After plenty of business travel you've finally reached Platinum status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme! Now it's time to make the most of one of the best first class lounges in the world.
We've put together these insider tips on how the lounge works, when you can get in, the best things to eat and drink -- and much more. Think of them as the Seven Habits of First Class Lounge Lizards.
First up: you can glide through those frosted Qantas First Lounge doors if you hold Emerald status with any oneworld partner airline (such as Qantas Platinum, Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Diamond and British Airways Executive Club Gold) and are flying with Qantas or a oneworld airline.
Top tip: several Jetstar flights shuttle between the Sydney and Melbourne international terminals, meaning that Qantas Platinums can also enjoy the Qantas First Lounge without flying overseas – click here for the details
1. Get to the airport as early as possible
If it's your first time in the Qantas First Lounge, you'll probably want to see what all the fuss is about. That means getting to the airport earlier than you usually would.
And once you've experienced the lounge, we think you'll want to make a habit of arriving super-early for subsequent trips!
Most passengers can check in for international flights three hours before departure.
Qantas makes an exception for Airbus A380 services to Los Angeles: check-in opens four hours before the flight, to help get all 450 passengers on board in quick time.
But Qantas Platinum cardholders travelling with carry-on baggage only can arrive at the airport an astonishing eight hours before their flight provided they've used online checkin and printed out their boarding pass (or have had their passes printed at another airport before a connecting flight).
Eight hours might be a little much for any other lounge, but if you've a late flight and are leaving your hotel at regular check-out time, there are many worse places to spend the day.
You get to beat the queue, enjoy some great meals, have a drink or two, plough through your work with free and fast Internet access -- maybe even fit in a spa treatment.
2. Use the Qantas First check-in area
Don't forget that as Platinum or oneworld Emerald you can now skip the Business Class line in favour of the Qantas First check-in area, even if you're flying economy.
If you've already checked in for your flight online, drop by the First Class check-in lounge to collect your Express Path pass. This lets you scoot through the fast-track Express Path outbound security lane.
Annoyingly, a checkpoint for a secondary 'random' security inspection is located just past the Express Path security lanes -- so you've a higher than usual chance of being pulled out, just when you want to head straight up to the lounge.
Our expert tip: play the odds. A casual glance towards the security desk while waiting for your carry-on bag to come through the scanner will show if the staff are waiting to (randomly) pounce or are occupied with other travellers.
If the former, take a little extra time sliding your laptop or tablet back in your bag, putting your coat back on, gathering up your things and such, so that the next person along will be chosen for the 'up close and personal' treatment.
3. Travelling with a friend or colleague?
Technically you're allowed one lounge guest as a Qantas Platinum. If you're travelling with one friend or colleague then treat them! If you're in a group, just choose which of your workmates and/or family members you like the most.
Okay, we jest – but only slightly!
If the lounge is relatively quiet it's been known for the staffers to bend the guest list rules on occasion.
This is very much not a hard and fast rule, and our only advice is to be exceedingly pleasant about your situation.
4. Book your spa session
Fancy a massage, facial or other spa treatment? Your first stop should be the Payot spa, which opens at 9am.
Passengers travelling in first class are telephoned before they travel so they can book a spa session -- everyone else is on a first-come, first-served basis.
So if you want a little pre-flight pampering, make a beeline for the spa as soon as you get into the lounge and check what (if any) sessions are available.
5. Ask what wines are being poured
The staff at the Qantas First Lounge take obvious pride in the champagnes, wines, stickies and spirits served in the lounge. They're all top notch, and sometimes you'll find a few amazing bottles cracked open and on offer.
For example, the excellent Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot and Taittinger champagnes may be supplemented with Dom Pérignon or -- even more lovely in our book -- the almost honey-like Delamotte.
Champagne, reds, whites and rosés are all on the regular wine list, but ask what else might be available, especially if you're a wine fan.
And if you don't yet have a favourite among the Bolly, Veuve or Taittinger the staff are happy to help you discover a new fave for your fizz.
6. Be smart about the menu
One of the best things about the First Lounge is the wonderful restaurant and equally wonderful menu.
It's a seasonal menu, with a number of items changing every three months – but there's a score of reliable standbys which are too good to pass up, no matter how many times you travel.
If you've taken our advice and headed into the airport very early you can sample several meals throughout your visit.
There's a breakfast menu through to 11am, while then a more extensive 'all day menu' kicks in until the last flight out in the evening.
And from lunch onwards we recommend picking your way through a few of the smaller, starter-sized dishes rather than the larger plates.
On recent visits we've been loving the veal carpaccio, the buffalo mozzarella, and (as seen above) the yellowfin sashimi and the organic egg with crab and silken tofu.
The salt and pepper squid (above) is a perennial favourite, and don't miss the daily specials at the bottom of the menu.
If your hunger just won't be sated, though, the minute steak (minute in speed rather than in quantity -- it's currently a 300g tenderloin) is always a good bet.
7. Finding some peace and quiet
There isn't a dedicated quiet zone in these lounges, which can be a bother if you really need to sit down and focus on work or just get away from the cosy chat of your fellow travellers.
Both the Sydney and Melbourne lounges have two small meeting rooms which can be booked at no cost. These come fully equipped with PCs and printers.
Otherwise, in Melbourne's Qantas First there isn't much choice. There are two small library nooks in the middle of the lounge but they're flanked by flat-screen TV sets so don't expect much in the way of peace and quiet.
Sydney's flagship First Lounge does it better: at the opposite end to the Payot spa, past the computers, is a sizeable library area complete with a fascinating assortment of books if you're up for a read.
Since it's at the other end of the lounge from the bar, restaurant and spa there's no through-traffic.
So pick up a glass of your favourite whatever, settle down into a reclining Marc Newson chair with a book or your iPad, and reflect on how nice it is to be a Platinum-grade frequent flyer!
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.