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 separate space for Platinum members, despite three distinct lounge areas

X-Factor

  • Newly-expanded to a three-storey facility

Introduction

Boosted to a two-storey facility in 2016 and expanded once again in 2019, the Qantas international business class lounge in Brisbane now spans three levels, helping to dramatically ease the squeeze at peak times with more seating than ever before.

The most recent expansion takes over what used to be the Air New Zealand lounge – vacated when the airline moved to an all-new facility in 2016 – so whether you’re a business class passenger, Qantas Club member or Gold or Platinum frequent flyer, here’s what the Qantas Brisbane Lounge now has to offer.

Location & Impressions

After security screening, passport control and finding your way through Brisbane Airport’s duty-free maze, continue walking forward and you’ll find the Qantas Brisbane Lounge foyer at the end of that walkway, near gate 80.

Walk through that doorway and you can choose to explore the first level – open until 11am daily, with barista-made coffee, a buffet area and a variety of seating…

… continue up the escalator to the second floor, containing the bulk of the lounge’s facilities and always open whenever lounge-eligible flights are departing…

… again offering a barista coffee station and bar, aside a full buffet and amenities like showers…

… or, proceed upstairs to the third floor

… which, like the space down on the lower level, is open until 11am daily, and serves as home to the Brisbane Breakfast Hatch, offering freshly-prepared dishes to begin your day like healthy breakfast bowls or Eggs Benedict:

That variety is great for passengers with time on their hands, although travellers making only a brief visit can simply set up behind reception on the second level, conveniently close to coffee and snacks…

… or may find the new space on the bottom floor the most convenient option.

Access

  • Business class passengers of Qantas, Air Niugini, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jetstar (Business Max tickets only), Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines and Solomon Airlines.
  • First class guests flying with Emirates.
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge 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, Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines.
  • Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum cardholders booked on a Qantas or Emirates flight with a QF or EK flight number, excluding Qantas flights to North America.
  • China Eastern Gold and Platinum Eastern Miles members travelling to Mainland China on a Qantas or China Eastern flight number.
  • 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.
  • Belama Club Plus members travelling on Solomon Airlines with an IE flight number.
  • Fiji Airways Tabua Club members flying with Fiji Airways on an FJ flight number, or Tabua Club Plus members flying with Qantas or Fiji Airways.
  • Philippine Airlines Elite, Premier Elite and Million Miler frequent flyers departing on Philippine Airlines flights.
  • Selected credit card users, Qantas Silver frequent flyers and guests of Platinum One members using a single-entry Qantas lounge pass.

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

Dining

As the bulk of flights operated by Qantas and its international partner airlines depart in the mornings, the lounge is primarily centred around breakfast: and that’s all you’ll find available on levels one and three, given both close at 11am.

On that newly-opened first floor stands a buffet offering hot and cold dishes…

… including pancakes served via an automated machine that most frequent flyers will recognise, along with items like scrambled eggs, sautéed mushrooms, yoghurts, cereals and fresh fruits…

… and beyond the expected barista coffee, a ‘Quench’ hydration station.

For a post-breakfast refresher, I’d recommend a liberal splash of the ginger syrup topped up with sparkling water, although taking the same approach with the pink grapefruit syrup is also refreshing.

Of course, the bar is open whenever the lounge is, with the Seppelt The Drives – an Australian sparkling – the house drop…

… except for Qantas Platinum One, Chairman’s Lounge and VIP frequent flyers, who, with a flash of their boarding pass or frequent flyer card, will find Perrier-Jouet Champagne available at the bar.

Up on the second level, there’s a dedicated dining area just beyond the entrance…

… where, along with the nearby buffet, you’ll be able to request the lounge’s ‘plate of the day’, served straight to your seat by the helpful wait staff.

The dish rotates among a variety of options with favourites like Eggs Benedict appearing from time to time, but on my most recent visit was a new version of Qantas’ ‘healthy breakfast bowl’:

Personally, I preferred the previous bowl which featured kale, haloumi and quinoa...

… as the newest rendition is strong on celery and green beans, which wasn’t to my liking at breakfast time.

On the coffee front, you’ll find it served in a range of groovy Queensland-themed cups, whether ordering a larger drink like a latte…

… or something smaller, like an espresso macchiato:

At the buffet nearby, you’ll find the same yoghurts and fruits as offered downstairs…

… joined by breads and spreads – your last chance to enjoy Vegemite before leaving Australia…

… those popular machine-made pancakes…

… and another Quench counter:

The second storey is also home to a tended bar, with a variety of beer and cider on tap…

… and as with downstairs, Seppelt sparkling wine, except for those who know the secret Platinum One handshake.

Wander up to the third level and you’ll find another small buffet – offering mostly snacks and refreshments – aside the Brisbane Breakfast Hatch, where you can request the ‘plate of the day’ alongside other favourites like Bircher muesli:

While your order is placed at the counter, the staff normally offer to bring the dish to your table once it’s ready, and for those who want something other than the machine-made coffee as is otherwise available here, staff will also generally offer to fetch coffees from the barista counter downstairs.

However, be aware that the lounge’s ‘dish of the day’ is not available on the very bottom level (I tried), so if you want something other than that found at the buffet, head for the second or third level.

For passengers visiting from 11am, the buffet continues with a variety of fresh salads and fruits throughout the day…

… joined by heartier dishes like egg noodles with smoked bacon and chili, a potato and leek soup with rosemary croutons and my pick: Persian chicken with pomegranate, carrots and rice pilaf (on the side):

For dessert, keep your eyes peeled for the scrumptious caramel cheesecake – well worth the extra time on the treadmill! – and the chocolate brownie, which the staff plated up fresh from the oven:

However, the main level offers a relatively limited number of dining tables, beyond that primary communal bench.

Except for the few tables below, most others seats merely have a cocktail table aside, and particularly before late evening departures – such as Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong – these seats all fill up quickly, given the other levels of the lounge close to passengers before lunch.

With many other international business class lounges now pouring Champagne as standard, it’s also a shame that Qantas restricts this to Platinum One frequent flyers (and above) – a blow for ‘regular’ Qantas Platinum members, who’d otherwise have a choice of Champagnes at the Qantas First Lounges when flying internationally from Sydney or Melbourne.

Read: These business and first class airport lounges have great Champagne

Work

The first thing I look for in any good airport lounge these days isn’t merely the presence of WiFi, but fast WiFi, and on that front, Qantas delivers.

As of May 2019, tests by Australian Business Traveller showed average download speeds of 93.4Mbps, with average uploads of 95.5Mbps – more than enough for even the most data-intensive tasks like 4K video streaming, sending and receiving sizeable files like email attachments, and so on.

When there’s work to do, you’ll find working benches available on the new ground floor area…

… complete with an array of AC and USB power outlets:

A similar zone is available upstairs…

… with most other seats also providing access to power – although sometimes the outlets aren’t easy to spot, such as when they’re tucked away down near the floor:

In the far corner of the ‘main’ lounge level – that’s floor two, which remains open throughout the day – there’s also a small business nook with a computer and printer…

… and with many of the other seats in this area typically adorned with ‘reserved’ signs, it’s usually a quiet place to work as well, given the tables remain empty most of the time.

(If you’re a Platinum One member or above and can’t find somewhere suitable to sit, speak with the lounge hosts if you aren’t proactively offered one of these tables.)

Relax

Hopefully your pre-flight visit provides some relaxation time, as there are plenty of places to unwind here.

For instance, head 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, which is often reserved for VIP travellers:

But if your visit comes before 11am, why stay downstairs when you have two other levels to explore?

Wander up to the third floor and here, you'll spot a broader range of furniture including wooden chairs which you might find on a Queensland veranda, styled carpeting reminiscent of the moon rising over Queensland's many waterways and reefs...

... and if you head to the very far corner, these solo seats also come with a view – either of the car park, or the tarmac, depending on where you perch yourself – while offering a lot more privacy than anything else downstairs:

There’s also a small zone for kids at the opposite end of the same level – in use during this visit, but seen from downstairs…

... where parents can also be kept amused with a bird's-eye view out and over the tarmac, perhaps of the aircraft they'll soon be boarding:

When Brisbane’s renovated lounge first opened in 2016, the ‘upstairs’ section welcomed guests until 12:30pm each day, but now, it shuts at 11am. 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 access is closed:

For morning flyers, other ‘chill time’ options down on the very first level include a semi-private nook in the far corner…

… tucked away behind indoor greenery – another place where higher-profile passengers can retreat to, although unlike the comparable seats upstairs, no ‘reserved’ signs were present here:

That’s joined by further seating on the same floor, suited to both solo flyers and those travelling in groups…

… although the chairs on this level are noticeably closer together than they are in other parts of the lounge – so while this section was rather tranquil after the morning rush of flights to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Los Angeles were called for boarding, prior to that time, expect a noisier environment.

Restrooms are available on this lower floor, as they are on the main level, where you'll also find 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 Qantas lounges which combine everything into a single product:

All things considered, the opening of a third storey here in Brisbane adds a significant amount of space to what was becoming a very crowded lounge, particularly during the morning rush, and despite arriving at 9am on this most recent visit when the lounge was at its peak, there was no difficulty in getting a seat.

The added space should also make it easier for passengers holding single-use Qantas lounge passes to gain access, as it wasn’t unheard of for passholders to be turned away during busy periods when seating was at a premium.

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!
 

7 comments

  • aatuti

    aatuti

    6 May, 2019 09:42 am

    I'm fairly regularly through this lounge and always find it a good stop. I managed to visit the new downstairs section on Saturday just gone for the first, the extra space was nice for that time of morning.
    I recently visited Air NZ lounge in CHC domestic and was blown away with the selection of food and beverages on offer compared to Qantas International, 3-4 times I would guess. Would be nice to see Qantas introduce a few new options to spice things up.
    No member give thanks

  • IntegralMan

    IntegralMan

    6 May, 2019 07:21 pm

    This extra space is a much needed addition to the heavily congested BNE QF international lounge.

    Chris, is there an internal staircase from the ground level up to the middle level? Or do you need to exit the lounge to change levels?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    6 May, 2019 07:26 pm

    You need to exit, go up the escalator and scan in again. (Only the case between levels 1 & 2, as 2 & 3 are connected inside.)
    No member give thanks

  • Aidan

    Aidan

    6 May, 2019 11:01 pm

    Such a tease this looks amazing, loving the decor and food choices. Qantas your old friend Melbourne International is in dying need for something better..
    No member give thanks

  • Peter Greaves

    Peter_G

    8 May, 2019 04:13 pm

    I'm going to arrive on a QF flight from SIN & transfer to a QF domestic flight 4 hours later. How can I access the QF lounge for an hour or two prior to transferring to the domestic terminal? Being a gold FF I only get access to the Qantas Club domestic & the gluten free dining options there are nothing like the international loung
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    8 May, 2019 05:27 pm

    Access is not possible without an onward departing international flight, so you'll need to use the domestic Qantas Club. However, if you have a Priority Pass card, there are a couple of dining outlets in the Qantas area of Brisbane's domestic terminal where you can process one 'lounge visit' on your Priority Pass account in return for $36 of dining credit, to spend on anything on the menu.
    No member give thanks

  • Sophia Pasquarelli

    spasquarelli

    8 May, 2019 04:37 pm

    Great article as always Chris, I especially like the paragraph on champagne access or lack there of. :)
    No member give thanks

Guest

26 May, 2019 09:33 am

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