Qantas Can’t Seem To Follow Oneworld Lounge Access Rules At LAX

I’d argue that the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX is the best airline lounge in the U.S.

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It features a fantastic menu that’s very similar to what you’ll find at Qantas’ excellent Sydney lounge, which I consider to be one of the best in the world. Salt & pepper squid, yum!

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The Qantas Lounge at LAX is an international first class and oneworld Emerald lounge, which means it can be accessed by the following passengers, per oneworld policy:

  • Passengers traveling same day in international first class on a oneworld airline
  • Oneworld Emerald members traveling same day on a oneworld airline
  • In the case of those earning oneworld Emerald status through AAdvantage, you must be traveling internationally same day (so if you’re flying from New York to Los Angeles to Hong Kong, you’d be allowed to use this lounge in both directions of travel, as long as your connections are same day)

Unfortunately it looks like the Qantas Lounge LAX isn’t following oneworld policy.

I’ve now received several reports from AAdvantage Executive Platinum readers who have been denied access after an international flight and before a domestic oneworld connection. Per oneworld policy, they’re 100% entitled to lounge access, though under that specific circumstance the Qantas Lounge seems to be denying them. Qantas doesn’t seem to be denying Executive Platinum members access before their international flight, or denying non-AAdvantage oneworld Emerald members access.

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Readers have reported several reasons given by the Qantas Lounge attendants, the most common of which is that American is refusing to pay Qantas when members access the lounge under that condition. I have no clue whether that’s true or not, but that’s what they seem to be telling some people.

This isn’t the first time that Qantas has made up lounge access rules at LAX. About a year ago their manager sent an email to employees encouraging them to call the cops on customers who try to “bully” their way into the lounge (by “bully” I assume he means passengers who point to the correct rules, because in that same email he shared incorrect access policies).

It’s a real shame that this is going on. I’m not sure what the real cause here is, whether it’s actually that American isn’t paying Qantas for rightful access, or if Qantas is just trying to restrict access. Either way, members are loyal to an airline (and by connection, an alliance) based on a list of published benefits, and one of those is access to all oneworld Emerald lounges. Simply making up rules for certain customers undermines the value of an alliance.

I’ll send out a few emails and see if I can figure out what’s going on.

Have you faced this issue with the Qantas Lounge LAX?

Comments

  1. The oneworld Business Class Lounge is just as bad about not following the lounge access policies. I’ve tried to enter using my Airberlin Gold card while flying AA domestically, and they cited the same reason (AA doesn’t want to pay them for it). Pushing back and showing them a copy of the oneworld rules was of no use, though thankfully they didn’t call the cops on me.

  2. I had this experience as an AA ExPlat cardholder. AA inbound long haul, AA domestic connection. Quite frustrating, and I was admitted to the Qantas lounge next door, which is even stranger. The agent suggested that if I had come in on a different international airline I would have been fine(?)

  3. Ugh – again?! These agents are awful. Are they going to give me a hard time if I am in F on a 3-cabin transcon on AA from LAX to JFK?

  4. I had this same experience last Saturday. Family of four SYD-LAX in J class on QF and connecting to MIA on AA in J class. ALL 4 of us are EXP. I would not take no for answer and showed the male lounge attendant the rules on the OneWorld site for the QF F class LAX lounge which permits EXP to use lounge. Let me know who I should write to as well. It is very irking since we flew on full J tickets on QF into LAX.

  5. Happened to me this morning. Qantas lounge agent was a real B, tried citing me the rules, but when I debunked her rant, she still wouldn’t allow me in. I walked to their biz lounge and was able to get right in, but I hate that Lounge so walked over to the admiral Flagship lounge in term 4 and enjoyed my time there. Although under renovation, the flagship is still comfy IMO.

  6. @Ben
    I have the same issue in March 2016 (when I had a long layover), you can always print this page

    http://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/lounge-locations/los-angeles/tom-bradley/international-first-lounge/global/en

    but my advice is send an email to Jeff Helfrick, Vice President – Airport Operations for the Americas at jeff.helfrick@qantas.com.au and let him know the Qantas Rules.

    He answered my email in less that 3 hours at that time and I didn’t have any issue on my next visit. Since your blog is very known in the travel community, I’m sure it will get (again) revolved.

  7. I had the opposite experience actually…i was able to get into that lounge a few months ago as EXP flying in transcon J, which I don’t think technically should have given me access. But they let me in without a question.

  8. They are not consistent. I have been allowed in, but also rejected. I have “bullied” my way in by showing them with the OW rules, but if it’s a short layover I often just want a quick shower and drink and it’s now worth the hassle so just go next door to business lounge.

  9. The lounge dragons at the QF F lounge are insanely rude. I came off a JL F flight and was connecting to MIA in F, they wouldn’t let me access the lounge, I had the rules printed out since I was aware of the potential hassle. The dragon informed me that AA as too “cheap” to pay for AAexp’s to use the lounge. Didn’t like that they threw AA under the bus, went to the AA flagship lounge instead.

  10. Had the same problem on Nov 27. Both of us are AA EXP, flew in on AA from SYD in J, connecting to JFK. Agent named Ruby was polite but still wouldn’t let us into the QF First lounge, sent us to the QF Biz lounge instead, blaiming ‘American’s policy’. I explained the rules to her, she just kept saying no. When checking in at the QF Biz lounge I explained what had just happened and she sighed and said it was AA’s policy. QF Biz lounge was empty and very nice, tho. Much better than the Admirals Club in T4, of course. Really just wanted that full meal service in the F lounge.

    However, on the outbound TO SYD we had no problem getting in to the F lounge. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  11. connecting from AA HKG-LAX-domestic, I just showed both BPs at the same time, said to the agent, ‘EXP, departing domestic flight, incoming international flight’. BP scanned and let in without blinking an eye.

  12. If I’m originating at LAX, and going from LAX to JFK in Flagship First on an AA A321T, am I going to have a problem? FT thread very recently said this should be fine.

  13. It is completely unprofessional and tasteless to air an internal billing squabble as an excuse for not following the rules.

  14. I just flew HKG-LAX-JFK yesterday and did not have any issues using the lounge before my JFK flight.

    However, I have had issues with them following the guest policy. The oneworld rules state: “The guest must also be travelling on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld carrier.”, but he insisted that the guest had to be on the *same* flight.

    When I showed the agent, John, the website, he said that they were not a oneworld lounge and were not subject to that rule.

  15. I accessed the lounge (AA exp) on a smf-lax-DFW-pek itinerary where the DFW -pek was the next day. Lax-DFW was a red eye to make the connection. This is never a problem at admirals club/flagship lounge but I expected an issue at the Qantas first lounge based on reports. Gave the agent all 3 BPs and it was no issue whatsoever.

  16. I was connecting DOH-LAX-BOS two weeks ago and had no issue accessing. Meanwhile, in my dozens of times using the QF F lounge LAX, I was refused entry once this summer for another random reason and they even called out the manager…

  17. @Kevin were you in Y on LAX-JFK? If not, it should not have been a problem as that tcon route has a specific exception to the domestic lounge access policy.

    For those curious about LAX-JFK in F I got into the OW F lounge no issues two weeks ago. Can’t speak to the connection issue Lucky noted however.

  18. My story beats everyone else’s. I’m ExP and was on an inbound flight from HND on AA on business class. A few hours later I would be on an outbound flight to GRU also on AA and also on business class. It so happens that I would be qualified for ExP for 2017 on the first leg. So, on HND-LAX I accrued miles on AA. I asked the check in to have the miles of the second leg (LAX-GRU) credited to my LATAM account, which I had no status whatsoever. So, on the HND-LAX my boarding pass showed I was Emerald, and the second one showed I had no status at all.
    Well, to my dismay, the agent at the front desk of the Qantas lounge refused my entry because there was no status on the second boarding pass, even though showed him the first boarding pass with my Emerald status glowing in front of him!!!!!! I had to show him my ExP card on my iPhone wallet before I was allowed in the lounge. Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

  19. @Beatriz, in your case the QF F lounge agent was correct to deny you admittance. You can’t double dip and expect to be able to enjoy the better benefits. As far as they are concerned your EXP benefits ended when you arrived in LAX, because you, at your own discretion, chose to credit LAX-GRU to LATAM.

    I am traveling NRT-LAX-PIT on Monday and will report if I have issues.

  20. I would imagine there will be negative changes in the future for lounge access rules. Look at what BA is doing in the U.S. having reworked their First Lounges into “Concorde rooms” and thereby blocking Emerald from using them. It peeves me when flying out of Dulles in Club World that I can’t access it for a decent food offering so as to go straight to sleep on the plane. It is to me an underhanded way at skirting a benefit that the alliances all love to tout. But, anyway, as many analysts are pointing out, the future of these alliances is probably going to vanish anyway.

  21. Nobody mentioned maybe it’s time for American Airlines to build a nice lounge at LAX for the elite members? End of the day it is AA’ home country!

  22. Same issue has happened to me at the SQ lounge in SFO (not that that’s a great lounge). Allowed entry as a Star Gold SEA-SFO-NRT, but not on NRT-SFO-SEA until I argued and they said they’ll let me in as a “one time exception.” Super frustrating that they acted like they’re doing me a favor when they’re ignoring the rules.

  23. @Golfingboy
    Incorrect. I did not cease to be OW Emerald just because I credited on LATAM. And I was granted access once I showed him my digital ExP card.

  24. Are there any attorney readers here? If Qantas/AA don’t quickly correct this once and for all perhaps an attorney could file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all of those who are being denied rightful entry.

  25. @Lucky what is the current access policy if traveling on AA in F / J LAX-JFK without a connecting international segment?

  26. After reading all of the comments, I should probably have the access rules up and ready just in case (even thought that clearly hasn’t helped some of you). The last time I passed through there was Oct 25 on AA SYD-LAX. I went over to the QF F lounge before my domestic flight and didn’t have any issue accessing (as EXP). It’s a bummer to hear many of you are having trouble!

  27. I was denied entry on my last visit… CX J HKG-LAX connecting to AA F LAX-LAS with my AAdvantage Exec Plat FF number on file.

  28. I had issues at the LAX Qantas Business Class lounge last Thursday (December 1st). EXP flying J on the AA 77W from LAX-MIA and I used a SWU to upgrade from economy. The Qantas lounge attendant asked if I paid for business or upgraded, and I told the truth then was denied entry stating that “AA won’t pay for the lounge when it’s an upgrade.” My recommendation for others in a similar situation — don’t say you upgraded.

  29. @TC — Seriously? There is nothing in the rules that says that should matter. I am incensed.

    @Lucky — Please keep us posted. These are some egregious errors on the part of Qantas’ lounge team. They are making this stuff up (again).

  30. My wife and I arrived on AA from SYD to LAX on December 2, and were both welcomed into the QF First Class Lounge at the TBIT at LAX. I’m Emerald (Ex Platinum thru Advantage), traveling with my wife who is Platinum. We upgraded from Coach to Business Class (Advantage 25K Mile Award), and we were traveling on AA (Eagle) to SLC which was purchased on another ticket. The QF Lounge Agent couldn’t have been nicer and allowed both of us in. When we arrived I asked the QF Agent if we were allowed in because I was unsure if we could and after looking at our boarding passes he said absolutely! I have nothing but praise for their excellent service. Their lounge was the best. Took shower and had breakfast.

  31. @Dave Great, problem solved! AA members could visit AA lounge in the future! Enjoy guys! As a Qantas Platnium member,I have to pay for food and drink at AA lounge! I love this policy as well! Go Qantas!

  32. @Dave Great, problem solved! AA members could visit AA lounge in the future! Enjoy guys! As a Qantas Platnium member,I have to pay for food and drink at AA lounge! I love this policy as well! Go Qantas!

  33. I agree this is totally frustrating for the AA members, but the common theme here is AA not paying for you to have this benefit…

    Awful customer experience from QF staff, but still the cause here is AA.

    If I were Qantas I’d push to change the lounge to a QF F lounge rather than a OW F lounge so that they could decide who to let in based on who is actually willing to pay for their members to have access.

    As a QF elite I have nothing but glowing reports of the service they give in that lounge.

  34. @flying_foxy — the “theme” of AA not paying is coming from the lounge dragons. It is a rumor. In fact, they gave the same BS excuse when there were issues with not following OW access rules last year, and they had to be set straight. So I don’t know who is making this stuff up, but I am inclined to think it is totally untrue.

  35. This happened to me last year, although I never had problem accessing the lounge before. I complained to Qantas (customercare@qantas.com.au), they sent me their access policy rules
    (Eligible oneworld Status:
    #Next onward flight that day must be on a oneworld operated and marketed flight.
    #One guest allowed and must be travelling on a oneworld operated and marketed flight.),
    apologized and confirmed that I was entitled to access as AA ExP on AA operated LAX>DFW>HKG flight.
    This chick used to be in charge of the lounge: Mariam Hakobova, https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariamhakobova, +1 (310) 487.2110, mariamhakobova@hallmark-aviation.com.
    I didn’t have any problems accessing the lounge recently but the service and friendliness of the staff (especially the front agents) is not as good as it used to be.

  36. @David – Thanks for the info. I am flying JFK-LAX-JFK a week from today, with the return leg from LAX to JFK in first on an AA A321T. I’ll use that info (and will report back) if I have any issues. Hoping there won’t be since I’m in transcon F, but looks like some people are reporting that agents have asked whether they booked using miles. (Seems like an odd question — if the purported problem is AA, would it matter to the agents whether it was booked with AA miles or BA Avios?)

  37. Ben and OMAAT readers: we’ve contacted Qantas HQ and the airline has confirmed there have been NO changes to access rules for its LAX first class lounge, and that eligible Oneworld Emeralds (including AA ExPs) continue to be welcome. The spokesperson added that “we are working hard to ensure our lounge hosts in LA are trained and understand which frequent flyer members are eligible to access both (first class and business class) lounges.”
    More at http://www.ausbt.com.au/qantas-clarifies-access-rules-for-lax-first-class-lounge

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