First class travellers, Platinum-grade frequent flyers and Chairman’s Lounge members, rejoice: the chic Qantas First Lounges at Sydney and Melbourne are bouncing back to their pre-pandemic greatness.
Yes, these flagship lounges have been open since November 2021, but in the watered-down guide of hybrid First/Business ‘premium lounges’ which also welcomed business class passengers, Gold frequent flyer and Qantas Club members while the Qantas International Business lounges were closed.
But those business class lounges are reopening as of March 27, which means the first class lounges are set free to soar once more as an exclusive domain of high flyers.
That extensive seasonal menu? Check. Champagne and cocktails? Check. Day spa? Check.
Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully is clearly thrilled at the prospect of the First Lounges coming back to full force, especially for the airline’s legion of loyal Platinum frequent flyers.
“The First Lounge is one of the most important parts of the Platinum value proposition,” she tells Executive Traveller.
This just leaves the Qantas first class lounges at Los Angeles and Singapore as the final pieces of the premium travel puzzle.
Tully tells Executive Traveller the Qantas First Lounge at LAX will roll out the welcome mat “as soon as possible” in the weeks after March 27, while the Singapore First Lounge will open on June 19, the same day the A380 resumes flying from Sydney to London via Singapore.
Qantas First Lounge menus
From Sunday March 27, visitors to the Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges will be treated to a fresh Autumn menu (curated by award-winning chef Neil Perry) at the à la carte restaurant.
And as in those pre-pandemic days, the menu sees the return of many favourites – including the popular sweet corn fritters for breakfast – alongside some new dishes and a few seasonal twists on perennials, such as breakfast buttermilk pancakes with espresso mascarpone maple syrup, and that very Instagrammable ‘deconstructed pavlova’ in a glass, now dressed with figs and raspberries.
The breakfast menu runs through to 11am, after which a more extensive ‘all-day’ menu kicks in until the last flight of the evening – here are some highlights of the all-day dining menu for Autumn 2022:
Buffalo mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes & basil: this delicious light starter, once a staple of the First Lounge menu, makes a welcome return.
Salt and pepper squid with green chilli dipping sauce and aioli: an iconic not-to-be-missed dish of the Qantas First Lounge.
Warm golden beetroot and green beans with celery, miso and pine nuts: a new addition to the Qantas First Lounge menu, order it alongside the buffalo mozzarella to share with your travelling companion.
Humpty Doo barramundi with red curry butter and stir-fried water spinach: a long-time favourite of Neil Perry, this sustainably-farmed Northern Territory barra gets a pick-up from the red curry butter of Perry’s new Margaret restaurant in Double Bay.
Spicy cumin lamb noodles with sesame, cucumber and chilli oil: a perfect main for the cooler days, or any day when you fancy this Aussie-Asian combo.
Roast eggplant with braised red capsicum, zucchini and summer basil: one of several plant-based dishes on the menu which proves carnivores don’t have all the fun.
Margaret ‘Brookie’ and vanilla ice cream sandwich: an indulgent dessert from Perry’s Margaret restaurant.
To help plan ahead for your trip and whet your appetite, the link below will let you view and download the latest Qantas First Lounge all-day menu; we’ll add the breakfast menu (which at the time of writing is being finalised) once Qantas sends it our way.
- Click here to view and download the Qantas First Lounge All-Day Dining menu for Autumn 2022
Qantas First Lounge spa
Another welcome return is the day spa: an oasis of calm offering a choice of four complimentary 20-minute treatments “designed to rejuvenate, sooth and refresh travellers ” using LaGaia Unedited products containing “Australian, sustainable and active infusions.”
- The Lift-off facial is intended to hydrate your skin with peptides and vitamins so it’s ready for the flight ahead
- The Baggage Drop neck, shoulder and scalp massage combines massage with acupressure to sooth away stress
- The Stretch your Legs foot massage begins with a mineral scrub, followed by a massage using reflexology points
- The Dream-Aligner applies warmed stones on your back to reduce tension, relieve aches and increase circulation
All passengers booked into Qantas first class receive a phone call from the lounge’s Qantas First Concierge the day before their flight, to arrange a spa session at the time of their choice.
Once first class flyers are taken care of, any remaining spa sessions on the day are available to all first class loungers on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, even if you’re travelling on a partner airline rather than Qantas.
When you arrive at the lounge, just ask at the front desk if there are any available spa sessions before your flight.
Qantas First Lounge access
As before, access to the Qantas First Lounge is restricted to
- first class travellers on Qantas or its partner airlines (such as Emirates and Oneworld members)
- Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers (who can also bring a guest into the Qantas First Lounge)
- Emirates Skywards Platinum frequent flyers
- Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers (such as British Airways Executive Club Gold, Cathay Diamond and Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum)
- members of the exclusive Qantas Chairman’s Lounge program (and some partner airline equivalents such as Emirates iO, American Airlines ConciergeKey, British Airways Executive Club Premier and Cathay Pacific Diamond Invitation, depending on any special reciprocal arrangements with those airlines)
On top of this, those precious Qantas First Lounge Invitations issued to Platinum One frequent flyers and holders of the Qantas Premier Titanium Mastercard will again be accepted.
Qantas First Lounge opening hours
However, one possible wrinkle in visiting the Qantas First Lounge if you’re flying with another airline will be the lounge’s opening hours, which are shaped around Qantas’ own schedule.
This won’t have a major impact on when the business lounges open – it’ll still be three hours before the first Qantas flight of each morning – but if the last Qantas flight of the day departs long before your Emirates or Oneworld flight, you could find yourself prematurely locked out.
For example, at the time of writing the last Qantas international flight from Sydney is typically around 7.30pm (it varies from day to day), a good two hours ahead of the 9.45pm departure of Emirates’ evening flight to Dubai and Qatar Airways’ daily service to Doha.
However, Qantas advises that its lounges may remain open for later flights depending on arrangements made with each airline.