High flyers jetting through Brisbane, prepare to be spoiled: Qantas' new domestic business class lounge at Brisbane Airport isn't simply a revamp of the old (and admittedly, crowded) space: it's a brand new lounge in a new zone altogether, and comes complete with an also-new Qantas Premium Lounge Entry facility for a fast-tracked and private entrance.
Once inside, travellers can expect a significantly upgraded lounge experience – retaining key features like a breakfast 'dish of the day' and barista-made coffee, but mixing in a wine bar, Quench beverage station, dedicated working areas, plentiful access to power outlets, and of course, significantly more seating.
Join Australian Business Traveller as we explore the Roo's newest airport lounge and you'll soon understand why it's now considered the best domestic business class lounge in the country.
Location & Impressions
You'll find Qantas' new lounge on the upper level of the airport's domestic terminal in a new lounge precinct.
But first, you'll need to clear security. Forget the ordinary queues or trekking your way through the terminal: instead, look out for the Qantas Premium Lounge Entry doors adjacent to the main airport security checkpoint, wander through, flash your boarding pass or frequent flyer card and clear security in a private room.
Have a bag to check, either for a domestic flight or with an international connection? No dramas, there are staffed check-in counters and automated bag drop facilities here too.
Behind a small queue of fellow travellers, we were through in under three minutes with only carry-on baggage – but at busier times, many flyers will be wondering why Qantas installed only one security checkpoint here rather than two, which the space would more than allow.
If transiting between Qantas flights or stopping by after your journey, you'll have to instead make a less glamorous entry via the Qantas Club lounge upstairs, before walking through to reach the business class lounge.
In any case, once done with the formalities, guests are greeted upstairs by an expansive new space designed around the colours of a Moreton Bay twilight, giving the lounge a distinct Queensland feel.
The area comes divided into a variety of zones for dining, working and relaxing...
... and offers plenty of natural light throughout, plus tarmac views towards Brisbane Airport's main runway along with the new parallel runway currently under construction.
Overall, this proves a much-needed and very welcome upgrade to the previous Qantas business class lounge in Brisbane, which would often see Platinum-grade flyers opting for the less-crowded Qantas Club lounge instead.
- Passengers flying onwards in Qantas or QantasLink business class
- Travellers connecting to or from an international business or first class flight with Qantas, Emirates or a Oneworld airline, even if booked in economy on the domestic leg
- Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers before or after a same-day Qantas, QantasLink, Emirates, Jetstar or Oneworld flight
- Other Oneworld Emerald members when their next onward flight that day is with Qantas or QantasLink and carries a QF or other Oneworld flight number (no access when flying Jetstar)
- Emirates Skywards Platinum cardholders where their next onward flight that day carries a QF or EK flight number and is operated by Qantas or QantasLink
- China Eastern's Eastern Miles Platinum members departing on a Qantas-operated domestic flight
Paid-up Qantas Club members, Gold-grade frequent flyers and Oneworld Sapphire cardholders can still use the Premium Lounge Entry facility but have no access to the business class lounge when flying in economy, so can follow a pathway and emerge inside the adjacent Qantas Club lounge instead.
It might be tempting to ignore this and walk straight towards the Business Lounge, but the queues for coffee once inside can be long in the mornings – so to save time, grab your cuppa here instead before darting through.
If you prefer your morning kick-start served in mugs or glassware instead of a take-away cup, however, do order it inside the lounge proper:
Beyond espresso, travellers passing through the Business Lounge during the 6am-7am rush can start their morning with a 'plate of the day' delivered to their seat in the main dining area.
During our visit, a tasty bacon and egg muffin was the morning special served with tomato relish and avocado. The menu also varies from week to week, with Croque Madame toasted sandwiches one of the other rotational items along with various seasonal breakfast bites.
As in the previous Business Lounge, a juicer stands at the ready for a chilled morning smoothie...
... while further hot items are available from the buffet such as baked beans, scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, and both 'regular' toast and toasted sandwiches...
... joined by boiled eggs and your choice of cereal...
... ingredients to enjoy on their own or to combine in one of those toasted sandwiches, plus single-portion snacks (our favourite tends to vary between the Bircher Muesli and the raspberry yoghurt):
As first seen in Brisbane's new Qantas international business class lounge, a 'Quench' counter proves a good alternative to your typical juices and soft drinks...
... opening for breakfast and remaining so throughout the day.
Whatever you choose to eat, there's plenty of space to sit nearby...
... with individual tables available along with a communal dining bench that's perfect for solo travellers.
You can also multi-task by eating and recharging your gadgets at the same time – just opt for one of these booth seats which provide handy AC and USB power outlets near the ground.
Later in the day, the main bar serves alcohol from 12pm including beer, wine, spirits and Australian sparkling, but you'll also need to queue here for something simple like a Diet Coke as there are no self-serve soft drink fountains in this new lounge.
(The bar also pours non-alcoholic drinks before noon and is where you'll find the lounge's main barista coffee station.)
Elsewhere, digital water taps are scattered about which produce both chilled and sparkling water, and if you wander to the far end of the lounge, you'll uncover a dedicated wine bar with a printed beverage list:
Barista-made espresso coffee can also be ordered here when the area is staffed.
Of course, typical lounge fare may be sourced from the buffet for both lunch and dinner or just a quick snack...
... but for something different, stop by the Cantina counter for a freshly-made and Mexican-inspired dish.
As with breakfast, the options rotate from week to week with one dish offered at a time from a list that includes nachos, soft tacos, empanadas, sweet corn and more.
Nachos were the order of the day during our visit, and while the staff will happily customise them to your tastes using a range of 'condimentos', we opted to mix and match the flavours ourselves and weren't disappointed.
Cantina opens at 12pm with food served throughout the day and into the evening.
When your lounge visit calls for productivity there are plenty of spaces to choose from – beginning with a cosy business area in the centre of the lounge featuring a working table with AC and USB power built-in, wireless printing facilities on-hand and an iMac computer (soon to be computers, we're told)... ... plus a sea of laptop benches on either side which double to create a privacy wall around the area and again come complete with handy power outlets. They're also a great place to stand and work, particularly if preparing for those longer flights to Perth or Darwin:
For more collaborative meetings, comfortable bench seats are too nearby...
... and, you guessed it, with no shortage of power points:
For conversations that require more privacy, particularly in the morning, head to the very end of the lounge and you'll find a little nook tucked away behind the wine bar, seldom passed by other guests:
WiFi in the lounge proves acceptable without being lightning-fast, with download speeds measuring between 1.49Mbps and 13.43Mbps during our stay.
Upload speeds were more solid, ranging from 11.11Mbps through to 17.5Mbps.
... continuing with seats adaptable for solo flyers, duos, trios and foursomes...
... plus seats lining the windows, either with views out to today's tarmac...
... or across to the gardens, and eventually, towards the tail end of Brisbane's new runway:
Keep exploring and you'll uncover even more seating...
... whether that's the benches above or the more collaborative spaces below:
Unisex private shower suites are also at-hand with amenities by ASPAR (combined shampoo/body wash plus hair conditioner)...
... with a look and feel more akin to a high-end hotel bathroom than a typical airport facility.
All things considered, we'd now rate this as Australia's best domestic business class lounge, and while there are a few final touches to be ironed out such as peak wait times at Premium Lounge Entry (shared between guests of all three Qantas lounges), the Business Lounge itself is a true knockout.
Have you had a chance to experience the new Qantas Business Lounge in Brisbane? If so, share your thoughts in the comment box below!