Get into the Qantas First Class Lounge on domestic Jetstar flights

Get into the Qantas First Class Lounge on domestic Jetstar flights

Did you know that you can enjoy Qantas' award-winning international first class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne when travelling on a domestic Jetstar flight?

Imagine being able to sample the lounge’s superb Rockpool-inspired seasonal menu, soak up the relaxed ambience and maybe even snare a free treatment at the day spa before you jet off on a quick 90 minute inter-capital trip.

It's a favourite trick of savvy travellers, but anybody with a top-tier Qantas Frequent Flyer card can play.

All you need to do is find one of the handful of domestic Jetstar flights which depart from the international terminal at Sydney and Melbourne airports – and hold a Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum or Platinum One status, which is your pass into the Qantas First Lounge.

But 'handful' is the operative word: while Jetstar runs as many as a dozen daily flights each way between Sydney and Melbourne, those leaving from the international terminal are seen only once every few weeks.

Finding your flight

There are very few (if any) Sydney-Melbourne Jetstar flights which meet this criteria, although every few weeks you'll find JQ27 doing a Melbourne-Sydney leg before it continues to Phuket.

This domestic leg allows Jetstar to pick up an extra load of holiday-minded passengers from Sydney before continuing to Thailand; but because this is an international flight, it begins out of Melbourne Airport's T2 international terminal instead of Jetstar's home at the T4 domestic terminal.

But passengers don't have to be going all the way from Melbourne to Phuket – you can book just the Melbourne-Sydney segment and treat this as a domestic flight, even though it uses the international terminals.

The same goes for JQ5, which usually flies Brisbane-Honolulu but every now and again tacks on a Sydney-Brisbane leg which departs from Sydney Airport's T1 international terminal.

We're the first to point out that you'd be unlikely to plan a business trip around those particular days or flights – but if the dates happen to match up to your schedule, you may as well take advantage of this clever travel hack.

(This trick doesn't apply if you'd rather fly Qantas. Unlike its low-cost sibling, Qantas has 100% separation between domestic and international flights, compared to a few years back when for example there was a regular Sydney-Brisbane-Manila service which began its journey at Sydney Airport's international terminal.)

What to look for...

So how do you find these international Jetstar flights with a domestic leg for your next business trip?

Start by punching your travel plan into the Jetstar website.

As usual, you'll see the list of flights for your desired day of travel.

Let your cursor hover over the small information icon next to the flight duration – a pop-up flight box will show details of the flight, including the departure terminal.

Most of these flights will show the aircraft departing from the domestic terminal – needless to say, those aren't the flights you're looking for.

If you're lucky – or if your schedule has a little flexibility, so you can select a different day of travel – you'll spy a flight emblazoned with the blue Dreamliner graphic.

That's one of the give-aways that you've found a Jetstar flight with a domestic leg which departs from the international terminal.

Click the information icon and the pop-up window confirms this:

There are in fact two quick give-aways as to domestic Jetstar flights with leave from the international terminal: the Dreamliner graphic (most international Jetstar flights are on Boeing 787 Dreamliners) and the sudden appearance of business class fares (Jetstar's regular domestic flights use economy-only aircraft, unlike the two-class Boeing 787s).

For example, here's an upcoming Sydney-Brisbane flight which departs from Sydney's international terminal and as such provides access to the Qantas first class lounge.

And as you can see those happen to be quite competitive fares, even compared to the other Jetstar flights which leave from the domestic terminal.

There's no small dash of irony in using a super-cheap Jetstar flight to bask in Qantas' very best lounge!

While Jetstar fares don't include checked luggage, most business travellers happily belong to the 'carry-on only' brigade.

If you want to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status credits for your Jetstar flight, upgrade to the Plus bundle.

Before you book...

There are a few other caveats for hitching a ride on these 'international' flights.

As we've already pointed out, you’ll need to be flexible with your travel schedule and hunt through the Jetstar schedule deliberately seeking out the right flights as we've shown above.

Because these flights leave from an international terminal you can't pack any liquids, aerosols or gels more than 100ml in your hand luggage.

You'll also need photo ID to checkin and obtain your boarding pass. And no, you can't buy duty-free at the airport.

There’s no online checkin for the domestic legs of these international flights and your your Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum card doesn’t qualify you to use Jetstar’s business class checkin counter (although it never hurts to ask with a smile).

We suggest turning up at the airport as early as you can (checkin opens 3 hours before departure) to avoid the queues and make the most of your time in the Qantas First lounge.

[This article has been revised and updated from the original version first published in 2012]

Follow Australian Business Traveller on twitter: we're @AusBT

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

45 comments

  • Peter Loh

    PeterLoh

    29 May, 2013 01:48 pm

    If you're flying between Sydney and Brisbane, there's also the QF19 service on Thursday mornings which continues onto Manila.

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  • Al Glidden

    AlG

    29 May, 2013 03:58 pm

    Not any more, Peter, QF19 now runs direct from Sydney to Manila, no Brisbane stopover :(

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  • Peter Loh

    PeterLoh

    29 May, 2013 04:46 pm

    I disagree... on Thursdays QF19 does stop in Brisbane on the way to Manila. Coming back it stops in Brisbane only on Tuesdays. All other days it's a direct flight.

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  • hutch

    hutch

    29 May, 2013 05:28 pm

    Temporary Suspension of Brisbane-Manila services 30 April 2013

    Qantas is temporarily suspending its one flight per week Brisbane-Manila service. The existing runway at Brisbane Airport is undergoing maintenance work (overnight) and as a consequence QF19 cannot operate via Brisbane from June through to late 2013.

    The following options are available to Qantas customers holding a valid ticket issued on/before 29 April 2013 travelling on QF19 Brisbane-Manila or QF20 Manila-Brisbane, who wish to make changes to their booking for travel between 17 June and 26 October 2013.

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  • tmsmile

    tmsmile

    29 May, 2013 01:57 pm

    There are also flights Syd to Gold Coast that leave from T1

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  • Peter Loh

    PeterLoh

    29 May, 2013 02:00 pm

    Those are the JQ flights to Japan!

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  • tmsmile

    tmsmile

    29 May, 2013 02:22 pm

    Yup, JQ11 continues on to NRT however I have booked just the Sydney-OOL portion. There is an earlier one, however doesnt leave much time for F lounge

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    29 May, 2013 05:35 pm

    Good luck getting the spa treatment unless you're booked in first class...

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  • tmsmile

    tmsmile

    29 May, 2013 07:09 pm

    I've had success getting a 30mins shoulder and neck massage in the early evening when flying Y

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    29 May, 2013 07:57 pm

    Lucky you - on flights to Honolulu I've found the spa closes early in the evening like (5 or 530pm) so a part time service in reality...

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  • David Flynn

    David

    31 May, 2013 07:04 pm

    on flights to Honolulu I've found the spa closes early in the evening like (5 or 530pm) so a part time service in reality...

    That's only a 'reality' if you're evening flights, of course. But I'm sure Qantas would see plenty of smiling shiny faces if they opted to keep the spa open for just another few hours each evening. :)

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  • David Flynn

    David

    31 May, 2013 07:01 pm

    I've had at least a 50% strike rate with spa bookings when I check in three hours before the flight, PLATY.

    It also depends on when you fly: these days the lounge is extremely busy in the mornings, more so than it used to be, but coming up to 10am it's very quiet, so if you're on a 1pm flight and you check in three hours early there's a good chance of grabbing a spa booking for 11am or 11.30am.

    I've done several 1pm Singapore flights of late, checked in at 10am and scored a spa session every time.

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  • herman

    herman

    29 May, 2013 08:55 pm

    Only Qantas Platinum members can get into the First Class lounge on a JQ ticket as JQ is not part of Oneworld.

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  • David Flynn

    David

    29 May, 2013 09:13 pm

    Ah, quite so, Herman - the reference to Oneworld Emerald was left over from an earlier edit which included some QF flights which np longer run. Thanks for the pick-up!

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  • spentan

    spentan

    30 May, 2013 06:46 am

    If you fly in from Canberra (to Sydney) around 10 in the morning, and then fly jq35 at 3pm, is there any way to get your JQ boarding pass earlier? As in can they print it at Canberra or can you get it earlier than 3hours before at Sydney T1?

    3 hours ain't bad, but a whole day FLounging would be better :P

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  • drgmarshall

    drgmarshall

    30 May, 2013 12:41 pm

    The Sydney lounge is a great lounge -  no doubt. I've used it 3-4 times a year for trips from Perth to LAX for the last 3 years.  In all those visits, I've never yet once secured a time slot for the spa. It's always full before I get here from WA.  I'm actually here right now on the way to USA on QF11 and same story this time.  Very dissapointing but the lunch is good though.

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  • mb68

    mb68

    31 May, 2013 02:59 pm

    Can the spa be pre booked?

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  • David Flynn

    David

    31 May, 2013 06:56 pm

    Only if you're travelling in first class, in which case the QF concierge will call you the day before you fly - for the rest of us, it's 'first in, best dressed'!

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  • TimH

    TimH

    31 May, 2013 03:30 pm

    bravo David. Great tip.  One of the best (if not the best) business traveller insider tip ever.

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  • sjariel

    sjariel

    31 May, 2013 05:35 pm

    I am heading out of Melbourne to London in September and am Platinum.  I will be with the family, wife 2 kids 12 and under.  Has anyone had any luck getting the whole family into the First class lounge with just one Plat membership ?

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  • spentan

    spentan

    31 May, 2013 07:18 pm

    According to the Lounge Eligibility and access rules, you're able to take in 1 guest, and up to 2 children into a Qantas owned and operated lounge.

    A child is defined as 4-17 years old, (younger than that and there is no limit)

    http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/lounge-eligibility-access/global/en#jump6

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  • sjariel

    sjariel

    1 Jun, 2013 09:25 am

    thanks Spentan I will see how it goes

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  • TimH

    TimH

    1 Jun, 2013 02:44 pm

    I have taken the wife and two under 12 into the Sydney First lounge when flying economy so should be ok

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  • princess fiona

    princess fiona

    1 Aug, 2016 08:02 pm

    You'll have no trouble guesting in your kids. I have 4 (partner and I both QF Plat), have used this benefit multiple times at SYD/MEL F Lounge

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  • Longreach

    Longreach

    28 Dec, 2013 04:25 pm

    Goodness. So anyone can play - so long as he or she is a run-of-the-mill Platinum person.

    How egalitarian.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    30 Dec, 2013 12:59 am

    II think you're just jealous you're not WP.

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  • jorgb

    jorgb

    1 Aug, 2016 02:16 pm

    How dare someone gets provided a service they paid for!

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  • Rob Gravestocks

    nowmedia

    8 Aug, 2014 12:12 pm

    Ive done this a couple of times now and its a great treat on a Friday or Saturday arvo.  However JQ have just cancelled JQ35 at short notice refusing to put us onto a QF flight at the same time.  There arent JQ domestic flights within 2 hours either side of the cancelled JQ35.  Of course they dont care and have offered a refund but to book new flights at the original flight time on QF and at short notice means that we will be almost $100 out of pocket.  Its the second time in 6 months that JQ have cancelled one of these flights so buyer beware!

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  • Ryan Stephen

    RaptorNation158

    29 Jan, 2015 01:54 am

    Now you also have the Air India daily flight from Sydney to Delhi via Melbourne, and also the other way around for the return leg. I think UA was also doing it until they started their direct LAX-MEL service on the 787-9.

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  • Ryan Stephen

    RaptorNation158

    29 Jan, 2015 01:56 am

    Just wondering is the TRS available?

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  • mviy

    mviy

    1 Aug, 2016 12:29 pm

    Rishi, you would need to show that you are flying to an international destination. If you are only flying e.g. between Sydney and Melbourne you won't be allowed to use the TRS just like you won't be able to buy duty-free at the airport.

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  • mviy

    mviy

    1 Aug, 2016 12:37 pm

    I might take advantage of this if I don't travel internationally whilst I have WP status.

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  • Yohy

    Yohy

    1 Aug, 2016 12:59 pm

    well this should ensure that QF puts an exception in the T&Cs to stop this happening :(

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  • David Flynn

    David

    1 Aug, 2016 01:16 pm

    Except that we first wrote about this in 2012, with revisions a few times since, and there's been zero movement in the T&Cs. There are fewer of these eligible JQ flights these days than in the past but that's due to JQ changing its fleet and network, nothing more.

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  • moa999

    moa999

    1 Aug, 2016 01:50 pm

    Should also add that these flights seem to be the first to go in the event of disruptions as wel, with pax reacommodated on QF/JQ flights

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  • David Flynn

    David

    2 Aug, 2016 09:08 am

    That's a very good point, Mark... Indeed, the SYD-BNE flight used as an example in this article has this morning been cancelled and swapped to a regular domestic Jetstar flight.

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  • moecat

    moecat

    3 Aug, 2016 02:54 am

    Any mention of passport or going through immigration?

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    3 Aug, 2016 08:02 am

    Hi moecat, see the information and screenshot under the 'before you book...' heading.

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  • moecat

    moecat

    3 Aug, 2016 01:14 pm

    No very helpful Chris. People read this site for expert/ inside information, not to be told to read t's and c's from a website....

    obviously I am interested to know how it works, do u go through immigration?? do u have a separate line?? do u exit as if an international passenger??? If so how do you do that with just a drivers license. Ect ect 

     

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  • David Flynn

    David

    3 Aug, 2016 03:32 pm

    Moecat: there's also a point at which people should read the article first.  As the article states, you need photo ID (doesn't have to be passport, can just be a driver's licence); the flight leaves the international terminal so you do have to go through the standard security/immigration procedure; and flights also arrive into the airport's international terminal.

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  • Mal

    Mal

    3 Aug, 2016 03:35 pm

    Hi Moecat, you go through immigration and can use your passport or drivers licence, and as a 'domestic' travellers you use a special lane that's also the same for cabin crew, diplomats and I think APEC card holders.

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  • Anthony Thompson

    triumph8

    3 Aug, 2016 04:47 pm

    What the article does not say is why anyone would want to fly jetstar in the first place, it has to be australias worst airline in terms of reliability etc, i have banned my employees from using it as the costs of overnight accomodation etc from cancelled flight outweighed the "savings"

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  • PaulST

    PaulST

    30 Aug, 2016 05:37 pm

    Great article - thanks! I'm flying JQ3 b/w MEL and SYD this coming Saturday and plan to spend 3hrs relaxing in the MEL Flounge (I'm QF WP)

     

    One question, though. You say that I'll need photo ID. Does this include a passport or will any other standard ID work? (I planned to take my passport just to be safe).

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  • Chris

    flychrisfly

    6 Sep, 2016 01:17 pm

    Have Jetstar changed their website? The flight details are all hidden and for each flight need to be revealed individually.

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  • Timothy Hallifax

    Tim H

    23 Jan, 2018 11:32 am

    Very glad I stumbled on your tip David thanks. I was in process of booking a workday JQ Melb-Syd coded flight for status. Now by just clearing customs the airport schlepp and cramped Jetstar seats (for me at 6"1') becomes indulgence of lunch in Sydney 1st, wifi, massage, shower, and comfortable work surrounds. And for less than 2 Melb taxi fares.

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26 Jun, 2019 12:22 am

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