Qantas began their service to Dallas in 2011 and it has proved a runaway success for the Flying Kangaroo. For inbound flights to Australia, high tier Qantas frequent flyers, business class and First Class guests are accommodated in the third party ‘VIP Club’, located between gates D21 and D22. Unfortunately, what awaits is a pretty sorry affair with dated décor and sub-par food offerings. The lounge is divided into 5 separate areas, contracted out to various airlines. We were visiting lounge #4, flying First Class on the Qantas A380, with this lounge also available to Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members.
A few showers are available in the corridor from where the 5 business class lounges are accessed. After freshening up with a late check-out, we skipped the shower and headed straight for the lounge. There’s excellent sunset runway views and free Wi-Fi available. There’s some dining style seating near the buffet, and 3 areas of recliner seats available, with most seats offering power points/charging bays.
No bar service is offered, a wide selection of beers and soft-drinks after available for self-serve access, which would be recommended over the very poor selection of wines. The white and red wine available retails for a whopping $9 per bottle at Dan Murphy’s. Whilst one could argue Qantas perhaps can’t control the décor or layout of the third-party operator, surely their Epicure team should be checking on the wine offering from one of their major gateways. We shudder to think of what wine is offered to those in area 5; for Qantas Club, Business class or Gold Frequent Flyers.
We had a few sticks of carrot and celery with hummus but opted not to partake in the rest of the buffet offering which looked unappetising to say the least. After a brief stay it was time to check out the American Airlines Premium Lounge near gate D36 with a hope for better things to come.
Dallas airport itself is modern and nicely laid out, offering a wide array of high end shops and several appealing dining areas including a Wolfgang Puck casual restaurant. On reflection, it’d be recommended to perhaps have a drink at the bar there and pay rather than enduring the sub-par conditions of the Qantas and AA lounges.
After making it to D36, I was warmly greeted by the American Airlines crew member located at the entrance to the lift. There was a strange warning that the Premium Lounge was yet to obtain a liquor license, but I headed up anyway. AA are working on a new Flagship lounge, similar to the one in LAX, which is set to open in 2019. Until now, this drab grey on grey on beige affair would have to suffice those flying on American or oneworld frequent flyers looking for an alternative to the third party ‘VIP Club’.
Unlike in LA, there’s plenty of seating offered. The airport in general seemed very quiet at 7-8pm, but you could imagine this being a necessary amount of seating for the number of AA flights operating out of Dallas.
The food was again sub-par; pot noodles, stale looking sandwiches and potato chips about as ‘premium’ as it was getting. As there was no liquor license, only a small selection of soft-drinks is available.
After hoping this would be a step up from the Qantas lounge and having enjoyed the new AA Flagship lounge at LAX, it was a massive let down considering Dallas is the major hub and headquarters for American Airlines…how could they not have completed a decent lounge years ago at their main airport?
Heading back to the Qantas lounge it was time for another Perrier and to patiently wait out the time until the flight departed. We were called for boarding but there was no service offered to escort First Class passengers to the aircraft, instead after families were boarded we hopped onboard the A380, feeling relieved to again be looked after by the fantastic Qantas employees rather than third party contractors who cannot deliver the necessary quality the Qantas brand deserves.
Next time it’ll be straight to Wolfgang Puck’s, it’s better to pay for quality and enjoy your time before the flight rather than feel like you’re in a lounge from 15 or 20 years ago.
For a better US lounge experience read our review of the American Airlines Flagship Lounge in LAX.