This week marks the first time in over a year that travellers have set foot inside a Qantas international business class lounge, with Brisbane being the first – and currently, only – Qantas business lounge open for overseas flyers.
It’s complemented by the reopening of Qantas’ first class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, catering to all lounge-eligible guests: while here in Brisbane, the Business Lounge is the catch-all, as before COVID.
This makes the lounge available to everybody from Qantas Club members and Gold frequent flyers through to Qantas business class travellers, Platinum and Platinum One cardholders, Chairman’s Lounge members, and other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald guests travelling with Qantas.
It’s also open to Qantas single-visit lounge pass holders, who link their pass to their booking at least 24 hours before their flight’s scheduled departure.
However, for the time being the lounge is open only for Qantas' international flights, which are currently fall between 9.30am and noon.
The lounge closes once the last Qantas flight leaves, which means it's not available to guests travelling on partner airlines outside those hours (such as Qatar Airways' evening flight to Doha).
Stepping inside the Qantas Business Lounge
Passing by reception and into the lounge offers a very familiar feeling, and for the most part, the experience resembles that pre-COVID.
The first stop – particularly before Qantas’ morning flights to New Zealand – is the barista bar, where a skim latte hits the spot.
For those toasting the return of international travel, bar service is available whenever the lounge is open, with beer, wine and spirits at-hand.
There’s sparkling wine too, with Seppelt The Drives NV the default drop: and for those who know to ask (and ask nicely!), Pommery Brut Royal Champagne is tucked behind the counter as well.
Although water taps are found throughout the lounge, all beverages need to be requested via the staff – and on our visit, lounge staff proactively took drink orders from seated guests.
Dining in the Qantas Business Lounge
For the time being, food is served at a hosted station: similar to the experience you’d have at a Qantas domestic business class lounge.
The “snacking station” menu offers a variety of hot and cold items, again with a skew towards breakfast given the lounge’s current opening hours (6:30am until the last Qantas departure, typically before lunch).
It’s hard to go wrong with a hearty bacon and eggs, with the raspberry yoghurt always a favourite on the side:
Your other choices include cereals, toast with condiments…
… fruit salad, pancakes made to order…
… and, via a morning tray-around service, croissants with ham, cheese and tomato:
The Qantas Business Lounge experience
Beyond the food and beverage service, the lounge otherwise resembles its pre-COVID self, although the views overlooking the terminal are certainly much quieter now than in early 2020.
The layout of chairs and tables hasn’t much changed – allowing those travelling together to sit near each other…
… with the onus being on guests to choose a seat that’s an appropriate distance from others.
While the centre of the lounge space often gets busiest first, don’t forget about the seating over in the far corner, near what was previously the business nook.
For the few hours we spent in the lounge, this area remained a quiet place to work and relax – also being conveniently close to a flight information screen, to keep tabs on boarding (although boarding calls are made).
The lounge's shower suites are open again too, for those who wish to use them.
Overall, it’s great to see Brisbane’s international terminal and its Qantas lounge come back from hibernation, with the trans-Tasman travel bubble marking the first step towards a broader return of international flying.