Most business travellers know that the right frequent flyer card or boarding pass can grant access to airport lounges, but there are many less-publicised perks which can make the pre-flight (or even, post-flight) experience far more enjoyable.
Here are five travel hacks you should know about before embarking on your next Qantas domestic or international trip.
1. You may be able to visit the lounge after your flight
Not in a rush to head into the office after your Qantas or Jetstar domestic flight? Then zip into the Qantas lounge instead to freshen up with a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, before moving on to your next meeting (or going home).
This trick works for Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, who only need to flash a “same-day boarding pass” for admission to domestic Qantas Business Lounges and Qantas Clubs, providing access both before and after each flight.
Business class passengers aboard the Roo’s overnight flights from Perth to Sydney (QF568), Melbourne (QF648) and Brisbane (QF652) also enjoy lounge access after touching on the east coast – regardless of frequent flyer status – helping to maximise sleep onboard.
However, lounge access ‘on arrival’ isn’t offered after any other Qantas domestic business class flights – except to Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, as above – nor is this privilege extended to Qantas Gold frequent flyers, Qantas Club members or other Oneworld frequent flyers (such as Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Diamond).
2. A connecting flight can get you better lounge access
When connecting between domestic and international flights on the same day, a business or first class boarding pass on the overseas leg can actually get you into Qantas’ domestic business class lounges, even if your domestic flight is in economy.
For example, let’s say you’ve booked an economy class ticket from Melbourne to San Francisco via Sydney, but managed to use frequent flyer points to upgrade to business class on the Sydney-San Francisco leg only, remaining in economy class from Melbourne to Sydney.
When you begin your journey in Melbourne, rather than waiting out in the terminal as for a normal economy flight (or using the regular Qantas Club if your membership allows), you can instead head straight to the domestic business class lounge and show both of your boarding passes for access.
This works on the way home as well, so if you’ve arrived into Australia in business class or first class but have an onward domestic economy class flight with Qantas, you can again present the boarding pass from your international flight for business class lounge access before the domestic leg.
Just note that your international business class or first class flight needs to be with Qantas, Emirates, or a Oneworld airline to be eligible: including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines in Australian skies.
Your domestic and international flights don’t need to be on the same booking to use this hack, and if you don’t yet have a boarding pass for your onward international business or first class flight, a print-out of your itinerary (showing your class of travel) will suffice.
3. You can Skip the Qantas lounge coffee queue
Sometimes the line to order barista-made coffee in the Qantas Club or Business Lounge can be lengthy in the mornings, but rather than spending your time queueing, use your smartphone to dial up a cuppa instead, which nudges your order to the front.
We’ll often do this by putting through our coffee order just before entering the lounge. Once inside, we’ll head to the buffet to fetch a plate of brekky, and by the time that’s done, our cup is ready for collection to enjoy with our meal – perfect when our lounge visit will be brief.
Simply click on it, choose the lounge you’ll be visiting (either the Qantas Club or the Business Lounge)…
… and follow the steps to order your free brew:
You’ll be asked to enter your name and mobile number, and you’ll receive an SMS advising the precise time your coffee will be ready for collection. Easy!
4. On international trips, you can often choose your lounge
Just because your airline directs you to one particular lounge doesn’t mean it’s your only option – and thanks to Qantas’ partnerships with Oneworld airlines, and its separate tie-up with Emirates, you’re usually free to pick and choose which lounge you visit.
Let’s take Hong Kong as an example, where Qantas runs its own lounge. If you’re flying in Qantas business class or are a Gold frequent flyer, you can certainly head there: but you might instead prefer to visit one of Cathay Pacific’s many business class lounges instead.
Over in Singapore where Qantas again has its own lounge, these same frequent flyers can also visit the nearby British Airways and Emirates lounges, and in Bangkok where Qantas sends passengers to the Miracle contract lounges by default, the Cathay Pacific and Emirates lounges also await.
Just note that Qantas’ agreement with Emirates doesn’t cover journeys to North or South America, or South Africa, so there are some exceptions such as in Australia when flying to those destinations, in Los Angeles (being North America), and a different set of rules again apply in London due to capacity constraints.
5. Some Qantas lounges have a ‘secret Champagne’
Reserved for Platinum One frequent flyers, Chairman’s Lounge members and other VIPs, several of Qantas’ lounges keep nicer bottles of bubbly stashed away for top-tier travellers, compared to the standard Australian sparkling wine offered to everybody else.
Normally, this occurs in international airports where Qantas has a single lounge catering to all travellers, as opposed to separate business class and first class lounges as in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles, as the latter serve Champagne to all guests as standard.
For example, in the Qantas Hong Kong Lounge and the Qantas Singapore Lounge, the special drop is normally Veuve Clicquot, which the staff subtly pour in private and bring to your seat – a privilege that will be extended to Qantas first class passengers in Singapore as well from 2018, when the A380 returns to The Lion City.
At Qantas’ international business class lounge at Brisbane Airport (where there’s no longer a separate first class lounge), high flyers can enjoy a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut instead, rather than the Seppelt Australian sparkling.
If you’re on the ‘Champagne list’, you’ll often be personally introduced to the bar and wait staff – but if the lounge is busy or that introduction is overlooked, a simple flash of your boarding pass or frequent flyer card should suffice.