The Impact Of Qantas' Strict New 'Smart Casual' Rules Will Be Minimal

Qantas don't want your stinking thongs no more. From April 1 (no joke), it will begin more strictly enforcing its "smart casual" rules in Qantas Club and Business lounges. Does this mean the end of miners hanging out waiting for their FIFO connection? Not quite.

Picture: Michael Coghlan

This is Qantas' official statement about the changes:

In response to customer feedback, our minimum smart casual dress guidelines will be more closely applied to all visitors entering our Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney Qantas Clubs or Business lounges from 1 April 2015. We want to create a comfortable atmosphere in our lounges that all visitors can enjoy.

There are two immediate points to notice here. Firstly, Qantas isn't actually introducing a new policy — it's reinforcing a policy that has always been in place. It has always had the option of booting you out if you look like a slob.

Secondly, that list only includes the major capital cities (sorry Hobart, but your barely-open lounge doesn't qualify). If you're in the Far North (Qantas has lounges in Darwin, Cairns, Townsville and Alice Springs), there's no suggestion you're going to be thrown out simply for wearing shorts. Gold Coast travellers, your tasteless shirts are (for the most part) fine.

The obvious objection — it was the first thing said in our office when we heard about it — is "what about all the mining workers?" The Perth lounge, in particular, is normally crammed with fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers. However, those workers are explicitly excluded, as Qantas explains:

Eligible visitors wearing uniforms are still permitted access, and this includes hi-vis work wear.

My take? I'm a very regular Qantas Club user, and have been for a decade. I generally think dress codes are pointless, but I'm really not fussed about this change. My normal wear in an airport lounge is a collared shirt and jeans, so I should be fine. And I'm OK with people being kicked out if they rock up in a mankini with Crocs. (Side observation: I'm always amazed to see anyone boarding a flight wearing thongs. No matter how warm the location, the plane itself will be fairly chilly.)

Does this seem like a good change to you? Tell us in the comments.

Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman promises he will never wear thongs in an airport lounge. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.


    Will be annoyed if I can't wear jeans and a nice t-shirt (non-collared). Often travel through to Houston which is a 35-hour trip end to end, so comfort wins out over style. Sleeping in a collared shirt isn't anywhere near as comfortable.

      Not a chance. This is to stop people coming in with thongs, ratty clothes and questionable hygiene. They are not going to piss off long-haul customers that spend big $$$

      Will be annoyed if I can't wear jeans and a nice t-shirt (non-collared).

      I seriously doubt that will be a problem. These policies aren't for people like you or me, it's for roughneck miner types and the guys who get on a plane to Bali looking like the rednecks from Deliverance.

    I travel to Asia, America and the Middle East often because my family is spread about.. I often wear thongs on a flight, 15 hours is a bloody long time to be wearing shoes! As for it being cold... I just pack a pair of socks, sorted (and no, I don't wear the socks and the thongs together)

      Seems like a lot of hassle, changing into/out of your socks/thongs. Why not just wear shoes and slip them off when you're sitting down?

        Mainly because I go to the bathrooms multiple times, and found it easier to slip on the pair of thongs than to put shoes on again..

    I hope this gets extended to flights as well.

    Have you been to the Perth Qantas lounge? It's full of the roughest drunkest bearded miners in hi-vis overalls, shouting 'have you seen the t*** on her!?' and 'why the f*** don't they have pokies in 'ere?!' - basically it's an RSL without a smoking zone.

    I can't imagine why this policy has been rolled out - but I know which front desk will be having the hardest time enforcing the policy...

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