Review: Qantas Sydney Airport domestic business lounge

Delivering a decent mix of comfort and convenience, the domestic lounge is getting on yet still worth a visit.

Overall Rating

By Chris Ashton, September 2 2022
Qantas Sydney Airport domestic business lounge
Country

Australia

City

Sydney

Airport

Sydney - Kingsford Smith

Alliance

Oneworld

Airline

Qantas

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • All-day barista coffee
  • Wine, beer and spirits from noon
  • Zones for doing business or just relaxing
The Bad
  • Power points are relatively scarce
  • Bathrooms need a refresh
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Lounge access is one of the most highly-appreciated perks for frequent and business class flyers. At Sydney Airport T3, the Qantas domestic business lounge is the go-to for many – a sanctuary above the hustle and bustle downstairs.

Whether travelling for work or a well-earned holiday, the lounge has you covered with a variety of seating zones to suit your needs, in addition to buffet dining and, of course, WiFI.

But there are some glaring issues. More on those later.

Location & Impressions

After clearing security, equipped with upgraded baggage scanners, turn left and continue walking. You’ll soon spot the glass-doored entrance to the Qantas business lounge opposite Gates 4 and 5.

Keep an eye out for the subtle signage at the entrance, or you may find yourself at the nearby Qantas Club.
Keep an eye out for the subtle signage at the entrance, or you may find yourself at the nearby Qantas Club.

Proceed through them and take the escalator up, where you’ll be greeted by reception staff.

Reception is located at the top of the escalators, with a view down to the check-in desks.
Reception is located at the top of the escalators, with a view down to the check-in desks.

Just beyond the entrance is a conveniently-placed buffet area, with business seating to your right, dining facilities to your left, and comfortable lounges with hangar views straight ahead.

Screens showing arrival and departure information are dotted throughout the lounge, with useful info including weather at the destination and the time required to walk to the gate displayed.

The eclectic seating choices range from leather and cloth lounges to timber chairs and high stools.
The eclectic seating choices range from leather and cloth lounges to timber chairs and high stools.

Sporting a varied mix of seating options, liberal use of timber and marble-look benches, as well as a recurring Indigenous wall motif, the lounge is vast, wrapping around a central core, accessible from all sides. Within is where you’ll find bathrooms and showers... and it’s here that one of the lounge’s biggest issues is most apparent.

The bathrooms are far below the standard they need to be, both in cleanliness and facilities – particularly for such a highly-trafficked lounge with the word ‘business’ within its title. 

While the lounge didn’t appear overly busy during my mid Tuesday afternoon visit, the bathrooms weren’t in the best state, and I can only imagine what they would be like in peak times. Maintenance really needs to be stepped up in this area. 

Beyond the ablutions though, the cleanliness of the lounge fared much better, with tables wiped and staff quickly taking away empty plates. 

Access

  • Passengers with an onward Qantas or QantasLink business class flight
  • Travellers connecting to or from an international business or first class flight with Qantas, Emirates or a Oneworld airline, even if the domestic leg is booked in economy
  • Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers before or after a same-day Qantas, QantasLink, Emirates, Jetstar* or Oneworld flight
  • Other Oneworld Emerald members when their next onward flight that day is with Qantas or QantasLink and carries a QF or other Oneworld flight number (no access when flying Jetstar)
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum cardholders where their next onward flight that day carries a QF or EK flight number and is operated by Qantas or QantasLink

Gold frequent flyers, Oneworld Sapphire members and Qantas Club cardholders can instead use the nearby Qantas Club lounge when travelling in economy.

*Jetstar flights depart from Terminal 2, rather than Terminal 3. Jetstar passengers should allow enough time to check-in at T2, walk to T3, clear security and access the lounge before returning to T2 in time to board.

Dining

Our mid to late-afternoon visit saw a variety of self-serve fare offered: a tight menu of antipasto, salad and sandwich fillings, and an assortment of cakes and fresh fruit.

Hearty minestrone soup with bread rolls and butter chicken with steamed rice were the two hot options. It would have been nice to have some additional choices. 

The buffet was restocked regularly, meaning you never missed out on your preferred dish.
The buffet was restocked regularly, meaning you never missed out on your preferred dish.

Adding to that were self-serve juices and soft drinks, complemented by barista-made coffee.

From midday, the drinks counter doubles as a bar, with self-pour white, red and sparkling wine, together with a good selection of beers, spirits and mixers available from the staff.

Sweet treats and savoury eats were the mode du jour during our mid-afternoon visit.
Sweet treats and savoury eats were the mode du jour during our mid-afternoon visit.

Near the entrance is a second barista station, though this was closed during our visit.

A self-service coffee machine and snack counter are also available. Given the lounge itself is rather large, these make a great addition for travellers with limited time but who still need that morning hit, or for when the 'normal' coffee line is quite long.

Self-serve drinks and barista-made coffee were readily available, with no queues in sight.
Self-serve drinks and barista-made coffee were readily available, with no queues in sight.

The nearby island dining area was a popular perch for diners, with stool seating and ample space to spread out, though it did get rather crowded as the afternoon wore on.

Work

Clearly designed with the business traveller in mind, you’ll find everything here from group seats for jet setting colleagues...

Departure screens displayed time, weather and approx. walking times to each gate.
Departure screens displayed time, weather and approx. walking times to each gate.

... through to armchairs for solos and duos, as well as work desks for those who brought their laptop.

Longer benches are ideal if you’re looking to collaborate with multiple visitors or simply prefer a higher perch.

The long benches have just two power outlets either side, so you'll want to be quick to secure one.
The long benches have just two power outlets either side, so you'll want to be quick to secure one.

Power points are rather scarce though, mostly found at the dedicated laptop desks and sporadically along the bench seats lining the walls. There are also no USB ports, only AC outlets.

While not a major issue, it would be appreciated if there were more power outlets, particularly as travellers have become accustomed to relying on their own devices for entertainment.

Elsewhere in the lounge are cafe-style lounges and bench seats, plus additional workspaces with central powerpoints. 

The lounge became busier as the afternoon wore on, but never felt overly crowded.
The lounge became busier as the afternoon wore on, but never felt overly crowded.

Rounding out the amenities, guests can enjoy fast and free Wi-Fi internet access.

Speaking of the internet, visitors can also enjoy free digital access to The Australian, Financial Review and The Monthly by connecting to the lounge Wi-Fi and navigating to each site. Those who prefer physical magazines are in luck too, with a multi-tiered stand near the main entrance.

Verdict

A decent business lounge to spend a couple of hours in, and one significantly better than its Sydney T1 international counterpart, but it’s not without issues. The space is showing its age and could really do with a refresh, particularly in the bathrooms. 

Revamp the amenities, install some additional power points, and whack in some USB outlets while you’re at it, and you'd have a solid improvement.

31 Oct 2018

Total posts 12

This seems way generous. 3 stars at best. For how many months did we have to endure paper plates and plastic cups? Is the food really that good (compared to MEL or BNE)? And the layout and furniture is pretty tired. This is the worst domestic Business lounge in the entire network, and arguably the upgraded Qantas Clubs in other cities are better than this too. Well overdue for a refurbishment!!

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Jun 2019

Total posts 15

I have to agree the best part about the review is that butter chicken was on the menu. I was getting over the pasta and mince. I ended up making nachos with corn chips. The Sydney lounge is dire and the staff are not that friendly as well. 

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 374

The lounge is fairly good for a dedicated domestic Business space but when you say "flagship domestic business lounge in Sydney for Qantas", I'm not sure those words match the experience.

BSS
BSS

21 Aug 2022

Total posts 9

This lounge is three stars at best. Often there are plastic plates and cups. Can get extremely dirty at peak times. Nothing flagship about this and much worse than Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

13 May 2015

Total posts 26

A shower queuing system (with a buzzer?), and regular shower cleans to expedite access would be great when you’ve flown in from overseas.  Really only has to be staffed until say, 10:00

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 341

Yes always dirty - a good vacuum would do well here - kinda like the Mel International Business Lounge - ah the days of a decent Catahy Pacific Lounge at MEL International

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Aug 2022

Total posts 3

This is no flagship lounge. Well, well overdue for a refresh. 

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 9

This loung is well overdue for an upgrade, even by Qantas standards that listed it for an upgrade back in 2019 (from memory). The food standard has steadily gone down since Accor took it over. Only relieved when during COVID it suddenly improved for a month or so. Remember when you would order and staff would bring your order to you, and the lounge was almost empty? Those were the days.

19 Apr 2013

Total posts 13

Fully agree with the food comments. I myself don’t drink, apart from coffee, and the food choices are a joke. I give them a pass for breakfast, but lunch and dinner, seriously. And don’t think soup counts as one hot option. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 341

The only good thing about this Business Lounge is that booze is self service - in the new lounges PER BNE MEL booze is served at the bar

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 33

yeah..... kinda agree with the prevailing sentiments here. I am surprised ET gave such a nice review.

05 May 2016

Total posts 630

It's missing the X-Factor of Pizza in PER or Spice Bar in MEL. There's a big gap between what you get in the Domestic Business lounge and the International First lounge that you can visit if you have WP or higher status. However the international tickets do cost a lot more.

12 Aug 2014

Total posts 15

This review is a bit of an embarrassment. As the other comments note, it is a pretty awful lounge, usually dirty, hopelessly over crowded, often paper plates and cups and the food is awful compared to the MEL and BNE lounges. Quite often the Qantas Club next door is a superior lounge.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 85

The only highlight for this lounge is the pancake machine for breakfast which my children liked. This is a most 'ordinary' lounge experience, food is garbage (mostly), paper cups and plates less than acceptable making the downstairs coffee lounge more and more attractive.


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