The first Gulf airline to join the alliance is supposedly denying premium frequent flyers from accessing the alliance-affiliated luxury lounges in London and Doha, thus constituting a breach to the oneworld policies.
Rather, the airline has only been granting access to the lounges for travelers flying in business or first class, regardless if they are considered “gold” or “premium” customers. High-status customers flying economy have been denied access in London’s Heathrow and Qatar’s Doha airports to the lounges.
Such practices are in direct conflict with oneworld’s lounge policy, which states that “Members of oneworld airline frequent flyer programmes with the equivalent of oneworld Emerald or Sapphire tier status can use any lounge offered by any oneworld airline when departing on any flight marketed and operated by any oneworld member airline, regardless of cabin class being flown….Emerald tier frequent flyers can use First Class, Business Class or frequent flyer lounges. Sapphire tier frequent flyers are welcome in Business Class or frequent flyer lounges.”
QR has responded to the accusation by comparing its policy to the British Airways’ Concorde room at Heathrow which is only for BA’s first class passengers. Like BA, QR’s says that its premium lounge in London is “exclusive” and not included in the oneworld lounge scheme. “QR offers both first and business class lounge access for the first/business traveller, his/her guest, and emerald/sapphire travellers. In addition, QR offers a Premium Lounge which is only for (first and business) ticketed passengers on QR or another Oneworld member airline – not their guests, not emerald/sapphire passengers,” a Qatar Airways spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller.