This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.
Whether it's lounge access after your flight, getting through to the Qantas Club or Business Lounge even faster, or even pre-ordering your coffee before you arrive, there are plenty of ways to boost your Qantas lounge at experience at Sydney Airport.
Those opportunities get even better for Priority Pass members, who have the option of an extra lounge and dining for free at several airport restaurants: here's what you need to know.
1. You may be able to access the lounges after your flight
Just stepped off a flight into Sydney? Whether it’s for a quick coffee, a work space to fire off a few emails or even a shower after an overnight journey, some travellers can visit Sydney’s domestic Qantas lounges after an arriving flight.
This includes Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers arriving on a same-day Qantas, QantasLink, Jetstar, Emirates or Oneworld flight, who can bring up to two guests into the Sydney Business Lounge with them, who don’t even need to be travelling themselves.
Members of the invitation-only Qantas Chairman’s Lounge program can also visit their exclusive space with any eligible same-day boarding pass (before or after the flight), again accompanied by two guests.
Beyond that, business class passengers arriving into Sydney on the overnight QF568 flight from Perth may also visit the Business Lounge on arrival to help maximise their sleep in the air, although that benefit isn’t extended to other domestic business class passengers arriving in Sydney.
There’s another exception for international business class passengers arriving into Sydney with an onward domestic connecting flight: even if the domestic leg is in economy, and even if the traveller doesn't have frequent flyer status or lounge membership, presenting both boarding passes gets you into the Sydney Business Lounge in transit, before that economy hop.
That’s most helpful when you’ve snagged an international upgrade using Qantas Points – such as from premium economy to business class – but chose not to upgrade the domestic flight as well, and when your domestic flight uses an all-economy plane where it's not possible to book a business class seat.
2. Departing from Sydney? Get to the lounge faster
The Qantas domestic terminal at Sydney Airport features two passenger security checkpoints, and while most travellers head straight for the 'main one' – where there's both priority screening and a general line – there’s a second checkpoint down the far end of the check-in area, which anybody can use.
While lounge guests may be drawn to the priority lane by default, I often find that whenever there’s a queue, it’s faster to use that alternative checkpoint: a popular choice with pilots and cabin crew as well, who generally know the rules and zip through quickly.
3. Have Priority Pass? Enjoy a meal before heading to the lounge
Yes, the Qantas Club and the Qantas Business Lounge offer complimentary food and beverages, but nothing beats a fresh restaurant meal – and if your wallet features a Priority Pass card, processing one ‘lounge visit’ on that account provides $36 to spend at either Bar Roma or Wok On Air.
As many Priority Pass memberships offer unlimited ‘lounge access’, including those attached to credit cards like Citi Prestige and the AMEX Platinum Charge Card, that’s effectively $36 of free food and drink every time you fly through Sydney.
Personally, before morning flights, I’ll head to Bar Roma for something breakfast-y such as an Eggs Benedict with a barista-made latte – or later in the day, to Wok On Air where the Pad Thai is always tasty, and the $36 credit also covers a glass of wine and a drink for the road. Then, it’s up to the lounge for any work before my flight.
4. Skip the coffee queues in the lounge
Speaking of barista brews, you can use your smartphone to place your coffee order for the Qantas Business Lounge or the Qantas Club, avoiding any queues at the counter.
Personally, I’ll do one of two things – either send through my coffee order before I arrive (such as when entering security, or finishing up at a Priority Pass restaurant) so that it’s ready and waiting for me, or if I’m already in the lounge and there’s a long line at the counter, use the app to avoid the queue.
Once your order is locked-in, you'll receive a text message with an ETA, so if you're busy working and your coffee won't be ready for another 10 minutes, you'll know when to head over without wasting any time.
5. Stuck flying Jetstar from Terminal 2?
All Jetstar domestic flights depart from Terminal 2 at Sydney Airport – yet the Qantas lounges are in Terminal 3, which isn’t linked airside.
While Qantas Club members and Gold and Platinum frequent flyers still have the option of using the T3 lounges, it potentially means checking-in with Jetstar in T2, trekking back to T3 to clear security and visit the Qantas lounge, then wandering back over to T2 and clearing security again before taking a flight.
That’s not terribly efficient, and most business travellers wouldn’t be arriving hours early for a Jetstar flight in any case.
That Priority Pass $36 meal credit comes in handy once again for [email protected] or Bistro Bar 2020, where you can enjoy a pre-flight meal better than at any Sydney airport lounge.
If you're looking for a quieter space to plough through some last-minute work, don't overlook the REX Lounge. It’s far from a lavish space but it'll get the job done in a pinch.
AusBT review: Regional Express Rex Lounge, Sydney Airport T2