This is a question we hear quite often – you’ve just come off a flight at your final destination, but perhaps you’ve got some time to kill and want to try access the nearest lounge on arrival. Can you get through the door? As you’d expect, the answer is ‘it depends’. So to help clear the air, here are the official policies for major domestic airport lounges across Australia.

Qantas Airways Logo Accessing Qantas lounges on arrival

Summary: only for Platinum Frequent Flyers and higher

If you thought flashing your Business Class ticket at the end of the flight will get you past the lounge doors, then you’ll be sorely mistaken. Qantas only permits its own Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers entry to Qantas Clubs and Domestic Business Lounges on arrival. However, this doesn’t extend to international flights or to elite status members of partner airlines.

Business Class passengers aren’t automatically granted lounge access on arrival except for those flying from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on the overnight red-eye flights. Those passengers specifically can access the Qantas Domestic Business Lounge upon arrival for breakfast and a shower, before heading to town. You’ll need that coffee!

Virgin Australia Logo Accessing Virgin Australia lounges on arrival

Summary: temporarily suspended due to COVID-19

Virgin Australia is more accommodating with on-arrival lounge access. Business Class passengers, along with Velocity Platinum and Velocity Gold cardholders, paid-up Virgin Lounge members and all their guests, can all usually access Virgin Australia lounges on arrival, subject to ensuring you access the lounge within 60-minutes of arrival. Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club Gold members are eligible as well.

Preference is given to Business Class guests and Velocity Platinum members, whereas Velocity Gold and Lounge members are ‘subject to space availability’. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, access on arrival is temporarily suspended with no clear date given for when this benefit will return.

Accessing Rex lounges on arrival

Summary: may be possible through Priority Pass

Rex currently has regional lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as a temporary space in Canberra. The airline’s lounges are not usually available for arrivals access – you’ll need an outbound boarding pass.

However, Rex Lounges are part of the Priority Pass program, which is an independent lounge membership. There isn’t a clear policy on whether you can access lounges on arrival or not, as the Priority Pass Terms and Conditions simply state that you need a ‘valid boarding pass’, without specifying whether it is strictly for outbound travel or not.

So if you’ve just come off a flight and there is a Rex lounge nearby, it won’t hurt to rock up and ask as it will likely come down to the decision of the lounge attendant of the day.

Summing up

Lounge access on arrival is possible domestically, but is generally only offered to passengers with top-tier frequent flyer status or are travelling in Business Class. Don’t expect the same for international lounges, because Australian airports segregate departing and arriving passengers.

Australian airports also don’t have dedicated arrivals lounges for international passengers just yet, but that’s something which could change in the distant future, particularly since lounge operators such as Plaza Premium are always looking to increase its footprint in new airport developments.

Can you access airport lounges on arrival? was last modified: June 24th, 2021 by Brandon Loo