Qantas’s Brisbane Domestic Business Lounge opens next week

Wine bar at Qantas' Domestic Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport

Qantas’ new Domestic Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport is set to open its doors next Tuesday in what is the latest phase of the airline’s multi-million dollar upgrade of its facilities.

The enhancement will see the lounge increase in size by about 30 per cent with capacity for 350 people. Its Queensland landscape design follows Qantas’ previously upgraded International Lounge, which opened in October last year and similarly increased in size by about 30 per cent.

Most notably, however, the revamped Domestic Business Lounge will also be accompanied by a Premium Lounge Entry area on Level 1 with check-in, baggage drop and security screening facilities for frequent flyers along with direct access to the new Lounge Precinct. The area will be open seven days a week and will be accessible one hour before the first Qantas departure.

“This investment is all about offering our customers a premium experience from the moment they arrive at the airport,” said Helen Gray, Qantas head of domestic lounges. “Premium Lounge Entry is a first for Qantas and will streamline the departure process, so our top frequent flyers can move through the terminal quickly and maximise their time in the lounge.”

Among the new facilities and features within the lounge is a new dining option, The Cantina, a full bar offering Australian wines, cocktails designed by Rockpool mixologists and craft beer, and a wine bar that opens at noon. As with the International Lounge, Qantas’ new Quench concept focusing on pre-flight hydration will be present in the Domestic Lounge, as will an all-day barista Vittoria coffee offering.

Meanwhile a work zone with wireless printing, power and data outlets, wifi, TVs, and shower suites and an Accorhotels service experience. A revamped valet facility is also set to open soon with direct access to the terminal and the Premium Lounge Entry area.

The opening of Qantas’ domestic lounge will precede the final phases of the upgrade, which will include the renovated Qantas Club and new Chairman’s Lounge in the domestic terminal.

Business class passengers along with Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, and eligible oneworld Emerald members will be able to make use of the domestic lounge facilities. Meanwhile the premium entry will be open to business class travellers, Qantas Club members, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members. Emirates and China Eastern Platinum customers will also be able to make use of both facilities.

Brisbane Airport trials facial recognition technology

Brisbane Airport SITA Smart Path

Brisbane Airport has begun trialling facial recognition technology in what it describes as an “Australian first trial” of the biometric system.

Developed in partnership with SITA and Air New Zealand, the SITA Smart Path will enable travellers to check in at self-service kiosks before going to automated boarding gates, where facial recognition technology will be used for identity verification before boarding. Travellers using the system will not need to present a boarding pass, passport or travel documents when boarding after these have been linked to the biometric at check-in.

“This is a great opportunity for passengers to help shape the future of travel,” said Roel Hellemons, general manager strategic planning and development for Brisbane Airport Corporation. “A key benefit of working with SITA is its technology integrates with our existing common-use infrastructure – check-in kiosks and boarding gates – and can be used by any airline that operates on a common-use kiosk.” 

As the partner carrier, Air New Zealand will be the first airline to trial the Smart Path. Brisbane Airport plans to extend the service to additional international airlines in the coming months, while also aiming to expand the technology to encompass additional processes. “As we progress we hope to integrate with various government systems for immigration and border checks,” said Hellemons.

According to SITA, more than 165 airlines use its passenger processing applications and common-use systems to board over 100 million passengers each year.

“Australia has long been recognised as a leader in secure border management and passenger processing,” said SITA president, Asia Pacific, Sumesh Patel. “Now Brisbane Airport is leading the way with SITA Smart Path. This is a single, secure, self-service process which simplifies passenger processing for everyone – airlines, airports and border authorities. It is early days at Brisbane Airport but already the response from passengers has been positive.”

Qantas launches Melbourne–Tokyo flights and unveils Premium Lounge Entry

Qantas Premium Lounge Entry facility at Brisbane Domestic Airport

The first of Qantas’ new daily Melbourne-Tokyo Narita flights takes off today (December 16), joining the Australian carrier’s existing Sydney-Tokyo Haneda and Brisbane-Tokyo Narita flights serving the Japanese capital.

Qantas’ new Melbourne route, which was announced in September, will be serviced by an upgraded two-class Airbus A330-300 featuring the airline’s latest Recaro seat in economy and a lie-flat business suite able to be reclined during take-off and landing.

The service brings the number of seats Qantas offers on Japanese routes to 6,000 per week. Onward connections in Japan are available through the airline’s subsidiary carrier Jetstar, while the inbound flight into Melbourne has been timed to link with the carrier’s domestic network, notably to Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.

“The clear message from our Japanese customers was that they wanted a direct link into Melbourne – so we’re delighted to be opening up that gateway for them today,” said CEO Gareth Evans. “We’ve had a great response from Victorian tourism operators and the many companies in Melbourne who do business with Japan.”

Qantas now serves eight international destinations from Melbourne. Earlier this week, the carrier announced its Melbourne-Los Angeles route would be the first in its network to use its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Details for the new Melbourne-Tokyo Narita service are as follows (all times local):

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
QF79 Melbourne Tokyo Narita 0915 1730 Daily
QF80 Tokyo Narita Melbourne 1900 0730+1

Meanwhile, the carrier also announced it will introduce a Premium Lounge Entry departure experience for passengers flying out of Brisbane Domestic Airport. The facility will be located on Level 1 of the airport and will provide a dedicated check-in area, bag drop, security screening and direct access to the new Qantas Lounge Precinct.

Set to open in line with the airline’s new Brisbane business lounge in early March 2017, the facility will be open seven days a week, one hour prior to the airline’s first departure. Customers flying business as well as Qantas Club members, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One Frequent Flyers and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members will be able to use the facility. Qantas Valet customers will also receive a new experience with direct terminal access.

“This is about streamlining the overall departure process for our top-tier frequent flyers from the moment they arrive at the airport,” said head of Qantas customer experience, Philip Capps. “Premium Lounge Entry will speed up the process for customers checking in both at the airport or on their mobile – allowing them to move through the terminal quickly and maximise their time relaxing or working in the lounge.”

Qantas also plans to introduce a new Chairman’s Lounge, new look Qantas Club and a lounge precinct in the coming months.

Qantas opens new Brisbane International Lounge

Seating at Qantas Brisbane International Lounge

Qantas’ new Brisbane International Lounge officially opened to passengers on Thursday October 20, providing travellers flying from the Queensland capital with a space modelled after the award-winning designs at its Hong Kong and Singapore lounges. The lounge is the first of a number of new facilities the Australian national carrier would be introducing at Brisbane Airport over the coming months as part of a multi-million-dollar upgrade.

The two-level lounge offers approximately 30 per cent more space than the airline’s previous lounges and has been designed with elements that reflect the state’s natural landscape, from furniture resembling the tropical north to colourful rugs inspired by its reefs and waterways. Meanwhile, a bespoke glass and light art installation designed by artist Jenna Lee of Brisbane-based agency Gilimbaa, is located in the lounge acting as an abstract aerial view of the Queensland region inspired by Indigenous Australian stories and culture.

The airline has also introduced a new lounge concept called Quench, prioritising passenger hydration prior to flight with non-alcoholic beverages. These include syrups from beverage manufacturer Bickfords and Buderim Ginger, and a signature tisane herbal tea blend by Rockpool. Meanwhile, F&B at the lounge focuses on sourcing ingredients from local farmers to create seasonal menus, and will offer a hot and cold buffet as well as a signature breakfast area on the mezzanine level where chefs prepare dishes to order including bircher muesli, French toast and healthy breakfast bowls.

Gareth Evans, CEO of Qantas International, said: “This stylish and modern lounge is the perfect space for our customers to relax before their flight. This lounge marks our continued investment in the entire customer journey. We’ve almost finished the refurbishment of our A330 fleet at the Brisbane Maintenance Facility, added new services to Japan and New Zealand, and the domestic terminal lounges are set for a complete redesign in coming months.

“Queensland is one of our most important markets with almost 60 direct international flights departing Brisbane every week. Queensland is where it started for Qantas and we are proud to maintain such a strong presence after 95 years of flying.”

The new Brisbane International Lounge also offers a business centre, wifi, TV with provider Foxtel, shower suites and a Sofitel service experience, and will be available for travellers flying in Business, eligible Frequent Flyers and oneworld members.

Qantas will be unveiling a new domestic lounge precinct with a Business Lounge and a refurbished Qantas Club with valet service, starting early 2017.