Review: Qantas Club domestic lounge, Darwin Airport

Far away, but not forgotten: the Red Roo's Darwin lounge proves a relaxing place to await those long flights to the east coast.

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, September 13 2021
Qantas Club domestic lounge, Darwin Airport
Country

Australia

City

Darwin

Airport

Darwin

Alliance

Oneworld

Airline

Qantas

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • A large footprint divides the space into numerous zones, with a separate Joey Club
The Bad
  • Opening hours don't cater to all Jetstar flights, even to destinations where Qantas doesn't fly
X-Factor
  • With Virgin's lounge axed, it's now Darwin Airport's only lounge for domestic travellers
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Lounging at Darwin Airport has been in-focus over the past year, with Virgin Australia shuttering its own Top End lounge, and Qantas in talks to use Darwin as a hub for London flights.

For now, however, the Darwin Qantas Club sits as the airport's only lounge for domestic flyers: here's what awaits inside.

Location & Impressions

Located after security screening, the Darwin Qantas Club sits along the departures concourse, opposite gate 4.

It's a little tricky to spot at first – and after arriving on a connecting flight, I initially walked straight past it – but after a quick boarding pass scan (and an obligatory NT venue check-in via The Territory app), stepping inside was a breeze.

As there's no separate Qantas Business Lounge here, the Darwin Qantas Club is a catch-all space for every lounge-eligible traveller.

This sees the atmosphere elevated slightly over some of the busier east coast Qantas Clubs, with the Darwin lounge being light and bright.

That's courtesy of floor-to-near-ceiling windows wrapping most of the way around.

From the far corner of the lounge, airport views can be had. On the day of this visit, that provided a chance to spot a rare Qantas Boeing 787 flight taking off, running non-stop from Darwin to Los Angeles.

In a similar fashion to airports in Adelaide, Canberra and the Gold Coast, domestic and international flights depart from a single terminal here in Darwin.

Should Qantas reroute its London flights via Darwin Airport as recently mooted, the Darwin Qantas Club would be the pre-flight destination of those UK-bound flyers – but for now, the space is designed for domestic travellers.

Read: Qantas says it could fly to London via Darwin

Access

Darwin's Qantas Club primarily caters to:

  • Qantas and QantasLink business class passengers.
  • Qantas Club members prior to Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights.
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge guests ahead of Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights.
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers when their next onward flight that day is operated by Qantas or QantasLink, booked under a QF or other Oneworld flight number.
  • Qantas Silver frequent flyers and eligible credit card customers redeeming one of their single-use complimentary lounge passes prior to a Qantas, QantasLink or Jetstar flight.

Not part of that 'core' set? You may also qualify for access through the following:

  • Air New Zealand Gold and Elite cardholders travelling on a domestic Qantas or QantasLink flight booked on an NZ codeshare flight number.
  • Alaska Airlines' Lounge members prior to Qantas and QantasLink flights, including those on QF flight numbers.
  • 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 and Platinum members departing on a domestic flight operated by Qantas or QantasLink on a QF or MU flight number.
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO cardholders travelling onwards aboard a Qantas or QantasLink flight booked under a QF or EK codeshare flight number.
  • Passengers connecting to or from a same-day international business class or first class flight with Qantas, Emirates or a Oneworld airline, even if the domestic flight is booked in economy.

Depending on Qantas' flight schedules from Darwin, the lounge may not always be open when Jetstar flights are departing – particularly between 6am and 10:15am when the lounge is typically shut.

Dining

However you get inside, all food and beverages are complimentary here – and the service counters are impossible to miss, being in the very centre of the lounge. 

Beverages live over on the left-hand side, with self-serve juices, water and soft drinks – plus self-pour wine from midday. 

From noon as well, beers and spirits are served from the bar. That's also where you can place any orders for barista-made coffee throughout the day, and where you'll find jars of signature lollies.

Even with bar staff busily pouring stronger drinks for others during this mid-afternoon pit stop, my usual skim latte was ready in a flash.

Further along the counter sits the buffet. Unlike lounges in some other ports, in the Northern Territory, self-serve food is back in full swing, so help yourself.

Planning to eat lunch on the flight, a quick snack of cocktail samosas with sweet chilli sauce, and the goat and lentil curry with rice went down a treat – as did a refreshing lemon, lime and bitters.

Also at the buffet, expect to find a range of salad ingredients, meats, cheese, condiments, soups, and breads for assembling a toasted sandwich.

Rounding out the main offering, cheese, mini muffins and fruit sit to the side, as do jams and other spreads if you're inclined to make toast. 

If yours is a brief visit and you need coffee or tea in an instant, there's a separate self-serve counter over in the lounge's far corner.

Pro tip: it's also where you'll find the backup supply of lollies!

Work

If yours isn't a visit to relax, you'll find a quiet workspace to your immediate left, straight after entering the lounge.

It sits across from an area that's also typically quiet, as we've observed many travellers walking straight through and choosing their seats only after spotting the main food and beverage area.

Alternatively, make your way through the lounge – walking past the buffet, which is on your right – and you'll find another relatively quiet working nook, with long tables catering to laptop work.

AC and USB power outlets can be found by flipping open those silver covers, although many of the seats lining the walls also have power points nearby, if you'd rather relax and recharge.

WiFi speeds in the lounge are respectable, with downloads averaging 22Mbps and uploads hitting 37Mbps during our tests.

Relax

Travellers have no shortage of spaces to sit back, with comfortable seats spanning most of the lounge.

Some of those options are very flexible, suiting solo flyers as equally as families or larger groups.

Others allow guests to take in the view, or just enjoy some sunlight.

Parents travelling with children will also appreciate the lounge's Joey Club, providing a space for kids to play with parental supervision.

Shower facilities are also available here in Darwin.

All in all, while Platinum-grade travellers don't have a separate Business Lounge to visit here in the Top End, the Qantas Club more than makes up for it.

With friendly staff, a good selection of hot and chilled food, all-day coffee, natural light, and a variety of zones tailored to differing needs, the Qantas Club Darwin will tick most boxes for most travellers.

Exploring the Territory? Also read: Qantas Club review, Alice Springs

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Darwin as a guest of Qantas.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Jun 2019

Total posts 10

The Darwin lounge is one of my favourites in the Qantas network. I always find the catering is good and the staff are also a delight.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 317

It’s one of the best domestic lounges, love the Asian dishes they have,  I can’t wait to start traveling up there again once I am confident on being allowed to return home to Qld and not locked out.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 42

Great lounge. Terrific staff, always friendly. Close to gates. Was there today and again, it didn’t disappoint.


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