products supplied.
The shower worked beautifully and while it was not my preferred “rain shower”, provided a suitably refreshing experience before the upcoming long-haul flight.
Food & Beverages
Impressively, the lounge always has two different “made-to-order” dishes available, which you request from one of the waiters. In addition, there is a large buffet, consisting of a nice salad bar, several main courses (principally pasta and a range of curries) and an excellent desert selection. While I didn’t get to try one of the buffet mains, the salad and the crème brûlée were fantastic. I did also order one of the two “made-to-order” menu items. The Szechuan chicken was delicious and properly spicy, the other option was pork with noodles.
The dining experience at the various Qantas lounges is supposed to be inspired by local influences, in the case of Singapore by the famous “Hawker Centers”. This is also the reason for the long tables in the restaurant area, as it’s supposed to resemble the communal street food dining areas in Singapore.
A small hiccup was the service: I was slightly confused as we had to flag-down a server to order from the menu, rather than any attempts being made to solicit our order from us. So while the service could certainly have been more proactive, the dining experience in general was fantastic. A good selection of high quality dishes, inspired by local influences and served in a nice atmosphere.
In terms of beverages – while sadly I did not had a chance to spend too much time at the bar, the range was very impressive indeed. Skilled bartenders mixed a selection of classic and specialty drinks, while well-stocked minibar fridges were spread across the entire lounge. There was also a selection of self-serve wines available in the dining area.
Overall, this is a fantastic lounge. The areas are thoughtfully laid out, and the washrooms are well appointed and readily available.
Perhaps most impressively, the dining experience is at the top end for an outstation business class lounge. I very much enjoyed my 2 ½ hours there and would recommend any passenger departing Singapore to arrive with time to spare so they can visit this lounge.
While a minor trek, it was well worth the walk from Terminal 3 and is infinitely superior to the dnata lounge, where Qatar Airways guests at Singapore Changi are directed to.