Qantas reopens Sydney, Melbourne first class lounges

There’s once again a full à la carte menu with Champagne and cocktails plus preflight pampering at the day spa.

By David Flynn, March 14 2022
Qantas reopens Sydney, Melbourne first class lounges

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.

March 27 also sees a reboot of Qantas’ inflight first class experience on the A380 suites from Sydney to Los Angeles (and from June 19, Sydney to London) on a fleet of upgraded superjumbos.

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.

Dining has long been a crucial part of the First lounge's appeal.
Dining has long been a crucial part of the First lounge's appeal.

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 pavlova in a glass is always a hit with First Lounge diners.
The pavlova in a glass is always a hit with First Lounge diners.

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.

Another famous Qantas First Lounge dish is the salt and pepper calamari.
Another famous Qantas First Lounge dish is the salt and pepper calamari.

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.

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

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.

Top-tier frequent flyer status is your passport to the Qantas First Lounge.
Top-tier frequent flyer status is your passport to the Qantas First Lounge.

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.

29 Mar 2017

Total posts 23

Exciting. Anyone had any experience with keeping your QFF number on your booking but flashing another one world emerald membership (ie Qatar Platinum)?

07 May 2015

Total posts 34

If you have a QFF Platinum number on your QR booking and boarding pass then that is all you need to get into the QF First lounge, the type of card you 'flash' doesn't make a difference in that instance. If you did it the other way around, a QRPR number but not Platinum status on your QR booking and and boarding pass but showed a QFF Platinum card at the lounge, that QF Platinum card should still get you in.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Apr 2016

Total posts 10

The opening hours are certainly an issue for those on evening flights.
A few weeks ago was surprised to be given a $75 voucher on checking in for the Qatar flight with advice there was no lounge access.
Try spending A$75 in a single transaction in the departure area when the only places open are McDonalds and the kebab stand. Very poor form from Qatar.

Things have probably moved on now but for future reference. 

I too received the $75 voucher but advised it could be used in other stores for example WHS.

Ended up with $75 off a pair of new airpods so keep in mind if there is ever a next time! 

22 May 2020

Total posts 6

Any news on Brisbane? I believe both Emirates and Qantas have shut their lounges, must be tight in whatever lounge is standing in. Have a trip planned in 5 weeks, first in over two years, a bit of good lounge experience would be a happy thing. Not sad about Narita lounge, the only good thing about it is you could see if the aircraft had arrived, as the BNE flight usually parked right outside the window.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

15 Mar 2019

Total posts 20

What does this mean for Qatar’ Business Class passengers on the evening flight to Doha. Can we access shower facilities anywhere?

David

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Apr 2016

Total posts 10

Unless you can access the Amex Lounge you will be stuck in the public areas.
Qatar will generously give you a $75 single use voucher to spend at the 2-3 fast food outlets which are open in the departure area. Very poor from Qatar. 

CT
CT

29 Aug 2018

Total posts 10

Another reason to book my flights soon.

emercycrite Banned
emercycrite Banned

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 7

Great news.

22 Mar 2022

Total posts 1

Isn't there a daily Sydney-LAX 21:35 QF flight? surely the lounge stays open at least until then?

Flying F emirates Sydney-Dubai at 21:45 and wondering whether we will be sans lounge pre-departure...

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 315

How early does it open? 

Departing Sydney for Dubai early morning on 29 March, despite the app saying that we could relax at the Qantas first-class lounge and reading an article that the lounge was open from 27 March, nothing could be further from the truth.  On checking in, we were told that the lounge wasn't open and given a $30 voucher to buy refreshments at the food outlets.  This would've been OK had any of said outlets been open.  We couldn't even use it for a bottle of water.  A poor show by Qantas/Emirates.  And my husband has still not heard anything back from Qantas following his feedback more than a week ago.  So I'd suggest don't bank on the lounge being open.

The issue here is that Emirates' early morning EK415 Sydney-Dubai leaves at 6am so passengers check in well before the Qantas lounges open. Even in pre-COVID days the Qantas lounged would not open until 5am, but the Emirates lounge was open for EK415 passengers. But with the Emirates lounge being closed, you don't even have that option. This is really an issue of Emirates, not Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Feb 2018

Total posts 9

Does anyone have any recent feedback re opening hours? The Qantas website still says up to the last QF departure, though I notice the lounge hours on Google have been updated to 5am - 10pm daily. I'm on CX138 on Tuesday (April 19th) at 2130. The last Qantas departure for that day is QF1 @ 1545.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 379

Don't trust Google when it comes to things like opening hours, at least when 'things are not operating in "normal mode". I was in Sydney's Qantas first class lounge last week and they said it's still opening and closing based on QF flight times, so some days it's open until late evening and some days it closes in the afternoon, all depends on the QF timetable for that day. For CX138 on April 19 if the last QF flight is QF1 then CX should provide you with access to another lounge, probably Plaza Premium, or maybe an F&B voucher to spend in T1.

30 Apr 2012

Total posts 4

I'm heading out to NZ on QF143 in a couple of weeks, I'm only Gold but do have Oneworld Emerald thanks to Qatar.

Can I access the First lounge by flashing the Emerald or am I stuck in the Internaional Business lounge?

New to Qantas, I've been Virgin Platinum for 12 years but the recent years events spooked me and I'm now working on Qantas status.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

Hi Pixels – Oneworld Emerald status (in this case, courtesy of Qatar Airways Platinum) will get you into the Qantas First Lounge, and fortunately as you're on a Qantas flight, the lounge will definitely be open for some pre-flight breakfast. Enjoy the corn fritters!

30 Apr 2012

Total posts 4

Thanks so much for the reply. I'll make sure to get there early to fully enjoy. Sadly looks like I won't have any lounge access in AKL on the way back. I do hope they open a few more international lounges soon.

02 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

October Flying Emirates MAN-CHC with an 8 hour stopover at MEL. 

MAN-MEL First but as there is no FC on the MEL-CHC leg we are Qantas Business. Will we - Emirates Gold -be able to access Qantas First Lounge?


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