Qantas international business class lounge, Brisbane Airport

Review: Qantas international business class lounge, Brisbane Airport

Country:
Australia
City:
Brisbane
Airport:
Brisbane
Cabin Class:
Business
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
QF (Qantas)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • A big focus on breakfast with plates of the day and 'breakfast hatch'
  • Full barista and bartender service
  • An enjoyable and relaxed Queensland-centric design

What's Not

  • No longer a separate space for Platinum members

X-Factor

  • Now with 30% more seating, split across two levels

Introduction

Until recently, flying Qantas abroad from Brisbane meant stopping by the usually-full business class lounge or visiting the also-full first class lounge next door – but that's all changed following a top-to-bottom rethink and redesign of the space to unlock 30% more room for travellers and even an extra level to help ease the squeeze.

Simply named The Qantas Brisbane Lounge, the new facility serves business class passengers and both Gold and Platinum frequent flyers in a single space, offering favourites like plates of the day, barista-made coffee and bartender service, through to a new 'breakfast hatch' and Quench beverage station.

Australian Business Traveller puts Qantas' newest lounge through its paces to bring you this exclusive first review.

Location & Impressions

The Qantas Brisbane Lounge can be found in the exact same place as before – straight ahead after wandering through duty-free and nearby gate 80 – but from the outside, you wouldn't know that much has changed within. It's not until you ascend the escalator that the first hints of change emerge, where a modern Indigenous art installation named The Pulse of our Ancient Land greets you... ... before approaching reception where friendly staff process your entry at modern podiums rather a traditional reception desk: Directly beyond will be the first stop for many morning-time travellers: the barista coffee counter. It's aside a fully-tended bar for a bubbly breakfast or a something stronger, as you wish... ... and if you slept in or simply don't have much time until boarding, there's a nook directly behind reception that's perfect as a 'short stay' zone, joined by tables and chairs nearby for a quick spot of breakfast before you dash: Oh, and there's a brand new second storey to this lounge, too – but more on that later.

Access

  • Business class passengers of Qantas, Air Niugini, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern (from December), Emirates, Fiji Airways and Jetstar (Business Max tickets only)
  • First class guests flying with Emirates
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers travelling with any Oneworld airline; with a QF flight number on their ticket; or with China Eastern, Emirates or Jetstar
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members travelling with Qantas or Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum cardholders booked on a Qantas or Emirates flight with a QF or EK flight number
  • China Eastern Gold and Platinum Eastern Miles members travelling to Mainland China on a Qantas or China Eastern flight number (from December)
  • Qantas Club members booked on a Qantas or Jetstar flight number with any airline
  • American Airlines Admirals Club members travelling with Qantas on a QF or AA flight number
  • Fiji Airways Tabua Club members flying with Fiji Airways on an FJ flight number
  • Selected credit card users and Qantas Silver frequent flyers using a single-entry Qantas Club lounge pass

Additionally, Emirates operates its own dedicated lounge at Brisbane Airport for passengers travelling to Auckland, Singapore and Dubai, offering direct boarding from lounge to aircraft.

Dining

As the vast majority of Qantas international flights from Brisbane depart in the mornings, the entire lounge practically heroes that all-important first meal of the day.

For starters, it's impossible to miss this new dining area as you meander inside: Pull up a perch from 8-9am daily to enjoy a breakfast 'plate of the day' served straight to your seat by the helpful wait staff, alongside a barista-made coffee.

Our visit saw a 'healthy breakfast bowl' of a soft egg, kale, haloumi and quinoa, proving a fresh and tasty start to the day... ... while the coffee here comes in a range of groovy Queensland-themed cups, tasting just as you'd expect. That's not your only option for brekky: you can also head upstairs and discover the Brisbane Breakfast Hatch: quite literally, a hole-in-the-wall within the lounge, again serving up the featured plate of the day plus ready-made Bircher Muesli bowls for something simple, tasty and ready to grab. As nice as these options are, sometimes you just feel like a buffet binge – so bacon, eggs and grilled tomatoes are all available too, flanked by fruit salad and fresh yoghurts... ... breads for toasting and condiments on the side: your last chance to enjoy Vegemite before leaving Australia... ... and, if you don't like change or just love lounge pancakes, you're not forgotten either: Also before those morning flights and indeed any other time of the day, a new 'Quench Station' provides a range of non-alcoholic beverages including a Rockpool signature tisane: assembled by adding mixed leaves to the teapots and filling with boiling water... ... or a cool ginger quencher, a lemon & elderflower drop or a pink grapefruit delight – the latter of which proved refreshing when mixed with water and garnished by a slice of orange: certainly a nice change to our usual Diet Coke. Beer lovers, fear not – there's a selection on tap at the main bar, with cider, spirits and seasonal red and white wines also available... ... with the Seppelt sparkling offered here too, or self-poured at leisure from locations throughout the lounge: For Platinum-level frequent flyers, that's certainly a downgrade from the Taittinger which used to be offered in the separate first class lounge, although Platinum One, Chairmans Lounge and other VIP travellers will find Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV Champagne tucked away behind the bar. If the staff don't already 'know who you are', just flash your boarding pass or frequent flyer card when you order, or at your seat if a waiter comes by to offer a refreshment during quieter periods: Later in the day, a selection of fresh fruits, salads and egg treats appear... ... as do heartier dishes like egg noodles with smoked bacon and chili, a potato and leek soup with rosemary croutons and our favourite, Persian chicken with pomegranate, carrots and rice pilaf (on the side): For dessert, there's a scrumptious caramel cheesecake well worth the extra time on the treadmill, and an also-delicious chocolate brownie – fresh from the oven, so the staff plated it up for us: As purely a business class lounge, we really couldn't ask for much more: except, perhaps, for Platinum members to also be included on the 'Champagne list', which they're already accustomed to sipping in the Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges.

Work

As you'd expect of any modern airport lounge, there's fast and free WiFi available throughout. We tested the speed a number of times and clocked downloads between 7.47Mbps and 16.93Mbps, while uploads ranged from 4.33Mbps to 19.85Mbps.

There are also plenty of places to get things done here, whether over in the quiet business nook... ... at dedicated working benches, complete with AC and USB power... ... or indeed anywhere else that takes your fancy, with nearly every seat offering access to power, including in the dining room if you know where to look:

Relax

We're hoping your lounge visit is more about relaxation than productivity, because there are so many ways to kick back here before your flight.

Many travellers will be drawn to the communal curved seating on the main level to socialise with friends, colleagues or fellow lounge lizards... ... with more options nearby to chit-chat or catch up on the day's news: Solo travellers may instead prefer these single seats lining the sky-high terminal-facing windows... ... or what we're terming the 'secret seat' for the same view with added privacy over in the corner: But why stay downstairs when there's an entirely new upstairs to explore? Here, you'll spot a broader range of furniture including wooden chairs which you might find on a Queensland verandah, styled carpeting reminiscent of the moon rising over Queensland's many waterways and reefs... ... and if you head to the very far corner, this groovy solo seat also provides a view, but with privacy from the main lounge space when seated: Plane nuts or parents with curious children will also appreciate this little observation deck... ... giving a bird's-eye view out and over the tarmac, perhaps even of the aircraft you'll soon be boarding: But take note that the upstairs level is only open until 12:30pm daily to coincide with the lounge's morning rush – stop by after that time and you might not even realise there's another storey here, with the staircase (to the left) craftily disguised as part of the adjacent staff office when the door is closed: Downstairs is also where you'll find the restrooms and private shower suites, with ample towels at the ready... ... and Aspar amenities provided within, including separate shampoo, conditioner and body wash, as opposed to some other lounges which combine everything into a single product: All things considered, this is a substantial upgrade for Brisbane-based travellers, offering everything we look for in a solid business class lounge – and perhaps giving a glimpse into what's planned for the new domestic Qantas Club, Business Lounge and Chairmans Lounges also en route to Brisbane.

Certainly for Platinum-grade frequent flyers, there's no longer a separate 'first class' space to relax with Champagne, but we daresay most will be content with having a fantastic business class facility in place of the 90s-era first class 'shoebox' it replaces.

Connect with other business travellers and AusBT readers in our Qantas discussion group

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

12 comments

  • markpk

    markpk

    2 Nov, 2016 09:15 am

    Losing the separate first class lounge isn't that big a loss considering the better use of space and the look and feel upgrade. 

    My only suggestion to Qantas would be to have a work bar downstairs (like the upstairs one) as I prefer that type of bench to the abundance of chairs/tables. 

    The food options in the late PM are also a major improvement - the options before QF125 easily negated the need to eat on board! 
    No member give thanks

  • russell

    russell

    2 Nov, 2016 11:25 am

    Great improvement, and as you point out Chris not much to complain about except excluding Platinum guests from the champagne list. What's that about? Makes no sense whatsoever. Either include Platinum and above or don't have a champagne list at all.
    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    2 Nov, 2016 11:55 am

    Guess they'll have to change the Roo at the entrance at some point.
    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    2 Nov, 2016 12:51 pm

    Good pick up! 

    I guess given the launch was 10+ days before the 787 announcement they had no choice but to go with the old design! 
    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    3 Nov, 2016 03:44 pm

    No doubt causing some consternation with the finance department...
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    2 Nov, 2016 01:32 pm

    Not so much as a change needed, more an amputation.

    No member give thanks

  • henrus

    henrus

    2 Nov, 2016 12:51 pm

    I think Air Calin business class needs to be added to the list.
    Member who gave thanks

    Philby

  • Phil

    Philby

    2 Nov, 2016 01:34 pm

    I visited this lounge recently on my way to Hong Kong, amazing lounge and a huge improvement, my one and only criticism would be the column (I'm guess it can't be moved) that cuts the welcome desk in half, it disturbs the flow of guests into the lounge and difficult to see guests if they are lining up on the right side. 
    No member give thanks

  • highflyer

    highflyer

    2 Nov, 2016 02:38 pm

    Was there yesterday, and while it is a vast improvement, I somewhat think it's still let down by the lack of seating and spaciousness. I was on QF93 to HK and the lounge was chocked full and had no where to sit. Ended up sitting on the sofa but then had no where to put my drinks or food.  Being the newest and one of the lounges as a main port, i feel it's still lags behind the other international lounges in HK / LA and Sin. 
    Member who gave thanks

    russell

  • Tristan

    tris06

    5 Nov, 2016 04:49 am

    CI business class passengers and members can also use this lounge now.
    No member give thanks

  • samaed20

    samaed20

    12 Nov, 2016 03:38 pm

    For a brand new lounge it leaves a lot out.  The front desk has a big pillar in the middle of it; do you go left, right, left, some architect got that completely wrong.  Barista is good, cannot serve hot coffee when asked, had to go back twice with luke warm. Limited space to work, some bright spark has worked out you can put your laptop/tablet on your lap and work without a desk while you place plates and drinks on a 400mm wide bench.  unfortunately this designer forgot most of us have carry on bags so they have to go somewhere; these end up in the aisle and then it becomes a tip toe through the daisy's affair with bags.  Upstairs there are places to get your computer out and plug it in with work with a bench and stools, a good layout, do not try and move the stools though.  
    For a new lounge food was standard fare, but there was interaction with the kitchen and this is an improvement.  
    As for the Qantas PR machine to rave on about the 'Qantas feel' had me looking for maybe something different, I do acknowledge they have a difficult space but the front desk is just laughable and bluntly sets a disappointment at the front, staff were good, food was a step up on the previous lounge, well anything was on the previous lounge.  
    I think I was expecting more after the previous lounge, specially in the platinum area, was very average. The silver  and smooth silky tones of the Qantas PR  spin raised my expectations beyond reason.
    In summary another lounge, and as the teacher says "could do better" on the layout but the staff are more engaged and involved.
    Member who gave thanks

    sam77

  • sam gino

    sam77

    17 May, 2017 11:01 am

    The be honest the lounge is the most disappointing lounge to be opend in my last decade of travel...

    To combine the 1st and business was a fale to start.
    The new lounge is tight no room to relax work space is not at all by any stretch of the imagination suffice..
    And there are people constantly looking for space to even take a seat, not alone relax and ejoy some quite time..

    Food is basic at best .. 

    And agree the entrance is , well what it is .. it resembles the design of someone with 0 design skills.


    I really find it hard to muster up a positive thing to say about the place.

    All the photos above do a great job at masking the flaws of this space.

    Upstairs is not stabel so if you dont like to be sitting and feeling like you are experiencing turbulence then your best to be seated dowm stairs..

    Over all easily one of the worst lounges in the world...  dressed to appeal in picture only...

    Highly disapointing.

    No member give thanks

Guest

16 Nov, 2018 02:30 am

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