- Super speedy WiFi – among the fastest we've seen in a lounge
- Being the lowest-tiered of Qantas trio of lounges, food options are the most limited
- Better views than the neighbouring Business Lounge, given its location
Canberra is one of just five airports where Qantas offers a trio domestic lounges – a Qantas Club, a Business Lounge, and an invitation-only Chairman's Lounge.
As the 'entry-level' space among that group, here's how the Qantas Club stacks up, being home to Gold frequent flyers and paid Qantas Club cardholders.
Location & Impressions
Once you're through security, make a right turn, and follow the signs to "Qantas Lounges" near gates 9 and 10.
Take the escalator upstairs – into a space that brings hints of Sydney's Qantas First Lounge – and you'll find the Qantas Club on the right.
Inside, the lounge is effectively split into two halves: the 'dark side', and the 'bright side'.
During the day, the 'dark side' relies on warm, dimmed lighting to create an atmosphere not unlike an underground bar – but with reminders that you're still in an airport.
On the 'bright side', natural light fills the space instead, which may be preferable for travellers making a morning visit, and looking to energise before their departure.
You'll find a range of seats in this space, although most cater to pairs, groups and families flying together.
When the lounge is quiet, solo flyers are still catered for – but may make friends as travellers occupy the seats around them.
While the Qantas Business Lounge in Canberra no doubt ranks above the Qantas Club, the latter has something missing from the former: airport views.
From this 'bright side' of the lounge, most of the seats have a clear line of sight to the airfield, and perhaps even their awaiting aircraft.
Canberra's Qantas Club normally opens one hour before the first flight each day, and closes when the last Qantas or QantasLink service is called for boarding.
On days when passenger numbers are lower than the norm, the Qantas Club may not open – but guests who'd normally use this lounge are instead invited to use the Business Lounge in its place.
- Qantas Club and Qantas Gold members prior to Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights.
- Qantas Silver frequent flyers and eligible credit card customers
- Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers when their next onward flight that day is operated by Qantas or QantasLink, booked under a QF or other Oneworld flight number.
Beyond those most frequent guests, the full invitation list also includes:
- Air New Zealand Gold and Elite cardholders booked on a domestic Qantas or QantasLink flight under an NZ codeshare flight number.
- Alaska Airlines' Lounge members prior to Qantas and QantasLink flights, booked on the native QF flight number.
- American Airlines Admirals Club subscribers before a Qantas or QantasLink flight booked under a QF or AA flight number.
- China Eastern's Eastern Miles Gold members departing on a domestic flight operated by Qantas or QantasLink on a QF or MU flight number.
- Emirates Skywards Gold cardholders travelling onwards aboard a Qantas or QantasLink flight booked under a QF or EK codeshare flight number.
As a reminder, access for Jetstar flights is limited to Qantas Gold, Qantas Club, and Qantas lounge pass holders only – access for this broader list of travellers requires a Qantas or QantasLink flight.
In the food and beverage department, the lounge offers a modest selection of cold bites: and during this most recent visit, one hot dish.
That was a red lentil and chickpea soup with bread rolls and butter, joining chilled options such as a cauliflower salad.
Also on the menu during this lunchtime journey, a ploughman's plate of sliced ham, cheese and dill pickles.
Those are joined by personal crudités bowls, centred on a lentil dip.
Rounding out the food offerings was a variety of fresh fruit, along with pre-packaged slices and cookies.
Given the Canberra Qantas Club sits as one of three lounges in the same airport, its breadth of food offerings aren't quite on-par with other locations like the Darwin Qantas Club, although there's still all-day barista coffee.
The bar opens at noon, with beers on tap – and more in the fridge – along with a selection of wine and spirits.
If you're stopping by only for a quick drink, there are collections of conveniently-placed bar stools nearby.
Non-alcoholic beverages like soft drinks, juices and water are available throughout the day.
Not far from the food and beverage counters, a working bench caters to any laptop use.
However, the rest of the lounge is very much about relaxation – and no doubt, designed to allow Canberra regulars to unwind at the end of a Parliamentary sitting week.
Power points are scattered throughout the space – mainly along the walls – with WiFi speeds averaging just over 190Mbps for both upload and download during this stay.
Given the more 'relaxed' focus for this lounge, that's exactly what you'll find throughout the space.
For a quiet drink, look to the far corner of the space, which offers extra privacy courtesy of the dividing wall that wraps around.
Otherwise, the 'bright side' of the lounge offers the bulk of the seating.
When flying as a group, these communal tables can prove a great go-to.
Otherwise, you can't go wrong with the other seats: the only thing to decide is who gets the better view.
Naturally, those lining the windows are often the most popular, especially once the morning sun has passed.
Parents travelling with children will also find a Joey Club zone along these very windows, as is common of many larger Qantas Clubs.
On the one hand, the Qantas Club in Canberra caters very well to those kicking back, with airport views, comfortable seating: and plenty of it.
But on the other, it's not built for productivity in the same way as the Business Lounge next door.
Not only does the Business Lounge provide more of those working benches, but there's also a separate office-like zone over in the far corner, where travellers can make use of work cubicles.
While we'd love to see more of those work benches appear in the Qantas Club, many travellers departing Canberra do so at the end of their working week – and the Qantas Club clearly meets the needs of those regular guests.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Canberra as a guest of Qantas.