Qantas' much-touted Perth-London nonstop Boeing 787 flights will begin this weekend, taking passengers on a 17+ hour trek with no hops required on this new spin on the Kangaroo Route.
That journey will begin at Qantas' dedicated Perth transit lounge, located in the newly-built international wing of the Qantas T3 domestic terminal from which the Dreamliner will depart, rather than Perth Airport's T1 international terminal.
Join us as Australian Business Traveller explores the new Qantas Perth International Transit Lounge ahead of our flight to London on the inaugural QF9 service.
Please note: this is a preview article based on a short media visit to the lounge. We’ll be updating it tomorrow to a full review once we’ve had time to try the lounge in action.
Location and impressions
Qantas’ new Perth International Transit Lounge is located in the new international wing of the otherwise-domestic Terminal 3, which abuts Terminal 4 as part of what the airline likes to call its Qantas Terminal Precinct.
T3's international zone sports its own immigration and customs area, duty-free store, cafes and bars.
From March 24, all of Qantas' international flights – currently limited to Singapore and a seasonal service to Auckland – will depart from T3, although the Dreamliner-only transit lounge will be off limits to them.
The transit lounge is located towards the edge of T3, near gates 21-25.
It has a bright, airy feel with plenty of natural light, lush greenery and even an outdoor deck where you can get some fresh air and sunshine.
Shaped by design firm SUMU and David Caon, who also worked on other Qantas lounges including Singapore and Hong Kong, the transit lounge has a Scandinavian feel with light coloured tones said to be inspired by the “white sands of the WA coastline”.
There's a number of different seating and dining areas, geared towards solo travellers…
…as well as those travelling with colleagues.
You'll also find dedicated areas for everything from dining to relaxing, including shower suites and stretching exercises.
The outdoor barbeque area has got to be one of our favourite features: being outside on a pleasant day while travelling is very special and available only in a handful of airport lounges around the world.
In all, the lounge has room for 141 guests, who will also find plenty of AC and USB charging ports scattered throughout to keep their inflight tech juiced up.
The bad news for many Qantas travellers is that this impressive lounge is only for Boeing 787 travellers – in fact, it's exclusive to the following
- passengers travelling on QF9 from Perth to London, including passengers connecting onto QF9 from other destinations, such as Sydney
- passengers transiting in Perth when travelling to London on QF9 from Melbourne (where the QF9 flight actually begins)
- international passengers on the return leg QF10 from London continuing through to Melbourne
You'll also need to be flying in business class; hold Qantas Platinum One, Platinum, or Gold status (or their Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents); hold Emirates Skywards Platinum or Gold status; be a Qantas Club member; or have a Qantas Club lounge invitation.
As we've previously reported, passengers booked solely on QF10 from Perth to Melbourne as a domestic-only trip (without flying London to Perth first) will not have access to this lounge, and will have to make do with the T4 domestic Qantas Business and Qantas Club lounges before boarding their flight.
UPDATE: A statement originally released by Qantas noted that QF9 passengers would only have access to this lounge when their journey began in Perth or Melbourne, which excluded access for those connecting in Perth from other domestic destinations and continuing their journey on QF9 from Perth to London.
Qantas has since clarified that as long as the passenger is departing Perth on flight QF9 to London, they'll have access to the lounge (subject to the normal eligibility rules) regardless of whether they began their journey in Perth as a Perth-based flyer; are travelling through from Melbourne to London on the full QF9 journey, or are connecting in Perth onto QF9 from a domestic flight, such as flying Sydney to Perth as a domestic passenger, and flying onward from Perth to London on QF9.
The longstanding Qantas-Neil Perry relationship continues with the dining options available at the Perth International Transit Lounge.
Because the lounge is exclusively for those travelling on the ultra-long flight between Perth and London (although Paris and Frankfurt are tipped to follow), Qantas has curated a seasonal menu focused on 'wellness' – but happily without neglecting more conventional comfort foods.
The standout dining option has to be the outdoor BBQ on the sun-drenched deck, where chefs will cook up gourmet sausages plus vegetarian options such as grilled mushrooms or corn on the cob.
There's also a hot and cold buffet serving lighter dishes including soups, healthy salad bowls, crudité and dips.
Those looking for a tipple will enjoy the full service bar with local beer and wines from the Margaret River region, with a barista on hand to whip up a latte or cappuccino.
Another wellness option is the ‘hydration station’ with healthier drinks from fruit-infused water to herbal tea.
You can expect to find fast and free WiFi flowing throughout the lounge, although we'll run a full speed test tomorrow when the lounge is full of travellers.
That plus the plentiful AC and USB charging ports and wireless printing should see Qantas' Perth International Transit Lounge well-equipped for any last minute work you need to take care of before the flight, which – for better or worse – has no inflight Internet.
The lounge has 15 shower suites, which will prove especially welcome after the 17+ hour trek from London.
As part of its strategy to keep travellers feeling fresher and more comfortable when they land after the long flight, the showers also include bright LED lighting which can be run in 15 minute sessions to help re-adjust your body clock to the local time zone.
There's also a ‘refresh area’ with Aurora Spa products including a face cleanser, hydrating face mist and moisturiser.
In another nod to those ultra-long flights, a ‘wellbeing studio’ offers stretching and breathing classes held every 15 minutes.
Led by a local yoga teacher, the classes differ based on your direction of travel: passengers bound for London will receive ‘calming and grounding sequences’, with those coming into Perth can look forward to stretches to loosen and invigorate their muscles.
Of course, the outdoor deck provides a great way to unwind – sunshine and fresh air goes a long way in getting you out of the stuffiness of the plane and airport.
The new Perth International Transit Lounge offers travellers a refreshing place to relax, unwind and recover before or after an arduous journey.
Because of the limited access, space is plentiful for now – but if Qantas’ long term plans for direct flights to other major European capitals from Perth come to fruition, that may not remain the case.
Siddharth Raja travelled to Perth as a guest of Qantas.