Review: Qantas Business Lounge, Sydney Kingsford Smith Terminal Three, Sydney, Australia
The countries of Australia and New Zealand have an ability to take the lounge experience to the next level. They consistently offer a terrific lounge product, typically with above average food and beverage and spacious places to relax and rest before any flight. The Qantas Business Lounges are no exception to that rule. We were able to visit the terrific Qantas Business Lounge Sydney Kingford Smith Terminal Three before our onward journey.
This post is one chapter in our trip to Australia on Air Canada & Qantas Business Class and United Airlines. This trip was booked using British Airways Executive Club Avios and Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) points. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Trip Introduction: Hitching a Ride to Australia via Air Canada & Qantas Business Class and United Airlines,
- Plaza Premium Lounge International – Vancouver International Airport
- Air Canada Business Class: Vancouver – Sydney
- Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour, Australia
- The Historic Landmarks of Sydney, Australia
- A Harbour Front Walk Past the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House
- A Day at Shelley Beach, Sydney, Australia
- Bondi Beach and the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk, Sydney, Australia
- A Day at Camp’s Bay by Watson Cove, Sydney, Australia
- Calling on the Koala Bears at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia
- Qantas Business Lounge, Sydney Kingsford Smith Domestic, Australia
- Qantas Business Class: Sydney – Adelaide
- Sipping the Wines of McLaren Vale Region, Adelaide, Australia
- Restaurant Review: The Star of Greece, Port Willunga, Australia
- Exploring the Wines of The Adelaide Hills, Adelaide, Australia
- Tasting an Australian Icon “Penfolds Grange” Wine
- Qantas Club Adelaide, Australia
- Qantas Business Class: Adelaide – Sydney
- Trying to Fly Standby out of Australia’s Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
- United Airlines: Sydney – San Francisco
- American Express Centurion Lounge: San Francisco International Airport
- Air Canada Rouge: San Francisco – Vancouver
Review: Qantas Business Lounge, Sydney Kingsford Smith Terminal 3 Domestic, Sydney, Australia.
This lounge is about the Qantas Business Lounge at Sydney Kingsford Smith Domestic Terminal. For another lounge at the Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, please see our review of the Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney International Terminal.
I had booked our domestic Australian flights courtesy of British Airways Avios. The British Airways Executive Club Avios points started life as Royal Bank of Canada Avion Visa credit card points. I had converted 40,000 Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Avion Visa points to BA Avios points during their usual fall 50% bonus conversion promotion. Thanks to the British Airways “distance based” reward chart, we were able to get each flight segment in business class for 15,000 points per segment for a total of 60,000 points for two and an easy $75 in taxes and fees for the two of us. This was a great deal for a flight that was retailing for around $900 USD per person in high cost airfare environment of Australia. There was ample reward space available and I found that, at the time of this report, Qantas was making all available seats on the SYD-ADL route except for 1 available for reward redemptions.
My sister joined us in Adelaide courtesy of an industry ID90 “Z” fare on Qantas, booked the day before travel on the same flight.
Checking Into Qantas Business Class:
The check in for today’s flight was in a bright and airy hall at Sydney’s Kingford Smith Domestic Terminal Three. Qantas has moved to the largest kiosk check in area that I’ve seen, probably in part due to the high labor costs in Australia.
We located the business class check in at the far left end of the hall. Our check in host “Marc” verbally invited us to the “nice buffet” in the Qantas business class lounge.
Priority Screening Lanes:
We used the priority screening lane to get to secure side. Australia still isn’t limiting traveling “passengers only” to the secure side of the terminal, meaning that anyone going to the airport can get screened and wave goodbye at the gate. As a result, there was no check of the boarding pass for passengers traveling, or not traveling, at the security check point.
Locating the Qantas Business Lounge:
We cleared security and located the Qantas Business Lounge precinct. The lounge is located immediately after security just to the left of the security check point.
We went up escalators with a switch to business lounge to left or Qantas Club Lounge (credit card holders) to right. We went for the more upper crust business lounge. The access to the hidden Qantas Chairmans’ lounge (by invitation only for Qantas’ most special fliers) was also in this hallway.
Accessing the Qantas Business Lounge:
Access to the Qantas Business Lounge is allowed for travellers that are travelling on a departing flight in Qantas, Emirates, Jetstar or One World Business Class. Two guests are allowed and do not have to be travelling in order to access the lounge. Access is also afforded to Platinum One or Platinum Qantas Frequent Fliers. Eligible One World travelers that have Sapphire or higher level status (eg: Emerald Status) are also afforded access.
I was able to invite my sister in as a guest (at the time: one guest, traveling or not, was included with each business class fare) without any corresponding check of her boarding pass.
If for some reason you don’t meet the requirements, and are desperate to visit, you can still purchase annual access to the Qantas Club. There is an initiation fee and an annual fee that is in the range of $500 AUD per year. You may also be offered a day invitation for fee, dependent on lounge capacity.
Inside the Qantas Business Lounge Sydney:
The Qantas Business Lounge Sydney is a massive space. The lounge is made up of distinct lounge seating areas which are intimate on their own, but compartmentalize a rectangular lounge space into intimate spaces. The lounge is bathed in large daylight glass windows that over look the Qantas Domestic apron. Like in other Qantas Lounges, the furniture is contemporary and upscale.
On our visit, it was only about 40% occupied, making for a relaxed lounge experience.
We settled in by the glass and stocked up on snacks. You get the picture here, the space and area just goes on and on.
Flex Space Seating:
In addition to lounge chairs, there were also seating for flex space. There were also work computers and other work productivity equipment suitable for business travellers. There were also several work station areas toward the back of the lounge if windows weren’t your thing.
Overall, it is a terrific experience. No wonder this company is having financial difficulties. According to the in flight magazine, the Qantas Group reported an underlying loss before tax of $646 million dollars and a statutory loss after tax of $2.8 billion for the period ending July 31, 2014.
Having said that, the Qantas lounge is probably the nicest domestic lounge I’ve ever been in. It easily topped the old Air New Zealand Koru Club in Los Angeles Terminal 2, and was a close call with the American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas and later in San Francisco.
Food and Beverage:
The Qantas Lounges always excel in food and beverage options. The Qantas Business Lounge Sydney was no exception to this rule. While some lounges scrimp on food and snacks between meal periods, the Qantas Lounge offered a full all day dining menu of mulligatawny soup, toasted sandwiches, raw root vegetable salad, pasta with pesto salad, dry coleslaw, mixed leaf salad, hummus with accompaniments and pecan and cinnamon flan for desert. Best of all, there was a full sandwich buffet spread on offer, with approximately 6 wines on self pour. What’s not to like about all that?
The buffet was complimented by a full bar service. The bar service featured many Australian Wines that were available through a self pour station. Unlike European Lounges, the Qantas Lounges did not offer alcohol service until after 11 AM.
If these Australian wines weren’t good enough, Qantas offered more upscale selections through the Qantas epiQure program. These premium wines were offered through the Qantas Frequent Flier program where you could obtain an elevated wine experience by exchanging Qantas Frequent Flier points for air controlled wine poured from air controlled wine cylinders. The option for epicurean wines included Penfold’s Grange included from within the program from an automated dispensing machine with payment with your Qantas Frequent Flier points.
The lounge also offered an extensive dining area. While some lounges make a distinct dining area, the Qantas business Lounge in Sydney blended the spaces nicely without an obvious distinct tables and chair area.
Views from the Lounge:
The lounge had plenty of plane spotting opportunities, along with the Qantas maintenance hangars 131, 191, 245 and 271.
We managed to spot the sole Boeing 737 in the vintage 1970’s retro livery that Qantas has recently converted.
The lounge also promoted Qantas’ latest advertising campaign, “Welcome Home”, similar to the opening scenes of the movie Love Actually. I found that it actually made the lounge a bit more of a personable space.
My thoughts on the Qantas Business Lounge Sydney Terminal 3 Kingsford Smith:
During our visit, staff brought around Apricot Brandy drinks and nuts on a trolley cart. It was a nice touch that I haven’t seen in many other lounges worldwide except for the occasional full service first class lounge.
We had a comfortable time here before we headed to the gate for our domestic flight. The Qantas Business Lounge was easily worth a visit and we would aim to spend some time here again if we passed through again.