The Qantas First Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 1 has finally reopened, which will be music to the ears of First Class and oneworld Emerald passengers departing from Singapore.
This lounge initially opened in November 2019, but saw barely three months of action before COVID-19 closed the doors. Despite its brief run, it quickly became a passenger favourite thanks to its beautiful interiors, exciting cocktails, and excellent dining options. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s a restaurant first, lounge second.
With the reopening, all oneworld lounges in Terminal 1 are operational once again. Only the Cathay Pacific Lounge in the still-closed Terminal 4 has yet to resume operations.
|✈️oneworld Lounges at Changi Airport|
|British Airways Lounge||T1||Open|
|Qantas Business Lounge||T1||Open|
|Qantas First Lounge||T1||Open|
|Qatar Premium Lounge||T1||Open|
|Cathay Pacific Lounge||T4||Closed|
Qantas held a media event today to mark the reopening, and here’s what you can expect the next time you visit.
Getting to the Qantas First Lounge
The Qantas First Lounge is located after security at Changi Terminal 1. Once you clear immigration, turn right and head towards the D gates. Look for the first escalator near the Hermes store.
Ride the escalator up to level 3 and turn right, and you’ll see the entrance to the lounge.
Do note that the Qantas First Lounge (towards the D gates) is in the opposite direction as the Qantas Business Lounge (towards the C gates). That said, it shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to walk between the two.
Access and Operating Hours
The Qantas First Lounge is open from 2.30 p.m to midnight daily.
Access to is available to:
- Qantas, Emirates or oneworld passengers departing in First Class
- Qantas Platinum One and Platinum members departing on a Qantas, Jetstar or oneworld flight, in any cabin
- Emirates Skywards Platinum holders departing on an Emirates flight, in any cabin
- oneworld Emerald passengers departing on a oneworld flight, in any cabin
- Passengers arriving on an international long-haul (>5 hours) oneworld flight in First Class and connecting to another short-haul flight, in any cabin
First Class passengers, Qantas Platinum One, Platinum, Emirates Skywards Platinum and oneworld Emerald members may bring one guest with them.
The Qantas First Lounge measures in at 1,000 sqm, with seating for 240 guests. This is about half the size of the Qantas Business Lounge (2,220 sqm for 570 guests), albeit with more space per guest.
The entire lounge is actually one long rectangle, broken into relaxation and work spaces in the front, and dining in the rear. Turning left immediately after entering will take you to the shower and toilets.
Qantas engaged David Caon to oversee the interior design for the Singapore First Lounge. Caon has tackled everything from tableware to cabin interiors, plus the Qantas Lounge in Hong Kong (now closed, sadly) and the Chairman’s Lounge in Brisbane. Suffice to say, this isn’t his first rodeo. There’s heavy use of Carrara marble and oak, white marble walls with gold trim, and a neutral colour tone to minimise any sense of busyness.
Immediately inside the lounge is a semi-private seating enclave, with a dark yellow wraparound banquette sofa and a smattering of coffee tables.
Adjacent to this is a pair of work desks and two black leather recliners, with perforated screens providing a modicum of isolation and privacy (ignore the studio light, it’s just there for the event!).
The lounge then opens up into a living area, with a mix of armchair and lounge seating.
Most of the living room seating is set up for groups of four, though there are a few solo armchairs running along the side of the wall.
If you didn’t manage to snag one of the work desks near the entrance, there’s a long communal table with planter boxes breaking eye contact between opposing guests.
At around the halfway point of the lounge, you’ll find the bar- always tended and serving up various libations or a barista-made coffee.
The bar signals the transition to the dining area, which makes up the majority of the seating (157 out of 240 seats).
The dining area is itself bifurcated into two sections, with one adopting warmer wood and burnt orange tones…
…and the other a darker, more sophisticated palate.
At the very rear is a bar counter with solo seating and partial views of the open kitchen.
Wi-Fi & Power
The Wi-Fi network clocked in at an incredible 410 Mbps down and 358 Mbps up, though I’ll need to caveat that those speeds will probably come down a bit with real-world conditions.
That said, even at full capacity the network should be very zippy indeed, and more than suited to most heavy-duty video calls and streaming requirements.
Universal power outlets and USB ports are in plentiful supply throughout the lounge, built into most sofas and table tops.
Food & Beverage
The highlight of the Qantas First Lounge is, without a doubt, its dining experience.
There’s no buffet here, with the exception of a small self-serve counter with nuts and canned drinks.
But who wants warmed-over buffet food when you can enjoy some of the finest dining Changi Airport has to offer?
The menu is designed by Neil Perry of Rockpool Grill fame, who has been consulting for Qantas since 1997. What I love is that it’s no mere facsimile of the offerings at Qantas’ Australian lounges, but reads like a love letter to the hawker and haute cuisine of Singapore.
I’d have wanted nothing more than to eat my way through the entire menu, but that’s another mission for another day. In the meantime, a selection of items were specially portioned and plated for the media preview (they don’t reflect the actual portions or plating that guests can expect).
My top three picks for appetisers would be the fiery prawn paste chicken (cool the heat with some smashed cucumber- not pictured below, but will accompany the “real world” version), the tangy prawn wontons, and the classic salt and pepper squid with red chili and aioli.
Two mains were available to sample: a crayfish laksa, and orzo pasta with mushrooms and asparagus (orzo temporarily standing in for spaghettini). There’s a lot of debate as to who serves the best laksa in Changi Airport, with Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris and KrisFlyer Gold lounges and the SATS Premier Lounge all vying for that title. I would probably give it to Qantas, however, with its fragrant, richer broth and superb sambal.
For dessert, a coconut sponge with kaya cream, pineapple and champagne jelly was served. This was good too, but I do hope they’ll bring the pavlova over soon.
I was sad to see that my favourite sambal skate (aka stingray) had been removed from the menu, though it lives on in the form of a sambal barramundi. I’ve also made a mental note to try the duck noodles with cashews and crispy roast pork belly the next time I drop by. The menu will rotate seasonally, depending on produce.
The extensive wine list is a thing to behold, with four choices of champagne (nothing vintage though, which is a bit of a miss for a First Class lounge), and more than a dozen red and white wines, heavily focused on Australian varietals.
- Duval-Leroy Brut NV (3.8★)
- Joseph Perrier Brut NV (3.9★)
- Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (4.1★)
- Taittinger Prestige Rose NV (4.1★)
- Pewsey Vale Riesling 2018 (3.6★)
- Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (4.0★)
- Vasse Felix Classic Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2020 (3.6★)
- Xanadu Circa 77 Semillon Blend 2021 (3.3★)
- Voyager Estate Girt by Sea Chardonnay 2020 (4.1★)
- Villa Maria Earth Garden Rose 2020 (3.4★)
- Yering Station Little Yering Pinot Noir 2018 (3.6★)
- Torres Altos Ibericos Crianza Tempranillo 2016 (3.8★)
- Torbeck Old Vines GSM 2017 (4.0★)
- Wirra Wirra Catapult Shiraz 2019 (3.7★)
- Parker Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (3.7★)
- Yalumba Botrytis Viognier 2017 (4.0★)
Don’t forget to put the bartender through the paces either, with some specialty cocktails crafted exclusively for this bar: Calamansi Mojito (white rum, calamansi and mint), Merlion Blush (vodka, cranberry and grapefruit), Tamarind Talisman (whiskey, tamarind and lemon), and the QF2 (gin and tonic, with a Qantas twist).
Showers & Toilets
The Qantas First Lounge has a total of nine shower suites in the lounge, each with an en-suite toilet.
Each bathroom features an artificial “skylight”, which Qantas says is meant to replicate natural daylight. This can be set to morning, noon or dusk, helping the body clock adjust as guests transition through multiple time zones.
Showers forgo the usual glass cubicle for a more open layout, though the absence of a handheld shower is surprising. There’s no bidet hose either, so washing your naughty bits will be rather tricky.
One of the nine shower rooms is an oversized unit for handicapped guests, with grab bars and a roll-in shower.
Male and female toilets can also be found in the lounge, with an all-private cubicle layout. There’s six cubicles in each toilet, with full-height doors to block out any ambient sounds.
The Qantas First Lounge is open once more, and all it takes is one visit to know why it’s a crowd pleaser. Make no mistake: this is hands down the best lounge in all of Terminal 1- some might say the whole of Changi Airport (in my view it certainly has the beating of The Private Room when it comes to F&B).
Unfortunately, it’s nigh on impossible to redeem oneworld First Class award space out of Singapore, so the most realistic way of accessing the lounge would be to work your way to oneworld Emerald.
Visitors to the reopened Qantas First Lounge- your thoughts?