As Qantas ramps up the competition on the lucrative east-west market against rival Virgin Australia, passengers travelling through Perth Airport can now relax in an all-new Qantas domestic business class lounge.
It's a significant step above the nearby Qantas Club, which until now housed business class passengers plus Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, and was often bursting at the seams during peak times.
The new Perth Business Lounge comes with over 350 seats, a new Pizza Bar, cocktail hour and more, while also easing the squeeze for guests continuing to visit the Qantas Club.
Location & Impressions
After clearing security, follow the signs as though you're headed to the older Qantas Club – but rather than taking the escalator up to reception, look to your right for clear "Business Lounge" signage.
The Business Lounge borrows some of its design cues from Qantas' newer international lounges in Singapore, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, with guests greeted by staff manning podiums rather than a reception desk... ... joined by a handy table and chair at the entrance if you're searching for your boarding pass or are waiting for somebody to guest you in: Once inside, you'll notice a variety of zones and seating options that are broken up into smaller areas to create a more 'cosy' vibe... ... with many seats also boasting tarmac views and with plenty of natural light:
- Passengers with an onward Qantas business class flight
- Travellers connecting to or from an international business or first class flight with Qantas, Emirates or a Oneworld airline, even if the domestic leg is booked in economy
- 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
There's also a separate Qantas Club lounge for Gold frequent flyers, Oneworld Sapphire cardholders and paid-up Qantas Club members: if that's you, you'll find it atop the terminal's central escalators.
Chairman's Lounge facilities remain adjacent to the Qantas Club.
There's a dedicated station serving up espresso coffee throughout the day and wine from noon... ... with a sample wine list as follows, where you'll also spy some of the other pizzas that will appear throughout the day: For further tipple such as beer, cider and spirits, head to the full bar in the far corner... ... where 4-5pm on weekdays is cocktail hour with a daily special: During our visit the Rockpool Mixologists put together a sweet, vodka-based Pomegranate Spritz (below), while a gin-based Black Swan also proved very drinkable and popular with many guests. If your visit is an early one, perch yourself at the high dining tables to enjoy a 'plate of the day' delivered by waiters – such as baked eggs with chorizo and feta... ... or graze at the buffet with a variety of healthy and fresh options available... ... joined by a spread of tasty snacks... ... and tea-making facilities to shortcut the coffee line in the morning: You'll find a number of dining tables throughout the lounge... ... most of which fortunately come with easy access to both AC and USB power.
That's always been a gripe of mine in airport lounges: power points are plentiful in the business zones but are seldom found near dining facilities, which is a very welcome feature of the Perth Business Lounge.
Speaking of power points, you'll also find them tucked away next to the cocktail chairs that line the walls... ... and built into the long laptop benches adjacent to the dining areas. Those benches provide both ample space for laptop work and also a little privacy... ... with one boasting two iMac computers and printing/photocopying facilities for travellers without their own tech. Guests with access to the Business Lounge can also make use of a meeting room near reception – currently available free-of-charge and with presentation and conferencing facilities: Something we love about this new lounge is that the TVs and bar facilities are mostly kept on one side, while the business and working zone is on the other.
That allows footy fans to kick back with a beer and cheer for their team without disturbing other travellers who may wish to get some work done.
Less impressive was the lounge's WiFi connection, which struggled to pull down the Australian Business Traveller homepage in under five minutes.
We reported the issue to lounge management who were unable to offer an immediate fix, but noted the glitch with the IT team as we switched to our backup 4G mobile hotspot for the remainder of our visit.
Speaking of sports, the TVs nearest the bar show three different channels at a time... ... while there's a separate 'viewing area' screening Sky News throughout the day and major sporting events when they occur: Duos and small groups can take to a variety of seats, from the more formal... ... through to the more relaxed: Solo travellers aren't forgotten either with a number of single seats lining the walls, each with their own cocktail table. That's a stark and very noticeable difference to what used to happen in Perth's Qantas Club lounge, where solo travellers would frequently find themselves forced to socialise as every single available seat became occupied during peak times.
Also an improvement over the Qantas Club lounge are new, modern and private shower suites with en suite bathrooms... ... and Aspar amenities at the ready. While the Perth Qantas Club certainly has shower suites of its own, they're not nearly as nice or spacious as those in the Business Lounge.
(The Qantas Club showers also offer just one 'all-purpose' and no-name liquid via a soap dispenser, as opposed to the separate and Aspar-labelled shampoo, conditioner and shower gel products in the Business Lounge.)
Rounding out the Business Lounge amenities are two reading shelves with the day's newspapers and a selection of magazines to pass the time. All things considered, Qantas' new Business Lounge in Perth is easily Australia's best domestic airport lounge – there's practically everything for everybody in a space that feels more 'international' than 'domestic'.
Certainly the WiFi needs fixing, but small teething issues like this are to be expected when lounges open their doors to travellers for the very first time.
More photos: First look: Qantas Business Lounge, Perth
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Perth as a guest of Qantas.
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