Review: Qantas domestic business class lounge, Canberra Airport

It may not be Qantas' newest lounge, but the Business Lounge in Australia's national capital still offers an elevated experience.

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, June 21 2021
Qantas domestic business class lounge, Canberra Airport
Country

Australia

City

Canberra

Airport

Canberra Airport

Alliance

Oneworld

Airline

Qantas

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • Superfast WiFi – among the fastest we've seen in a lounge
  • Currently open to Qantas Gold and Qantas Club on weekends
The Bad
  • Limited power points, outside a few select areas
  • No airfield views, unlike Canberra's Qantas Club and Chairman's Lounge
X-Factor
  • Great variety of food and beverage options, including healthy and dietary choices
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Canberra Airport is home to no fewer than three Qantas domestic lounges, with the Business Lounge greeting business class travellers and Platinum-grade frequent flyers.

It's one of only five dedicated Business Lounges in Qantas' domestic network – so how does the Canberra Business Lounge stack up?

Location & Impressions

After security, take a right and follow the "Qantas Lounges" signs.

Take the escalator upstairs (opposite gates 9 and 10), and you may notice a parallel with the entrance to the Sydney Qantas First Lounge:

With Qantas' three lounges all accessed via this main lobby, you'll find the Business Lounge straight ahead – scan your boarding pass, and you're good to go.

Inside, the rectangular space is divided into a collection of nooks, primarily tailored to relaxation, but with spaces to work as well.

For instance, set up your laptop at the benches by the windows, or kick back with a refreshment nearby.

Large flight information screens are visible from most seats, handily showing the weather for your destination.

However, this could be improved by showing a forecast based on your arrival time, as all Sydney flights this day displayed the same 13℃ temperature – and on what was the coldest day in Sydney in 37 years, where the temperature didn't actually rise above 10.3℃.

Qantas' Canberra Business Lounge opens daily, from one hour prior to the first Qantas or QantasLink flight departure until the last departing Qantas/QantasLink flight. These opening hours also align with Jetstar's new Canberra-Brisbane flights, launching in September.

Unlike the Canberra Qantas Club and Chairman's Lounge, the Business Lounge doesn't enjoy tarmac views – instead facing towards the arrivals road and neighbouring buildings.

Access

The Qantas Business Lounge in Canberra always welcomes:

  • Qantas and QantasLink business class passengers, on flights where business class is available.
  • Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers ahead of Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights.
  • Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers when their next onward flight that day is operated by Qantas or QantasLink (but not Jetstar), booked under a QF or other Oneworld flight number.
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum and iO cardholders travelling onwards aboard a Qantas or QantasLink flight booked under a QF or EK codeshare flight number.
  • China Eastern's Eastern Miles Platinum members departing on a Qantas or QantasLink flight with on a QF or MU 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.

Additionally, with the neighbouring Qantas Club in Canberra currently closing on weekends, the following travellers who would normally have Qantas Club access can visit Canberra's Business Lounge on Saturdays and Sundays only, during that closure:

  • Qantas Club and Qantas Gold members ahead of Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights.
  • Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers before Qantas and QantasLink flights, booked under a QF or other Oneworld flight number.
  • Emirates Skywards Gold cardholders travelling aboard Qantas or QantasLink booked under a QF or EK codeshare flight number.
  • China Eastern's Eastern Miles Gold members departing on a domestic Qantas or QantasLink flight on a QF or MU flight number.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Again, this extended access list only applies at times when the Canberra Qantas Club is closed. At all other times, the standard Business Lounge access rules apply, as higher above.

Dining

In line with most other lounges across the country, food and beverage service in the Canberra Business Lounge is assisted by staff, rather than self-serve.

Barista-made coffee is available all day, with the bar opening at noon, serving a variety of beers, wines and spirits.

Your food options sit along the same counter, with a lunchtime visit finding antipasto, crudités, noodles, potato salad, and sweet desserts among your choices.

A hot dish of butter chicken and rice was available too, alongside a healthy cauliflower salad. Both were delicious, and would be happily eaten again.

A decent fruit selection is also at-hand.

For the sweet tooth, these scrumptious apple-filled donuts were offered to seated guests via a 'tray around' service during the visit.

Other options available at the counter include freshly baked slices, as well as packaged snacks.

Those with food allergies and intolerances will appreciate the dietary markings on those packets, with "GF" (gluten-free) clearly labelled, and staff able to assist with enquiries about your other options here.

Work

When there's work to do, there are plenty of places to set up a laptop.

The quietest area tends to be towards the left of reception, where personal working pods are available – but unfortunately, without easily accessible power points.

These bench seats along the window offer a little more natural light and a view towards the airport's departures road, but alas, also lack power points.

You'll instead find most of the lounge's power outlets tucked behind these white covers, such as here in the centre of the space, with stools making this best as a short-term work area.

For longer work sessions, this bench by the bar offers both seatbacks and power outlets, albeit with limited natural light.

Forgotten to pack your phone charger? There's a charging station over near those working pods with cables to suit most gadgets, next to a WiFi printer.

Speaking of WiFi, it's free and extremely fast.

With both upload and download speeds exceeding 190Mbps, it's one of the zippiest connections we've observed in an airport lounge.

Relax

While the lounge provides working benches throughout the space, most of the seating is instead tailored to relaxation.

If your device needs a top-up, aim for a seat by the walls or partitions, as that's where you're most likely to find an AC outlet.

Most reading material has been removed for now, but there's an entire wall of Qantas magazines if you're after something – and with COVID in mind, if you unwrap one, you're asked to take it with you.

One last tip: if you're seeking somewhere quiet but away from the areas that say 'work', these groups of seats towards the end of the bar zone are typically empty, and may be just what you're looking for.

Overall, the Qantas Business Lounge in Canberra ticks most of the boxes for business travellers, but could certainly do with some extra power points – particularly in the areas designed for those using laptops and the like. 

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Canberra 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.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

I appreciate the CBR business lounge is in Qantas's original 'classic' style and it hasn't had the same upgrade as most other cities but it's still a great little lounge. I actually like Canberra Airport a lot and this lounge sort of fits in there well as a bit of a clubby 'boutique' lounge, every time I'm there it's clear that a lot of the passengers are regulars and know each other, which gives it a nice vibe. That said, it would have been interesting to see what plans if any Qantas had for this lounge pre-COVID, if it might have been upgraded along the same lines as Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

QFP

22 Jan 2013

Total posts 80

Ah the butter chicken. Really sick of that. Staff are always friendly and attentive.

27 Nov 2016

Total posts 19

The staff at the Canberra business lounge are awesome.  In fact, as they often move between the three lounges it’s all Canberra lounge staff who are awesome.  They know all the regulars extremely well & genuinely care for our needs.  They always act ahead of any announcements & ensure the best possible options are available which in a foggy & political city is appreciated.

Its not covid that has seen the demise of the reading material although that will be the excuse. Its been clear that only magazines QF gets for free or for advertising have been available in lounges everywhere for some time, covid just finished them off as it did with the papers. 

Canberra airport itself is pretty amazing these days & if u have time, the art & sculptures are worth a look.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas domestic business class lounge, Canberra Airport