Review: Emirates' business class / first class lounge, Brisbane Airport

With a private boarding gate exclusively for lounge guests, travellers can get a taste of Dubai before taking off...

Overall Rating

By Chris C., September 14 2021
Emirates' business class / first class lounge, Brisbane Airport











Business & First

The Good
  • Premium buffet dining reflects the lounge's positioning in between business and first class
The Bad
  • Power points aren't abundant, so if you need to recharge, your seating options are more limited
  • When it's time to board, walk straight from the lounge onto the plane via the in-lounge boarding gate


Emirates' lounge at Brisbane Airport isn't like all the rest – it was actually the very first lounge the airline ever built beyond those at its Dubai hub.

With a relaxing yet premium feel, a choice of Champagne, and even direct boarding from the lounge straight to your awaiting A380, here's what Emirates' Lounge #1 offers international high flyers.

Editor's note: At the time of writing, this lounge is temporarily closed due to Australian travel restrictions. Visits for this review took place prior to COVID-19, although every effort has been made to provide the most up-to-date information.

Location & Impressions

After security screening, passport control and duty-free, follow the signs towards gates 69-79. As you continue along the concourse, keep your eyes peeled for arrows towards the Emirates lounge.

You'll find the entrance opposite gates 73-75.

Just take the escalator upstairs, or the lift nearby.

Once you're through the door, there's no mistaking where you are.

Reflecting the sands of the Middle East, most of the seats here are tan leather, with spots of green for colour.

As the Emirates lounge sits in a purpose-built facility above the main terminal concourse, it provides 360° views across the airport, with windows on every side of this square-shaped space.

When travel restrictions aren't in place, the lounge normally opens three hours prior to each Emirates flight.


The lounge normally welcomes the following travellers – and where applicable, their guests – prior to Emirates-operated flights:

  • Emirates first class and business class passengers, excluding those on Business Class Special fares.
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO.
  • Emirates Skywards+ members using a lounge pass.
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge (but not Qantas Club).
  • Guests who purchase access at the door for US$143 (~A$198), or US$110 (~A$152) for Skywards Blue and Silver.

Under the partnership between Qantas and Emirates, passengers on selected Qantas-operated flights (excluding to North America) also qualify for access as below.

  • Qantas business class on a QF or EK codeshare flight number.
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge (but not Qantas Club).
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO.

However, most Qantas international flights from Brisbane typically depart during the day, whereas the Emirates lounge opened only in the evenings prior to COVID-19, so most guests in this lounge would be flying Emirates itself.


Catering to both business class and first class travellers, Emirates' lounge provides buffet dining and self-serve beverages, but with more premium selections to reflect that 'in between' positioning. 

That starts with Champagne, with travellers having a choice between Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV, and Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut NV.

Both are popular, although my recommendation goes to the Veuve.

Multiple beverage stations throughout the lounge provide a wide range of spirits, along with other wines and beer – and having several places to refill your Champagne certainly makes that task easier.

Some of those counters provide machine-made coffee as well, but given Emirates' evening flight schedules from Brisbane, we suspect the bubbles would be more popular than the brews.

On the food front, there's a wide variety of bites ready and waiting for you – many of which are plated and ready to take.

Along with crudités, you'll typically find various salad and meat plates, along with cheese and accompaniments.

This is where you'll find dessert, too – with favourites like cakes and crème brûlée popular picks.

But what about dinner itself? Fear not, a separate hot buffet serves up hearty options like lamb shank pies, beef tenderloin, and sweet potato and parmesan mash.

The line-up continues with chicken cacciatore, roasted vegetables, and salmon dishes.

Although menus change from time to time, curries make a regular appearance too, with this most recent visit finding a beef massaman aside rice pilaf.

Being able to pick and choose exactly what you'd like – and how much you'd like – is great when you're peckish for a light dinner, but without eating so much as to spoil your appetite for the 15-hour flight ahead: especially for first class flyers.

ET review: Emirates Airbus A380 first class (Brisbane-Dubai)

For enjoying your meal, there's a sizeable dining room close to the buffet zone.

A few select seats offer excellent airport views, although they're often snapped up quickly.


Hopefully, your pre-flight visit provides time to relax – but if there is work to do, look to the business area just past reception, offering both computer terminals and space to use (and plug in) your own device. 

But if your browsing is more casual, or you just need to recharge, many of the more comfortable seats offer access to power.

The power points themselves are often secluded, but keep a look out for these black towers at many of the tables, which put both AC and USB-A power at convenient reach.

WiFi speeds here are adequate, with downloads averaging 21Mbps and uploads at 30Mbps during this visit.


When your visit instead caters to some pre-departure relaxation, you'll find no shortage of places to kick back. 

Prior to COVID-19, a broad range of reading material was also on offer, although restrictions may impact this when travel returns.

While many standard seats are found just behind reception, some of the most comfortable are instead around the back of the lounge.

Look even closer, and a select few even provide foot rests.

Wherever you set up, however, you're safe to relax – it's impossible to miss a boarding call here.

That's because there's direct boarding from inside the lounge – so when it's time to fly, the aerobridge takes you straight to the plane.

This means your overseas journey really begins at the Emirates Lounge itself: because once you're inside, you've already taken your last steps in the terminal.

Also read: Behind the 15-year evolution of Emirates' airport lounges

Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Emirates.

Chris C.

A former contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

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