Reviews

Review: Qantas Club domestic lounge, Melbourne Airport

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, November 1 2018
Qantas Club domestic lounge, Melbourne Airport
Country

Australia

City

Melbourne

Airport

Melbourne - Tullamarine

Alliance

oneworld

Airline

Qantas

Cabin-class

Any

Notes
The Good
  • Fresh design with extra seating
  • As before, all-day barista coffee
The Bad
  • No more tarmac-facing windows
X-Factor
  • Revitalised bar area no longer tucked away in a corner
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Following extensive redevelopment works over the past 12 months, Melbourne’s new-look domestic Qantas Club lounge is now open, retaining staples like all-day barista coffee while also providing 10% more seats in the revitalised and also partially-relocated space.

Australian Business Traveller put the new Qantas Club lounge through its paces on a recent visit to Melbourne to bring you this review.

Location & Impressions

As before the renovations took place, you’ll find Melbourne’s Qantas Club after security screening and to the right-hand side in Terminal 1, through the door and up the escalator, shared also by the Business Lounge.

However, its location has changed somewhat: rather than being wholly in the space straight off that escalator, you now turn right at the top...

... which means no more tarmac views from anywhere in the lounge.

There are some windows towards the far end of the space, but these now face back into the terminal, not outside.

On the plus side, the overall seat count in the lounge has increased 10% to 530, helping to ease the squeeze at peak times, and with the previous guesting restrictions for Gold frequent flyers and Qantas Club members no longer in place.

Designed by Woods Bagot, Qantas says the lounge’s new colour palette is “inspired by the Great Ocean Road using natural timbers, cool greys and pops of turquoise.”

Given both the move and the extensive redesign, this feels like a brand new lounge, even though Melbourne obviously had a Qantas Club before. For example, the buffet areas are more approachable with prominent use of those natural timbers…

… and rather than having the bar tucked over against the wall as in the ‘old’ Qantas Club, it’s now an eye-catching central feature here, and as in other major Qantas lounges, the staff in Melbourne pump out espresso all day: fitting for Australia’s coffee capital:

Those with an eye for design might also notice that the furniture layout here and the lounge’s custom lighting give a nod to the road grid system of Melbourne’s CBD.

Access

With a separate Qantas Business Lounge also available for domestic passengers in Melbourne, this Qantas Club primarily serves:

  • Qantas Club members prior to Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights booked on a Qantas or Jetstar flight number.
  • Qantas Gold frequent flyers prior to Qantas, QantasLink, Jetstar, Emirates and Oneworld flights (including domestic codeshares).
  • Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers when their next onward flight that day is operated by Qantas or QantasLink with a QF or other Oneworld flight number (no access when flying Jetstar).
  • Emirates Skywards Gold cardholders travelling onwards aboard a Qantas, QantasLink or Emirates flight booked under a QF or EK flight number (includes access for domestic Qantas flights booked as an EK codeshare).
  • China Eastern's Eastern Miles Gold members departing on a domestic flight operated by Qantas or QantasLink.
  • American Airlines Admirals Club subscribers before a Qantas or QantasLink flight booked under a QF or AA 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.

The following guests are also welcome here, but will likely prefer the Qantas Business Lounge next door:

  • Qantas and QantasLink business class passengers.
  • Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers and other Oneworld Emerald cardholders.
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum and China Eastern Platinum frequent flyers.
  • 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.

Dining

For many business travellers, the first port of call will be the barista station, where staff serve espresso coffee...

... and unless you're in a rush, these come in mugs and glassware: thank you, Qantas, for doing away with disposable cups as the 'default' here, as had previously been the case:

From the same counter, alcohol is available from midday...

... with a selection of wine, beer, cider...

... and spirits:

Also on the beverage front, a ‘Quench’ hydration station – as seen in Brisbane’s domestic and international business class lounges – for non-alcoholic refreshments…

… while the buffet changes throughout the day. A recent morning visit found fresh fruit salad, muesli…

… hot dishes like baked beans and hard-boiled eggs...

… the ingredients for a DIY toasted sandwich...

… and the requisite toasters, plus a pancake machine:

A selection of nibbles can be found towards the end of the buffet...

... while a separate station provides fruit, cereal and juice:

Down the far end of the space is also a self-serve coffee machine, if there's a long queue for the barista or you don't feel like walking back to the bar:

There are various types of dining tables spread throughout the lounge, such as these along the wall...

... others further along...

... and some high seating too:

Most other seats also provide at least a cocktail shelf to nurse your drink and snacks:

Work

When there’s work to do, you can set up at one of these benches, which provide access to both AC and USB power...

... or, plug in at one of these more relaxed seats – handy if you're just wanting to charge your phone:

While these tables also look like a good place to work, they don't provide access to power, nor do many of the other types of seats here, which is unfortunate.

Tucked away behind reception, there’s also a computer station with wireless printing from your own device also possible, but this remained in use for the duration of my visit.

Tests of the lounge’s WiFi network showed average download speeds of 40Mbps, and average uploads of 9Mbps.

Relax

When there’s time to unwind, there are plenty of places to make yourself comfortable…

… with a variety of reading material provided, although Qantas no longer provides complimentary access to PressReader to download publications on your own device, to printed material it is:

As in the previous Qantas Club, there’s also a space for children to play – fortunately away from the lounge’s main working areas, which keeps everybody happy (although no photos, as the space was in use).

Several private shower suites are available too, and come as a significant upgrade to the relatively basic showers these replace:

For regular Melbourne travellers, this was a much-needed revamp of the Qantas Club space, with an inviting and modern design, and of course, 10% more seats than before in one of Qantas’ busiest domestic ports.

However, it's unfortunate to have lost airside views here to make way for the new Business Lounge, when the previous one already had this feature, but at least there's some promise of natural light near the Qantas Club bar.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Melbourne 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 with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

StarTeam

StarTeam

06 Oct 2018

Total posts 12

It is very nice! Will check both lounges out this coming Saturday - never has been so excited before a domestic leg of the journey.

gbagios

gbagios

Qantas - Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jul 2012

Total posts 4

Issues with WiFi connection which has never been a problem suggest using skip app when ordering coffee Just findingbit now way too busy

melbtraveler

melbtraveler

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 56

Awesome Review. The lady Barista you have featured is amazing. So friendly and loves a chat while making and taking lots of orders on the go and knows the regulars. Qantas if your reading as a HR Director myself she is an asset to you lounge and business

DrSK

DrSK

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 51

Couldn't agree more - she is always so pleasant and engaging, and makes excellent coffee too. An absolute asset to the lounge and the airline more broadly.

hakkinen5

hakkinen5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 97

Yes Maria is fantastic. She is always happy and chatty and makes not only the regulars (some of which she knows by name) but everyone feel welcome. I hope Qantas look after her.

Steve987

Steve987

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 254

I always get a coffee from her before going to business lounge. Makes much better coffees and is great to chat to!

blart

blart

28 Aug 2016

Total posts 16

Ha! I thought I was the only one who did that!

RMITLad

RMITLad

31 May 2013

Total posts 17

3 stars seems a bit harsh, and expectations not inline with the prodcut offering. If this were a business lounge I'd rate it three stars, but as an airline club - seems a 4.5 too me. Not too much critisim in the article just on the natural light - which understanably should be prefferenced to high yielding business class. Regardless good to see a refresh, and QF continuing to invest in their lounge product- be interesting to see whats in store for SYD domestic, and one day Melbourne international.....

tomJ

tomJ

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 35

As far as the MEL international J lounge goes, it will probably move into the new T2 expansion that they're starting on in oct 2019.

For anyone curious, it seems they're planning on squaring off the terminal by filling in much of the empty space between the main building and the gate 12-20 pier, the key benefits being 5 new lounges (hopefuly with windows) and a rooftop bar/observation deck.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2948

Hi RMITLad, just on the star rating: we’ve given this lounge 3.5 stars out of 5 (the same as a 7 out of 10), which we feel is fair, given that the lounge has lost most of its natural light in the revamp (which readers have previously told us is very important - take a look at the comments on our review of Melbourne’s international business class lounge, for example), combined with the desire for more power points, and the relatively limited hot food selection compared to other lounges.

There’s no denying the style and design of the lounge is fantastic for a Qantas Club, of course!

Kathy Franklyn

Kathy Franklyn

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

Not a a fan of the new lounge at all. Seating very uncomfortable and can find better in the terminal

Anniek9

Anniek9

20 Sep 2018

Total posts 1

I concur Kathy, I am also not a fan, it has a 'McDonalds' feel about it and sadly more aligned to the Virgin offering. The seating is not comfortable and the layout awkward. Sorry Qantas, after so much hype I'm disappointed.

Ian Jones

Ian Jones

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2018

Total posts 1

What about the toilets? Last time I was there in September, the toilets were woefully too small for the lounge capacity. I hoped it was just an interim problem but you haven't mentioned them - just the showers.

sra35

sra35

QF

02 Oct 2012

Total posts 38

Looks great to me and another area I feel that QF are ahead of Virgin. If you then add access to the QF Business lounge they are miles ahead of what Virgin offer

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 552

The Virgin Lounge in Melbourne is much more impressive than the new Qantas Club. The new Business Lounge may be nice but the Qantas Club looks and feels like it is built to a price. The old Qantas Club was definitely in need of an update but at least you didn't feel like you were being relegated to the "back-room."

When I was in the new lounge, I missed feeling like I was on the Great Ocean Road or the echo of the Hoddle grid; it just felt like a lot of tables and chairs.

Nichokiu

Nichokiu

13 Apr 2018

Total posts 14

The food in this lounge is utterly woeful. Especially in the mornings - hot food options = beans. Seriously? For all the flying gold members do, the best Qantas can do is serve BEANS?!

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Not Beans again....

jsf

jsf

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Oct 2018

Total posts 5

Didn't even get beans in the morning 5AM for 6 AM flight.

jsf

jsf

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Oct 2018

Total posts 5

Also they could've put some tags on the buffet table. Really can't tell if it's cream or yoghurt or salad dressing in the bowl.

williamjs

williamjs

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2017

Total posts 2

So disappointing. Yeah, ok, fantastic, nice flashy new bars. Gold/QC members still fork out a lot of cash to QF, and a windowless lounge is poor form, especially given the VA domestic lounge gives you nice views out over the apron. I was very fond of sitting back with a drink in hand and watching the jets. Can't do that anymore.

levelnine

levelnine

27 Apr 2017

Total posts 39

Exactly. The loss of tarmac views is a huge disappointment. Natural light is essential to well being and the ability to view the aircraft was a boon for children and adults alike.

pearsonlive

pearsonlive

10 Jul 2015

Total posts 9

Whilst the food and drink areas look great, I can't help but feel that the seating is all a bit too much like a doctors waiting room and not a relaxing space to wait for a flight.

Kathy Franklyn

Kathy Franklyn

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

Totally agree re seating. Very uncomfortable for this kind of lounge. Feels like a 70’s cafeteria. Not somewhere to sit before or after a long flight

airADL

airADL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 205

Not that impressed I think 3.5 stars is over generous.

No natural light is awful.

LDom

LDom

02 Nov 2018

Total posts 1

I was there this afternoon. It was very busy and not very relaxing. The poor staff were trying to keep up with clearing plates, glasses, etc but seemed to be fighting a losing battle. The seats seemed old already and not that clean. It is great that you can get a drink and food, but I was sitting there (once I found a seat) wondering if there was a quieter bar outside somewhere......

cgm

cgm

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jun 2018

Total posts 9

Tried it yesterday. Disappointed with the seating arrangements. Many of the seats resemble those found in a canteen and I would much prefer the seats at the departure gate to those. Some of the seating configurations just don't work well with table and food either. For me, increased capacity has been achieved at the expense of comfort and relaxation and won't look forward to going in there as much as I used to.

Bertie

Bertie

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 9

My wife and I visited this QF Club lounge yesterday 5 till 6.30pm. First impression was how busy and cramped it felt. And no windows to the tarmac!! It took us quite some time to find two seats together. Availability of food and drink was fine and staff were friendly and helpful. Overall, although brand new this lounge looks and feels like a big step down from the previous MEL QF Club. I only hope that the SYD one won't be going the same way!

stmaus

stmaus

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 103

Extremely noisy when busy.

Rosieh

Rosieh

07 Nov 2018

Total posts 1

Domestic travellers have been given a massive downgrade. The reason people join the Qantas Club is to get away from the mayhem of the terminal and relax in quiet, comfortable seating and surrounds. Now we have garden furniture in a cramped, narrow, noisy, dark corridor. The lack of natural light is a foolish decision. I've yet to see it, but I'm so looking forward to the big windows to look down on the terminal mayhem to relax! There is little difference between the terminal and the Domestic QC lounge now. In fact, the terminal is probably more comfortable.

Kathy Franklyn

Kathy Franklyn

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

Agree totally. Downgrade no class uncomfortable seats and seating arrangements. Departure gates bettet

Faust3202

Faust3202

07 Dec 2018

Total posts 1

Ordinary cafeteria experience bordering on terrible. No natural light is not a good option, and removing the views of the tarmac whilst simultaneously shunting us to the back of the building is a bit of an insult. As a longtime Gold FF, I'm starting to get a bit jack of Qantas' disdain for its loyal customers.

blaz

blaz

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 28

Yes, I was there early Sunday morning, and the overall impression is that it is a bit of a corridor ,and lacked natural lighting but it wasn't very busy, so quite acceptable. However on my return trip on a weekday , by 4 pm it was over crowded, exacerbated by Sydney flight delays.... so getting to the bar was quite a feat. The only way you could obtain a seat was to wait for a flight call and get ready to pounce. Claustrophobic and crowded. Maybe it needs a few skylights, and another bar that opens when they get busy.

Tony.liddy

Tony.liddy

09 Dec 2018

Total posts 2

You have to be kidding! Compared to the older lounge which had a club feel to it, this new lounge is like walking into a cafeteria or Westfield food hall. Nothing relaxing or comfortable about it, looks and feels cheap and IKEA like, including the bathrooms that also used to have some style about them. I’m very dissapointed and seriously considering dropping my paid lounge access or swapping to Virgin where I can have access for free. It’s clear from talking with a number of other lounge guests and travellers my thoughts are not alone. Please fix this unmitigated disaster.

good67

good67

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Aug 2013

Total posts 4

No Windows to the tarmac :(

Feels like some nasty cafeteria

Could be in Coles Bourke St 1986

Mike T

Mike T

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Dec 2018

Total posts 1

Very claustrophobic, no natural light or outlook.

Cramped seating, might be more seating capacity but much less space. Reflects the seat pitch in economy really.

Nothing seems to flow well, buffet poorly planned

I miss Maria who made great coffee and very personable

Just refreshing the old lounge would have been a far better result. Maybe that was like the comfortable old slipper but the new lounge really feels like a 2nd class downgrade.

Marks2

Marks2

10 Jun 2018

Total posts 13

Sorry, but no. I thought I'd wait till I had a flight via Melbourne before I offered an opinion. It seemed claustrophobic and cheap. I might as well just sit down and eat in the main terminal. The food when I was there (over lunch) was very limited and ordinary. The area seemed darker than in the images in this review. The money spent on a Qantas Club membership would be better spent on eating elsewhere in the terminal from the point of view of food variety and quantity as well as comfort and natural lighting.

Anyone based in Melbourne and therefore using a lounge frequently should consider Virgin very seriously, or not bothering.

awthommo

awthommo

10 Jan 2019

Total posts 1

does anyone know what time the domestic lounge closes on weekdays. I have an 11.00 pm flight to Perth.

Marks2

Marks2

10 Jun 2018

Total posts 13

I've been in the Melbourne Qantas Club lounge twice. Coffee and drinks are fine. Food selection is woeful. Interior is hardly distinguishable from the general airport ambience. Sorry Chris, but I cannot see three stars for this.

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