Plaza Premium's lounge at Sydney Airport is back in action, giving travellers a nice alternative to their own airline's lounge, or the food court.
Still, with Plaza Premium's Sydney lounge having made its grand debut in March 2020 – right before Australia's borders were locked down – it's a space that very few travellers will be familiar with.
Here's what to expect when you stop by: whether that's on a Norfolk Island or New Zealand 'travel bubble' flight, or a journey further afield with a travel exemption in-hand.
Accessing the Sydney Plaza Premium Lounge
After check-in, passport control and security screening, follow the main corridor past duty-free and the Qantas lounge precinct, and then the signage towards the Plaza Premium Lounge.
You'll find the entrance opposite gates 25 and 26, which some travellers may recognise as the former home of the American Express Lounge (which has since been relocated, but remains closed for now).
The lounge currently opens from 6am to 2:30pm each day – and inside, a few tweaks have been made to allow for physical distancing between seated groups.
Given this, the lounge currently has a capacity of 40 passengers.
As to who gets in, any passenger who wishes to stop by is welcome, with a two-hour pass selling for $42. This can be pre-booked online to guarantee your space, or purchased at the door.
Complimentary access is also provided for the following guests:
- American Express Platinum Charge Card and Centurion Card holders travelling on any airline, with up to two additional guests plus any children under two years of age.
- Passengers departing on a Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines or Xiamen Air flight, who would normally qualify for lounge access by way of cabin class or frequent flyer status, or as an eligible +1.
For AMEX cardholders, access is available regardless of whether the destination is within Australia's 'travel bubble', or elsewhere (requiring quarantine upon return).
However, free access for passengers flying Delta currently excludes Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and VIP, unless – like anybody else – that traveller qualifies in another way, such as by booking Delta One business class or holding an eligible AMEX card.
Priority Pass isn't accepted here, nor will it be welcome at any other Plaza Premium lounge after June 30 2021.
So, what's inside?
Divided into three distinct areas, your seating choices provide space to work, dine, or relax.
These window-side seats are a great place to set up a laptop and enjoy the views.
As with almost every seat here, AC and USB power is at easy reach.
Beyond the expected dining tables for enjoying a meal, the rest of the seats are given over to relaxation.
Airport views aren't reserved only for those at the work benches – many of these chairs enjoy them, too.
Speaking of relaxation, boarding calls aren't made here, so it's a quiet place to kick back (or be productive). A flight information screen remains available to monitor your own departure.
Dining in the Plaza Premium Lounge
In response to both COVID-19 and reduced passenger volumes, the lounge's buffet counters are closed.
Instead, service is all à la carte, with breakfast available until 11am daily, progressing to an all-day menu.
Arrive in the morning and your selections range from lighter bites like yoghurt parfait, fruit salad, cereal, bakery items and acai bowls through to pancakes, or an English Breakfast with eggs, bacon, baked beans and herb-baked potatoes.
Barista-made coffee is also available whenever the lounge is open:
From 11am, the freshly-made sandwiches are a simple yet tasty option added to the menu, prepared as you would a Club Sandwich with the ingredients added after toasting the bread.
The broader dining menu also offers heartier bites like vegetable ratatouille, fettuccine Napolitana, pizzas, as well as a tasty butter chicken served with steamed jasmine rice.
Most alcohol selections including tap and bottled beers, cider, wine, and standard spirits are complimentary, with premium spirit selections available at just $5 for a 60ml pour (a double measure).
While you can visit the counter and place a drink order, staff readily come by and take meal and drink requests from seated guests.
To finish, the lamingtons are a must-have for a final taste of Australia before you depart, with the chocolate brownie also sure to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
While pre-COVID favourites like high tea are currently off the menu, it's great to see Plaza Premium welcoming guests once again.
Joining Brisbane – which also re-opened this week – the company's Melbourne location is expected to follow once the city exits lockdown, and New Zealand reconnects Victoria to the trans-Tasman bubble.
Chris Chamberlin visited the lounge as a guest of Plaza Premium Group.