Point Hacks — an online platform that markets itself as “one of Australia’s biggest communit[ies] of frequent flyers and rewards point experts” — polled 1,686 of its subscribers about the airlines that provide their favourite business lounges anywhere in the world.
It was the offering of a home-grown airline that took out top honours, according to the poll, with Qantas’ international business lounge the stand-out winner, attracting 31 per cent of all votes.
According to Point Hacks, subscribers ranked the Singapore Airlines lounge second, with 20 per cent of the vote, while Emirates a close third with 19 per cent.
However, that sentiment was not shared equally by travellers based across Australia.
“While Qantas was still voted number one by NSW, SA, Victoria and Queensland respondents, Singapore Airlines secured the most votes among WA respondents (chosen as number one by 30 per cent),” it said.
“Emirates secured the top spot among voters in NT and ACT (50 and 36 per cent of voters in those states, respectively)”.
Australia’s other major airline, Virgin Australia, ranked fairly poorly in the poll. The Richard Branson-founded carrier ranked equal sixth — with Air New Zealand and American Express-branded airport lounges — with just 4 per cent of the votes.
Cathay Pacific and Etihad saw their lounges ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, with 10 per cent and 6 per cent of the vote.
Meanwhile, independently branded Priority Plus rounded out the top seven favourite lounges of Australian business travellers, with 2 per cent of the vote.
However, Point Hacks said that was “not surprising”, given it currently “only has a few co-branded lounges with Etihad Airways in Sydney and Melbourne”.
It noted that a new, own-branded lounge opened at Brisbane International Airport in July.
“These results correlate closely with the frequency of international flights offered by the respective airlines,” said Daniel Sciberras, frequent flyer expert at Point Hacks.
“Today, with many flyers having a range of lounge options at their disposal through travelling in business class, partner airline and alliance-wide elite status recognition, and lounge benefits offered by some premium credit cards, these results suggest that travellers still favour using the lounge of the airline that they are flying with, and highlights the importance of airline lounges in a customers’ overall travel experience.”
Mr Sciberras said that non-airline, pay-as-you-go airport lounges — such as those operated by American Express and Priority Pass, are “increasing in popularity”, but have yet become front of mind for weary travellers.
This, he said, is “likely due to the limited number of these lounges, and that access is granted to a niche group of travellers”.