Recent travel arrangements over the last few months saw most of the Point Hacks team with flights departing from Sydney’s International Terminal and an opportunity to check out Qantas’ Sydney International Business Lounge.
We thought it a perfect opportunity to combine our experiences and let you know what the lounge has to offer when it comes to space, comfort, facilities and, of course, food and beverage options.
if you hold a credit card that offers Qantas Lounge passes as a benefit, this lounge is going to be one of the key lounges in Australia to use it these at.
Update: this lounge is due to be refurbished, with a target completion date of the end of 2019.
Lounge location & opening hours
After passing through customs and immigration, veer left and follow the signs to the lounge, which is located up a set of escalators on the third floor close to Gates 9 & 10.
The lounge entrance can be found through a set of double glass doors further down the third floor walkway from the Qantas Sydney International First Lounge and is open seven days a week, from 5am until 10pm.
Lounge seating & views
Once inside, the entry is positioned in about the middle of the lounge and opens into a wider seating area, the perfect place for arranging to meet up with friends or colleagues.
The main lounge itself is impressively large, albeit quite narrow, running in a similar layout longways in both directions from the central entry point.
While this gives it a slightly squished in ‘tunnel’ feel, the wall of windows along the entire length flood the room with natural light, and afford guests sitting in any part of the lounge expansive views of the outside terminal operations, runway and even a glimpse of the CBD skyline.
The timber and beige decor and furnishings, while clean and light, lack character and does give the lounge a some what stale feeling – a sign of how Qantas’ lounge design has come along in the last few years. The Sydney lounge still feels clean and has aged well, but doesn’t have the same attempt at wow-factor of some of the newer lounges.
The most common seating type in the lounge is the common single soft couch, which is fine to hang out in for a while but not so great ergonomically for eating or working with the small table far in front of you. There are other options for seating so check those out if you are planning on extended laptop or tablet time.
Food and beverage
While the decor of the lounge isn’t too exciting, those in search of food and refreshment options prior to their onward flight are more than well catered for.
A central dining island acts as a bar along with laid places for eating, and provides an opportunity to order selected plates of the day from wait staff, or just a casual spot to sample the options from one of the two buffet style servery stations.
The buffet selections change throughout the day and on top of the hot meal and salad options, those with a sugar craving should also be quite pleased.
Also located beside the island dining area is the lounge’s barista station, pouring out smooth custom-ordered espressos for the caffeine addicted of us, and an impressive gelato station, likely a popular spot during a hot summer’s day.
Along with the barista-made coffee, the lounge also offers an excellent selection of local and imported wines and beers, along with numerous non-alcoholic beverage options, all accessible from self-service stations throughout the lounge, or for wine and champagne from the main bar area.
Of particular note, I was greatly impressed with the option to pour your own pint from a small selection of self-service tap beers attached to the bottled beer fridge.
Other lounge facilities
The lounge’s bathroom facilities are also decent, providing a modern contemporary designed area to cater for those needing to freshen up while in transit or wanting to shower and change out of their suit on their way home from a long business day.
The fresh and light environment was calming and, as usual, Qantas’ inclusion of the complimentary ASPAR skincare products is always a nice touch.
Down the right end of the lounge is the business station that fields a bank of Apple computers. I do find it odd for lounges to still provide business suites with computers given how many travellers, particularly those on business, would have their own laptop or tablet with them.
For those who need to be connected at all times, wifi is also free, fast and easy to connect to throughout the lounge.
Qantas have also catered for their youngest guests with a kids’ and family zone available away from the main lounge area, just opposite the entrance and main desk.
Lounge access options
With Qantas being a oneworld member, along with having direct strategic airline partners such as Emirates, not to mention their Qantas Club lounge programme, there is a myriad of both obvious and more complicated methods of accessing this lounge.
Qantas, Emirates, Jetstar & oneworld Business or First Class ticket holders or Elite Status holders
Access is complimentary to any passenger holding a ticket for a same-day Qantas, Jetstar Business Max, Emirates, oneworld airline Business or First class flight.
Qantas Gold and Platinum members are entitled to access the lounge in any cabin class with Qantas, Jetstar Business Max, Emirates or any oneworld airline.
oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members are entitled to access the lounge prior to a same-day flight in any cabin class with any oneworld airline.
Qantas Club members
Access to the lounge is available to Qantas Club members and Qantas Club annual guest card holders prior to any same-day Qantas- or Jetstar-ticketed and -operated flight in any cabin class.
However, as Qantas Club is not a oneworld product, Qantas Club members are unable to access the lounge when onward travel (excluding elite cabin and status passengers) from Sydney involves any other oneworld carrier, such as Cathay Pacific or American Airlines.
If interested, you can find out more about the Qantas Club lounge programme here.
Single entry passes
Qantas do not openly sell single one-off passes to their lounges, however they may invite a Qantas Frequent Flyer member on a Qantas-marketed and operated flight booking the opportunity to purchase a single Qantas lounge entry on the day of their flight.
You can pick up complimentary Qantas Lounge passes from a number of credit cards in Australia, which is likely the most common way for those without elite status to gain access.
The following guests are entitled to have one extra guest accompany them into the lounge, provided they are traveling on the same onward flight as the primary guest:
- Qantas Gold and Platinum status holders
- Emirates Gold and Platinum status holders
- oneworld Sapphire and Emerald status holders
- Qantas Club primary members
- Qantas, Emirates and oneworld First Class passengers
- Qantas Business Class passengers
In addition to the regular guest privileges listed above, Qantas Gold and Platinum status holders and Qantas Club primary members are permitted to have two children under 18 years old accompany them into the lounge, provided they are traveling on the same onward flight as the primary guest.
Our take on the Qantas Sydney International Business Lounge
The lounge is large and provides great views of the airport operations and runway, however, the bland decor and furnishings could do with updating to bring it up to Qantas’ recent visions for how lounges should be created.
I found the food and beverage options more than suitable for most people’s requirements and equal to or better than many of the similar airline lounges I’ve experienced.
With all the potential access options and many Qantas, Cathay Pacific and other partner airlines using the lounge it can get quite busy and did so while we were there. However, it just as quickly emptied out after major flights departed and, for the most part, the large floor area provides ample room and facilities for guests during the majority of the day.
While the Business Lounge may not compare to the opulence of its neighbouring First Lounge, or even the lavish Qantas Singapore Lounge, it does a more than good job at the level it is meant to, and I would be more than happy spending a couple of hours there again in the future. Let’s just hope Qantas have it on their refurbishment plan sooner, rather than later.
If you would like to share your own experiences of this lounge or have experience of an alternative access option not provided above, please share with our community in the comments below.