Qantas lounge dress code: what you can and can’t wear

How you dress can determine your entry success, and there are a few grey areas to be mindful of.

By Chris Ashton, July 18 2023
Qantas lounge dress code: what you can and can’t wear

Looking back on photos of the ‘golden age’ of travel, it’s clear the experience was once an occasion worth dressing up for – a chance to don your Sunday best.

These days standard travel attire is more about comfort, yet dress codes still apply in certain instances such as airport lounges. And if you’re not suitably togged up, you risk being turned away at the front desk.

In the case of Qantas, the airline enforces a strict smart casual dress code at its main Qantas Club lounges and Qantas business class lounges across Australia – specifically at Qantas Club and Qantas Business lounges in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

What about regional Qantas lounges, as well as international Qantas first class and business class lounges – including overseas Qantas lounges in Singapore, London and Los Angeles?

The airline advises Executive Traveller that visitors to all Qantas lounges, not just ones in Australian capital cities, are expected to follow the same guidelines.

Smart casual for men includes button-up shirts and polos, chinos and casual dress pants or dark jeans.
Smart casual for men includes button-up shirts and polos, chinos and casual dress pants or dark jeans.

Qantas lounge dress code explained

‘Smart casual’ is a fairly broad term – even Wikipedia describes it as “an ambiguously defined Western dress code” – but if you go too casual and dress down rather than up, you can be denied entry at any Qantas lounge.

A spokesperson for the airline previously confirmed to Executive Traveller that entry “may be refused at the discretion of the lounge staff if visitors do not meet the appropriate standard”, noting it’s up to the discretion of lounge staff whether a visitor meets its guidelines.

No matter how cool your pyjamas are, save wearing them for the flight...
No matter how cool your pyjamas are, save wearing them for the flight...

So what can you be turned away for?

The Qantas website breaks down the Qantas lounge dress code – the major fashion faux pas are also posted at the entry of most domestic Qantas lounges – adding that its lounge staff “will decline entry if some items of clothing are too casual or inappropriate.”

On that list are the likes of thongs and Ugg boots, revealing clothing and swimwear, as well as head-to-toe athleisure gear (bad news for Lululemon devotees).

While thongs (left) are banned from Qantas lounges, sandals and slides (right) are fine.
While thongs (left) are banned from Qantas lounges, sandals and slides (right) are fine.

That doesn’t mean you need to dress up to the nines – it’s the aircraft that are on the runway, not you – but clothes that are just too casual should be left in your luggage rather than trotted out in the terminal. This includes:

Singlets: never a good look, so swap the singlet for a neat collared polo top or T-shirt. Just be sure the shirt doesn’t carry what Qantas may describe as “offensive images or slogans” (the airline doesn’t specify exactly what it considers “offensive”, so just use your common sense).

Thongs: this includes everything from rubber thongs and Havaianas to the more expensive fashionista footwear, with Qantas’ defining a thong as footwear with a strap between the toes. If it’s got a strap around the ankle or is more a sandal than a thong, you’re good.

Ugg boots: yes, Ugg boots are deliberately called out by Qantas. They may be comfortable but they’re not smart casual by any stretch.

Bare feet: well, that should go without saying!

Beachwear: this includes board shorts, even those which cost a pretty penny. Save them for the swimming pool or the beach.

Head to toe gym wear: a pair of leggings may pass muster, as might an ‘active wear’ top, but don’t turn up wearing both as if you’re headed for a run on the treadmill.

Revealing clothing: to some extent this is open to interpretation, but if you wouldn’t wear it to a decent cafe or restaurant then you shouldn’t be wearing it to a Qantas airport lounge.

Sleepwear: there’s nothing wrong with wearing a pair of smart PJs on your flight, but even that set of Qantas pyjamas should stay in your carry-on bag until then. Ditto for slippers.

Clothing in bad condition and one wash away from falling apart: while Qantas doesn't have a hard and fast rule on this, you should generally avoid wearing unclean or torn clothing.

Note that high-vis clothing and other uniforms are permitted within Qantas lounges, as long as they’re clean.

As for flying, Qantas doesn’t enforce the same strict dress code onboard its aircraft, although anybody wearing clothing with “offensive images or slogans” could still find themselves requested to make a quick change.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 465

It's insane with the yacht club or country club look they enforce on men just to get it.I am part of the percentage who would never wear Polo's and the rest of it.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 411

I'm honestly curious why you "would never wear" a polo top? I think they look great, very smart but still casual. My of my casual wardrobe especially for flying is cotton polo tops, unbranded, in a range of colours which always match well with chinos or dress jeans, although I don't recommend jeans for flying.

Of course it's all about personal taste and preference but I think it's great to look a bit sharp and it doesn't take any effort for me or anybody else to meet this 'casual dress code'.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 39

You don't have to wear a polo, I've been in wearing smart shorts and t-shirts many times when I'm travelling for leisure.

That's my standard 'uniform' on most visits to the Qantas Singapore First lounge and before that when I wasn't Platinum to the business lounge, given the weather in Singapore, just a smart pair of shorts and a nice T-shirt. Super comfortable, looks decent, nobody will complain.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2013

Total posts 57

So what would you wear?

08 Jul 2015

Total posts 25

The sight of the Qantas Bus Class lounge in Perth almost full of workers in hi vis gear is something to behold!

How dare the peasants be in the lounge!

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 316

Given the companies they work for would generate a reasonable amount of profit for Qantas I'd suggest that they'll be there for a while longer.

16 Jun 2023

Total posts 3

So why do I see so many thongs and singlets in the QF Brisbane International lounge and Perth domestic, ditto and worse in the QF Auckland lounge? Along with (recently in said Auckland lounge) several ladies of, shall we say,  generous dimensions wearing those ultra tight legging things that leave nothing to the imagination. I can tell you the close up rear view I had from one where the fabric was so stretched it had gone practically transparent was a bit too much visual information for a number of us!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2016

Total posts 6

I found out the hard way about another Qantas club rule in Singapore. You cannot bring food into the Qantas club. My daughter does not eat meat, and on the day the "meals" in QC Singapore all contained pork, so I went and got a Burger King vege burger and fries for her. The lady at the entry let me back in with the bag of food with nothing more than a smile. But after a while, the supervisor came over and demanded I give her my QC card (yes my card!!!) and told me I could not bring food in. She then took my card away somewhere I presume to get a black mark against my name. Very unpleasant. 

That's very strange, in my many visits with my wife who is a 'pescetarian', ie vegetarian who east fish, there is always some suitable meat-free meal on offer. If there was no meat-free dish at all then I can understand why you'd want to bring something into the lounge.

20 May 2019

Total posts 5

In the Hobart lounge, there are frequently sports teams in full regalia taking up 4 seats per 2 players. Sometimes two teams. I guess this is workwear, but it is a bit of a grey area, perhaps giving others the 'wrong' idea. Personally I would be happy if they could compress a bit and leave a bit of room for us.

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 28

There IS a plan to enlarge the Hobart Qantas Club as upgrades occur at the airport.  Also, when it’s busy and sports teams occupy more seats , a polite request to move in is the best way. Bags and coats should be on the floor. 😎

03 Oct 2011

Total posts 34

It's the Aussie anti-thong (flip-flop) thing. They're viewed as low-class, so banned in many places (even surf lifesaving clubs' restaurants). That's why they're banned but sandals and slides are OK.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jan 2017

Total posts 28

I agree with GoPies.   It's not one rule for all.  The business lounge in Perth looks like a construction site canteen.  Blue shorts, steel capped boots, blue singlets...  When my wife was refused entry because she was wearing fashion "thongs", we complained to Qantas and pointed out the hypocrisy with the FIFO workers. She was told "Oh, but they're all Platinums..."

Graham H


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Mar 2016

Total posts 20

Was in the QF lounge at HKIA and a fellow traveller was in sandals - his feet were so disgusting (peeling skin, overgrown toenails: I have a photo which I sent to Qantas) we left and went to the (much better) Cathay First lounge instead  Give me someone wearing Ugg boots any day!

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