First photos: Qantas opens new-look Melbourne Qantas Club lounge

By David Flynn, May 29 2018
First photos: Qantas opens new-look Melbourne Qantas Club lounge

The mod make-over of Qantas’ domestic Melbourne Airport lounges has reached its first milestone with the opening of the new Qantas Club, and travellers are in for a treat.

The new space roughly mirrors the footprint of the current Qantas Club but swaps the cluttered and rather drab sea of look-alike chairs for a space with a far more contemporary design and a more thoughtful composition of furniture and flow, giving travellers a greater variety of seating and tables plus more room to move between them.

Here’s a first look at Melbourne’s new Qantas Club, which is open to Qantas Gold-grade frequent flyers and Qantas Club members.

Two ‘pods’ comprise the reception area, which at the top-right of the escalators from the terminal’s main concourse.

Immediately past this is a small cafe area suited for a grab-and-go coffee (including those ordered in advance via the Skip app) and pastry, although a handful of tables make this the go-to zone for a short stay.

Still to come is a quiet zone situated next to the cafe. The newsagent retail outlet is gone – no great surprise in this world where so many travellers use smartphones and tablets to browse the news and read digital editions of their favourite magazines.

The bulk of the new Qantas Club runs gun-barrel straight, flanked by banquette seating and clusters of seats for individuals and groups alike.

This is the best place to appreciate some of the lounge’s design, which draws on a lighter colour palette to emphasise the sense of space.

The materials used range from tan leather to soft oak, with slate-coloured tiles in the familiar chevron patten of other new-look Qantas lounges.

Created by Qantas lounge stalwarts Woods Bagot, the form takes loose inspiration from the linearity of Melbourne’s grid-like streets and iconic laneways (but without the graffiti), with a range of colours (including subtle touches of turquoise and aquamarine) from the scenic Great Ocean Road.

Onto matters far more practical, the new Qantas Club boasts plenty of AC and USB outlets along both walls, island seating and raised workbenches, with the USB ports rated at 2.4A so they can quickly juice up a tablet or larger-sized smartphone.

Halfway along the lounge are three buffets for hot and cold dishes plus a ‘Quench’ hydration station.

Just beyond this is what for many travellers will be the highlight: a spacious tended bar serving premium beers, wines and spirits, plus barista-pulled coffee.

This is pretty much where the Qantas Club ends, at least for now, with close to two-thirds of the lounge’s total space fitted out.

A work in progress…

Stage two of the project, due to open in September, will see the opening of the first part of the Business Lounge.

The final stage of the project, opening in November, will mark the completion of the Qantas Club and Business Lounge make-over.

This will add a 'dogleg' to the Qantas Club, tucking around into part of the space currently assigned to the Qantas Business lounge (the bar and servers) and boosting overall Qantas Club capacity to around 530 seats....

... and the addition of windows into to the terminal, as shown in the concept artwork below.

This is to address what will likely be the most common complaint of Qantas Club members: that they’ll be losing the tall windows which provide natural light (and tarmac views), with that stretch of the former Qantas Club footprint being handed over to the new Qantas Business lounge.

Those windows won’t do much for a view but at least they’ll bring light into the rear section of the lounge.

Reduced facilities, and guesting limits still apply

During those second and third stages – which means from now through to November – the Qantas Club will have roughly half the number of showers and toilets as construction works around those areas.

The current limit on bringing guests into the lounge will also remain until November, when the entire project is completed, as the first stage of the lounge is restricted to 350 seats, which is over one hundred fewer than the original Qantas Club.

Gold-grade frequent flyers and Qantas Club members will be unable to bring guest a fellow traveller into the Qantas Club during the busy peak hours from 5am to 9am and from 3pm to 7pm, including weekends.

Outside of those hours, guest access will remain available – as will the use of complimentary lounge invitations – although Qantas notes this will depend on the lounge’s capacity.

Meanwhile, at the Qantas Business lounge…

Once the new-look Qantas Club opens, attention will shift to giving the Qantas Business lounge its own Cinderella-like transformation.

For the time being, business lounge customers will still enter via the Qantas Club – but they’ll walk down past the Qantas Club bar and come through what is currently the rear of the business lounge.

The former Qantas Club area will be closed off and converted into the new-look Qantas Business Lounge, as teased in concept images below.

This will open in September with its own entry area to the right of the escalators from the terminal concourse, occupying the entire northern span of Qantas' domestic lounge precinct and deliver a 40% increase in seating with space for 350 high flyers.

In the meantime, there’s no restriction on Qantas Platinum card-holders bringing guests into the business lounge.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 May 2017

Total posts 16

Looks very nice, cannot wait to check it out. Hopefully next month!

03 Dec 2013

Total posts 3

Where is the better place for a J class flyer to hang out this Friday? New QC or Old J lounge? Professional opinion?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

No reason you can't try 'em both. Obviously food better at the business lounge, plus views if that's your thing - in terms of design the Qantas Club is a much nicer lounge per se, but it could be a bit crowded which might mitigate against it for a business class or Qantas Platinum traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2017

Total posts 18

Great story and pics. Will check it out on the way back from Singapore on Sunday morning :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 140

Vastly improved, and the design is gorgeous. However, I will be sad to see the tarmac views gone, and those buffet islands are too small. It will be a complete & utter ZOO around them during AM & PM peaks.

I cannot help but think that this was a missed opportunity to build a Premium Entry, as BNE's QF terminal has (and which is fabulous). What is to blame; Melbourne Airport, Qantas not wanting to spend the extra cash, or simply an engineering impossibility?

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 178

I think it would be an engineering and cost challenge to create a Qantas 'premium entry' to the lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2017

Total posts 2

I agree, the Premium Lounge at Brisbane is a godsend and saves so much time. So disappointing that Melbourne could not have done better.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 109

Looks stunning! However, it is a shame that you lose the stunning tarmac views..

05 May 2016

Total posts 634

However this is spun the lack of tarmac views is going to be a big downgrade to the lounge.

I too would have liked to see a Premium Entry like there is in BNE. If that does happen I can't see that happening for a long time now (at least till the lounge next needs a refresh).

Looking forward to the new Business Class lounge. Glad I've still got access to that.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1191

Looks fresher but lack of natural light is a big disappointment. Even when finished, it appears the only natural light will be some reflected light from the check-in hall below. It's not the dungeon that is the international lounge but it isn't a light and bright offer either.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 178

Wow, now that is impressive! Yes its a shame that the Qantas Club will lose its views but you can see that from Qantas perspective they want to give the best views to the business lounge, that's understandable. All the same it would be nice if this Qantas Club Stage 3 'dogleg' into the business lounge went all the way up to the window just so the lounge could have some of that view as a little feature of its own, it'd be a very popular part of the lounge!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 177

Great to see this progressing well. As my home lounge I visit it at least once a week the upgrades will make it a nice place to be.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 177

but really looking forward to having the business lounge complete as spend my time in there

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 130

Pictures look great. Looking forward to seeing it on Friday. Might have to spend time in both. I do like the view out of the J lounge. Hopefully Sydney will be their next domestic project.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

I'd reckon so, but given that the Sydney international business class lounge is next on the list for 2019, Sydney domestic may still be two good years away...

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 79

Is Auckland even on the radar? Especially with the A330s taking over TT.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

Auckland is on the to-do list but not scheduled as yet, which is a pity because it really needs that make-over!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 354

Hopefully Hobart is - it's a disgrace and standing room only the last time I was in there.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1191

At least Qantas have a lounge in HBA. VA has been trying to get Hobart Airport management to assign them space for a lounge for a number of years to no avail.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 354

True, which is equally as shameful.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2011

Total posts 268

+++ for the MELd J lounge, but --- for QP members!

Windows and views are plusses in my point of view, windows and views of tarmac or runways even better.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 57

I always wondered how a newsagent would survive there when there are hundreds of copies of all newspapers spread around the lounge.

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 36

Bland bland bland... looks like the local branch of my bank. A little street art is exactly what this lounge needs to life it out of the beige purgatory look!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2016

Total posts 39

I was hoping I wasn't the only one that thought it looked a bit plain.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2013

Total posts 19

Will there be a premium entry and check-in similar to Brisbane Airport?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

No there's not (if there was, we'd definitely have called that out in the article as it's always a great feature to see).

Iberia Airlines - Iberia Plus

14 Jan 2018

Total posts 4

Are oneworld sapphire members affected by the guest limit?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

They are indeed.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 184

No tarmac views, park bench seating, food islands that will be surrounded and crowded. Looks like yet another design from someone who has never spent any time in a lounge, or bothered to ask the people who spend time in one "what would you like?"

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1191

It is always hard to evaluate how good the design is when the photos are of an empty lounge. The success of pax flows, noise and general ambience at about 5PM on a Friday evening will give a better idea of whether the design deserves a tick or not. It does look a bit soulless in the photos but I was sort of hoping that the walls may still be waiting for artwork etc.

Obviously, the loss of windows and a view robs the space of character and a connectedness with the world outside. I guess this was unavoidable; maybe Qantas could've followed the lead of cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean who use large high definition screens as virtual windows giving a real-time view of what a window would show. It sounds kitsch but it works.

30 May 2018

Total posts 1

No personality...bland and boring. One long corridor with cookie cutter chairs. They need to take some tips form Hotels that look so much more inviting and warm.


21 Jul 2011

Total posts 95

Having just spent time flying around the US it never ceases to amaze me just how good we get it in OZ. Even our QF regional lounges are better than most US AA lounges. V happy to see this upgrade

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 23

"Even our QF regional lounges are better than most US AA lounges. "

I guess you don't ever fly out of ROK. Now that is just awful ... often better to sit in the main area. Dark, smelly, totally claustrophobic.
Still I don't think Qantas care a lot for ROK with reduced afternoon services and still flying turboprops (when Virgin fly 717s.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 74

Qantas RSL club....

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

14 Feb 2014

Total posts 32

its all nice and pretty until you go in and the yelling and fighting for food by people makes you want to just go and find a quiet corner in the terminal

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

Maybe images are not doing enough justice but sort of looks like a cafeteria in parts but certainly better looking than the poor standard new American Flagship Lounge at LAX.

02 Feb 2018

Total posts 5

The Qantas website still says that paper/digital comp passes to Melbourne aren't usable, so just wondering where you got the info that these are now usable outside of peak time? Hope this is the case!

Vietnam Airlines - Golden Lotus Plus

30 May 2018

Total posts 1

Boring nothing remotely interesting and a waste of frequent flyer points

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 151

Ummmm.... it doesn't cost you any frequent flyer points to get in. Gold, platinum, Plat 1 are all on the guest list. Should you choose to purchase a membership with either cash or points, then the value is decided by the individual buying it, not by you. If you are in there 100 times a year I'd suggest it may be worth it.

20 Apr 2015

Total posts 9

You've got to be kidding me.

This is the WORST decision Qantas has made in a long time.

They remove ALL the windows, and think putting a few new chairs and a "hydration station" will mean no-one notices? "It's so relaxing sitting inside a shopping mall with no natural light" said no-one, ever.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1249

No windows have been removed. They been simply put the business lounge along the tarmac side and QF club along the terminal side. Giving the more scenic lounge to the higher paying customers... it make sense.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 35

Wonder what's the policy if domestic business class traveller (with no status) wants to bring guests in? Would that be the same as the Gold FFP rule or would the old rule (i.e. no time limit) applies?


27 Nov 2016

Total posts 23

Based on my experience at the QF Business lounge today I will be routing away from Melbourne wherever possible. Yes they are blaming "not finished yet", State of Origin, fog in Sydney but this afternoon and tonight its like a mosh pit but not as much fun!! Literally Standing room only, not enough staff, grumpy passengers and on it goes. The business lounge is even fuller than the Qantas lounge if that is possible. I ultimately left and am sitting quietly at an empty gate - this is quite ridiculous Qantas & not good enough for paying passengers.

20 Apr 2015

Total posts 9

Fine, pedant. I should have said "they removed ALL the windows to the outside". A window into the terminal doesn't count. My point stands. They should have found a way to improve the experience for J without completely destroying it for those of us Golds who fly Y by necessity.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2017

Total posts 2

I visited on Saturday afternoon and I was not really thrilled. It felt cold, not relaxing or cosy as the previous lounge did. The floors are hard throughout and the colour scheme is too cool for my liking. The chairs might look great but I didn’t feel I could sink down in them as one could in the old lounge. After a long day at work or a long drive back from a holiday, it is nice to stop, take a breath and be comforted before the flight. Early morning departures might be better. Nothing on the walls either- no art work, no softening with plants, but perhaps this is still in the pipeline. It was so very similar to the Virgin Lounge, which is a shame as that lacks the comfort factors as well.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 382

Agree re 'hard floors.' Probably to save on cleaning costs, airports in much of Australia have gone for tiled or other hard floors.

They should look at Changi. Some say the carpet is kitsch, but I love how it absorbs sound and is comfortable to walk on.

Even if QF thought only of its staff clearing tables, commercial carpet would have been a better choice.

Some airports do not allow carpeted floors in certain areas due to safety regulations concerning fires. This could be the case with Melbourne Airport and the Qantas lounges.

Zara Banned
Zara Banned

09 Aug 2018

Total posts 1

The coffee cue is horrendously long.

The female showers where out of order (wt), only one working shower for 530ppl.

The flooring is hard ie, noisy and far from relaxing. Very slippery at the refreshment area. The hot tap is tricky.

Gun barrel straight - from my experience it is very chaotic and narrow. Traffic is like Bourke street Melbourne without the space to walk straight to the exit door, and no room to move to dodge people /obstacles when doing so. The traffic to the exit doors is inhibited with obstacles and doesn’t appear to flow.

The chair and table configuration is busy and congested. Constatanly getting bumped, shoved and or tapped.

Bring back the old Melb QC, bar stools, a relaxing lounge room you could sink into the chairs and totally relax as travelling is exhausting. Natural light from the larges windows. And carpet to reduce the noise.

I’m looking forward to more space with the opening of of the third area in September and November so the lady sitting beside can sort her luggage bags out with blocking space.

Just my thoughts on Melb QC as a frequent customer.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

Thanks for sharing those views, Zara – I'm sure everybody is looking forward to the Qantas Club fully extending into its final floorplan!

11 Aug 2018

Total posts 1

I don't like the new Melbourne Qantas Club,- loads of natural light 'that' tarmac view trump what's now on offer.

With that said I'll have another look when it's completed... but certainly Business and being Platinum is where you want to be,

Dear Qantas

I have flown Qantas regularly over the last 7 years as a Gold Frequent Flyer, mainly Melbourne to Perth, making use of both Qantas Lounges on each side of Australia. Today I feel compelled to write to you (as a company) to express my extreme disappointment concerning the remodelling of the Melbourne Lounge.

Today was the first time that I had had an occasion to use the lounge for a number of months and when I first entered the lounge after all the previous renovations being carried out I was very extremely disappointed in the size of this much smaller lounge. As you pointed out in your brief at the top of this page, the colours are very pleasant and you correctly surmised, that the majority of the complaints were to be about the loss of the windows and light which now The Business Lounge shall enjoy and this assumption was obviously “spot on”.

Perhaps I could draw your attention to other, maybe in your opinion, smaller, dissatisfactions that have obviously not been addressed by your company or by the belief that if you ignore them, Frequent Flyer customers will leave so you can focus your attention more on the business customers. Firstly your ultramodern seats are not very comfortable and as also mentioned the new seating arrangement means that we have to sit on top of one another as there was not enough seats this morning. Secondly some people obviously wanted a table to themselves by placing bags strategically on chairs to ensure this, I am completely comfortable with this, each to their own! But this leaves a shortage of space. Before, this practice could be overlooked by the strategic placement of chairs in the lounge. Thirdly the ultra low tables placed everywhere, meant your staff had to pick up plates and clean tables with one hand whilst they had a tray in their other hand. In nearly all cases that I observed, this action made shirts come loose of waistbands, giving nearly all passengers views that perhaps shouldn’t have been on show. Having said this, I was pleased staff didn’t attempt to bring a trolley around the chairs and tables as there is no room for this service in the execution of your new space. Fourthly your hydration station is not very user friendly and quickly developed an awkward queue as there is really nowhere to queue. Which brings me to my final point, concerning the arrangement of your food stations. As previously mentioned it was my first time today and I will continue to notice, but there was no rhyme or reason to enable people to help themselves for food. There was no clear one way direction and everyone was going in both directions for everything, to the detriment of your staff member who had the misfortune to bring a trolley into the catering area hoping to restock, making congestion ten times as awkward.

All these problems and it was only breakfast time!

I realise that I am not a very important customer and I might be the only voice in the crowd that is objecting to your new design but perhaps for future planning some of my observations might cause this company to consider future design flaws.

Perhaps on reflection of this awkwardness in your not very comfortable lounge and further observations over the remaining weeks until my flight bookings run out, I think my loyalty to you, Qantas, is very much at risk and Virgin Australia might have a new customer as the only way that most Australians can object is by walking away.

Good luck, by a very disappointed customer.

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